Whether you have the app or not, you’ve likely seen a TikTok video. They’re ubiquitous, and shared seamlessly through other social media like Facebook and Instagram (and even occasionally highlighted on the evening news).

Say you want to start making your own videos to promote your plants or your business, but you’re worried you won’t be engaging enough. Don’t stress about that.

“We do what you do every day,” said Debbie Foisy, owner of Deb’s Greenhouse in Morinville, AB, Canada. “We’re also doing a lot of social media.”

She presented “Turn Your Boring Plant Expertise into Fun, Catchy Videos” at the most recent Cultivate event, hosted by AmericanHort.

What started as an animal ag operation became a greenhouse operation in autumn 2009. Foisy said she set up her business’s Facebook page in 2012 and by 2013 she had acquired an iPad. And that’s where her social media journey took off.

As of February 2024, Deb’s Greenhouse has 22,000 likes and 41,000 followers on Facebook; 4,800 followers on Instagram; and 10,000 followers and 46,000 likes on TikTok. Their town, Morinville, only has a population of 10,500.

Foisy said the key to seeing numbers like these is genuine connection. “Let your personality shine through,” she said. “I don’t script but I do a list of bullet points for some employees. They want to see your face – don’t just show your facilities or just your hands. Engage your staff as much as you can.”

She offered some essential tips for beginners to guide them on their social media video journey:

• You need to have a tripod to record – steady is better than shaky. “And get a cell phone with the best camera you can,” she suggested. Record videos at eye level or higher. If the camera is lower than that, “you’ll get bad shadows and double chins.” She also noted that using the front-facing camera leads to better audio recording.

• Always be prepared to film. Foisy said to have a nice background (they utilize a living wall in a greenhouse), make sure you have good lighting (face the sun – no back lighting) and if you’re representing your business, look professional (be as clean as possible and display your logo on your shirt).

(That said, Foisy noted that rainy days are the best time to make video content – as there are fewer people in the greenhouse and the lighting is great.)

• Try to post every day, even during the off-season. There are a lot of people trying to catch the attention of others, so posting regularly will help keep you top of mind.

Be sure to save all your videos too – don’t just do live videos. “I use YouTube as our library,” Foisy said.

The platforms Deb’s Greenhouse uses are Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube. “It’s okay to post the same content [across the platforms] because they’re different audiences,” Foisy said. “When any new platform pops up, immediately grab your handle. If you’re using it, your customers will be too.”

If you’re having trouble with inspiration for new content, she suggested responding to customer questions. “You hear them a lot and you’re experts in providing the answers,” she said. “If they’re looking for advice and you give it to them, you will become their first choice.”

She also recommended picking a theme – at Deb’s Greenhouse, “we went over the top with education,” she said. They do “Plant of the Day” and top five plant posts as well as planting tutorials.

Foisy also noted it’s important to upload content that has been well edited. For editing apps, she likes using Splice (as it’s “easy to use”) and CapCut (because it’s “good to have captions”).

And finally, as noted by the disparity in numbers noted above, she said, “Don’t worry if all of your followers aren’t potential customers – engagement is all good.”

You can find Deb’s Greenhouse social media links at debsgreenhouse.com.

by Courtney Llewellyn