Cream of the Crop features a rotating panel from the Harvest Group, a landscape business consulting company.

It is all too clear to successful business owners that social media has moved quickly from being a mere cosmetic aspect of the company marketing plan into a vital determinant of capitalistic advantage. Unique resources and ongoing attention are now commonly being devoted to social media, just as resources and attention are traditionally allocated to horticulture quality, customer service, gross margin and revenue growth. With that premise in mind, here are some of the fundamentals that you should adopt.

To remain current, visible and “fresh,” prescient companies frequently have a presence on at least the following four platforms: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. Extending that thought, social media postings should occur bi-weekly on each of the platforms, with appropriate costs, results and tracking metrics being tracked accordingly for effectiveness.

Beyond social media platforms, there are four common information topics routinely included within a well-developed, targeted and successful social media strategy:

1. Recruitment: In conjunction with its own website, the company should consistently populate, refresh and publicize all vacant positions. Job descriptions, salary ranges, training opportunities, career path information, available benefits and the like represent the current standard for human resources content.

2. Employees: This topic fuels the company’s Rewards and Recognition Program by highlighting new employees, tenured employee work anniversaries, recent achievements, successful performance, employee commendations, training certifications and promotions, as well as biographical sketches that personalize each employee’s distinct contributions to the company.

3. Educational: Supporting customer service, these social media postings frequently include useful information to improve viewers’ awareness, initiative and competence through topics like how to trim a rose bush, plant health care, fertilization tips, proper application of bark or mulch, irrigation improvements and installing new plants or trees.

4. Job Quality: It’s always beneficial to highlight successes by sharing before and after photos or videos of new installation, enhancements or tree service work, especially when accompanied by the manager’s and foreman’s names to document their accountability. People’s memories may lapse with time; photos and videos permanently improve those memories.

Building upon social media platforms and content categories, it is important to note the current mode of presentation is far more elaborate and dynamic than it was just a few short years ago. Long-winded, drab, static PDF postings are from a bygone era; dynamic information transfer is the new standard.

Having a clear, concise social media strategy can only benefit your business in terms of recruiting, customer service and other areas.

To that point, there is an increased emphasis on 30-60 second video presentations rather than two or three still photographs. Aerial captures of drones flying over new construction projects, documenting yard departure routines, or detecting invasive tree hazards actively engage the viewer across topography, sense and imagination. Likewise, the migration from placid to progressive information can also be seen in company websites that contain an embedded audio-visual thumbnail of the company president verbally escorting the viewer across and through the various sections of the company website (e.g., who we are, project gallery, careers, customer testimonials).

To accompany this increased information placement, an increasing number of companies have added functional staff to monitor social media.

For example, while some landscape companies have outsourced their social media analytics to third-party vendors who provide weekly reports on key metrics, other landscapers utilize part-time consultants, interns, or full-time internal social media employees.

Social media is not only here to stay, but quickly is becoming an indispensable platform to convey company branding, cultivate organizational culture and publicize myriad human resources functions (e.g., staffing, training career ladders) necessary to engage interested job applicants to help the company achieve sustainable success.