Learn how to use social media to win over young customers for life.

No one can deny the power of social media to command attention. The siren song plays everywhere you go. At the gym, in the checkout line and even at traffic lights, it’s tough not to find someone with his or her eyes glued to a screen. Social media is here to stay, with the average person currently spending 142 minutes a day on social networking and messaging platforms, according to Digital Information World. That’s more time than is spent on daily grooming routines or eating and drinking.

Smartphones are everywhere;92 percent of millennials own smartphones.

Frequency of social media platform use

Important social media practices that the floral industry can use to reach millennial consumers

Social networks are the strongest influence for consumer purchases. According to Sprout Social, a social-media management company, 37 percent of consumers rely on social media for purchase inspiration. If the world of business is a fairy tale, social media is your shop’s pied piper, leading customers to your front door. So how do you leverage your current networking efforts to deliver the biggest bang for the buck? Focus on millennials.

Currently aged 18 to 37, millennials are the first generation to grow up with social media. They’re easily the most connected generation ever. Among millennials, 85 percent have a social media profile while 92 percent own a smartphone, according to Social Media Today. They’re also currently the largest employed sector of society. Earn their loyalty, and you win customers for life.

The secret to wooing millennials lies in understanding what’s important to them – what makes them swipe and tap their way to likes, purchases and positive reviews. To help you cultivate millennial customers, the Floral Marketing Research Fund (fmrf.org), established by the American Floral Endowment (AFE), sponsored a study entitled “Marketing Tactics to Increase Millennial Floral Purchases.” This research explores and explains the floral buying habits of millennial customers.

Recommendations from the research can help you craft effective social media marketing campaigns. Here are seven tips to use as you create – or refine – your social media strategies for millennials.


Social media includes a host of sites, from Facebook to Yelp to Reddit. As you decide where to invest your efforts, it helps to know which sites earn the most views from millennials. As you might have guessed, Facebook takes top honors in this category, followed by YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat. Millennials view all four of these sites every day.

Whether you’re just starting to develop a social media presence or looking to expand what you’re already doing, invest in a Facebook business page. This platform gives you the opportunity to interact easily with viewers, which is what they crave. Don’t overlook rewarding customers with incentives for checking in at your business page, referring friends, writing reviews and sharing posts. The great thing about a Facebook business page is that it’s a public URL, which means it’s ranked on search engines. More likes on your Facebook posts result in higher SEO rankings. Facebook reports slightly more than 2 billion active users (Sprout Social).

Instagram use is growing quickly, with the number of monthly active users at 1 billion – 34 percent of them are millennials; 64 percent are aged 18 to 29. Instagram users upload more than 100 million photos and videos daily, and every single day, 2-billion likes appear (Sprout Social). If you’re thinking about using Instagram, do your homework and jump in. Thursday is the best day to post.

Snapchat is holding its own in the younger millennial category, with 72 percent of 12-to-24-year-olds downloading the app on their smartphones (Sprout Social). If your target audience is younger millennials and Gen Y’ers, post to Snapchat.


When it comes to social media, millennials have specific things they want to see in posts from floral companies. If you want their business, offer incentives. This is true across the board, with every consumer. The No. 1 thing consumers want from businesses on social media is discounts or sales (to the tune of 72 percent, per Social Media Today). Millennials are the same, seeking something in exchange for referring or sharing your business information.

Price-based promotions bring strong responses from millennials. This group is known to handle money carefully. Younger members of the group are often on tight budgets, which means they’re eager to score deals. Go for in-store deals; Groupon/Living Social promotions; BOGOs; or coupons for checking in, sharing or tagging your business in their social media conversations. Use free consultation ads to offer free design advice, regardless of budget or project size. In store, focus on add-ons such as free Wi-Fi or charging stations.

Other promos millennials desire include timely responses to online reviews and feedback. Keep your tone conversational for the best result. Invite customers to special events in store or in the neighborhood. Things like wine tastings, design or succulent-planting workshops, gallery openings and local tours are all things that millennials enjoy.

Reward millennials for promoting your company by developing a loyalty program or giving reward points. In these programs, points must never expire for millennials to engage wholeheartedly.

Also consider advertising on social media sites. Just remember this generation has experienced marketing efforts their entire lives, so choose personalized promotions or unique discounts, like a free flower to customers named Jessica, Ashley, Michael or Christopher (the top millennial names for girls and boys). Millennials also like life-phase-related discounts (new student, new home, new baby or child graduation), or develop social media site-specific add-ons like flower-themed Snapchat filters.


One of the greatest challenges in social media marketing is creating fresh, compelling content that stands out. Follow tips four through seven to generate content that millennials can connect to in a meaningful way.


In this era of scannable content, few take time to read. Rely heavily on images to craft content that’s memorable. Our brains process images 60,000 times faster than text, so a picture is truly worth a thousand words. Your job is to pair the right words with relevant images. That’s the key to getting millennials to remember your shop up to three days after seeing the image.

On Facebook, posts with images get 2.3 times more engagement, and tweets with images get 150 percent more retweets (Social Media Today). Use images you generate yourself, and also share customer images (with permission, of course). As a matter of fact, millennials love user-generated content. Tie-in discounts or rewards for customer images you share.

Facebook is No. 2 for videos, second behind YouTube. Users view more than 100 million hours of Facebook videos daily, according to Social Report, a social media management company. Videos score well with millennials, but most view with the sound off. This means that videos need captions. 2060 Digital suggests that for optimal engagement, keep length short – two minutes max on Facebook, 60 seconds for Instagram.


It’s vital to be authentic in everything you post – words and images. Keep writing conversational and friendly, peer to peer. Millennials (62 percent, per Social Report) long for shops to start a conversation with them. They’re looking to build relationships. Thank millennials for great reviews or mentioning your shop on social media. Answer questions quickly; solve problems with workable solutions. Don’t hesitate to add relevant emojis to your responses.

As you ponder content creation, consider including video of projects you’re working on. The video may not be super polished, but it gives loyal followers a glimpse of the day-to-day workings in your design room. It will generate comments and questions that you can use to strike up conversations.


Millennials respond to a consistent voice in posts; they love interacting with the face of a business. Strike a balance between using local (or national) social media influencers and user-generated content (UGC). The mantra has been that influencers generate business, and it’s true, to a point, as long as you let them have free rein. Scripted or overly directed content doesn’t ring authentic to millennials. At the moment, there’s a brewing mistrust of influencer content in the wake of fraudulent behavior (remember the Fyre Festival debacle in 2017?). So tread this line carefully. Trends are leaning more toward UGC at the moment, which definitely fits with millennials’ desire for authentic content. Someone like them is a voice they can identify with and trust.

If you have millennial employees, consider having them participate as a voice for your shop. Invite them to contribute social media content ideas, and ask them to share shop content with their peers. Don’t forget to provide incentives to these employees (bonuses, gift cards, gifts) for promoting your company.


Last but not least, get involved with a good cause – things like literacy, feeding the hungry or ending homelessness. To partner with a cause, donate money for shares or retweets, or make donations for each promotional item sold. Showcase your shop’s efforts in the cause via behind-the-scenes video footage on your social media channels. If there’s a local cause that your community rallies behind, don’t hesitate to join that effort. Millennials want to be involved with causes that resound with their own moral compass.

Your social media presence is a significant part of your business. It truly influences how millennials see your flower shop. Use it to your advantage to court millennials, and you’ll discover you’re cultivating lifelong customers.

To learn more about the team of researchers and download the full study (which has loads of useful info), visit fmrf.org.