Q&A: Katie Dubow

Features - Cultivate '15

Stop seeing social media as an opponent and use it to your advantage.

June 18, 2015

Social media is changing every day, and Katie Dubow knows how overwhelming that can be when trying to market a brand. As creative officer for the green industry PR firm Garden Media Group, she helps companies communicate effectively online and obtain new business through social media.

Dubow gave us a glimpse of what to expect from her session at Cultivate’15, “Strengthen Your Social Marketing and Drive Sales.”

Q: What can attendees expect from your session at Cultivate?

A: I hope people learn new tips and tactics for the platforms they already have, to drive people back to their website, which in turn drives people into their store or toward their product. I like to use examples that are industry-specific, not just how anyone can do social media.

People still think, “I’ll hire somebody young to do my social media.” There’s this misconception that it can be handled by an intern. They aren’t putting the time and dedication into social media that prior marketing efforts have received.

Q: What’s the key to strengthen social marketing?

A: I talk about three things people need to do on social media. It’s like being at a dinner party. You’ve sat next to somebody who only talks about themselves before, and it’s terrible. The best conversationalist asks questions about you and listens. That holds true online as well. I’ll share tips for listening, and then crafting messages to different audiences. The third thing is enabling others to share that message.

Q: Why is social media important in this industry?

A: What our industry has done so well, outside of social media, is building trust with our customers. People have questions about gardening, so they come to us because we educate them. Building relationships offline, in real life, is what we have traditionally been so good at.

But the world has changed, and the first interaction people have with you is not in person.

We need to spend as much time building our brands online as we have building those local relationships.

Q: What are companies doing wrong when it comes to social media?

A: We’re still relying on our bread-and-butter customer — the 45- to 65-year-old female — and we need to understand that our customer is changing. As our trends report highlighted last year, there are three new consumers who are very important, and they’re not just Millennials. The male consumer, who did the gardening back in the ’40s, is coming back, and the Hispanic demographic is booming. We need to learn how to incorporate multicultures into our marketing.

Q: What type of content should you post on social media?

A: It goes back to that dinner party; 60 percent of your conversation should educate. Twenty percent should inspire because people need ideas, and the other 20 percent should sell. The hardest thing is to not sell your products at every turn — but when you have conversations with people, you’re not selling in every sentence.

Q: How can social marketing drive sales?

A: It’s crazy to think that we need to see something 12 times before it sticks, but that’s what the research shows. If you want customers to think of you when they’re buying something, you need to be visible across multiple platforms.

When people do the tracking back to their websites, they’ll see that a lot of traffic is coming from Facebook. There’s a lot of value in tracking, so I’ll go over high-level Facebook analytics. You spend the time creating the content; why not figure out what’s working and what isn’t so you don’t waste your time?