Interview with a National Garden Scheme social media volunteer

Interview with a National Garden Scheme social media volunteer

Wed 01 Feb 2017

Our volunteers

We love social media at the National Garden Scheme, and Claudia Pearce, who looks after the social media for West Sussex, is a true natural! We asked her a few questions about her involvement with the National Garden Scheme, and love of all things social.

How & why did you first get on board with the National Garden Scheme?
Back in the day, I opened my garden for the National Garden Scheme
(see circa 1996-98  ’12 Belsize Rd Worthing’) and I was persuaded to
join the county team in about 1997 – it seemed a good idea at the
time! So from then I was hooked… and fundraising was something my Mum
did so I guess it’s in the genes.

What’s the wider gardening community like on social media?
I have never come across a nicer bunch of horti’s. I have made
friends, contacts and discovered new things, ideas and like minded
people with ease. I haven’t encountered any unpleasantness at all –
which is pretty amazing in this day and age.

Have you found social media interest grow for the National Garden
Scheme over the last few years?
Emphatically – yes.

What’s the best thing that has come about through social media?
An increasing awareness of the National Garden Scheme, and
appreciation of what we do and why – and more importantly – visitors
to gardens!

What would be your top tips for someone looking to start out on social media?
Don’t be scared of it! With any social media posts – always use at
least one image. Start with Facebook – don’t use too much text, then
add Twitter to your pot. Top tip for Twitter – use the Lists facility,
invaluable to streamline your feed when you want to.

Remember the hashtags! Hashtag the relevant town/ county as that often
gets an automatic retweet from those types of pages. Interact with
people by liking and retweeting their posts with comments. This
engages more interest and followers. Follow all the county team
accounts and our beneficiary charities. Follow garden bloggers, they
sometimes visit gardens and will blog about them reaching far more
followers and people. Follow garden photographers. Start an Instagram
account – this is more for interest than publicising gardens ahead of
their open days – although can be used for both.

Start a GardenTags account. Brilliant app with many benefits – not
least there being a readymade audience of garden and plant
enthusiasts. When you get truly confident, you can share posts from
one platform to the other – e.g., I post on GardenTags and always
share to Twitter. GardenTags facilitates really good direct contact
with individuals – I have encouraged new visits to our gardens in
Essex and Derby (for example). See www.gardentags.com

As a rule of thumb, the number of hashtags you choose to use, in order
of least to most, would be Facebook – least, Twitter – as many as you
can get in without it looking messy and interfering with what you want
to say! GardenTags, then Instagram – as many as you like, but
generally at the end of the post.

What are you looking forward to in the NGS calendar this year?
Looking forward to the exciting 90th anniversary celebrations, from
the little touches to the big flourishes, seeing how the re-branding
evolves and starts to have a positive impact on our awareness and
visitor numbers. Of course visiting lots of gardens, meeting the
garden owners – always fascinating people and with so much knowledge –
what’s not to like?! It’s a privilege to be part of the National
Garden Scheme and I love it.
You can follow Claudia on twitter @clipperty and @SussexWestNGS