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A year living social trends: Chelsea Flower Show – what we’re sharing on social

This week we see the start of the annual Chelsea Flower Show. The most prestigious gardening show of the year in the UK and the premier event in the gardeners’ calendar. We’ve looked at who, how and what people are talking and sharing when it comes to social media.

Last year there was 126,000 tweets about the show in May, generating 432 million impressions. To put this in context Royal Ascot had 160,000 mentions and 570 million impressions – 23% smaller.  The conversation around Chelsea is driven by a domestic audience, with 81% of all tweets coming from the UK. The US was the second largest (9%) followed by Australia (2.7%). On the gender split, it was slightly female skewed with 58% – 42% bias. It’s a similar story on Instagram hashtags affiliated with Royal Ascot are 25% higher than hashtags affiliated with The Chelsea Flower Show.

So what are people talking about? At a whopping 67%, the majority of the posts on Twitter were retweets. It does show the wide appeal of Chelsea in terms of sharing content beyond the, relatively, small number who get tickets to go. The most popular garden talked about on twitter last year was not a medal winner instead it was the striking 5000 poppies garden by Phillip Johnson. This garden was featured in 8% of tweets about the show last year. This garden had a strong emotional message and combined it with striking visual imagery it is no wonder this did so well on social media

Instagram shows that the flowers and gardens speak for themselves on social – just 20% of the content features people in the shot. What we tend to see at big occasional events like this one is a high volume of selfies as people want to be ‘seen’ at the event on social.

The Royals are a major pull factor for the event with 10% of tweets last year mentioning The Royal Family in some way and three of the top nine posts on instagram featured Kate Middleton. When it comes to who is actually talking about The Chelsea Flower Show, though, TV stars featured heavily. Rosie Fortesque, Fearne Cotton and Mark Francis all made the top most influential accounts talking about the show. Gardening celebrities were surprisingly absent from our list, with only Ben Fogle featuring. The fact that “new” media stars such as Lily Pebbles and Amelia Liana were talking about the Chelsea Flower show highlights the breadth of the audience that is interested in this event.

The Chelsea Flower Show has a great combination of British heritage and engaging source material that mean that this event will continue to be popular on social media for the foreseeable future. Content around the show is created and shared most prolifically when it combines the visual aspect (of flowers in this case), with an emotional response for the consumer. And that’s what gets people sharing on social, it’s not rational…


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