For a fascinating story about how a fledgling business is using Facebook to grow their business, read Meeting Face to Face(book) in the January issue of Lawn & Garden Retailer. And when I say a fledgling business using Facebook, I’m not kidding: before Garden*Hood even opened their doors in October 2009, they had 400 Facebook fans!
Garden*Hood does an excellent job of using Facebook to develop and strengthen relationships with fellow gardening enthusiasts. Posts are conversational in tone, and employees sign each post. Individual personalities shine through as a result, just as they would if you met the employees in person. A great way to set the garden center apart from the big box stores!
New posts are added daily. Topics aren’t limited to what’s happening at the garden center, but encompass all manner of horticulturally-related things, from favorite gardening vacations to notices of local gardening events. The interesting and helpful content keeps readers’ interest, whether or not they’re in buying mode at the moment.
Store manager Kacey Cloues put it very well in the article: We use Facebook as a personal invitation to communicate rather than an advertising megaphone. Shrill, impersonal posts (SALE! SALE! SALE!) have the same effect on your audience as loud-talking over-bearing guest at a dinner party: they shut out all other conversation. Instead of using Facebook as a broadcasting platform, think of it as a conduit for engaging your audience on a more intimate level. Use the same approach as you would when hosting a party: jump-start conversations among your guests by introducing topics you know they can all relate to, even if they don’t know each other.
Have a look at Garden*Hood’s Facebook page, and you can learn a lot about how to use Facebook to your advantage.