Most retailers know the success of location, location, location. Facebook is the ultimate in virtual location, as it is now the most visited website on the internet. It’s expected to top 1 billion users this month, and has 562 million daily active users! If you had that kind of traffic on the street outside your business, I know you’d be doing everything possible to attract customers off the street and into your garden center. Sometimes when we enter the virtual space we forget this core principal. Facebook is the online dream location. It is the virtual storefront to your garden center. Here are 3 ways in which Facebook can help you communicate with your customers, gain new customers, and increase sales:
1. Learn to Love the Like Button
Even if you don’t have an official page on Facebook, at least add the Like button to every product page of your website. Analysts have noted that the Like button could be a threat to Google, because it allows web pages to be ranked by user votes rather than a computer algorithm. This is powerful, because it heralds back to the best and purest form of marketing: Word of Mouth. Except the new word of mouth is done not with your voice, but with a tap of your index finger. When a user Likes a page, it is immediately shared with all their Facebook friends, and the visible number of Likes for that page goes up by one. Today’s brands are a popularity contest. A Facebook Like is a tiny positive review of your product, a vote that says that your website users are at least showing interest in your product, and at the most, vouching for it. Garden centers will have an easier time with this than many other businesses. Plants are visually pleasing, and gardening is widely regarded as a fun and leisurely activity. The Facebook Likes should come flooding in!
2. Make your Company a Celebrity
It’s funny – when I was growing up it was only the rock stars and actors who were idolized and had a fan base. Now, companies are becoming celebrities. Look at the insanely loyal following of Apple, for example. Company and brand loyalty has somehow become embedded into who we are, and companies have an opportunity to create a voice for their brand that their followers can identify with. Facebook is an ideal place to do this. Start up a Company Page, and experiment with various types of posts depending on your customer. Make it fun, engaging, and informative, and lightly sprinkle your products throughout. Do not overwhelm users with a constant barrage of promotional messages. Give them a reason to come back, to enjoy your Page. Don’t just make it a one way conversation – encourage your users to contribute and add to the discussion. People are becoming increasingly aware of when they are being advertised to, but if you make the experience unique, entertaining, and avoid cheesy gimmicks, they will tolerate and even enjoy it.
3. Increase Your Fan Base
Starting a Company Facebook Page has its challenges – one being, how do I get subscribers? And by subscribers, I mean Likes. When someone clicks the Like button on your Company Page, they are automatically subscribed to your updates, which will appear on their personal Wall. One great way to get subscribers is to run a contest. Run a contest where users can Like your Company Page for a chance to win something of significant value. Just make sure you’re advertising the contest in places where your target demographic will see it. Contests will build buzz and loyalty towards your garden center – people love the chance to win something and many will appreciate that you’re willing to reward your fans by giving away freebies. Another way to increase your fan base is to link the Like button from your Facebook page to the Like button on your website. When anyone Likes a page on your website, they’ll automatically be subscribed to receive your updates. It’s fairly easy to do – ask me if you need help.
There are many other ways that Facebook can help grow your business, but I will save those for a later post. How are you using Facebook, or other social media for that matter? Let us know in the comments below. And don’t forget to Like Us on Facebook ;)