With more than 1.4 billion users, Facebook is the dominant social media outlet among all age groups online, including 66% of men and 77% of women. Almost half of Facebook users log in daily, which means growers and retailers have an opportunity every day to inspire and educate through pictures, along with plant information and other tips for success. Users who engage with your content are the most likely to seek out your product for purchase, and interacting with these customers online begins a relationship that leads to brand identity — even for growers/non-retailers — with loyal, repeat customers.
An informal survey of garden center customers visiting The Home Depot in the spring revealed a general lack of knowledge among the majority. In fact, garden center customers rank light requirements fourth behind color (red most popular), appearance (it’s pretty) and variety (i.e., my mom/grandma grew geraniums) as a factor in making purchase decisions. It’s easy to conclude that a percentage of these customers are going to fail in their garden experiment, and become less likely to purchase again. In effect, as quickly as we gain new customers, we could be losing them.
Social Media Content That Captivates Attracts Customers
Social media is a uniquely modern opportunity to gain and keep customers. Along with plant care information, we can share the benefits of plants in the home and landscape, and address specific questions or challenges. In fact, varied content is key to engaging followers. Remember not to oversell. It’s easy to want to self promote, but that is the quickest way to lose user interest. Inspirational messages tend to get the best engagement, so mix your sales pitch with lots of click candy; a ratio of 80% passion and 20% business will keep followers engaged.
What does it mean to engage followers? On Facebook, engagement is defined by the number of likes, comments, tags, shares, and other clicks to view an image or post, even if it doesn’t result in a like, comment, etc. Engagement percentage can be calculated for the page overall by dividing total clicks by total followers. Engagement by post is calculated by dividing post clicks by post reach.
I recommend looking at post feedback daily and monitoring page engagement weekly as content variations maintain page engagement, even when individual posts may fail to earn clicks. Those less engaging and usually informational posts remain in the timeline, however, and are seen as users surf through the beauty shots. You can learn more about what content is effective, and when, through Facebook analytics.
Analytics Give You The Big Picture
Analytics are the data that informs and shapes page content, or it should. Aside from providing the numbers for the basic engagement calculations defined above, analytics also let you dig deeper. When are your users online? Where are your followers located? Are they men or women? How does your engagement compare to others in the industry? Where are your followers coming from? Where do they spend time on your page? All of this and more can be found in Facebook analytics, and should serve as a guide in strategic planning.
Through analytics, you can begin to see trends that illuminate the paths to increased engagement. In addition to content considerations, there is one other key way to captivate users: engage! Post regularly and respond quickly to all questions and comments. “Like” comments and shares to increase visibility and access your followers friends. Commit to the relationship and interact with your followers as much as possible. Earn their loyalty and develop brand ambassadors by providing an exceptional product along with outstanding online customer service.
Social Media Engagement Leads To Customer Success
Customers who engage with you online are more likely to seek you out at retail. Armed with confidence and information, these customers have a better chance of garden success at home, and of becoming repeat buyers. And if they fail (we all do!), you can be there to encourage and support their next attempt.