Monthly Archives: August 2012

Using Social Media to Dispel Myths and Fears about Ponds and Water Features

Many of you understand the importance of promoting your business via social outlets, but are you aware that social media can help you conquer homeowners’ objections to water features before you even go on a design consultation?

Today’s consumers are conducting more online research before they commit to buy a product or service. The internet has  made it fast and easy to comparison shop before any money leaves your customer’s wallet. A quick Google search  provides a wealth of product information within just minutes, from pricing to consumer reviews and more.

Do you know what your customers are saying about your products and services? Are you talking to potential customers online, much as you would over the phone or face-to-face?

Many folks who desire a water feature have concerns that you need to overcome before they’re willing to take the plunge. They worry about mosquitos. They wonder if it’s okay to keep the fish out in the pond all winter long. They’re concerned their pond will become an ugly algae monster. You should use social media outlets to dispel pond myths and overcome objections so your potential customer a) is not afraid to make the purchase and b) trusts you as a source of reliable information.

Hometalk

Case in point … at the end of June I posted a “Small Water Gardens” photo album on Hometalk and started receiving several questions about the beautiful ponds. The first question asked whether the fish would freeze during the winter. The next question asked whether a pond should be located in sun or shade, or a little of both.

And then there was Judy B who was craving a pond but had a relative trying to talk her out of it. Her cousin had a pond that was a maintenance nightmare (obviously not built properly) and he didn’t want Judy to suffer the same tragedy. I mentioned she might want to start with a Pondless® Waterfall, and then after gaining confidence, she could always add the pond at a later date. She was thrilled with this notion, having never heard of installing a waterfall without a pond.

Aquascape on PinterestAnother example of dispelling fears occurred on Pinterest. I had pinned a photo of a Pondless® Waterfall paired with our RainXchange® rainwater harvesting system. Debra asked if the waterfall experienced any rainwater washouts and I was able to ensure her that the RainXchange® is actually designed to help manage stormwater runoff.

Questions are also posted frequently on our Facebook page frequently, from potential current pond owners alike. Answering each person’s question not only gives you the opportunity to designate yourself as an authority on ponds and water features, but it also provides invaluable opportunity to present yourself as someone who provides attentive service and concern for customers.

Be sure that while you’re posting photos of your beautiful water features and linking to your website, that you’re also paying attention to what current and potential customers are saying. Respond to their questions and comments in a timely fashion (within 24 hours is best) and they’ll grow to trust and like you. And when they’re finally ready to get their feet wet with a pond or waterfall, you’ll be the first person who comes to mind.

Using Plaxo to Organize Your Contacts … and Find New Ones!

If you’re like most people, you’ve got contacts stored in numerous locations. Some of your contacts are on Facebook or LinkedIn. Some are stored in your personal email account, others can be found in your business email account. Would you like an easy way to organize all these contacts and be able to access them via your computer or phone at any time of day? Then Plaxo is for you!

Getting Started with Plaxo

Plaxo is a free, online address book that lets you sync your contacts from Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, Yahoo, Outlook, and more! Plaxo makes it easy to import your various contacts into one, convenient account that you can access at anytime via your computer or smartphone.

So when you’re on the road, no need to call into the office for Betty Lou’s phone number because she’s a Facebook friend and isn’t in your Blackberry contact list. All you need to do is go to the Plaxo app (yes, there’s a smartphone app) and get Betty’s number because you imported all your contacts into Plaxo.

Plaxo's Variety of Mobile Apps

But there’s more. If Betty changes her phone number and updates it in her Facebook account, you won’t need to bother asking Betty for her new number and changing it in your phone. Plaxo automatically updates contact information whenever someone changes it in their social networking accounts.

But wait! There’s even more! If your contacts have posted their birthdate in Facebook or LinkedIn or similar, you’ll get an automatic notice reminding you of their birthday. So if Betty Lou is a good customer and you want to impress her, you can send her birthday greetings via Plaxo’s online e-card service (some of the cards are free, some require a small fee). Won’t Betty be surprised you remembered her special day?

Automated Birthday Reminder from Plaxo

And yes, there’s still more. You can find potential contacts on Plaxo by using their search directory – much like using the White Pages to look for someone’s phone number. You can choose to be included in this free directory on Plaxo, but if you’re worried an old flame might look you up, simply remove yourself from the search directory with one click of your mouse.

Plaxo also provides a calendar service so you can keep your appointments updated online. No more forgetting important meetings or phone conference calls!

If you’ve never heard of Plaxo and are thinking no one really uses it, think again! Ignite Social Media recently launched its 2012 Social Network Analysis Report to break down which demographics are using what social network outlets. Plaxo has the highest percentage of the richest demographic, followed by LinkedIn. Plaxo also has the oldest demographic of the social networks.

Regardless if you use Plaxo to find new contacts for business, it’s still a great way to organize all your contacts and have them at your fingertips any time of day! To create your free account, visit http://www.plaxo.com. (Note – Plaxo has enhanced services available for a small, monthly fee.)