Tag Archives: Hometalk

Are You a Good Social Listener?

Most of you understand the importance of marketing your business on social media sites, but have you stopped to consider if you’re a good social listener?  Are you watching what people say on your Facebook page? Do you ever read conversations on other Facebook pages … specifically the pages of businesses in your industry? Have you ever taken time to conduct a Twitter search on a topic relevant to your business? Do you ever look to see what topics are trending on Google+ and other social sites? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you’re on your way to becoming a good social listener.

You might think it’s more important to market your business than to listen to social conversations, so let me give you a couple examples how social listening can benefit you.

Solis Quote

Awhile ago I was curious how many people were talking about rainwater harvesting on Twitter. Specifically, I wanted to learn if rain barrels were a relevant and trending topic in regards to water conservation. In Twitter’s search box I typed the words “rain barrel” and found quite a few individuals were talking about it. One particular person stood out from the crowd … an editor for Hort magazine tweeted a request for a rain barrel product to include in the magazine. I immediately emailed a couple photos and a product description of Aquascape’s RainXchange® rain barrel to the editor and she included it in their publication.

Another example of effective social listening pertains to Hometalk, the up-and-coming home-related site for contractors and the DIY crowd. I looked through the site and then hopped over to their Facebook page. That’s where I noticed a pond photo they had shared was getting a lot of positive feedback. The photo was from a project that a homeowner posted on their website and people were lovin’ it … giving it a lot of Likes and Comments on Facebook. I also noticed that the pond was a preformed pond with plastic waterfalls. Not very natural looking. I realized that if people loved that water feature, they would love Aquascape’s water features even more (not meaning to be egotistical, but Aquascape does pride itself on creating very natural-looking water features).

After listening to all the conversation surrounding that preformed pond, I posted several pond photos on Hometalk’s site and was rewarded with immense social activity. Hometalk shared several of our pond photos on their Facebook page, which greatly increased our exposure on both Facebook and Hometalk. I’m happy to say that our website received more referrals from Hometalk than it did from either Twitter or Facebook for the next 2 months! I’m confident this trend will continue.

Social listening is critical to your success on social sites. You don’t want to be viewed as merely a broadcaster. Listen to what your customers are saying and answer their questions. Also take note of what potential customers are saying on other sites and then optimize your presence on those sites to gain additional exposure. You’ll find it’s time well spent!

Hometalk: Where Professionals Connect with Home, Garden, and Pond Lovers

Hometalk is a fairly new online community where professionals and homeowners can share projects, ask questions, and find answers. DIY fanatics can share photos and information about their home and gardening projects on Hometalk in an easy-to-use format. Other DIY folks can comment or ask questions about the project to find more information. Likewise, professionals can post their projects and consumers can inquire about the products and services used to create it.

Hometalk Website

 

Having launched in March 2011, Hometalk quickly grew to 100,000 members with over 400,000 very active Facebook fans. According to Matthew Shampine, VP of Business Development and Marketing, Hometalk’s member ratio consists of 70% homeowners and 30% professionals. Those are great odds for a business pro who wants to capitalize on exposure to consumers without a lot of competition.

The odds keep getting better, however. I’ve been tracking Hometalk’s growth on Facebook and within a recent 2-week time span; their fan base grew from about 395,000 to over 420,000! That’s about 15,000 new Facebook fans per week. And their fan base just keeps growing.

Hometalk is obviously committed to their community as they’re diligent in sharing member projects on their Facebook page. And when they do, the project has the potential to go viral very quickly. A couple weeks ago Hometalk shared an Aquascape photo on their Facebook page that I had uploaded to their website just a few days prior. Within 24 hours the pond photo had been shared over 2,500 times and received over 300 comments and 6,500 likes!

In addition, Aquascape’s Pondless® Waterfalls photo album has over 17,000 views on Hometalk’s website. That’s more photo album views than we’ve been able to generate on our Facebook page.

Pondless Waterfalls by Aquascape

As a home and garden professional, you can answer the many questions that homeowners have about ponds and water gardens on Hometalk. Sometimes a homeowner will throw out a simple question such as, “How much does it cost to add a waterfall to my yard?” Not only can you answer the question, but you can usually see the city and state where the member lives. Perfect, if they happen to hail from a region you service!

Hometalk is pretty good about fielding questions to the right professional, too. They’ve already sent me questions about water features from homeowners on their site. Would Facebook do that for you?

To join, simply log onto www.hometalk.com and create your free account. Be sure to post a few photo albums and start interacting with homeowners interested in water features. You’ll also want to like Hometalk on Facebook at www.facebook.com/hometalk.

During the social media seminar at our recent Pondemonium training event, Hometalk was presented as a great resource to gain exposure. Since then, many of our contractors are now using Hometalk and seeing great results.

While you’re at Hometalk, be sure to connect with us at www.hometalk.com/aquascape-inc.

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.