Relationships Drive Business

Strengthening Customer Engagement to Propel Your Business

3 Things Distinctive Gardens Learned from Big Break Metrics August 10, 2011


Publicity does not equal immediate gratification.


There’s no doubt AmEx Open’s Facebook Big Break for Small Business gave finalist (and winner 🙂 Distinctive Gardens gobs of publicity. And it was a ball (and a ton of work.) The nuts & bolts and bean-counter question is —  did it grow the business. Let’s take a look.


Lisa’s main goal was to use Big Break to drive brand awareness and measure results with some key metrics (read more about that here.)


More of the nitty-gritty is below, but first the big picture observations.


3 things the metrics taught us:

  1. Watch for changes in untargeted categories
  2. Metrics don’t measure psychological highs
  3. Small business is a marathon


OK, numbers chicks

Here are the results. She compared year-to-date numbers during the pre-Big Break period to the 2 weeks of Big Break voting (July 5-19, 2011) in these categories:

  • Foot traffic  – up 4.2%, and 20 people specifically mentioned Facebook
  • Retail Sales (all numbers are year-to-date)
    • Nursery +3%
    • Annuals +.4%
    • Perennials +2.5%
  • Facebook Fan count – + 2027
  • Website traffic – hits were way up
  • Design Inquiry count – 3
  • Newsletter email count – not much change, only a couple new names


A couple notes:

  • Foot traffic up 4% doesn’t sound like much. Until you mash-up foot traffic with weather. Dixon was in the midst of that brutal heat wave that crushed most of the country. In fact, July was the 6th warmest month on record for Illinois. Not many people wanted to be outside, let alone plant anything.
  • Overall for 2011, Distinctive Gardens has had a challenging year. On average they’ve been down double digits year-to-date. So the upticks while small, were welcome.
  • Website traffic was not just up, it went global. Typically their site gets hits from IL and the 4 surrounding states. With Big Break hits came from everywhere, including New Zealand. The map up top tells the tale (it’s from July 10.)

The Surprise

In crunching the numbers Lisa found another interesting up-tick — pavilion rentals.  At the beginning of July their pavilion rentals had equaled all bookings for 2010. In the hot, hot month of July they have never booked a pavilion rental.


That changed this year. During Big Break they booked 6 pavilion dates. (Revenue gets hit w/ deposit money) So not only are they ahead of last year, they’ve already knocked last year out of the park. It’s not their core business, but it’s a solid revenue stream that’s growing.


What’s all this mean long-term? No one knows. But common sense tells me this – when guests come to an event at Distinctive Gardens pavilion, it’s like advertising for the rest of the business.  It’s more eyeballs exposed to what they love – artful plantings.


What, dear reader, do you take away from these numbers?




Eat Chicken, Don’t be One August 5, 2011

Filed under: Learnings,School — Carla Bobka @ 1:41 pm
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After 2 years of talking to people about their business and social media, the number 1 reason people don’t get started is fear. What are they scared of? Bad stuff. Bad stuff being said about them.


I get it, no one enjoys hearing criticism or harsh comments. I sure don’t like it. And that doesn’t mean it’s healthy or helpful to avoid it.


So, Laurie Bick and I have joined forces to do a seminar on dealing with negative posts. It’s called “Walking the Minefield.”  Laurie is a marketing communications consultant. She’s worked with companies like DuPont and Corning Glass. We’ve been working on a couple projects the last few months, and have developed a series of workshops based on things clients have been struggling with.


The goal of “Walking the Minefield” is to help people develop a plan for responding. When you’re armed with a plan, it’s a bit easier to stay calm and control knee-jerk reactions.


The session is next week, Friday August 12, 9:00 – 10:30 am. It is an in-person session at Brandywine Executive Center in Wilmington, DE. All the details are here on the registration page.


There are 6 sessions in the series. You can find the session descriptions here. If you or someone you know is struggling to get your head around social media take a look. We hope you’ll join us.




For Facebook Admins Only – Invite Friends Button Returns July 22, 2011

Filed under: Learnings,Resources — Carla Bobka @ 8:18 am
Tags: ,

Invite Friends to your Page


The Invite Friends button has reappeared on Facebook Pages. (only admins can see it)


  • What it does -helps you spread the word about your Page to people you know.


  • How it works – it sends an invite to the friends you select.


  • Who’s it for – especially handy for new Pages, or those who started a personal profile for their business and now want to convert over to a Page.


  • What it doesn’t do – your buddies still have to hit the Like button when they get to your Page.
  • What I don’t know – if each Admin on a page can invite their own friends or if it defaults to the friend list of the page creator. (The old button worked this way.)


Is it showing on your view? And if you have multiple admins, can they each invite their own friends? Drop me a note in Comments if you experiment.




Mobile Use Trends in Pictures June 26, 2011

Filed under: Learnings — Carla Bobka @ 11:53 am
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Pictures can really make stats more digestible. This infographic nails down major trends in mobile phone use and shopping. In keeping with the mobile series we are doing on our Friday newsletters, this fits in nicely.


Smartphones and Shoppers

What do you think? Are you seeing evidence of these trends with your business or your customers?


Thanks to GettinGeeky and for pointing out this infographic.


Facebook Crackdown June 15, 2011

Filed under: Case Study,Learnings — Carla Bobka @ 3:41 pm
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Don't go to Facebook Jail.


Facebook sent a cease and desist email to one of my clients.

It was a bit gentler than that, but the message was clear:  Personal profiles don’t get used to promote businesses. We all knew this day was coming. Hello, it’s here.

The email is from User Operations and references Terms of Service and the consequences for continuing as is (profile disablement.)

Now, to be very clear, this business does have a Business Page. I don’t think the Faceboook team dug far enough to know that.

So here’s my best guess as to what happened.

This client doesn’t use Facebook personally. They have a personal profile and their Business Page is hubbed off that. In the beginning they had some confusion on how to get posts onto the business page instead of the personal profile. As a result some of their personal profile posts are business related. AND since they don’t use Facebook for personal stuff, their personal Wall is only business related posts.

Here’s what I think really triggered the email, though. They are using a logo for their personal profile picture.

The challenge is Facebook hasn’t given any way to explain these details to their operations team. They only have 1-way communication. That strikes me as odd coming from a “social” company. Given there are 500 million users maybe they don’t want the flood of emails back to their Inbox. Who knows.

My advice is to change the personal profile image to something that is un-business related, and to be certain they post to the business page and not the personal profile. What other suggestions do you have?


Facebook Page Likers June 14, 2011

Filed under: Learnings,Resources — Carla Bobka @ 1:41 pm
Tags: , ,

Follow these steps to find which other Facebook Pages like your Page.


Now it’s simple to find what other Facebook Pages have “Liked” your Page. See the screen shot above. (click on it to enlarge)


14 Basics of Business Pages and Personal Profiles April 9, 2011

Filed under: Learnings,Resources — Carla Bobka @ 7:30 am
Tags: , ,
After a couple conversations this week I’ve decided  to post a Facebook functionality fact* list.
*that’s “at the moment” anyway
A couple conversations pointed out to me that there is confusion over the way Facebook profiles and pages work and interact with each other. Folks considering a Page are hesitant to begin for fear they will be annoying their friends and family with work related posts from their Page. I guess I’m so immersed in this, I take some things for granted.
So here goes. This is how things work at the moment.
  1. You must have a personal profile to create a business page.
    • It is a violation of Facebook terms and conditions to use a personal profile for your business. So don’t bother creating a bogus profile.
  2. You “friend” a personal profile. And someone has to “accept your friendship” for you to show up in each others’ newsfeeds. (this is a 2 action process)
  3. You cannot “friend” a business page.
  4. Business pages get “liked.” (If you see the “Like” button, it is a Page not a profile.)
  5. A personal profile or a business page can “like” a business page.
    • There is no reciprocal action by the business page in the “liking” process. It is 1 action, by the liker, and you’re done.
  6. A Page that “likes” another Page does not count in the Fan/Like count shown on the page. (at least now right now, and personally, I think it’s weird they don’t count.)
  7. Posts from a business page you have liked will show up in your personal newsfeed.
  8. Posts from personal profiles do not show up in business pages newsfeeds. Ever.
  9. Every time you log into facebook you land on your personal profile newsfeed.
  10. Posts from your friends and pages you have liked show up in your personal newsfeed.
  11. In order to post to your business page you must login and specifically go to your business page. If you post as soon as you log in, the post will go to your personal profile, and all your friends will see it. And none of your fans will see it.
  12. Your friends don’t see your newsfeed. They can see your Wall, not your newsfeed.
  13. Pages can have an unlimited number of fans.
  14. Personal profiles are limited to 5000 friends. If you get to 5000, you can’t be anyone else’s friend and friend requests will just stack up.

That’s it. What did I miss? Or what other questions do you have?