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Facebook Groups: The Modern Word-of-Mouth Referral

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When modern homeowners need a referral for a landscape contractor, they may no longer call a friend and ask. Instead, they’re increasingly more likely to post their question in one of their Facebook groups and receive almost instant responses. These Facebook groups are virtual communities of local residents who support each other with tips and referrals, and in turn, support local businesses by sending leads their way. Residents in your local radius are buzzing about the best landscapers near them, and if your business is not involved in the conversation, it is missing out on numerous referral opportunities.

How Does This Help Me?

In an increasingly digital age, the way referrals function for all industries has changed. Person-to-person interactions are getting rarer while the greater digital closeness of our times means businesses and customers can more easily find each other. Perhaps more than any other digital tool, the Facebook group feature is one of the largest instigators of fostering these connections. Community-focused groups are made up of local residents who are willing to share tips and experiences they’ve had with the businesses around them. To make it easy for them, your landscaping company should at the very least have a Facebook business page, and you may want to participate in some of the groups as well. It’s a way to show people in your area that your business has modernized its methods and is technologically savvy. It’s also a great way to set you apart from your competitors.

In-person referrals do not have a surefire guarantee that the lead lives within your landscape company’s ideal geographical radius. Community Facebook groups are often given clear titles like “Orange County Moms” or even entire town names like “Danbury, CT.” There has never been such direct access to an entire group of local and diverse homeowners in constant search of services like landscaping and hardscaping. By getting referred in these groups, it provides your business with close access to your geographical demographic, while showcasing to residents that your business participates in the local community.

When it comes to in-person referrals, the process can be somewhat lengthy: initial contact must be made, the homeowner must engage in research about the company, then second and often third contacts take place before a project can even be close to beginning. By having your business recommended by real homeowners in local Facebook groups, it digitizes and streamlines the process, eliminating steps. A recent customer, happy about a recent service, could simply tag your Facebook business page in a community group—and anyone within that group would instantly know your company is reputable and recommended, and they could easily find your contact information by clicking on your page. Be sure all your information is up-to-date on your Facebook business page, including phone number, hours, and website. You could also enable a “Contact” call-to-action button, making the act of contacting your business much more enticing and faster.

How Does This Work?

Create a Facebook Business Page
Before being referred in the local groups, it is essential to create a Facebook business page for your company. This is the face of your business that referrals will first see when wanting to learn about your business. It should appear regularly updated and include all the basic information potential customers need. You could share recently finished projects and images of your crew so that these prospects get a sense of the type of landscape work you do, your specialties, and service locations.

Talk to Your Customers
Find out whether your customers populate Facebook groups, and if so, whether they are the kinds of groups that would be beneficial for your business. Groups like “Westchester Dads” might be the perfect community for your business while “Westchester Computer Tech Meetup” may not. You could join pertinent groups to see if they’re worth your time, and you can ask your customers for ideas on which groups are the most active and business-friendly in your community. Steer clear of groups that are overly negative and critical of area businesses.

Some groups allow promotional posts while others would frown upon such activity. For the latter, you’ll need to pursue referrals. An easy way to do this is to make a habit of asking customers at the completion of a project if you can send them a Facebook referral reminder. Make it easy for them by including the link to your Facebook business page in your follow-up to them and any ideas you have on which Facebook groups would be appropriate. You could also make a point of mentioning to customers how much you appreciate the support your business has received from the most active Facebook group in your community.

A more direct route for referrals is to offer motivation, like promotions and deals. Promotions can be worth even more than just a simple one-sentence recommendation. For example, a landscape company could offer a percentage off the maintenance price for customers that post photos of their new patio in a Facebook group and tag the company. The number of leads generated from posts like these can be worth much more than the maintenance discount. It also helps your company’s name recognition to have your customers interacting with your business on Facebook in this way. Their local friends and family will see your company’s name and work in their newsfeed. This could lead to new customers down the road.

React to Leads
Once potential customers begin finding their way to your Facebook business page via Facebook group referrals, the process cannot stop there. Facebook users expect quick, helpful responses. In fact, Facebook shows users how long it takes for your business to respond to an inquiry. Be sure to keep up with your correspondence—you want to show that your business is always responsive. This responsiveness will make potential customers feel valued and help them see your business as highly professional.

You’ve done all the work to drive leads from Facebook groups to your page, now capitalize on it with fast responses, and convert those leads to customers. You will be surprised by the greater efficiency in gaining leads, and you may find the deeper connection to your local community brings more than you expected.

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