A mash-up of gardening personalities.

The great thing about social media and small business is it allows those of us in small business to reach the right people. After all, social media is about being social, and smaller business tends to pull that off better than larger businesses. The very nature of small business is making a connection on a smaller scale. I have never seen such a great opportunity for us to connect not only with the customer, but also with others who can help us with our goals. Most of us in small business use social media in an attempt to find and keep new customers. It's also important as a tool for finding like minded people who can help, but may never be a customer. There are now enough garden centers on line and on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn that an informal network of small and medium garden centers is forming. Got a question about what days to be open or if bulb sales are doing well? Just ask. We use to have to wait until traditional garden business media came out with the results of last years sales. While those same traditional media outlets have gone online and now dispense information much quicker, I find going straight to fellow owners and managers  the best.

Even better than small businesses connecting, we are seeing a mash-up of garden related professionals and amateurs. Garden writers, television and radio personalities, as well as passionate amateur gardeners. Each of these people have the ability to add to the conversation. What happens when your small business has it's own international cadre of experts ready to help?

According to Wikipedia , "LinkedIn is a business oriented social networking site. LinkedIn has more than 50 million users worldwide, of which approximately half are in the United States. 11 million are from Europe. With 3 million users, India is the fastest-growing country as of 2009. The Netherlands has the highest adoption rate per capita, outside of the United States, at 30%." I decided to search LinkedIn for garden related groups and was amazed to see that our group, "Garden Centers, Nurseries, and New Media" has one of the largest memberships, at 590. It also boast the most robust discussions of any other group.

One of the secrets of the group is you don't have to be in the garden center or nursery businesses. There are garden writers, bloggers, media personalities, and members of allied organizations. The members are just like you. They see the power of connecting with like minded individuals and groups using the power of new media. If your interested in joining the conversation head here.