I’ve been wanting to do a case study of The Dandelion Patch for a long time, because its staff members do such a great job of marketing the company on social media. Their ability to be so active on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram made it hard for me to choose just one platform to talk about for a case study.
The Dandelion Patch provides stationary and party supplies for events from everyday parties to weddings. One of the tag lines it uses is “Paper is our passion,” but I’m reluctant to call it a stationary supply store or printer – that phrase just brings up mental images of boxes and stacks of paper and the smell of copier ink. I am familiar with The Dandelion Patch because it started out with one small storefront in the town of Vienna, Virginia, where I used to live, in the suburbs of the Washington, DC, area. The business has expanded since I moved away and now has a large showroom in Northern Virginia’s Tyson’s Corner neighborhood.
With a clientele focused on party planning and decor, it makes sense that The Dandelion Patch limits itself to the three most visually-oriented social media platforms – Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. This allows them to share pictures from events they’ve helped to plan, and allows customers to share pictures of their events, tagging the company in the photos. But when you have so many photos being shared, Pinterest makes the most logical sense as a way of collecting and organizing those ideas and photos into Boards – like digital bulletin boards.
Pinterest was started in 2010 by Ben Silberman. Most of the platform’s early users were from the Midwest – Silberman was from Des Moines, Iowa. According to a slideshow on Business Insider, Silberman said he suspects that’s because his mom – a doctor in Iowa – was telling her patients about it.
According to a 2016 report by the Pew Research Center, 31% of adults who are online use Pinterest. The Pew report also shows that the majority of Pinterest users are women, with 45% of all online women using the platform. Considering that last statistic, it is no wonder that The Dandelion Patch chose Pinterest as one of the three social media platforms for its activity.
As of July 2017, The Dandelion Patch had 49 Boards on Pinterest, on topics from “Wedding Dress” and “Centerpieces,” to “Summer Party” and “Baby Love.” Customers of The Dandelion Patch can use the Pinterest boards for inspiration during the party planning stages, and can refer to the “Pins” – the ideas and links that are saved to the Boards. Some of the Boards have as few as eight pins, while others have more than 300. Pinterest users have the option to follow the business itself – meaning all of its Boards – or to follow only the Boards that are of interest to them.
The Dandelion Patch uses its Pinterest account as a way of building and connecting with its community of current and potential customers. It’s really a way to have an online coffee-klatsch, trading inspiration and ideas with a large group of others. The “voice” of The Dandelion Patch on all of its online platforms – website and social media – is that of a kind neighbor or friend offering advice.
If your business is primarily product-based, as opposed to service-based, having a Pinterest Business account gives you the ability to create Buyable Pins – an advertisement-like pin that gives Pinterest users a “Buy it” option in addition to the “Save” option. It also offers businesses the ability to create “Rich Pins” like “Product Pins” and “Recipe Pins.”
The Dandelion Patch is a great example of a business that isn’t trying to be on every social media platform. Nor does it have to be on all of them. It has chosen the specific platforms where it can showcase the rich visual nature of the company’s services.
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