Wondering what your customers are really thinking about your store, service, designs —even your flower selection? A social media contest may be the answer. In late January, Molly Meulenbroek, owner of Studley Flower Gardens in Rochester, New Hampshire asked her Facebook fans to disclose how they pick their flowers for the chance to win a dozen roses. (The winner, announced Friday, February 23, will be randomly selected from people who comment on the thread.) So far, customers’ answers have ranged from relying on the florist’s expertise to choosing flowers with nostalgic sentiments. “The responses have been a great reminder of the impact that flowers have,” Meulenbroek said. “It has also been validating to know that our customers trust our advice on selecting flowers, and it shows that they are looking for an expert opinion.” Contests like these help start great conversations between florists and customers, and they also serve as helpful fact-finding missions to gain knowledge about what senders value most about their shopping experiences. Meulenbroek plans to host a themed contest every month this year in honor of their shop’s 90th anniversary. For the shop’s first contest in January, she asked customers to share their favorite Studley’s memory. Future themes will coincide with holidays and other seasonal topics, she said. Between January and February, she saw the number of entries increase significantly, a trend she hopes to continue. “We have had some very heartfelt responses, particularly for our January contest,” she said, adding that the questions provide opportunities to connect with customers. (Meulenbroek makes sure to “like” every response customers provide.) Interested in hosting your own Facebook focus group? Click here to read how one florist in Oregon learned customers’ preferences and got people chatting about flowers. For everything you ever wanted to know about throwing contests, check out “ Fun and Gains ” in the Floral Management archives.