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Dot-Com plant doctor
Dot-Com plant doctor
Company: Home Depot
Employee: Ingar Nygren
Job: Social media store associate

Home Depot is trying to migrate the expertise of its employees in the company's signature orange aprons to the Web. About six months ago, Home Depot started trolling its stores for experts who could take two days out of the week to work in an office and answer questions from do-it-yourself enthusiasts across the country.

Ingar Nygren was chosen out of a pool of 100 employee experts to serve as a social media store associate. He's a certified horticulturalist who has been with Home Depot for 14 years. "I'm really passionate about horticulture and landscaping," he says, "I've only ever worked in a nursery."

Nygren says he has already built up a fan base at his brick-and-mortar store in Hiram, Georgia, and he's now trying to build a community online as well.

Many of the online inquirers use multimedia to communicate their problems, Nygren says. "I get a lot of `Hey, look at these pictures of my dying plants.'" Nygren can then use those pictures to make a landscaping recommendation such as shifting shade-loving plants out of the sunlight.

While Nygren answers up to 18 questions per day via Twitter and Facebook, he says that Home Depot workers participating in the social media push are encouraged to focus on the quality, not the speed, of their answers. "We might not be the first, but we will be the best," Nygren says.


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Last updated May 18 2011: 8:41 AM ET
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