I’ve heard various, and contradictory, reports about the effectiveness of paid adverts on Facebook. As I have barely used them, however, I cannot vouch for them either in terms of cost-efficiency or in respect of the results they produce. What I can offer though, from experience, is a strategy for generating sales, and lots of them, through Facebook without having to invest a penny.
The key to it all is groups. Facebook groups. There are hundreds of thousands of them, probably millions, and they are free for any Facebook user to join. There is no reason why such a readily available and almost unrestricted market should be overlooked, all that is needed is a strategy for utilising them in the correct way.
Let me be clear, spamming campaigns are not something that I would ever endorse. There is probably nothing more irritating that being the administrator of a group about football, for the sake of argument, and discovering that the new member signed up five minutes ago has posted an advert for cheap sunglasses on every thread. This approach is for the desperate and the unethical, and my strategy is for the ears of neither. My approach, by contrast, is systematic, organised and – above all – consensual.
There is much more to be said on this topic than a short article will allow, but your plan of campaign should essentially take place in four stages:
1. Create your own page and/or group
Build your own Facebook presence around your product, service or brand. As your membership steadily grows you will have a ready-made audience for your sales message whenever you should decide to launch.
2. Join other niche groups
There are so many out there, and there is no restriction upon how many you may join. Use bookmarks provided by your browser to create a database so that they may be accessed systematically. Rather than waiting until you launch your product become a regular contributor, offering useful input into existing discussions. That way you are less likely to provoke hostility when you draw attention to your own merchandise.
3. Construct an advert relevant to the niche
Remember that whatever you post should not infringe the rules of the group. Try to tailor your contribution in a way that blends in with existing content, and construct it in the form a comment with information rather than as a blatant sales pitch as much as you are able.
4. Ask permission
It is tempting just to post and hope, but often admins will react by deleting your post and sometimes even booting you from the group. By and large they like to be asked, so send them a private message in advance. Sure a few will refuse, but you’ll be surprised how many will not only allow your ad through but will also help you to draw attention to it. They may even purchase from you, or put in a word on your behalf.
Following this simple four-point strategy you will have an advertising campaign that more than matches anything the paid service can offer, and it will all have been done by the rules and in good faith. Just remember also to stick to three additional rules:
- Post no more than ten ads at a time – Facebook will suspend you for “suspicious” activity if you try to post too many identical messages on different groups in quick succession. Take a break in-between, and remember to change the ads around a little.
- Respect refusals – if the moderator or the admin doesn’t want you advertising your goods on their site, there are others. Don’t force it.
- Always respond to comments – it’s good manners and it keeps your post at the top of the page.