If you’re looking for unique ways to use Facebook to generate new business, today you hit the right blog.
I haven’t posted in SS101 for about four and a half months (and I’m SOOO SOoorryy!) but I think this post will be worth the wait. Actually, the subject of the post is why I’ve been busier than a cat in a sandbox trying to serve all the free local customers generated recently.
Using Local Facebook Groups is my new favorite free marketing technique.
Read to the bottom and you’ll see how I got more than $3,100 already while discovering this thing almost by accident.
Use Local Facebook Groups to Market Your Products and Services Free
Know what I love and hate at the same time? Accidentally discovering a yet another new way to get piles of new customers for free.
Why do I love getting new customers for free? Uh, DUH… think about it 😉
But why would I say I hate it too?
Because it forces me to take a break from writing about making piles of money… and go actually make piles of money.
Which takes me away from… you.
Okay, so that’s what I’ve been busy doing for the last four months. I’ve missed blogging but now I’m back. Now YOU get to sink your teeth into some juicy new marketing tips from the cutting edge of research…
Brace yourself to learn how to use Local Facebook Groups to market your products and services to a super targeted list.
Local Facebook Groups are the New Craigslist
I’ve called my wife Sabrina the “queen of Craiglist.”
And she deserves the title; we’ve gotten deals on everything under the sun. From concert tickets… to building materials… to electronics… to landscaping… to exercise equipment… to cars… (yes that’s cars, plural, for ourselves and my kids)… all off of Craigslist.
Trouble is, Craigslist is getting a bad rep because of how anonymous and downright dangerous it can be. Example? Well, f’rinstance… less than six months ago in nearby Longmont, CO a lady answered a Craiglist ad for baby clothes and was stabbed and killed by the particularly sick individual that posted the ad.
So more and more, bargain hunters are preferring to do business with people in their own neighborhood.
Local Facebook Groups fill that need to bargain-hunt within a community. Rather than a faceless Craigslist poster, you’re dealing with someone that lives nearby… someone a history of purchases or sales (or both)… and that you can quickly check up on to see who else knows them.
Who would you rather go buy some gently used clothes from:
==>some totally anonymous poster on Craigslist, or
==>a homebody that lives two streets over… that has 437 friends on Facebook, including some that YOU are friends with too… and that you can private message with from the relative comfort of Facebook Messenger?
The best thing about Facebook Groups is that they are communities based around a particular interest in common, which makes for a very targeted list.
The best thing about Local Facebook Groups is that the group’s “thing in common” is a geographical area, which allows you to target a particular neighborhood with your goods and services.
Local Facebook Groups: Zero Cost + a Little Time Equals High ROI
Often here on Shoestring101 I’ve asserted the barest necessity for building a business is to have
1) access to a thing of value, and
2) a way to communicate with people that value that thing!
Enter these two ingredients: my local screen repair biz (also did this with my martial arts studio, but that’s another story) and local Facebook Groups.
Thing of value, way to communicate.
For local business, nowhere is this one-two punch combination more powerful than in Facebook Groups. This is a setting where people are ALREADY engaged in buying and selling to each other.
You therefore overcome all sales resistance, all feelings about being “spammy”.
You cut right to the heart: “Hey, this is what I offer… who wants it? PAY me.”
Local Facebook Groups, if you haven’t used them yet, are Facebook Groups based on who lives in a particular community.
You won’t believe how many new paying customers I got recently from a single post. To date, an innocent picture with a tiny bit of copy generated well over $3,100 in bottom line profits for my screen repair business… $3,100 and counting.
Plus, uhhh… we’ve done more than one post.
A specialty of Shoestring101 is teaching you to promote your offline, local business… but promote it for cheap (or free) online.
Most of the methods I teach here on SS101 are evergreen and low maintenance. THIS particular technique needs a little setup and time, but it can give you a much-needed shot in the arm on occasion.
So if you’re looking to get a nice cash influx without spending a dime on advertising, check these simple steps:
How One Post in a Local Facebook Group Generated Over $3,100
I sent an email out a few months ago saying that I was looking to expand my screen repair business from Colorado Springs and Monument, CO into nearby Castle Rock.
I told everyone (you included, if you’re on my mailing list) that I’d be using my normal, evergreen SEO tactics to establish a free lead-grabbing MACHINE …and capture folks interested in screen repair that live in Castle Rock.
But I got interrupted. I had only just pieced together a Facebook business page for “Castle Rock Screen Repair” with a before/after picture of screens with sun damage. Smack-dab in the middle of that project, my wife (without asking me first, tsk) snagged that pic and posted it in her Local Community Facebook Group, “North Springs Mamas.”
And an ATOM BOMB of new business sales dropped in my lap.
Here was the post:
We’ve done thousands of dollars of business because of that one post. I had to cover most of it personally, because my contractors were busy doing other work that we’re getting from other hacks we use to get free leads.
The post was the easy part. Then questions came flooding in…
“Do you do screen doors?”
“I am missing frames, can you build those?”
“I have pets and they always seem to tear screens in a few weeks. Got a material that’s tougher?”
At first I wanted to answer each question by way of PM and engage each customer personally closing the sale quickly.
But my savvy woman told me to both to private message AND to answer the post directly on the page… at a certain time.
“It’s not ‘prime time‘ yet. Wait till 8:00 tonight and answer those publicly.”
Reason? Why, because each time I answered a question it brought the whole post back to the top again, right when the maximum number of “North Springs Mamas” were online browsing for deals.
That worked a charm. With lots of buzz about the come-to-you screen repair service coming again and again to the top, many Mamas put a “*” in to bookmark the post for later reference.
Every time I did a screen job from North Springs Mamas, I asked the Mama to post a review. Again, back to the top she goes… generating even more buzz, more goodwill, more leads and business.
By the time the dust cleared I had done well over two dozen jobs from that single post, priced between $45 and $400+.
Six Steps to Scads of New Customers from Local Facebook Groups
It’s amazing but simple. Follow these six steps and you’ll soon have a new source of highly targeted leads and customers for your business:
Make nice with the admin and establish a good name for yourself. Find out who’s running the group and send them a heartfelt thank-you for what they are doing.
Learn the rules and regs of the group you’re in. Your particular group may allow only certain days to make “business” posts, while the rest of the time used furniture, electronics, baby clothes, etc are the stuff the group is made of.
Contribute to the group; don’t just spam. The best times to offer your services are:
- Every once in a while, AFTER being featured in the community somehow. Maybe you have solved a problem for someone, or made recent sales or purchases. Your name is known and you’re seen to be a “good egg”
- When someone asks about it (for example, we got three Students for my karate studio when one of the group asked “Does anyone know a good karate school for kids?”
Hang with the movers and shakers. Get to know at least three other regular contributors. Engage in conversations with them by private message (PM) and ask about what kinds of posts seem to get the most attention. Ask them about “prime time” and get tips and tricks that work best in your particular group.
Flattery never hurts. Here’s a sample private message, right after buying something from Gwen: “WOW Gwen, you seem to be selling left and right and I don’t seem to be able to GIVE my items away. Any tips? How do you do so well in this group?”
Buy stuff. You need stuff, right? Start getting your stuff for cheap on the group instead of paying full price at the store. Sabrina got four pairs of barely-used shoes for $12. No joke. See what your neighbors are just plain giving away and take advantage of those bargains! You’ll also get a hang for the process and the lingo that your particular group uses.
Sell stuff. Honestly, is that Nordic Track the best thing to hang your coat on? 😉 Get rid of whatever weighs you down, while making a few relationships and establishing that you’re a real live contributor to this community. This will give you an opportunity to find out what kind of “copy” works to attract buyers… while you lighten the ballast of old junk around your place and put some green in your pocket.
Post as a third party if possible. “My husband… my wife… my friend… this guy…” For whatever reason, posting on behalf of another seems to get more engagement than if you are posting as yourself. When my wife said, “My hubby does screen repair…” the volume of inquiries was waayyy beyond what we expected; within one hour 22 local community people posted questions. BONUS: each time we answered a question, it brought the post back to the top again, giving us that much more exposure.
Post your target product or service infrequently. I can’t state this more emphatically; DON’T be that guy or gal that gets kicked off the group for repeated, shameless self-promotion.
The key to this kind of marketing is to become known and contribute to this local community. Interact often and pleasantly with a number of other posters to the group and you will build up an enormous amount of goodwill. And what goes around, comes around…
The (pun intended) word-of-mouse that happens is extraordinary. We’ve had thousands of dollars come to us for both of my local businesses through just one local Facebook group. And there are scads more of them for us to work with. With names like “Falcon Thrifty” and “Meadow Ridge at Briargate”, Local Facebook Community Groups are a great way to get to know the potential customers in your local area, and reach out to them in a positive way.
Okay, Steppers! Thus ends THIS post to Shoestring101, the savvy marketer’s blog for using online marketing to promote offline biz. The post is completed, but the conversation is not!
I’d love to hear from you about using Local Facebook Groups as a marketing one-two punch. OR any way that you’ve used to validate a business or get customers for cheap or free. Business and wealth-building are team sports. Post your questions, your experiences and adventures here and let’s keep the conversation going and growing!