May 14th, 2010 | Scott Elkin, Technical Director

Here are three ways to use Facebook to advertise your business:

  1. Attempt the direct sale – “Buy my product”
  2. Practice the “Give and you will Get”
  3. A little of both

“Buy My Product”

Most businesses coming from the offline world try and fail at the direct sale approach on Facebook. You can liken this technique to the offline world of telemarketing. Call and ask enough people to buy your painting and eventually someone will. Many others get upset by your phone call, but you rarely hear from them after you hang up.

Where this idea REALLY breaks down on Facebook is that now everyone you upset has a voice and a place to air their grievance. Ask enough people to buy your product in a way that upsets them, and you will find yourself spending more time dealing with the ill effects of your marketing than actually shipping products.

Give and You Will Get

A technique that has far reaching possibilities is the “give and you will get”.

In theory it goes like this: Find the public that likes your products. Give them information, love, care, a friendly face, images, whatever – something that they would like to have. There are any number of ideas for this – it just needs to be free, something that they would really like and spreads goodwill about you and your company, and gets them to tell others about you and your work.

Eventually, with the amount of buzz and eyeballs that you attract by “giving”, someone will buy a product of yours and you will “get” money.

Now, in reality, this varies greatly by industry and idea. If the products are only for teenagers in Boston, it may take longer than if your products are beloved by all Newsweek readers. But if you are giving them what they like, they are your correct public, and they are telling others about you – you WILL sell products.

A Sprinkle of Both

Once you have sowed goodwill amongst your public, and you continue to give them great content and help, remind them from time to time that you have products for sale.

You don’t even have to hit them over the head with it.  Simply putting a notification that you just got in a new product will remind them and will get sales.

But no matter what, you should at some point ask them to support you by buying your products in a way your public likes to be spoken to.  If your public are people that expect everything to be free and think “why pay when you can steal”, you may have to be a bit more clever by saying words like “donate” or “help support me so that I can keep giving all this free advise away…”.

A Real Life Example

A friend of mine is a fantastic painter and she wants to use social networks to help sell her painting. Her public could be moderate to wealthy people.

  • So she goes on Facebook and invites everyone she knows. She tells other people that love art and support art to “like” her.
  • She could give or make Christmas or Birthday cards for her fans to use. Heck, she could probably even customize some of them.
  • Of course, she is super friendly, and she herself reciprocates and helps support and promote other artists.
  • Maybe she holds a contests or allows people to vote on what subject she should paint next.
  • Maybe she raffles off a painting or a custom drawing to her fans for exchange for telling others about her.
  • When she finishes a new painting, she let’s everyone know about it, and makes sure everyone knows that there is only one, and first come, first serve.

These are just a few examples off the top of my head. In reality, this painter has used social networks to her advantage, and continues to. (She also works with us, so she understands all this already!)

You can Buy dreXel’s original paintings on etsy

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