Like many of you, I enjoy the hunt for a good bargain. As such, I belong to several local yard sale groups on Facebook. I have also left several due to excessive posts unrelated to that topic. This is not a criticism of the admins; they have jobs and families that fill their lives and can’t be on top of their group every minute. They post rules for the group, expecting they will be honored. But nonetheless, there are posts for fundraisers, MLMs, services and businesses. Who can blame people for posting these things? These groups often have tens of thousands of members, that’s a lot of eyes on their message; AND it’s free!

But here’s the thing… psychology plays a big part in marketing. People frequent these pages looking for yard sale items. They joined the group with the understanding that it was for that purpose only. It would be like attending an event because it was advertised to be entertaining or fun, but arriving to find there were lots of people doing sales pitches, interrupting your enjoyment, your very reason for taking valuable time out of your day to attend. How annoying would that be? What are the chances you would feel good about those businesses? I know I would commit their names to memory and never buy from them, just out of spite…but maybe that’s just me.

Plugging your business on Facebook yard sale pages makes you look unprofessional, desperate and frankly, inconsiderate. I mean, think of the last time you saw a really successful business promote their goods and services in one of these groups. I can’t think of a single one.

Look, as a sole proprietor for eight years, I get it, you have to start somewhere and free certainly fits any budget. But there are SO many other ways to get your business’ name out there without spending a dime. It will just take a bit of time, yours, a spouse’s, a friend’s or, if you have one, an employee’s.

First, create a Facebook Page for your business and invite all your friends. Ask your closest family member to tag friends or share to their timeline. The same for your employee(s). Then post good, quality content. You can’t expect to get more followers if you only post asking them to buy from you. If you have a website (again, there are free ones), post content there and share it to your Facebook Page to encourage people to visit your site. There they will learn more about what you have to offer. Consider LinkedIn and Instagram as well and duplicate these steps. Keep in mind, Instagram skews younger, and it’s all about the photos. LinkedIn is for professionals, so please, no cute pictures of your cat.

If all of this seems overwhelming, and you don’t have the resources to pay someone to do it all for you, consider attending workshops, many are free of charge to attend. Check with your local Chamber of Commerce, universities and the Small Business Administration for schedules and availability.

Prefer to work one-on-one? Give me a call. I can work with you at your pace, spreading out some sessions to accommodate your needs and budget. Why do I do this? Because I remember what it was like when I first started out. For me it was the bookkeeping that was overwhelming, I yes, I did it all wrong at first. What a nightmare that was to fix. So, I’m happy to get out of the office, meet at a local coffee shop to provide another start-up with some help (or if you’re not in my area, we can share screens from the comfort of our own desks). My rates are very reasonable and one hour with me will save you ten times that amount of time and frustration AND you won’t piss off prospective buyers by spamming their beloved garage sale groups.

Copyright Debbie Bolduc, BizBuzz Marketing Partners