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How to do SMM with highest ROI: Social Media Seeding in the U.S. and Canada

If you are just starting in the U.S. or Canadian market and need to promote your business, here is a good way that will not cost you a dime.


You might have heard of "seeding." This technique has proven effective in e-commerce, construction, and B2B real estate. It has helped many entrepreneurs like you.


Seeding means posting your advertising messages in social media groups where your potential customers hang out. Those who remember the early days of social networks know social media seeding as one of the easiest ways to build a following. Platforms have since added a lot of friction, but it still works.


Seeding is simple, but it has nuances. Read on for a step-by-step guide.


(This article focuses on Facebook, a dominant platform in North America. People use Facebook to buy cars, sell houses, find caregivers for elderly moms, and find the closest pool parties. If your clients are in the U.S., Canada, or Mexico, you should be on Facebook.)


Step One: Create a Page


Decide which Facebook page type to use. There are three options:


- A personal profile, like everyone has.

- A business page named after an individual, such as Bill Gates'.

- A business page with your company's name, logo, and contact info.


The cons of using personal profiles:


- No statistics, so you can not tell how many people saw your messages or interacted, so you cannot analyze the “view – interact – purchase” funnel.

- Giving someone control over your profile means giving them full access. That is against the rules of social platforms and could compromise your data.

- If you make a new profile just for seeding, you will find many communities do not allow posts from profiles less than 6/12 months old.

- Posts on personal pages cannot be promoted with targeted ads.


But there are advantages too:


- People have more trust in profiles with a picture and posts from a real person

- Some private groups only allow personal profiles


If you are posting from a business page, then


- People might ignore your posts because they would rather talk to real people.

- Some private groups do not allow them.


However:


- You get stats about the reach of your posts

- You can delegate page management to an employee or agency.

- You can invite people who interact with your posts in groups to follow your page. The people who follow your page will have already gone through two stages: viewed it and interacted with it. They are two steps closer to becoming a customer.


What do we do?


We make business pages for both the business and the founder. For craft businesses, the business page and founder's page are the same page, but it is designed to look like a real person's profile: founder's face on the avatar, founder's name in the title.



If you are not sure if your Facebook page is a profile or a page, you can check it directly on the page itself. On a business page, it says it is a page. On personal profiles, it says "Profile". Check whether your Facebook presence is a profile or page on the page itself.


Step Two: Prepare the Page for Seeding


The business page is up. Now what?


Next, it needs proper setup. You must get this right.


Anyone who has had to adapt to a new culture knows there are differences in mentalities. One difference between North Americans and post-Soviet people is that Americans are suspicious of business proposals posted online. North Americans are cautious about scams.


Your goal is to make a regular American Facebook user think, "This Ivan seems like a good fellow!" not "This is a scam, I am reporting it to Facebook!"


Below is an excerpt from the 2023 Edelman Trust Barometer Global Report. People do not trust company leaders, are neutral towards fellow citizens, and are much more likely to trust their neighbors.



To establish trust, talk about local news, share photos and videos, frequently share opinions, and make your work newsworthy.


What do we do?


For the founder's page of a construction company, we used the following hooks:


- Launch of a new website.

- Office renovation updates and a reminder that it will be open soon.

- Story about the owners' house burning down due to a forest fire and how it led to their new business lines.

- Local news related to their business.


Basically, we share our thoughts, ideas, and experiences whenever the opportunity arises. In the absence of newsworthy updates from the business, we turn to industry news or scientific studies. The chart above shows people trust scientists the most, so we look for scientific discoveries relevant to the business.


Once your page has some interesting content, invite your friends, colleagues, and partners to follow.


It is a huge plus if you as the business owner can make videos. Your offers gain more trust the closer you get to the audience. Ideally, you should follow Brian Johnson's example – test everything yourself and share your experiences.


Step Three: Prepare the Ad Message


Obvious ads, like "Custom-made furniture. Phone number. Name," perform significantly worse since they do not elicit a response and get lost in the sea of similar advertising messages on Facebook.


It is important to keep in mind that Facebook has its own algorithm for posts in groups. If the post gets reactions from the first viewers, it is interesting, and the algorithm will keep showing it to others. The higher the ratio of likes and comments to views, the more likely the post will appear in the feeds of more subscribers. Therefore, you should make a post people will like or comment on.


In addition, a good message can warm passersby's hearts, thawing the ice in their hearts and making them want something, even if they had not thought about it before.


AIDA works like this:


Get the reader's attention. Identifying the problem is one way. Next, create interest. You could talk, for example, about how the problem can be solved. Then, explain how your solution can help in a unique way. Finally, tell them what to do to get the solution. The message would be different depending on your ideal customer's level of awareness of the problem and solution, but that is a good place to start.


What do we do?


For the construction client above, we wrote a text about how their house burned in a forest fire that affected the entire town. Since he and his family had nowhere to live, he experienced first-hand the housing crisis, a problem that has been going on in the region for years: not enough housing is being built, and what is there is not affordable. Owner of a real estate company, he came up with the idea of building their own house instead of searching for a built one, which can take months or years in some areas. For a faster build, they picked a modular home, which is pre-built and can be assembled in a few weeks.


In two weeks, this message reached 10,000 people and generated three construction inquiries. And it cost $0.


Note: Facebook does not like links in posts, so post the link separately in the first comment. As some communities moderate content, you have to watch when your post goes live to add the link. The link should also be in your page description.


Step Four: Collect Communities for Seeding


This is the key to seeding on Facebook in North America. Rather than big cities, activity is centered around small towns. If you want it to work, do not focus on big cities. Focus on small towns where people are active.


A client who is a jeweler in a Seattle suburb was not getting responses from Seattle groups. When we targeted local towns like Issaquah, Sammamish, Snoqualmie, she got 3,400+ views, 190+ page visits, 4 new followers, and 2 customers who bought $250 worth of jewelry in one week.



A typical reaction to a post in a small closed community, while no one responded in larger Seattle communities.


Social media groups in small towns usually have liberal rules: advertising is allowed, you can post right after joining, and messages are not moderated.


What do we do?


We use Google Maps to find out which municipalities are close to our client.


Say, a jeweler residing in a Washington state municipality can ship jewelry nationwide, but her warmest audience is her neighbors. Like the Edelman report showed, people trust their neighbors more than strangers. A person also feels like they are supporting their local community when they buy from a neighbor.



Neighbors do not have to be in the same state. As Washington is in the Pacific Northwest (PNW), and our advertising mentions the rugged nature of the PNW as an inspiration for our jewelry, the message works for Oregon, too.


Instead of Seattle groups, we look for communities in Kirkland, Bellevue, Tacoma, etc. You can search for groups in specific locations on Facebook.


Avoid small communities far from your physical location. Reach out to people in your area or in neighboring states.


Also, read the rules and do not advertise in groups where people give away stuff for free or do not allow advertising.


Approach Russian-speaking communities like "Russian New York" with caution. There is sometimes a lot of negativity from former compatriots. One of our clients, a wedding photographer, got undeservedly negative feedback from another member after posting her recent work. It quickly became clear that this feedback was written by the best friend of the ex-wife of the groom, who was in the photo, but negativity is common in Russian-speaking groups.


Step Five: Post


Now, onto posting in different communities.


How do we do it?


We publish no more than five posts a day because posting to many groups at once reduces the exposure of each post. We invite everyone who likes a post to follow our page so we can interact with those who liked our offer. Getting a follow is a win. You can offer them a discount coupon or ask them to fill out a survey (to understand why they did not buy, or to improve your service).


If you respond to every comment, you get more views.


With seeding, you can A/B test messaging to find what is effective. The most effective messages can then be promoted through targeted ads.


Step Six: What's Next?


Let's say the client is a small bakery with a small delivery zone. We have already promoted it in its town and the neighboring towns where potential customers might be. What's next?


We post something new – an update, an offer, or something newsworthy.


Now everyone knows the bakery opened, we can talk about a specific product, announce a delivery service, or invite guests to a tasting party. In any case, many people missed the first post. And even if they have seen it, reminding them of the bakery will not hurt.



 

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