This post is excerpted from the book Turning Your Invention Into Cash by Don Debelak. https://www.amazon.com/Turn-Your-Invention-into-Cash-ebook/dp/B07N8JSQJW.
Small stores and big stores are increasingly being forced out of business by Internet retailers. This is a big disadvantage for inventors. Social Media fortunately does step into the spotlight to get products into the marketplace. Here are some steps.
- Have a web page and have a sign up for a newsletter. Use Constant Contact or Convert Kit to set up routine newsletters to people. You can send out offers to people on a regular basis.
- Have friends pin your product on relevant Pinterest Boards. For example if you do a search for babies Pinterest baby boards on Google, you’ll get lots of boards. Your friends can pin items from your site on the board. Be sure they included your web page. You might even ask people who come to your site and like your product to Pin your product to boards they may know of.
- Set up a Facebook Store. http://www.websitebuilderexpert.com/how-to-set-up-a-facebook-store/
- Set Up an Instagram Store. http://www.wikihow.com/Establish-an-Online-Shop-through-Instagram
- Start using Facebook Fan pages https://onestopinventionshop.net/10-steps/
- Start Using Instagram Fan Pages. http://blog.fanpagekarma.com/2014/08/26/5-tips-for-more-success-on-instagram/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnIlPM-
- Post videos on You-Tube of your product. You don’t expect people to find you on you-tube but you want to refer to the video on your web page, plus all your information on other social media sites.
You need to expect to work 20 hours a week keeping up with all the traffic you generate and answering queries and writing your blog. But you can generate the buzz and sales you need to help license your product or place your product into major retailers.
Internet – Social Media Success Story
Lisa Pinnell is a young mom whose success has all happened because of Social Media. Her company, Binxy Baby, started selling the first commercial version of the product in 2014 and its current version of her product in February 2015. Binxy Baby had sales of $250,000 in 2015 and Pinnell expects to sell $500,000 to $750,000 in 2016. All the sales have been from her web site, which she promotes on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.
Inspiration: In September 2008 Pinnell’s second child was born and she soon learned that taking two children, including one infant, to the grocery store was impossible. The baby needed to go down into the grocery cart itself, with child number one the shopping cart’s child safety seat area. The problem was there wasn’t any room for groceries. Pinnell thought the solution was a baby hammock that would hang across the shopping cart which sells on the Internet today for $49.95. http://binxybaby.com/products/shopping-cart-hammock
Social Network Marketing
Pinnell’s unanticipated marketing plan started when she placed a photo of the product on her Facebook site. She had only a bare bones Bixny Baby web site set up at the time. One of her friends noted the picture and pinned it to Pinterest with a reference to her Facebook site. Then, while not quite going viral, the interest took off. People loved the picture of the baby in the hammock. Moms knew moms and suddenly many moms were seeing the picture.
Pinnell wasn’t set up at all for this traffic. But she moved fast. On her web site she set up an email list for people who wanted to know when the product was available. She also let people friend her on Facebook and follow her on Instagram so that when her product was ready she could let her network know
Pinnell placed her first order from China for delivery in the fall of 2014. About 6 weeks before delivery she started letting everyone know the product was coming either by email or by her postings of pictures on both Facebook and Instagram and let people place pre-orders on her site. She received over 600 pre-orders before the shipment arrived. She was also helped by being featured on a Steve Harvey show in the fall of 2014 right after the shipment came in. Within 30 days Pinnell sold out of her first order
Today Pinnell still markets through her pins on Pinterest and her Facebook and Instagram pages. Her favorite is Instagram. The only promotional program she runs is to team up with some other baby product inventors who sell primarily on Etsy.com, a site where many moms are sellers of handmade baby items. On one promotion Pinnell teams up with four other sellers of baby related products and they post a picture of all four of their products with, for example, a spring-give-a-way promotion. To be eligible for a prize they have to sign up to follow all four sellers. Pinnell mentions that this is a great way to get people to sign up to follow them or friend her site.
Pinnell has tried more traditional marketing, she attended the ABCKids show in 2014 with samples in a booth. She attracted some retailers but she has found that they just aren’t as profitable as selling online. The key, says Pinnell is that “when moms of infants see her product, they want to buy.”
If you haven’t heard the news, Facebook pages don’t have the same reach they used to. Instead, there’s a hidden world on Facebook that’s taking over: the Facebook group. Groups are collections of like-minded people who share a common interest or goal and cover all sorts of niches.
Why Join Facebook Groups?
One of the biggest reasons to join Facebook groups is the visibility and networking they offer. On any given day that I inventors look at their news feed, they should many posts from groups that they are active in.
Groups are also more visible because people who belong to the group get notifications about new posts, which tends to keep the discussions going. (However, people can turn these notifications off if they want to.)
One of the downsides of Facebook groups for some business owners is that you have to join as your personal Facebook profile—your page cannot join a group. So if you don’t want to use your profile, then Facebook groups may not be for you.
Before You Join a Group
Inventors can join up to 6,000 Facebook groups, but I suggest focusing on 10-20 where you know you’ll be active regularly. If that’s too many to focus on, choose a few that will have the highest impact for you.
Before joining a group, make sure it’s a good fit. Measure it against a few key criteria: active members, good description and low spam.
If it’s a closed group, you won’t be able to see the activity until you join, so it will be hard to tell if the membership is active. If you join and find the group isn’t right, don’t feel bad leaving the group right away.
When looking at a new group, read the About section to see the mission of the group. This will give a feel for whether it’s right for your invention. Some group restricts membership based on certain qualifications.
No group is going to be a valuable place to participate if it’s just a bunch of sales messages with no-one contributing conversation. Many groups have rules about what you can and can’t post. Some allow a little bit of promotion, but with qualifications—such as only promoting on certain days or within certain threads.
Find Facebook Groups
If you’re looking for a Facebook group to join, you can take Facebook’s suggestions or you can search with Facebook’s Graph Search.
https://www.facebook.com/graphsearcher/ search box on top.
Create Your Own Facebook Group
Bring Fans Into a Focused Facebook Group. Check out the following web site for more complete information: https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/how-to-build-community-on-facebook/
The control individuals have over a group’s visibility is part of the appeal. Many Facebook groups are private communities where people connect outside the prying eyes of their friends and families. However, within a group, Facebook doesn’t limit who can see what. Members of a group see all of the posts in it.