If you look at many facebook groups, they either ban adverts or restrict them to specified threads started by the admin. I can understand how frustrating this can be as a business who is trying to get themselves front and center with their audience.
However much of the time, this kind of way of advertising does not give the success that many suppliers are looking for, so are there any other ways?
What are people looking for?
Advertising without Advertising
I think there are complimentary ways to get business than just advertising:.
1. Ensure your facebook profile, business page and website are setup correctly
With Facebooks recent update you can now join groups as your business page. Whether you join the groups as with your personal page or business page, make sure your personal page/business page has a link to your website, reviews, recommendations and a clear summary statement of what you do. You want someone who hovers over your name to know who you are. Similarly your website link should take you to a page that at the very least describes your services, includes testimonials and has a call to action.
Once you have your page/profile sorted out, then its time to hit the Facebook groups!
2. Respond to Recommendations & Questions
The most intensive way is to scour the groups on a regular basis waiting to reply to anyone who asks a question or is looking for recommendations. Whilst this is great and I recommend you do this some of the time, it can be time consuming.. Are there any patterns to when questions are most likely to be asked, in the evenings or weekends, maybe?
There are other, less resource intensive ways to raise your profile and establish yourself as an authority without directly advertising your services (and there is a reason you DON'T want to advertise whilst doing this, which we will come to shortly).
3. Ask Questions
Examples include. What are you looking for in a plumber? Ask me anything? etc
4. Tips and tricks
Offer tips about your industry or do something that most other suppliers wont do, suggest reasons not to hire you!! (What!!!! Are you mad!!)
Let me explain with an example - "how to take the perfect wedding picture". You offer tips to the amateur photographer on how to take good photos but caveat at the end that its unlikely to meet the quality of a professional. If a bride/groom is set on a DIY wedding then they were never going to buy your services anyway, HOWEVER it offers massive proof that you know your business and it shows that you are offering advice that is not all about getting a sale at the end.
5. What to look for in the service you provide- Write an article on what people need to look for in the service you provide.
6. Start a poll
Keep it simple, pictures are best to represent the answer. This is about getting engagement and then following it up with a question. So for example the question could be: "Black and white or color photographs for your party?", like for black and white, love for color. Comment below on what challenges you are facing finding a photographer
7. A competition/give away - always popular, give something away for engagement with your website, page etc
Final comment: if you have your business page, profile & website setup correctly then the above tips can add significant value to your business. Be careful trying to advertise too directly if you are using these techniques, sticking a tag line such as "and for a professional service please contact xyz" can do you more harm than good because people will then view your help as an ulterior motive to get business (and also make it more likely your post will get deleted in the groups). However if just by hovering over your name they know who you are and what you do, it offers a no pressure technique to get more customers!