Facebook · Product launch

Marketing via unsolicited messages on Facebook - good or bad?

Dimitry Rotstein Founder at Miranor

September 3rd, 2014

We have a beta-stage product, and seeking initial traction. My partner suggests to look for good prospects on Facebook, and invite them to beta-test our product via Facebook's private messaging system. He says he has had some experience with this method and it worked well, generating nice conversion rate, though he couldn't give any specific figures and didn't explain how the conversion rate was calculated in that case.
Personally, I think it's a bad idea. It's basically a type of spam, which is likely to get us in trouble with Facebook (not to mention my personal opposition to spam), and the actual conversion rate will be too small to justify all the (manual) work.
What do you think? Have you ever tried anything like this? If so, what was the response rate to unsolicited messages?

Helen Adeosun

September 3rd, 2014

Awful! I hate spam with a fiery passion but I will call myself out all the way and said that I have employed some interesting tactics to get initial customers. I would hope if you went this route you would some how know that these people are looking or would need your fix/product/service you're offering.

There are better ways to do this and I say that out of love and experience. Look up the Grothhackers forum. There people in marketing  can give you better ideas about how to get initial traction on the cheap. Also, I highly recommend the growth hacker classes on Udemy.


Alex Littlewood

September 3rd, 2014

If these people are in your personal connection network, I think you shouldn't hesitate to do so. They've opted into a relationship (however loose it is), and you should feel free to connect and invite them. Especially if you couch it as "you're someone I trust". 

If they are not connections, don't do i that way. Invest in targeted ads to individuals that would be the right fit. 

Outside of Facebook, I would look at LinkedIn as a more appropriate place to do this kind of blind outreach if the product is relevant to their profession. Especially via the LinkedIn Groups. You can join a bunch of social media marketing groups and invite users to test the product that way.

Hayden Tay Marketing and Customer Success Manager at ChargeSpot Wireless Power

September 3rd, 2014

If you don't have a friend relationship with them, chances are your message will end up in the "Others" inbox in Facebook anyhow (unless you pay to play). Most people never check that inbox, so they'll never actually see your message. 

You're probably better off running Facebook ads.

Peter Kazanjy Early Stage SaaS Product and Go To Market Executive

September 3rd, 2014

Use email addresses. They're easy to get access to, and you'll be able to track open and click activity via applications like Yesware. There are all sorts of toolchains set up to help you with emailing in mass, lead scoring based on email engagement activity, etc. 

So Facebook messaging might be cute, but it's not scalable, and not well tooled. Just find their email addresses. 

Just spend the time to find the email addresses, or use an oDesker / etc. to do so to help you.

That said, messaging / LinkedIn connections can be helpful. If you are doing a good job of ONLY approaching prospects to whom your offering REALLY makes sense, they may be open to connecting to you and you can deliver a customized marketing message in that invite. This is generally more accepted when you're engaging with Sales and Recruiting prospects. VPs of Engineering and CTOs will typically look down on this.

Twitter, too can be helpful, but less from a spammy "Hey, look at me! Look at me!" but instead following prospects, and engaging with what they say - as in, really responding to them, in a non-douchey fashion. This will raise email response rates. They will likely click through to your twitter profile, where you likely have your company's website / twitter handle merchandised for clickthrough.

But generally speaking, get their email address, HQ phone number, and direct number if possible. Other vectors are not as impactful or scalable, and can be fraught with cultural issues.

More in this blog post on properly modeling your contact objects in your CRM for success: http://kazanjy.svbtle.com/sell-like-an-engineer-dont-fuck-your-CRM 

Welcome to prospecting. Don't be cute. Think about scale.

Joanne Frederick Healthy people. Effective healthcare.

September 3rd, 2014

My experience would say there are better ways to spend your time. Start with the people you know who are passionate about what you're doing and create a groundswell from there. One person at a time - not efficient but much more effective. 

See Ted Rubin's work on #RoR http://tedrubin.com/return-on-relationship-the-new-measure-of-success/

Best of luck!

Good Lind Owner, CEO, All American Horse Keeping. Founder of the Equine Slow Feeding concept.

September 5th, 2014

I have sold 50.000 units of our products in Europe and now when I wanted to launcg the same assortment in The US I tried to give away (completely free) 1000 units (value $86)  through my fan base on Facebook (5000) but only managed to give away 200. Facebook is a mysterium.

Dimitry Rotstein Founder at Miranor

September 9th, 2014

Thank you all. The collective opinion seems to be unanimously against unsolicited Facebook messages (myself included). I'll tell that to my partner.
Hayden, thanks for letting me know about the "Others" inbox - I never even noticed it before, despite being active on Facebook for years. Indeed, it's unlikely that many people are aware of it, let alone check it regularly.

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