Target marketing: How to use social media to find sellers

What if you had a way to clearly target a defined potential sellers group within a pool of 1.28 billion people? You do.

By NAA Staff

Cold calling used to be an uncomfortable, inefficient experience.

“It’s hard,” said John Schultz, AMM, of Grafe Auction Company, in Spring Valley, Minnesota. “It converts poorly – make a hundred calls and 10 turn into prospects. And of those 10 prospects, one turns into maybe a deal.

“What if there were an easier, more efficient, and more direct and appropriate method of direct marketing?”

By utilizing the right tools, a company can exponentially increase its prospects and, eventually, deals.
That’s happening at an increasing rate through social media use for businesses. Companies are using new methods to promote services and products to new audiences – minus the classic, awkward cold call.

While this is a good thing, on the other hand, this provides consumers more opportunities and selections when searching for a particular service or product. However, Schultz has been teaching auction professionals how to ensure their companies stay at the front of the increasingly crowded space. He likes to show how to turn internet “cold calls” and social media platform leads into sellers, as well as demonstrate how easy information obtainment is online.

The information component is critical when one takes into account the massively larger number of qualified leads that can result from adapting to this new environment.

Target marketing: No longer at mercy of word-of-mouth

At one point, companies were at the mercy of word-of-mouth recommendations, bought lists, and print/media advertisement. That isn’t the case anymore. Social media has opened new doors for advertisers by creating an unsuspecting database of constant potential clients and sellers. For example, data indicates roughly 1.28 billion people are daily users of Facebook, which has provided a sophisticated way for setting clearer target audiences.

“Statistically, almost every consumer that we want to get after is on social media,” Schultz said. And, each person leaves a data footprint. These data points make it easy to get to know a person and their personal data, preferences, and psychological make-up. Facebook provides this information, called audience insights, free of charge, simply by doing a search for a custom audience.

The ability to collect and sort information doesn’t stop there, though. In fact, in a matter of seconds, you can use Facebook’s help and begin collecting information consumers leave on your own auction company’s website. Then, again using Facebook, you can form targeted groups based on your own website traffic. There are also other tools available that help you use social media to find sellers.

Target marketing tool: Facebook pixel

Have you ever wondered how you search or research a product through Google or Amazon, for example, and suddenly you’re seeing ads for that product in your social media feed?

It’s not magic; it’s a tracking pixel.

In short, a pixel is easily placed in a site or page’s HTML code and allows an advertiser to register your information into their program. That program has been instructed to serve ads to anyone who visits a site or page that has the pixel. Where and how often you see the ad depends on a campaign.

At the same time, based on those people have been tracked by the pixel, Facebook can conduct a data analysis, build a data-based profile, and give you the opportunity to market to people who “look like” that profile. This “Lookalike Audience,” in this case, would “look like” those who visited your website. These audiences can be built based on virtually any sort of demographic, hobby, interest, or online activity.

Target marketing: Have a plan to go with your pixel

Once you get a potential lead to your site, there needs to be a clear path for the lead to follow to navigate to convey interest. (Need help getting a path started? Try Facebook Blueprint, a free advertising educational tool, at:

Be very intentional on navigation buttons and landing pages. Include videos, have few form fields, include a benefits list, and use real photography. Make sure you have a privacy policy in place on your site. Ask the consumer to do something in a Call To Action (CTA) on your site to get them interested in getting involved with you – sign-up for a newsletter, leave an email address, etc.

Once you have a potential contact, follow up with them quickly.

“Following up with an online lead within five minutes results in nine times the conversion rate,” Schultz said. “Once you have the lead, it is then up to you to make the sale.”

Other ways advertisers also have found to target specific products to people include simply analyzing past purchases. These tools, once only available to mainly Fortune 500 companies, are now available to the general public.

This article was an excerpt from a presentation given at the 2017 NAA International Auctioneers Conference and Show. Want even more tips on this topic? Full audio of the presentation is available in the NAA Knowledge Center.