It may be a surprise to many of you, but I am relatively new to watch trading. About six months ago, I was scrolling through FB and an ad popped into my newsfeed. It was some Persian guy showing off his stacks of cash, exotic cars, and fancy watches, and although the ad caught my attention (I watch the video ad from beginning to end) I didn’t take any action the first time I saw the ad. However, over the next few days, I was assaulted by video ads from the same Persin guy showing off different cars and watches (some of the new ads including a trusty sidekick – a tall white guy in a paisley/flowery long-sleeve shirt) and on November 17th, 2019, I made one of the best investments of my life and joined the Watch Trading Academy.
I am recounting this story, not to poke fun at PJ or Cal, but with the hopes of helping everyone understand the “Facebook Algorithm” a little bit better. So, if you are looking to increase your sales on FB, especially in FB groups, then this article is for you!
If You Give Mark Z A Dollar…
Let me start by saying that no one REALLY understands how the Facebook algorithm works.
Okay – there is probably ONE pimple-faced nerd at FB who can write out the complex differential equation that is the FB algorithm (think Matt Damon from Good Will Hunting) but besides that ONE software engineer, anyone who has an opinion on how the algorithm works has formed that opinion based on information that FB has made publicly available and/or formed an opinion based on testing over a long period of time.
In short, the general consensus is that Facebook’s goal is to keep users on their platform for as long as possible so that they can serve those users’ ads.
So the Facebook algorithm is built to keep users on the platform as long as possible because the longer someone is on Facebook, the more they scroll through their newsfeed, and the more someone scrolls through their newsfeed, the more real-estate FB has to display ads, and the more ads that Facebook serves up, the more money Mark Zuckerberg makes!
Tips To Becoming More Relevant In Facebook Groups
So what does any of this have to do with selling more watches on FB?
Facebook groups are basically microcosms of the whole Facebook ecosystem and it is pretty easy to “hack” a FB group to become a mini-celebrity. So regardless if the Facebook group is a watch club, a local group, an enthusiasts community, or even garage sale style page, once you create a reputation in the group your next post will become much more relevant to the group’s members, which translated in the Facebook algorithm speak means that you will get a lot more eyeballs on your post. So here are my step-by-step tips to hacking FB groups to get more watch sales.
- Select your playground – I would recommend starting by picking 1 or 2 FB groups where you REALLY want to build a reputation. Although it is possible to become a celebrity in multiple FB groups, it is best to start building up your credibility in a small number of FB groups first. There are literally THOUSANDS of FB groups out there so as long as your target group is pretty active (10+ post per day) and has at least 1,000, it should be a worthwhile endeavor.
- Engage with posts on a regular basis – Think of this step as “laying the foundation”. Start by leaving positive or thoughtful comments on posts (even if it is a relevant gif) or “liking” posts or comments. I would strongly recommend staying away from leaving negative comments as this could back-fire in the long run. Pro Tip – In groups that run auction-style posts, I typically comment by leaving a bid that I know won’t win the auction to help with my engagement in the group.
- Add content to the group – For most of us watch traders, this will mean adding “for sale” style posts to the group but I would strongly encourage you to be creative and not stop there. For example, it seems that FB has a preference for video content over text/image so consider adding videos to your FS posts. Also (and believe it or not) one of the ways that FB measures engagement on a post is how long someone spends on that post (your ability to “stop the scroll”) so consider adding more text to your posts so that people who are interested will click “see more”. Also, if the group allows, post things that could garner a lot of engagement like “what watch are you wearing”, “want to buy”, or other general discussion topics – Anything that is likely to get people to comment.
These are all general/basic “blocking and tackling” ideas to build up your status in a FB group so once you have these down, it’s time to elevate your game.
Banishing Internet Trolls
From my experience, there are two main things that bring out the trolls of the internet – discussing controversial topics like politics, animal cruelty, parenting, etc and selling luxury goods online.
Although I can’t speak directly to the psychology of the prototypical “internet troll”, I have to assume that their desire to contribute non-value-added comments is based on either their need for attention or just a lack of education (or mis-education) on a topic.
So every time I get an unwanted comment on a luxury watch I am trying to sell, I respond to the comments in a very professional, but factual way, with the attempt to provide the troll an education.
Below is an example of my response to a troll who didn’t understand why the watch that I was selling didn’t come as a full set…
“Quick explanation about Rolex warranty card (aka. “papers”) for anyone that is unfamiliar.
Generally, when a watch is originally sold from a Rolex Authorized Dealer, the purchase will include the watch, box, warranty card, a hangtag, and other booklets.
However, when watches are sold from dealer to dealer, some of the accompanying accessories of a watch (as outlined above) may be either misplaced or held-back for one reason or another. Or, in another scenario, the original purchaser of the watch may misplace the paperwork, warranty card, or any of the other accessories that came with the original purchase. Either of these situations is equally likely; therefore, when a watch is sold as “pre-owned” it may be missing some of the items that were included (or should have been included) in the original sale from the Authorized Dealer.
So yes – To any collector, missing any of the items that came with the original purchase will dramatically impact the perceived value of a watch and might even call into question the watch’s authenticity. So much so that some buyers are uncomfortable purchasing a pre-owned watch, and will choose to only purchase watches from an Authorized Rolex Dealer, or will not even consider purchasing a watch that isn’t “complete”.
On the other hand, there are many reputable dealers (I hope I have earned the right to be in those ranks) who sell pre-owned watches and price them accordingly based on the current market price of the timepiece and scope of what is included in the purchase.
These “reputable dealers” sell based on the trust that they have earned in the marketplace and offer tremendous value/savings to their clients.
Also, as a quick note, in about 2010, Rolex made the decision to go to a “scrambled” serial number naming convention (as opposed to an alphabetical/sequential system as in previous years) so for any Rolex watch, post-2010, without a warranty card, it is basically impossible to determine the year of production solely by a serial number lookup.
In this specific situation, I got this watch in on a trade and I have priced it aggressively, in line with current market comps for “naked” Rolex Submariner 116610V (Hulk) watches, although my sale will include an authentic inner/outer Rolex box and a certificate of Authenticity, which usually adds $150+.
So I agree, this watch may not be for everyone, but for someone who is looking to wear a Rolex Hulk immediately (not waiting years for a call from their AD) and looking to save thousands over other market comps, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
I hope this explanation helps educate all interested parties and please know that I back this sale with my reputation that I have built in the jewelry business since 2004.”
See how I attempted to educate the troll (and anyone else who was watching the interaction) and provide value-added and factual information rather than attacking the troll personally?
Remember that, for the most part, Facebook comments are a public forum so both your comments and the troll’s comments will be available for others to see. So although it is a knee-jerk reaction for most to attack the troll, I promise you it is a much better approach to educate the troll – both from a professional and engagement perspective.
So next time you get a negative comment on your “for sale” post of Facebook, feel free to reply to the comment and explain why the feedback is wrong. Although you may not be able to persuade to troll, you will gain the respect of others in the Facebook group.
P.S. – The toll was never going to buy your watch anyways 🙂
Best wishes to you all on your watch trading journey,