In less than a month, a Facebook page dedicated to bargains in Zimbabwe has attracted more than 9,000 new followers and more than 3,000 people ‘talking about it’ at a time on the social network. The rapid growth, according to the owner of the page Sean Steyn, is indication that people are finding it useful and that there’s a healthy market for an online bargains service locally,
Steyn contacted us about 3 weeks ago to tell us about his page, Bargain Buddy, saying then that his obective was simply to promote deals, bargains, sales, discounts, special offers and promotions to a wider audience. Then, the page had less than 1,000 followers. Add some Facebook ads and some general marketing and today the page is close to 10,000. Steyn says he actually rejects many bargain ads a day for not meeting the minimum requirements he has set.
At first glance at the page, you may be tempted to dismiss Bargain Buddy as just another ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ me too Facebook page, but there’s a coordinated effort behind it. Talking to Steyn when we met him a couple of days ago he said initiatlly he had to physically visit retail shops in Harare explaining the concept to the business owners and helping them put their products on the page for free. He says he has plans to monetize ‘somehow’ in the futue but that he’s not desperate for the income right now.
In future, he said, Bargain Buddy will be an independent site and Facebook will become just part of the social marketing of the website. Steyn believes bargains as a niche have been largely ignored with online businesses crowding in regular classifieds services; web and mail list based.
Of course running third party ads on Facebook has some restrictions. Facebook would clearly prefer that anyone run their ads through their ads systems so they get a cut for them. Steyn says they are aware of this and that the plan to become Facebook independent is part of a solution to the issue.