It’s just a simple fact: Facebook is a pay-to-play marketing platform today. But in spite of all the griping and groaning marketers did when it first became clear that free Facebook marketing was a thing of the past, they’re all still using Facebook to market. Why is that? Because even as a paid platform, Facebook produces an extremely high marketing ROI. In other words – it’s totally worth it.
We here at Zen Media have managed hundreds of paid Facebook campaigns for our clients, so we have firsthand experience of the ROI that’s possible using this particular marketing method.
That being said, there are still some powerful ways for businesses to leverage Facebook for free.
Don’t believe us? Here are 10 ways you can still use Facebook to promote your business for FREE!
1. Create a personal business presence using a fan page. One of the major strengths of social media marketing is its ability to create relationships between businesses and their audiences. The person-to-person interaction that can happen on social media makes consumers feel that they have encountered a brand in a meaningful way and that they now have a special connection with that company. So imagine how much this feeling is intensified when that consumer is interacting not just with “the brand,” but with the person behind that brand!
Depending on your personal social media habits, you may or may not already have a personal Facebook account. If you do, and you prefer to keep your personal profile private, Facebook will allow you to create a page for your public, professional persona, as well. Otherwise, you can use your personal profile to interact with consumers. Gain a following by engaging with the people who frequent your brand’s page.
Here’s what our CEO, Shama Hyder’s, personal page looks like:
2. Maintain a robust brand presence. While it’s true that your company’s Facebook posts most likely won’t show up in your audience’s news feeds without paying to promote them, that doesn’t mean that you should stop posting them on your brand’s page. People today often use Facebook as a search engine to find out more about a company, whether that means basic info like contact information and hours of operation, or what customers have to say about them. A robust, active page that’s full of regular posts and lots of audience engagement is a great way to showcase the fact that your customers aren’t just satisfied – they’re enthusiastic!
Here’s our own company page:
3. Join Facebook groups. While most people think of LinkedIn first when they think online networking, Facebook groups actually offer a similar opportunity for professionals. There are any number of Facebook groups dedicated to various industries, professions, and interests. You can use your personal account to join groups of colleagues, as well as groups where your target audience is likely to be found.
The more you contribute to the conversations taking place in these groups, the more your name will become recognized – and synonymous with industry leadership and expertise. The only thing to watch out for here is never to come across as salesy in your discussions – the quickest way to turn off this potential stream of leads and connections is to start promoting your business instead of offering genuine advice and thoughts.
You can customize your search for groups based on various keywords – and Facebook also makes suggestions, based on your profile. Here are some groups Facebook has to offer in the field of “Leadership:”
4. Create your own group. Can’t find a Facebook group that really fits what you’re looking for? Create your own! You can add members, publish articles, carry on discussions, and probably meet quite a few prospects. The fact that you own the group and control the conversations automatically grants you industry leadership status in the eyes of your members, which can only help when they realize they need the product or service you provide.
5. List your events. Hosting a webinar or speaking somewhere? Create an event page and invite friends and people in the groups you’re in. You can even see how many RSVP and get feedback from attendees.
Here’s an event where Shama will be speaking:
6. Syndicate your blog. If you know that you won’t remember or be able to find the time to share your company’s blog posts on your Facebook page or profile each week, you can automate the task. There are many different online tools you can use to do this, from simple plugins for WordPress to suites of digital marketing software, that will automatically post each new blog post to your Facebook page for you. More Exposure = More Traffic = More Leads.
7. Ask your network to share blog posts. Speaking of posting your company’s blog posts on your personal page or profile, you should also ask your team of employees and partners, your current customers, and even your personal friends and family to share your company’s posts on their personal Facebook profiles, as well. This is called cross-pollination, and it’s one of the Five Principles of Momentum discussed at length in Shama’s new book, Momentum: How To Propel Your Marketing and Transform Your Brand in the Digital Age. According to Shama:
“Cross-pollination means incorporating every single resource your company has into your marketing strategy, allowing each to inform your use of the others. With each one of these typically untapped resources contributing to the mix, you create something new and powerful from the synergy, and your marketing momentum grows dramatically as a result.”
By tapping into the reach that personal profiles can still achieve with their posts, you can get your content out to new audiences – for free!
8. Reach out! Are you a fan or admirer of someone’s work? Reach out to them on Facebook! Many people check their Facebook messages more regularly than their email. They are also more likely to respond to Facebook messages. Don’t feel comfortable sending out a message to someone you don’t know? No worries! Leave them an “I enjoy your work!” blurb on their wall. When posting on different pages make sure you post as your business and not your personal account.
9. Stream live video with Facebook Live. The intimacy and immediacy of live video create the sense for your viewers that they are getting a behind-the-scenes peek at the real you – as well as enticing them to stick around to watch much longer than they would a regular video, because of the unpredictability of live video. Check out our blog post on Why Facebook Live Will Be Hotter Than YouTube for Your Business for all the details!
10. Create a community. Perhaps Facebook’s greatest benefit is that it allows you to create a community. It provides you a group of people who are constantly connected to you, and are open to hearing your message. Engage with people authentically, whether that means writing on their walls, responding to their comments on your own, conversing in groups, or introducing people to each other. Before you know it, you’ll have created a community of friends who look favorably on you and your business – and all for free.
As you can see, Facebook marketing may be pay-to-play these days, but it’s also still about making connections, developing relationships, and sharing your wisdom with others. You just have to know the right strategies in order to be able to continue to do so for free.