If you’re running a business or about to start one, it is understandable that you’re looking to ensure you don’t overspend your marketing budget. Especially, if you’re a startup, you must’ve definitely pondered on how to advertise on Facebook for free.
Huge businesses have equally huge marketing budgets, however smaller businesses usually struggle to stay ahead with their limited marketing spend. Marketing budgets can swell, and if you have no processes in place to control the spending, you will be losing money much quicker than you thought. But with the advent of social media, it has given small businesses a platform to market their products and services at relatively inexpensive budgets. In this blog post though, I’ll speak about how to advertise on Facebook for free.
1. Organic reach
If you are on Facebook, you will have a couple of hundreds friends in your list. Post engaging content regularly, speak about your products and services and of course, give them a clear direction where to head to purchase what you’re offering. The key is to be consistent.
Once they see what you are posting ever so often, they’ll either purchase it if they need or at least keep you in mind and refer someone else to you later.
But beware! This is 2018 we’re talking about. This free method relies solely on Facebook’s organic reach, which has plummeted to new lows. According to this article by Facebook itself, the organic reach is declining with an aim to de-clutter one’s News Feed. In fact, there are figures thrown around that the organic reach had declined to a mere 6% and some even say to a measly 2%!
You can read more about it here:
2. Have a business page
One of the ways to involve a lot of people is to offer them your custom Business Page as a place of engagement. It is one of the best ways to convert people who are just fans of your products to actual paying clientele. Not only is it beneficial to your business but also really simple to set it up. Here’s what needs to be done:
The initial set-up
Simply log in to your personal Facebook account and click on the dropdown on the right-hand corner to ‘Create A Page’. Then choose the appropriate category your business/brand falls under. Facebook keeps changing the look of the page, but as of December 2018, this is what you get to choose from:
Choose category and fill in your business details:
For the sake of example, I chose ‘Business or Brand’ and it gave me the following options:
Choose an appropriate Page Name and the category it belongs to. Once you type in the category, Facebook will provide some options in the dropdown for you to choose from. Select the most closely related option as many a times you will not find exactly what your business is or represents.
Then simply fill in your business address, telephone number and other such details. Once you click ‘Continue’, it will ask you to upload a Profile Photo.
Next, it’ll ask you to upload a Cover Photo. So go ahead and add a nice good quality - good resolution cover photo.
Don’t miss out on these small things. Ensure that you have very good quality crisp photographs to upload. Your business should speak about your brand, so take the trouble to find (or make) photographs that will draw audiences to your business.
That’s it. Your business page should be up and running for now.
Enter all the business details
Here is the time to speak what your business is all about and why people should become fans of your page. Write a good description about who you are, what you do and include keywords in your description for good SEO practice. Facebook limits the description to 155 characters, so you’d have to leave a great impression to your page visitor in this tightly bound limit. This is how it looks like:
Fill in all the other details such as:
Business phone number
Any awards won etc.
Create a username for your business page
Would you ever remember a page URL like this?
I’m certain, you’ll answer with a resounding ‘No’. Not just you, but nobody will ever recall that because we humans aren’t wired to remember such ridiculous strings of number. The simplest way to get a URL that will easily be remembered and recalled by your potential customers is to make one by clicking here:
Facebook will then either allow or deny the username based on its availability. As you can see, I created a username for a page I created for this demo purpose.
3. Get reviews for your page
Reviews are a great way to increase trust for your brand. You will have customers who loved your product or service, and they’ll be all too happy to tell others about it. Reach out to such customers and request them to leave a review on your page. Once, the reviews come in, it automatically raises the trust bar for those who are visiting your page for the first time.
Asking for reviews is really important. Many businesses take it lightly and miss out on some very good testimonials from their clients. A nice review will help dispel some doubts about the legitimacy of your business and will draw in more customers. Use reviews as a nifty Facebook advertising strategy.
4. Post job openings
If you are starting out afresh or looking to expand, you will come at a point where you’ll need more helping hands. Your business page can help you post job openings. People are always on the lookout for better work opportunities. If not themselves, they will also refer their friends and family, to places to get themselves hired. Use the opportunity to reach out to larger number of people, ask them to share the job post with their friends list and in turn your brand will get free marketing. It’s not too much hard work to set up a job posting:
Now that you have setup your business page and decked it up, it is time to start posting things which people like.
5. Post relevant and engaging content
Look, Facebook is a social media platform as well as a search engine. People are looking for interesting content to engage in and to like and share it with others. The last thing they want to look is a sad piece of content, so save them the horror! If you put in efforts to go all out and create highly entertaining content, your audiences will lap it up and speak about it.
a) Post relevant videos
Nothing grabs the attention of a person than streaming content. With Facebook’s auto-play videos option turned on by default, your video will start playing on a user’s newsfeed automatically. If you post high-quality attention-grabbing videos, you will have people hooked on it. People look watching creative videos and they also love sharing such content…and that means free advertising on Facebook for your business!
b) Post memes or jokes
You know that you love that on Facebook … and so do a lot of other people! Posting funny memes and jokes and things of that nature, is a great way to not only get your audiences’ attention but also gives them a nice opportunity to share it with others. We humans are wired in a way that we feel good about making other people laugh and be happy. So go out there and share some great memes to tickle their funny bones.
c) Post a high quality educational article
People love to educate themselves on various subjects. We all want to know about something. Some people like to read up on financial news and numbers, some others like to read about the scientific achievements of our times, while some others want to stay abreast with the latest trends in the fashion world. Whatever the interests are, you should post some detailed article on what your audiences love. This way you can reach out to your fan base by offering something valuable, which in turn means that they will stick around and get more interested people to join your page or group.
For instance, we wrote an amazing in-depth article about how Google Ads works. For people, who are highly interested in digital advertising (especially Google Ads), the article will prove to be extremely valuable in understanding how it all works.
d) Post photos of your clients and customers
We all have clients and customers who loved our products or services, and won’t mind speaking their positive thoughts about it. A better way to showcase their affection towards the brand is to snap them with your offering. For instance, if you are an artist, you can ask your customer to click a photo of themselves in front of that beautiful painting you commissioned for them. Or, if you run a travel agency, you can get your travel customers' photo enjoying their time together
I’m sure you will find a lot of customers and clients who will be willing to do that for you. You can then upload these photos on your business page, tag them and give them a nice shout-out!
6. Schedule an AMA with an expert
This is one of my favourites. This works really well if you already have a large enough audience base, but can also work when the fan base is still growing. This method helps to a great extent to have them engaged. Schedule an AMA (Ask Me Anything) session with an expert from within the industry you work in. For people who do not know what an AMA session is – it is basically a live session wherein people post their doubts and questions, and the expert then responds to those queries – live in front of them.
Write a post beforehand announcing that you will be conducting an AMA session within your group or page (you need to give the required page/group access to the expert you are inviting). Ensure that people know what the topic of the session is, the time, date and everything – that way a lot of interested people will make it a point to join the session, engage and also share your announcement with others to bring in to attend the event.
That’s it. Just ask people for some action. Ask people around you – your family, relatives, friends, clients, customers, anybody. Just ask them to like your page. Ask them to share your content on their timeline. Ask them to invite their friends. Ask them to post your content in the various groups they are members of.
Simply asking will increase your brand awareness and the people who are interested in what you’re offering, will come over to your page and engage with your content.
If you’re running a small business, then you can offer some perks to those who liked and shared your content. Offer them with a reward – it can be anything from a discount coupon to some freebies. Doing so, will inculcate loyalty towards your brand and will make them your brand ambassadors; which in turn means that you will have a new bunch of customers through words of recommendation.
Asking people doesn’t hurt. You aren’t losing anything anyway. So shed that fear, venture out to ask and you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see many people supporting you.
8. Hold Competition
Speaking about freebies earlier brings me to this point. An amazing way to capture the attention of your fan base and get more people involved, is to arrange a competition or offer. People visit Facebook to see what interests them, to share what they know and to offer their thoughts on something. This is a perfect chance for you to grab their attention and reward them something in return.
For instance, if you are launching a new line of products, you may want to hold a competition – asking people to come up with creative names for those items. You will be amazed to see the engagement people have, when asked for their opinions. It will not be surprising that you will not just receive what you asked for specifically (in this case: creative names) but also a ton of banter around the products.
9. Get your hands dirty
As I mentioned earlier, many people tend to forget that Facebook is not just a social medium but also a gigantic search engine. Because of the ginormous amount of information that Facebook already has, plus a ton of information that is posted every single day, Facebook can be a goldmine for advertisers and consumers alike.
All it takes for you, is to search where your consumers hang out. It will take you a bit of time to figure out (if you’re new to Facebook), it will take a lot of efforts from your end but you need to get completely involved in doing so – to get your hands dirty, so to speak.
10. Spend some bucks
I know what you are thinking: “…but you said you will show us how to advertise on Facebook for free”! Well yes, I did tell you that but honestly you will be opening yourself to a whole new world out there - if you’re willing to spend some money. But if you master the art of creating successful Facebook advertising campaigns, you may end up marketing on Facebook for free. Hear me out.
What you need to do is to spend some money on Facebook advertising and recover that cost of ad spent.
Let’s suppose that you are a dentist and you offer teeth cleaning service for $200. As a business owner, you decide to spend $100 every day towards Facebook advertising for the next 10 days. That brings the total ad spend to $1000.
Now, let’s suppose that your Facebook sponsored ad was seen by nearly 10,000 people you targeted. Five of them (I’m being very conservative with this number!) walk into your clinic to get their teeth cleaned and shiny. Which means that you got to pocket $1000 (which is - your ad spend).
Although you did not make a profit in this (imaginary) case, but you achieved what you wanted i.e. free advertising on Facebook. Since 10,000 people saw your ad and you recovered the cost of your ad spend, you effectively marketed them your services – “for free” - and will recall your brand the next time they require dental treatment.
Now that you know how to advertise on Facebook for free, you need to realize a few things:
a) Facebook is not a non-profit organization. This is something that business owners should understand because advertising on Facebook without paying a dime, will only go so far. You need to loosen your wallet to actually gain from this platform.
b) According to Facebook, they want users to feel their newsfeed as their own “personal newspaper”. Think about that for a minute – why would Facebook show free post when it takes money to fine tune the algorithm to show a user exactly what he wants to read? This is one of the biggest hurdles for businesses today, that the organic reach in Facebook is almost dead – because Facebook wants your money.
c) As a business owner, your goal should not be to rely on free stuff. Your ultimate goal should be to increase sales and generate revenue for your business. Facebook helps you do that, if you are willing to spend some money and reach out to audience that Facebook knows will be interested in what you have to offer.
Facebook has enough data to know who your target audience is. With a smartly built campaign and fueling it with a bit of cash-spend, you can quite easily reach potential buyers in hardly any time.
d) Facebook offers amazing features and tools to drill down to your exact audience and market your products and services. Remarketing tools, valuable insights to great analytics and a whole bagful of fantastic features to be taken advantage of, are only available if you spend money to take your business to the next level.
Grow your business with Facebook Ads
Get in touch today