Facebook has firmly established itself as the primary social media platform across most age and demographic ranges. In many ways, it has supplanted Google as the go-to place for curated recommendations on brands, goods and services.
Here’s three inexpensive ways to market your business on Facebook:
1. Encourage customer sharing through flattery.
Facebook marketing is most effective when a customer learns about a brand, product or service through the recommendation of friends. Studies consistently show that recommendations from friends and family are far and away the most trusted and influential information that a customer will receive.
One of the most effective (and free) ways to market your business online, is to publish Facebook posts that include your customers photos (with their permission of course) using your product or service in a way that is flattering to the customer. For example, an orthodontic practice might publish a picture of each patient when they get their braces off, ideally hugging with the orthodontist, or in front of business signage. Similarly, a car dealership might publish a picture of a customer who just bought their car with the salesperson in front of their new car.
Then, invite the customer to share your company’s post in their Facebook stream. Obviously, that’s only likely to be successful if the picture and situation is flattering for the customer. In so doing, you enable your satisfied customers to introduce your brand, service or product to their circle of Facebook friends in a very positive light.
2. Cross-pollinate across multiple platforms.
Facebook is the dominant social media platform, but there are significant numbers of users on other platforms who rarely, if ever, use Facebook. That’s particularly true for younger demographics. To reach those audiences, you can leverage your Facebook posts by cross-pollinating those posts on other platforms.
To do this easily, you can use a free service like Hootsuite (https://hootsuite.com), which you can configure your account such that when you post to Facebook you automatically post (with the formatting automatically done correctly) to alternative platforms like Twitter or Instagram. As an added bonus, Hootsuite (and some of its competitors) will allow you to future post to your social media accounts, so that you can publish posts at varying times (and into the evening) in order to reach potential customers that don’t use social media during the workday.
3. Selectively use retargeting to boost ubiquity.
Finally, if you want perhaps the biggest boost to your social media, you can use Facebook Ads, the paid ad platform offered by Facebook. While you can certainly use these ads to reach customers you’ve got no connection with, this can be expensive and not terrible effective.
For a bargain based approach, you can use Facebook Ads exclusively as a retargeting channel for reaching people who have already visited your company website. The way this works is that you place an invisible Facebook pixel on your website, and when a customer visits the website they are then tagged. When those customers then visit their Facebook feed, they’ll see an advertisement for your business in their feed. These “warm leads” turn into paying customers at a much higher rate than cold leads because by seeing your company information a second time (the first time being when they were on your website) on a platform as trusted as Facebook, these potential customers learn more about your business, and get the impression that your brand is ubiquitous and particularly well suited to that specific customer.
Facebook as a marketing platform has advanced dramatically over the last two years in terms of its effectiveness and the ability to identify and reach your specific target clientele. It is still, however, in its infancy (relative to more established online platforms such as Google Adwords) in terms of attracting small businesses.
There are enormous opportunities for businesses with some understanding of how to properly leverage Facebook to expand their business to succeed.