According to Forbes, 50 million Facebook business pages exist as of December 2015. And each one of those companies are competing to figure out the best way to reach Facebook’s 1.7 billion monthly users. Facebook Ads, boosted posts, and other paid options are certainly an effective way to reach your target audience, and these options have garnered the lion’s share of marketers’ recent attention. However, with Facebook’s recent shift to return its newsfeeds to more user-shared content, the ROI pendulum for smaller marketers will likely swing back toward the classic “free” content sharing approach. This post will outline various ways a business can promote itself on Facebook without spending a dime on advertising.
1. Know when to Post on Facebook for Maximum Visibility
Facebook engagement is 18% higher on Thursdays and Fridays.
Although the best time to post on Facebook varies by industry, generally, your business should post and share content on Facebook in the early to mid-afternoon. According to the graphic below from Kissmetrics, Facebook usage also increases just after 7:00 PM (note that other data sources prefer posting anywhere from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM). Furthermore, Thursdays and Fridays are typically the best weekdays to post, because engagement is 18% higher at the end of the week. Posting during these hours and days can give your business the potential to reach more customers and increase site traffic more than it would at other times. Consider including specific times when creating a social media content calendar for your business.
2. Interact with Your Facebook Fans and Followers
According to a recent study, 64% of marketing executives stated that they believe word of mouth is the most effective form of marketing, which is what draws so many marketers to Facebook in the first place. However, many social media marketing plans become overly focused on gathering a large number of followers or likes. A growth in Facebook likes might look good in a report, but your goal is to find the individuals who will become loyal purchasers, and to do that you’ll need to encourage word of mouth by connecting with your fans on an individual level. Always respond to followers who interact with your page, no matter how they interacted with you (posts, comments, etc.). And once you do, treat them just like they were a friend sitting next to you at a party. In other words, keep the conversation going. Once your followers feel like they’ve connected with your business on a personal level, they are more likely to become a brand evangelist and share your content with their network.
3. Engage with Influencers Who Have a Larger Fan Base
Social media influencers are people who have already built an army of fans and followers to a point where they’ve now become a trusted information source in a particular industry. These influencers can provide access to an entirely new market, but in order to reach them you’ll have to earn their trust. The easiest way to think of how to approach an influencer is to treat them just like you would someone at a networking event. Start with a sell so soft it isn’t even a sell: commenting on their posts, liking their pages, sharing a link or two that might be of interest. Then, build the relationship until you’re able to join your influencer in regular conversation so that they’re willing and able to help promote your brand as well.
Above all, keep in mind that social media marketing is about connecting and having a conversation. So go ahead and jump in!