Facebook does have a great advertising platform, which allows businesses to target the people they want to reach and offers good value for money, but I believe that there are also many things that small businesses can do to build their reach and raise awareness WITHOUT paying.
Here are eight tips to boost the reach of your page on Facebook
- Be clear on WHO you want to reach on Facebook and keep those people in mind whenever you are creating content for your page. It has to be content that they will want to read or watch. Getting 'likes', comments and 'shares' for your content will boost your page's organic reach on Facebook, but you have to earn your place in peoples' news feeds by giving them content that's valuable to them.
- Make sure it's easy for people to click through to your Facebook page from your main website and mention it now and then on other social media channels you use, Don't overdo it though. For example, some people on Twitter aren't fans of Facebook so they don't want to be bombarded with links to your Facebook content.
- Include a link to your Facebook page in your email signature.
- Promote your page's URL offline on your business cards, flyers and posters. If you have business premises make sure your Facebook page URL is on all your marketing materials, such as menus, tickets and feedback questionnaires. Remind customers to 'check-in' and share their love for your business. If they are fans of what you have created they will want to support you and be associated with your brand.
- Look for other Facebook pages that it is appropriate for your page to 'like' and 'follow'. These could include business customers and collaborators, suppliers, venues and non-competing businesses and organisations. By liking, commenting on and sharing their content you can reach their fans and raise awareness of your own page. It will also encourage them to return the favour and like your content. But, be true to who you are, and the vision and values of your business. Fake sentiment is quickly spotted by canny consumers.
- Make sure that high-quality images and short video clips are a regular feature of the content you create and post on your page. Where possible upload your video clips directly to Facebook.
- Smartphones make it easy to respond quickly to comments and questions from your audience while you are out and about. You can use Facebook Live from your phone when you want to post a behind-the-scenes peek at how your business runs, the people you work with or an event you are holding. If possible, promote in advance that you are going to be live so that your fans can be there to watch. If they miss it, the video will be available on your page later.
- Finally, do encourage the businesses you work with and network with - and your friends and family on Facebook - to help you build some momentum. There's no shame in asking people you trust to like and follow your updates.
Every business is unique and so is the community of followers it will build on Facebook and the content it will create and share with them. Many of the businesses and organisations that I work with will opt to run some targeted paid-for boosts and advertising but their money will have the best return on investment if they have previously developed a clear Facebook strategy and understood who they want to reach and how they can develop a page that those people want to return to on a regular basis.
To read more, including a case study about the first day of a brand new business on Facebook, go to my recent LinkedIn post: How small businesses can still 'win' on Facebook.