How To Grow Your Business using Facebook – without paying.
Small businesses with small marketing budgets, or sometimes no budget at all, need to find ways to reach their customers without paying to do so. It can be difficult and often very time consuming, but if you put in the work you are sure to reap the rewards later on.
Small businesses that can benefit from this information:
- The “one man show”
- Handyman services
- Beauty industry: Nail techs, make-up artists, hair stylists
- Personal trainers
- Small maintenance companies and builders
- Photographers and videographers
- Home businesses
There are likely much more, but if you are one of the above, maybe this information can help you. We are going to focus specifically on Facebook for this article, however we do have similar articles on other platforms in our Knowledge section.
Why Facebook you ask?
- Facebook is free – All you need is a device such as a smartphone, computer, laptop or tablet, to create and access Facebook.
- Half of South Africans have Facebook profiles with a whopping 29,5 million Facebook users in South Africa.
- Facebook allows you to create a business page to list your business. This is a free alternative to a website.
- Facebook has Group pages which are essentially community driven pages, either by location or similar interest groups.
- You can use Facebook to create a network of contacts and friends to reach more potential customers.
- Your friends can help you promote your content.
- Think of Facebook as a giant referral platform. If you provide good service and products, people will refer you.
- I said this before, but all of the above is free. All it costs you is your time.
- Use Messenger on Facebook to chat live with potential customers
1. Create a Facebook Page for your business
Most of us have a Facebook profile that we use to connect with friends and family. It is a convenient and easy way to keep in touch, see what others are doing and also to catch up on news around the world. One of the perks of having a Facebook profile is that you can create a Facebook Page for your business (or multiple pages for multiple businesses). This is a free service.
You may think it would be easier to continue to operate only using your personal profile, however, creating a Facebook page for your business gives you something very important. Credibility.
With a Facebook Page you can:
- Show your business location and service area.
- Show your business contact details, telephone number and email address.
- If you have a website, link your page to your website.
- Get customer reviews – This is essential to building credibility and gaining new customers.
- Share photos and videos of your products or services.
- Go live – Show your work live on-the-go. This is especially great for nail techs, make up artists or similar
2. Join local community Groups
There are local community groups for almost anything you can think of. Search for groups of similar interest or relevant to your business industry and join the groups. If you plan to share content to or advertise on these groups, make sure you check the Groups community guidelines. Some Groups may only allow, for example, advertising on a Monday only. We like to keep an Excel document or similar to make note of which Groups we need to be active on which days.
Types of Group Pages you can join:
- Local Community Groups – Search for your location on Facebook and filter by Groups. Example: Cape Town Neighbourhood Group. Keep it local.
- Business Classifieds – These Groups are made up of local or national businesses that promote their services to one another or members specifically looking for the services or products of the Group members.
- Similar Interest Groups – For example, Nail techs may join a group made up of other Nail techs where they share knowledge, tips, experiences and learning curves that could benefit them. This type of information sharing is encouraged. You are also able to use these Groups to grow your reputation in the industry.
3. Networking and referrals.
Share your business information and proof of work on your Personal Profile as well as your Business Page and relevant Groups. Instead of constantly asking people to buy from you or use your services, rather use these channels to show what you have achieved. This shows proof of your quality of work, the problems that you solve for people, and that customers are using your services. This creates the impression that you are actively trading and trusted.
Be active on Facebook, comment, like, and share other peoples content. These can be your friends business content, people who provided you with a service, people you work alongside of, customers of yours, or people who’s work you admire.
They may then be more inclined to engage with your content and do the same for you. Comments, likes and shares are the goal. This will expand your reach significantly.
Refer your friends, partners, clients, etc. Make new connections and engage regularly in forums. In the long term this will get you better results.
Some interesting stats:
- When referred by a friend, people are 4x more likely to user your service or buy your product.
- Customers gained from referrals have a 37% higher retention rate.
4. Don’t sell. Solve their problem.
When creating content, do your best to ensure the quality of the content is good and of value. Not everyone can afford a fancy expensive camera or phone for high resolution pictures, however, if you do some research on how to take good pictures, you will be able to at least get the best possible images and videos for your content.
When you share your content, don’t always ask people to buy from you. Try 1 “sell” post out of every 5. This depends of course on your industry. But photos of the work you have done goes a lot further than an advert that only says “Buy Now”.
Create awareness, share valuable content. Sell the problem, not the solution! Impress them with the quality of your work.
5. Use the Search Function on Facebook and Hashtags.
The Search Function on Facebook is a great ‘social listening’ tool to find people talking about your services or products. This is a great way to find potential customers and to engage with them. Your speedy responses and good referrals will help you get the job. So always work on getting more reviews to your Facebook Business Page.
When it comes to Hashtags, do some research and work out which are the best to add to your posts. Hashtags will help Facebook connect you to searches performed on their platform and can help potential customers find you.