Alternatives to Facebook Advertising for Business
By Carrol Strain On June 3, 2015
If your business is a small one, you most likely don’t have the advertising budget the big guys do. Sure, you could advertise on Facebook, but that’s a pretty expensive proposition, and if your business is anything like mine, you probably won’t be able to keep it up for long.
But there are alternatives, and I’ve listed a few here. Check them out. Be creative and get the word out about your products or services in ways that work for you and your business. You could find one or two methods that hit your target market in just the right way and give you a boost on your road to success.
Rather than purchasing ads on Facebook, David Goldin, in an article on entrepreneur.com, suggests posting an infographic online, maybe even on your Facebook business page. If you then offer a discount or freebie to, say, the tenth person who shares it with his or her friends, your image could spread far and wide. He calls this strategy “incentive sharing,” and it’s easy to see how such a strategy could help get the word out about your product or service.
If you have the skills, you could write an ebook to give away for free on your website. It doesn’t have to be the greatest literature of all time; just tell your story simply and succinctly, then publish it as an ebook and post it on your site. You could write the story of your business in such a way that your products and services are highlighted, or you could make it more personal and think of it as a way to inspire others to follow their dreams and start their own businesses, too, while still putting your brand out in front of the public. If you don’t have the skills to do such a thing, but you do have a little money to invest, consider hiring one or more freelancers from one of the freelance marketplaces such as Elance or oDesk to help you with the writing, editing, formatting, and publishing.
A freebie such as an ebook on your website could help you to build up your email list, which is still a good marketing tool. Does email marketing still work? According to several experts, yes, it does. It’s still an inexpensive way to keep your customers informed about your business, and it’s simple and easy to do. Read more about why it works in Peter Roesler’s article here.
Have you considered using Pinterest to promote your business? Especially if your business has something to do with food or drink or if you provide services or products geared toward women, Pinterest might just be the right social media site for you to use in this way. Neil Patel recently posted a great infographic about Pinterest in which he pinpoints (see how I did that?) exactly how to go about using Pinterest to generate revenue. For instance, did you know that more women than men use Pinterest, and that pins with color schemes based on oranges, reds, and browns get more action on Pinterest than pins that use colors in the blue range?
With the Vine app, users can create short video loops of around six seconds each. For an example of how you might use Vine in a promotional way, check out Dunkin Donuts’ advertising Vines here. Even more effective Vines, however, could be from your clients and customers showing themselves and their friends enjoying your wares. Since Vines can now be posted on Twitter, you could challenge your Twitter followers to create Vines of your business or your product. The disadvantage to using Vine is that the video loops are user-generated and unmoderated, and while most Vines are family-friendly, some are not. You’ll need to decide for yourself if it’s worth the risk for promoting your business.
And speaking of Twitter, you could always just tweet more often. Keep tweeting and stay in touch with your followers on a regular basis, even if you can’t see immediate results. For more about how to use Twitter, click here.
In this era of millisecond-fame, Snapchat is not just for teen porn anymore. Users’ photos and chats disappear within seconds, but all the same, if you make sure that your brand is prominently displayed in your snaps, you identify your business as very hip, very with-it, very now—just because you’re using Snapchat. Especially if your business is trendy and depends on local traffic, Snapchat might be just the right social media site to could reach your own market niche. Give it a try, especially if your business has anything to do with fashions, food, or fun and appeals to younger buyers.
If your business is aimed toward young creatives—especially if you’re young and creative yourself—Tumblr could be a good social media site for you to use for promoting your business. Tumblr’s multimedia mini-blog format is free and easy to use.
Users of social network Path are limited to one hundred-fifty connections, as studies have shown that that most people have only about that number of workable social contacts. The upside of that equation is that each of those connections is of higher quality—and therefore could produce better results for you and your business—than four hundred-fifty of those same users’ Facebook friends. Take a little while to get to know the site before using it, but do consider it. It just might be the right niche for your marketing.
Nextdoor is social media with a distinct local flavor. Neighborhoods can set up private groups and members are required to give their address and use their real names. Further, members’ identities are verified before they are ever allowed use the site. Think of it as Craigslist with a security guard at the gate. As such, especially if you depend on the local community for your business, Nextdoor could be a great site for you to use to promote your business. Check first to see if there is a Nextdoor network for your neighborhood.
Ello bills itself as completely ad free, and so far it has been able to remain that way, but naysayers wonder how long they’ll be able to make that work. But if your business appeals to artists and other creative types, your target audience could be waiting for you there. You’ll have to keep it low-key, though, since the site and its users are militant about that ad-free stance.
EFactor says it is the largest network and resource center for entrepreneurs. Here you’ll find advice from other entrepreneurs, learn how to make your business fundable, and find out about business networking events you can attend. You’ll find helpful blogs and videos and even a template for a slide deck you can modify to pitch to potential investors.
StartupNation is another free site that is run “by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs” and it offers networking, advice, and even an assessment about whether or not your business is ready to launch. One of the posts that caught my eye there offered four tips on how to attract investors to your business.
Traditional marketing is still alive
So if you have considered advertising on Facebook but have despaired over the cost of it, don’t give up on online marketing altogether. There is hope, as you can see from this list. Be diligent and keep at it. You just might find your marketing niche in one or another of this list of sites.
And if all else fails, get out into the fresh air and sunshine. Pound the pavement the old fashioned way. Post flyers at the library, distribute some business cards, talk to people. And if you really want a break from sitting in front of your laptop or PC, schedule some educational demonstrations about your business. Get out and about and meet people in your community. Get noticed by showing what you have, what you know, or what you can do to people who can use what you offer.
I’m sure you already know this to be true, but I’ll say it anyway: It really does not matter how you get the word out about you and your business, as long as you do so. So get cooking, good looking. Your customers are out there waiting for you.