How to Market a New Business for Free on Social Media

Social media gives you access to a large customer base that you can market your product or service to. As you build your followers it allows you to constantly put messages in front of this audience and let them know about special offers and discounts.

While paid ads on social media are very effective, not all businesses have the budget to market there in the early stages. Aside from starting a blog for your business, social media can be a huge opportunity. But, there are several ways you can leverage the power of social media and market your business without spending money. You have to be willing to put in the effort, but if you aren’t afraid of hard work here are some ways to start drumming up awareness for your new business.

Build a Facebook group.

Facebook groups take the community aspect to a new level. The good thing about groups is that they don’t feel spammy or overly promotional. You have to think of a way to build value, and then you can easily attract group members and it gives you a place to market indirectly.

For example, if you are a local gym, you can create a Facebook group for all members and announce specials, like extension offers or group training classes. “It’s important to mix in a lot of free info to drown out the promotional posts. Free tips and helpful information should be the main content,” suggests April Gillmore of clickfirstmarketing.com.

Find a way to use Instagram to visually showcase your business.

A lot of small businesses don’t understand Instagram, therefore they don’t market using it. They assume it just won’t work for them. While you can’t include links or direct offers easily, you can use it to brand your product or service and help stay in front of potential customers.

The trick is to figure out how to use visual content to market whatever it is that you sell. For example, you will see a lot of business consultants use Instagram and show pictures of material possessions like cars. These nice things allow them to portray success without directly marketing.

A local ice cream store could simply post amazing creative shots of the ice cream they sell to drive brand awareness, which then translates into store visits. “Instagram influencers is a great way to get virtually any product in front of a very responsive audience,” says Ignacio Soria of cannandco.net. “You can often find micro-influencers that will promote your product for free in exchange for a discount.”

Offer discounts for follows and shares.

Want to build up a large following on your social media profiles? A lot of businesses will buy followers but they are useless. They aren’t real and they do nothing for your business except make you look desperate.

The easiest way to grow your following is to provide incentive in the form of a discount or special offer. Someone is likely to follow your social media profiles if you offer them a discount for doing so. They are clearly interested in your business, so they will not think twice and follow you, especially if they receive something in return. You can also use incentives like this to help spark impulse purchases, like an indoor water fountain, for example.

Now as your following grows you have an audience you can always market to and this costs you nothing. Large brands leverage this well and receive a tremendous amount of impressions and exposure for nothing.

Complete all social profiles to fill up Google page one.

One way you can leverage social media to market for you is to simply fully complete all of the profiles. Social media sites have high authority, so including your website link, business name and contact details can help you attract business and customers without doing much.

“You need to fill out the profiles completely and optimize them to include your location, as well as location descriptions and a full range of details about the products or services you offer,” says Jeannie Hill of Google geolocation mapping agency Hill Web Marketing.

Also, this helps when someone searches for your business by name. These profiles will occupy the first page along with your website, which reduces the amount of competition that is displayed near you. The more of the first page you can occupy, the greater the chance that person decides to do business with you.

Use automation to engage with local potential customers.

There are many automation tools you can use that will engage with potential customers without making you look spammy, but don’t be spammy with them, as according to Perth Web Design CEO Oliver James it’s not effective. “Don’t do the follow/unfollow strategy many use. That doesn’t work well and it actually pushes people away.”

Instead, use hashtag and location targeting to find content and ‘like’ it. This piques curiosity and the people will look at your profile. If they find it interesting they will follow you, meaning you gained a new follower that is genuinely interested in what you offer and aren’t just following because you followed them.

It doesn’t matter if you are providing a service or selling a consumer health product like Merkur offers. Your audience will be found on social media regardless of what you offer, and automation to help generate more targeted engagement can help get you noticed.

Follow those that follow your competition.

An easy way to get the attention of those on social media that will have a high probability of being interested in your business is to follow the people that follow your competition. It’s easy to do. Locate your competitor’s accounts and follow away.

A company like P101 Pest Control can find their local pest control competitors and follow the people that are connected to the other social media profiles. These are people that more than likely have a problem and seeing the engagement coming from another option will cause them to look at them as a potential service provider next time they need to hire someone.

If they follow you back, great. If they don’t know big deal. You can continue to follow them and engage with their content. Eventually it may cause them to follow you or at least check out your offers. It takes nothing but time to do this and it can pay off if you are consistent.

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn't know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.