The short answer to the question, “does free advertising exist?” is yes. There are plenty of ways to promote your business without spending money. It may sound far-fetched, but the power of internet marketing and networking is not to be underestimated. Learn how to take advantage of these free advertising opportunities and help your business grow.
Building Your Online Presence
In a digital world, there is no avoiding social media. You absolutely need to create accounts on social media in order to get any traffic to your business. You will likely need a website as well. Luckily, these tools are not only free but fairly user-friendly. If you know the right platforms to use, you should be able to establish yourself online and reap the benefits of free advertising in no time.
The Most Common Social Media Platforms
Currently, the primary social media platforms that businesses use are Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. These three may seem like a lot to keep up with, but you can actually link your accounts on these websites. That means, if you make a post on your company’s Facebook page, it will be posted on Instagram and Twitter as well. All you need to do is adjust your settings and make sure that all three accounts are linked together.
If you’d like to branch out from Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, you can try Pinterest, Snapchat, and Tumblr, which are all popular as well. Finding simple social media platforms that work for you is an important part of utilizing free advertising. You should try to maintain accounts on as many social media platforms as possible, so you can maximize the amount of people who may see your business.
Consider the demographic on social media platforms as well. If your company is meant for older clientele, you will do well on Facebook, but you might not have much luck on Snapchat, which is used primarily by people in their teens and twenties.
Creating a Website
While creating a website may seem like a daunting task if you’ve never done it before, it doesn’t have to be. Nowadays, you don’t really need to know HTML or coding to create a website that looks professional. Websites like Wix and Weebly allow you to create your own website for free. You can use their online templates to build a website for your business, and you will be provided with a custom URL so you can share the website link.
Growing Traffic With SEO
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Basically, it is the process of making sure people find your website and social media when they search for certain keywords on Google, Yahoo, or Bing. If you don’t know much about SEO, you just need to learn the basics in order to start drawing people to your pages.
Much of SEO has to do with keywords. Keep in mind that people typically enter keywords into a search engine unless they are looking for something very specific, so you need to be sure to include keywords on your pages that are relevant and to-the-point. Once you know what your customers are looking for, you can determine exactly what keywords to use. This will put you higher up on a list of thousands of options.
Content is Key
Now that you have social media accounts and a website, you will need content to share on your new platforms. Good content will be appealing and interesting to potential consumers. Whatever you create, it should be easily shared among your followers. If you have viral content, you can reach hundreds or even thousands of viewers for free without having to do anything else.
What Types of Content Can You Create?
The best kinds of content to create are blog posts and videos, because they are interesting and easily shared. A blog is great for demonstrating your expertise within your industry. You can write about trends in your line of work, updates on your specific company, or anything that you think would get your customers to click the link and read. Even if the blog topic is somewhat general, you can always conclude it with some more information about your company, as a reminder to the reader.
You could also try your hand at making a video. This may take a little longer than writing a blog, but the benefits are clear. People often prefer to watch a video than read an article, not just because it is faster, but because many people are visual learners and respond more positively to this format. Plus, some social media platforms will auto-play videos, meaning the sound will be on even if the viewer doesn’t click on the video.
Remember to use appropriate tags and keywords when you’re creating content. No matter how professional the content is, you will have wasted time and energy if no one is able to find it. When you post the content on social media, you can also tag people or other social media accounts who might be interested. This encourages consumers to tag your company as well, because you are actively engaging the online community.
Where and When Should You Post Your Content?
As we covered previously, social media posts can be shared on multiple platforms at the same time. While this is convenient, certain types of content work better on some social media platforms than on others. For instance, you can post a video on Facebook or Twitter, but Instagram might not be the best place for a long video because there is no way to continue scrolling while still watching the video, which can be annoying to users.
There are ways to get around this inconvenience on Instagram. With this platform you have to choose a picture, but you can take a screenshot of a video or blog and use that as your post. Then, be sure to include a note in the caption that lets viewers know they can find the link in your profile – Instagram only allows one link at a time and it must be placed on your profile page.
You should also be strategic about when you post your content. Even if you are sharing a post on three different platforms at once, it may not be seen by all of your followers on every social media platform. Believe it or not, there are specific times in the day when people are more active on different social media websites. For instance, the most people are on Facebook in the early afternoon on Wednesdays and Thursdays. It sounds oddly specific, but that is the peak time to post on Facebook.
Networking is Always Relevant
The oldest form of free advertising is word of mouth. As the old saying goes, “people buy from people,” and the more face time you can get with real people, the more you will be able to promote your business.
Growing Your Network
You may have a network of connections on LinkedIn, but it’s not quite the same as making connections in person. There are plenty of places you can go for networking specifically. You can search for networking events in your city to find all kinds of events to fit your schedule and needs, and these are great because you meet all kinds of people who are interested in learning what you do. The downside is that it’s harder to be memorable in a place where everyone is promoting their own business.
That’s why you need to think about networking even when you aren’t at a networking function. If you meet someone who you think might be interested in your product or service, give them a business card, or at least your name. It never hurts to try.
Work with Other Businesses
If you know of a business in your community that is not in competition with yours – that is, you offer different but complementary services – see if you can discuss advertising with them. Ideally, this other company should be willing to recommend your business to their clientele, and you can do the same for them. It’s a win-win situation, especially because consumers tend to trust businesses that have reliable partners.
Promote Your Own Brand
If you have your own personal social media accounts, don’t forget to use them as additional free advertising. Anything you share on your company’s social media, you can share on your own as well. Even if it feels like you’re only repeating yourself to the friends and family members who follow you, people will remember your business when they need it or want to recommend it to someone else.
The most important thing is making sure that people recognize your brand, and it always helps when you can put a face to the name. In a way, you can be your own spokesperson.
Free Advertising Works
No matter what online resources you use, there are always free options for advertising. Even if you only create a single social media account or meet one potential client today, you are one step closer to making a name for yourself and your company.