Facebook marketing is still the Holy Grail for some businesses in terms of gaining exposure to a wide audience of everyday people. Times have changed drastically from the early days of social networking though, when everything was free and people wrote about how such networks would connect the whole world. Back then that included brand pages and businesses as well as individuals but now businesses have been left out in the cold.
As Facebook has become the defacto social network for most people, especially those who have achieved the status of “adult”, it has grown increasingly hard for brands and businesses to actually reach the vast audience on the platform. The main reason has been Facebook’s slow, intentional throttling of the reach of Facebook Pages. Their stated motive for limiting the reach of business page posts is to improve the quality of their user’s experience. In reality it is just how they are turning the once free platform into a “pay to play” network.
As it stands right now it is hard for a new business or brand to establish a foothold on Facebook and build an audience without using advertising. Of course it is nice to have some free alternatives to start with before having to start investing your hard earned money in promotion on the platform. Facebook does provide ways for you to start building an audience that are still free. The problem is that not many people know what they all are or how to use them. This article is intended to make readers aware of the possibilities that are still there.
Facebook Marketing For Free: Method 1, Via The Business Page
Invite your email contacts to like your page. Facebook provides a bulk email invitation tool that can be used to invite up to 5,000 of your email contacts to like your business page. According to Facebook’s help page on the subject this feature “may or may not be available on your page”. If you have just set up a business page it is likely that the tool will be available.
I am surprised at how many people never realize that the tool exists. That includes devoted Facebook users. To access the tool go to the “Build Audience” tab at the top of your page dashboard and activate the dropdown. If the choices offered include “Import Contacts” then you are able to use the bulk email invitation tool directly from your Facebook business page.
If you are an established business who is just venturing onto the web it is likely that you already have a large collection of email contacts that you can invite to like your Facebook page via this method. These contacts might include business contacts and or customers and suppliers. Facebook puts a rather high limit on the number of invites that you can send (up to 5,000 a time and you can do it as many as 5 times with a daily limit of 7,000 invites). That is 25,000 potential new Facebook page like from people you already know without spending a dime on page promotion!
Facebook Marketing For Free: Method 2, via Your Personal Page
If you do not have the “Invite Contacts” tab available on your Facebook business page there is still the option of sending bulk invites via your personal page. This may not be as attractive as sending the invites from your business page but it is an alternative. If you are a small business then it is likely that most of your business contacts know that you are the main representative of your business and so it is not that bad of an option.
To access the bulk invite tool from your personal page go to the tab at the top of your Facebook dashboard labeled “Find Friends”. Clicking on that will take you to a page where you can find friends on Facebook or invite friends via email (either individually or in bulk) from a number of specific email platforms or you can upload your contact list from email platforms that are not directly supported via a CSV file. Google’s Gmail is one platform that is not directly supported for bulk upload. You can find directions on this page on how to export your Gmail contact list as a CSV file that you can then upload to Facebook.
I do not know that there is technically a limit on how many invitations you can send to your contacts from your personal page. That said I think it is important to consider the quality of your contact list and the likelihood that the people you send invites to will respond in a positive way. If you abuse the opportunity there is some likelihood that Facebook will take away the option. This is somewhat stated by Facebook; ” Please send invites only to friends who will be glad to get them”.
I am not saying that this is the best way to build an audience for your Facebook business page but it is an option. If you are a small business with limited cash to invest in advertising it may be something that will be useful to you. It is like anything else, success depends on implementing the tool in the best way for your business.
In the image to the left is the invitation box that Facebook provides to send a message to your contacts. I included a sample message in the image that you might use when inviting customers or other business contacts to like your Facebook business page via your personal page email tool. Good luck building your Facebok audience and remember that building an audience is only the first step in successful social networking.