11 Free Ideas to Market Your Business

It’s important for every entrepreneur to always maintain a positive mindset. “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade” is definitely the Phrase of the Year for 2020.

Marketing your business is an absolute necessity but right now you might be thinking you don’t have the money to hire someone to handle your marketing. So I’m going to share with you 11 simple ways you can put the marketing hat on and get the word out about your business today.

Start a Facebook Group

According to research from Hootsuite, 1.4 billion people use Facebook Groups and there are more than 10 million groups on Facebook. With numbers like that, it’s easy to see why Facebook is prioritizing groups.

Several years ago, Facebook reduced the organic reach for business pages in an effort to show you more content from your family and friends in your feed. Facebook is all about promoting connections because it keeps users on the platform, scrolling around and interacting with others.

Connections are vital to the success of a business so that spells good news for you! While it’s still important for you to maintain a Facebook business page, you should start a group focused around providing valuable tips, tricks, ideas and information surrounding your business industry or niche topic.

You can connect your business page to your group and let everyone who follows your page know to join you in your Facebook Group. Focus on providing value and maybe even some exclusive content or offers to the group members and they will tell their friends to join, too.

Create Twitter Lists

The ability to create custom lists of Twitter profiles is one of Twitter’s best-kept secrets! While the feature has been around for a long time, I call it a secret because I don’t think nearly enough people use them and realize exactly how effective they are for their business.

I maintain several Twitter Lists, including one that contains the top profiles I want to connect with on the platform. Your business can benefit by making a list of your top current customers, a list of competitors, a list of prospective customers that you want to get to know, or a list of other individuals and businesses who are in your industry or closely related to your industry that you might want to partner with in the future.

You can create up to 1,000 lists and each list can have as many as 5,000 profiles in it, so the possibilities are quite extensive. An added perk is that lists can be made Public (where other Twitter users can view who is on your list or those you add can receive a notification of your list) or Private (where no one can view the list or find out they’ve been added – which is perfect for following the competition).

Live Stream on Facebook and Instagram

Although it can be intimidating putting yourself in front of the camera, going live on Facebook or Instagram is one of the best ways to build a relationship with your customers and target audience. It’s all about putting the “social” back into social media and there’s no easier way to do that than to tap into the power of video.

Live video helps you easily interact with your audience. They can ask questions, get the latest updates from you and let you know what is on their mind. You can use live video to give a tour of your facility or share some other behind-the-scenes action, introduce your employees to the public so they can learn more about who they are and what they do, or even give a sneak peak into a product or service you are developing!

Develop Partnerships on Instagram

Partnering with another business on Instagram can produce a win-win situation for everyone. It’s a great way to expand your audience and help promote another great business in the process. Each company can share something about the other business in an Instagram feed, Instagram Story, or IGTV post to raise awareness about each other. You can also offer people a coupon or discount on their next orders if they purchase from both companies by a certain deadline.

That’s just one of the many examples of ways you can partner with other businesses to do some old-fashioned, word of mouth marketing. Be sure to tag each other in your posts, share each other’s messages and use some key hashtags to reach the most people possible!

Answering All Questions and Replies

If someone comments on your post with a question or remark or drops into your Direct Messages looking for more information, be sure to reply to the post or message. In this new digital age, social media is the new customer service outlet and customers and prospects expect a reply.

Every customer and prospect is valuable when you are starting and growing a business. The more consistently you engage with your audience, the more loyalty they will show to your brand in the future and more positive reviews they will leave.

Plus, when you reply to someone’s comment, it has the benefit of making that person feel seen and heard, as well as showing others that you truly care about building a relationship with your customers.

Comment on Posts Your Customers or Prospects Share on Their Own Social Profiles

The key to social media success isn’t just what you post on your own profiles, it’s about visiting the profiles of others and commenting on and sharing what they post.

When you comment on another user’s post (whether that is a customer, prospect, or business professional), it opens up a path for a conversation to begin. Interacting with fellow pros in your industry or those in businesses you might want to partner with can help you grow your professional network. And commenting on posts from other customers or prospects (even when they aren’t talking about your business) shows that you care about others.

Just be sure to remember to use the comments section as a place to build relationships and not another outlet to sell or push a marketing message. Being genuine and authentic has a way of leading to some good karma in the end.

Use Twitter Search For Social Listening

Everyone knows about the power of Google to discover just about anything you want to know on any topic you can think of. Well, Twitter has one of the best search functions of any of the social media platforms.

When you use the Twitter Advanced Search function, you have multiple ways to refine your search by words, accounts, filters, engagement and dates. In the Words section, you can search for a specific keyword by using quotation marks around the word, search for an exact phrase or one that contains certain keywords, or search for a hashtag you want to keep tabs on. You can also search for tweets that were written in languages other than English.

Under Accounts, you can search for tweets that were either sent from a particular twitter account or in reply to a particular twitter account, or search for tweets that tagged an account using the @ symbol. The Filters section gives you options such as “Only show replies” or “Include tweets with links.”

Under Engagement, you can set parameters so Twitter only shows you tweets that received the minimum number of replies, likes or retweets that you indicate. And, finally, in the Dates section, you can set a specific start and end date so you can find tweets that were posted during a specific time period.

Run Facebook or Instagram Contests

Who doesn’t love to win free stuff? Running a contest on Facebook or Instagram is a great way to expand your reach and get the word out about your products or services.

While a contest will require you to offer something of value (a free product or a discount on the next service purchase), it’s completely free to run the contest on Facebook or Instagram. Just be sure to check the Terms of Service for each platform for the latest information and requirements on running a contest.

Many contests have you comment and tag another user as part of the requirements to enter the contest. When someone is tagged, they receive a notification and will often come and check out your post and profile and maybe even enter the contest, too! It’s a great way to grow your audience and offer the chance of a reward for that person’s attention.

Ask for User Generated Content

Everyone has a moment when they’ve interacted with their favorite brand or celebrity and were bursting with excitement over the interaction. It’s natural for people to want to be seen and appreciated! Asking for User Generated Content (also commonly referred to as UGC) is a great way to gain lifetime loyalty from a customer or prospect.

There are two ways to do this that will be most effective for your business. First, you can ask people to send you a photo or video of them using your product or speaking about the benefits of your service and ask their permission to feature it on your social media channels.

When you do this, be sure to tag the person in your post. This gives them credit and also lets them know that the post is live on your channel and they are likely to head there and share on their own profile how you featured them. This is another opportunity for your brand name to reach that person’s friends and followers.

The second option, is to ask your followers to just post the photo or video directly to their social profiles and tag you in their post. This still builds a sense of curiosity among their followers and people are very likely to click your handle in their post and spend some time viewing your social media profile.

Email Newsletters

If your business is already established and you have a few customers, another great way to keep in touch and help build attention for your business is by sending out an email newsletter. This is a great way to keep your customers updated on what’s going on with your business.

You can also use your newsletter to survey your customers and ask for their advice on your next product or service offering and get an idea of how satisfied they are with your products or services. Another great way to keep readers opening and interacting with your newsletter is to offer exclusive content or discounts that they will only find there.

Be sure to only send your newsletter to customers or prospects who signed up or asked to receive it and provide an easy way for people to opt out of receiving the newsletter if they change their mind in the future. This helps build a sense of trust in your business.

Join Networking Groups and Industry Associations

If you’re looking for a face-to-face way to build your business (whether it’s in-person or virtual), join a networking group or industry association group. Use the Meet Up website to search for groups in your area or do a Google search for associations in your particular industry or niche.

These connections can be valuable to grow your business! It helps you get the word out about what you offer plus gives you a chance to offer some free advice that showcases you as an expert in your field. Very often, people in these groups will be loyal to other group members and call you up when they are in need of what you offer or recommend your business to a family member or friend.

There are a countless number of free ways to market your business. I encourage you to pick even just one of these ideas and try it out today to see the results it can bring for your business.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Kelly Kostanesky is the owner of KMMK Communication, a digital and social media marketing agency  that helps companies build a successful business by growing a community of loyal customers. She uses her background in journalism and public relations to be a strategic storyteller for her clients. That combination of skills makes her uniquely qualified to help companies take the specific mission, vision and purpose for their brand and turn that into a compelling story about the value that their business provides to their customers.

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