So you've been working hard on getting your new local small business ready to go “live”. Now it is time to shout from the rooftops that you are ready to start taking on new clients / customers! The problem is, you are working on a shoestring budget and can't afford to advertise in the local paper or any of the other high cost methods. So how do you advertise your new local small business for free? Here is the #1 way others have found to advertise their local businesses with no money out of pocket.
The #1 way to get out to your local community that your new business is ready to go is something that might not feel comfortable for some of you at first but I promise, it is probably the single best way to build fans and spread the word of mouth. You will want to make it part of your routine because if done right, soon your community will start being your messenger and recommending your services for you!
So what is the awesome free advertising tool? Believe it or not, it is Facebook! I'm not talking about Facebook ads (although you can do those later). So what is the plan? How do you use Facebook for Free to gain clients and customers?
Whether or not you have a current personal Facebook page or not, you are still good. Sign up today for your Facebook page. This is not going to be about the personal information you put on there although showing people you are a “real” person will help. After all, this is more for you to interact with your community. You can even create a “business page” but no need to get ahead of yourself on this. It is a nice to have not a must have. However, please know that it does help with your branding so if you are more familiar with Facebook, I say make it happen now. But for the newbies out there, just start with your personal one.
Ok, now what? Here is where you get the bang for you buck (or lack of a buck!) What you do want to do is track down the Community Pages for your town or city. For example, in my town there is a page for the city, there is one for businesses in the city, there is one for the individual subdivisions, heck, there are probably about 20+ different pages for our city that a small business owner could take advantage of. JOIN THEM ALL! Yes, join them as an individual and where you can as a business.
Why do you want to do this? If you have never visited these pages, I encourage you to scroll through what people are posting. You will notice these pages are all about community and recommendations. People are asking their community who they recommend for various jobs needing done. They are bragging about what an awesome job someone did. They are looking for plumbers, handymen, dog groomers, deck builders, computer repair folks, you name it.
Here is a great example... In our town, we had a guy that a few folks had used for repairing their car. What started out as one person recommending them, turned into two, then three and so on. Now if you go into any of our local pages and ask for a great car mechanic, his name is always the first to be tossed out. Even if people don't recall his name they post “what is the name of that guy again” and people just jump in with recommending him.
Take advantage of this. What he did great was to thank people for the kind words. Since he was part of the rooms, he could see when his name came up and at minimum acknowledged and thanked folks. As he got more popular he offered free services for those in need. For example you could offer a certain free service or a discount to Vets or the elderly or those in dire need. For example he offered free AC checks at the beginning of our hot Arizona summer to 10 people. Make it fun and put it in Facebook. If you don't think this will create buzz about your new business you are crazy. People love to be loved so show your community love!
Let your Fans tell everyone you are “open”. If you are consistently talking to people and visiting the pages. Not being pushy but being engaging, you will build a repetition. When doing jobs, have something you can hand customers after you help them that asks politely if they were happy with your services if they wouldn't mind recommending you to others when they ask for similar services in Facebook. This is a great opportunity for those in any service business. Leave them smiling and they will tell others.
Word of caution! Don't forget, this works both ways. If you give poor service, they will still be talking about you. They will share the horrible experience they had. Sometimes, they might not share it right away but if asked in those community rooms, they might give an honest opinion. So always keep in mind that you want your “brand” to be all about great service!
Facebook is an awesome tool for local small businesses to advertise! Please, take advantage of it. I have watched many small businesses use this Free advertising opportunity to build their business in a relatively quick fashion. The people in the local Facebook groups ARE your potential customers. They may not need you today but they will need you at some point. If not them then their family, friends or fellow Facebook community members. Make sure you are one of the folks that get mentioned. Remember, it doesn't cost you a thing. It is FREE!
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