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Saturday, March 5, 2016

3 Ways To Grow Your Facebook Presence for Free

I spent 7 years in college before graduating in 2014: 3 schools, 4 different major tracks, and a whole lot of "What the heck am I going to do with my life?" When I finally left school with BA in Social Studies Education I was dragging my feet looking for a permanent teaching position. There were a few factors against me like it being the middle of the school year and a lack of connections when I arrived in Virginia, but honestly I just thought I'd get to to the classroom thing eventually. Once I ruled out other career options first I'd get to it when I actually had to settle down. 

A few months into my "job search" a neighbor asked me to be the marketing manager of their home-based business, focusing mainly on social media. At first it was a straightforward scheduling gig posting X amount of times a day on Facebook and Twitter. It's also where I got started with blogging. Later on I met a few clients through networking which increased the range of my work to promotions and creative consulting. Needless to say 2015 was a crash course in social media marketing - emphasis on the crash part.

Now as the social media specialist for Chromatic Elements I am writing, planning, and teaching for clients locally and across the country. We are growing quickly since we put the pedal to the metal last month. The other day I was invited to teach a group of local business owners about using Facebook more effectively. I wanted to share some unique tips with them that I had seen results from. I focused on organic growth versus paid advertising both as a way to save money and as an option that fit into their usual Facebook routine. I've outlined those same tips for using Facebook for free to draw your audience in and increase audience response to your Facebook page.

Why call it wasting time on Facebook when you could you be making money on Facebook?

3 Ways To Grow Your Facebook Presence for Free - make your normal Facebook routine work for you

Strategy #1: Reward Interaction
People like to be involved with their favorite brands. Capitalize on that people by offering a little something extra to those who engage with your Facebook page. Give out discounts, do giveaways or contests, or just a simple customer appreciation gift can go a long way.

I suggest only using this to push your audience to your page. Always make sure you have a consistent stream of relevant content when they get there. Otherwise your customers won't have a reason to come back except for the one time. Put in the work to maintain the relationship after the initial contact.

Spotlight Example:
A Dog's Day Out, a local dog daycare facility that I use often, offers a free day of care for those who leave a review on their Facebook page. They also use the page to post photo and video of the dogs hanging out for the day. I always get a kick out of checking if Muggle makes it on on the puppy cam.

Be Aware:
Check and double check the Facebook Terms and Conditions and other promotion guidelines to make sure you are staying within the boundaries of Facebook's pages rules. Depending on what you are planning, Facebook may not allow or appreciate it.

You Try:
Brainstorm 5 ways you could reward your audience for reviewing or responding to your Facebook page. Within a week choose one and test it out.

Strategy #2: Join Groups
If you are using Facebook correctly then you know there are a million different opportunities for local, professional, and hobby-related connections through groups. I myself am a member of 20 groups, including running my own writing improvement group, Writers Without Limits. I get a lot of traffic for all my projects through all the interaction. However, more often I am learning how to work through those projects thanks to the support and ideas of like-minded group members.

The key to Facebook groups to is spend time in the group for the sake of the community. Obviously we all want to promote ourselves, but the ultimate goal is to make friends, not spam. People are more likely to buy into what you are selling if they can identify with you as a person, even across the internet. Give them more than just your money-making goals to define you by.

Spotlight Example:
The Social Media Managers group is an amazing forum for anything related to social media marketing. I've asked questions, offered advice, and I've even been hired because of my participation.

Another great example is a local group called The Real Housewives of Loudoun County. Just recently I was contacted for an opportunity to help out at a local museum, combining my educational background and current social media work. Hashtag bucket list!

Be Aware:
Pay attention to the individual group rules, especially when it comes to promoting yourself. Each group is different. Some groups are open about sharing and others have dedicated threads or days. Breaking the culture or rules of a group can be awkward at the very least or worse have you removed from the group.

You Try:
Download the Facebook Groups app to your phone. Find and join one group related to you locally, one group related to your profession, and one group related to a hobby and start participating!

Strategy #3: Hashtag Holidays 
I learned this from Cara Chace in an online seminar for improving your social media calendar. The "hashtag holidays" idea refers to the celebrating random or interesting days of whatever. The best part is that they generally have a built in audience, as in just by adding the hashtag to your posts you'll be putting your content in front of people who actually care.

Hashtag holidays don't have to include just the extremely unique days. You could consider any traditional holiday the same way. You could even make up your own themed hashtags that work with your individual page or jump on the bandwagon of predetermined days like #mondaymotivation or #throwbackthursday. Either way have fun with it!

Spotlight Example:
The use of hashtags is fairly free form across the board on social media so you can find relevant examples for just about anything. My hometown football team, the Washington Redskins, is an good example of how made up hashtags can become mainstream. The page does a good job of consistent updates and hashtagging that encourages fans to use them for all kinds of posts. #Redskins, #HTTR (Hail to the Redskins), and #BeatDallas are all well-known and used by both on and off season.

Be Aware:
Do your research. Sometimes the hashtags and holidays aren't really associated with what you think they are about. Try looking up tagged posts and topics talked about so you are on track to get the engagement you were looking for and not putting your business or brand in an uncomfortable situation.

You Try:
Head to DaysOfTheYear.com and find 2 hashtag holidays happening in the next month that are related to your business or brand. Within the next week choose one holiday and plan something simple to highlight that holiday on your Facebook page.

Something for Everyone

These three strategies could apply to anyone who has a dedicated page on Facebook. In fact, the whole groups engagement thing made for some incredible results for my band Queens Over Kings. For one open mic event I shared it to a different relevant group every day and there were 1500+ people that saw it. That's over a thousand people that have an inkling of our existence. Since we've been lacking in our reach that's quite an accomplishment!

Which one of these 3 tips do you think would work best for your Facebook routine? Have you seen any growth or engagement from an unpaid Facebook practice of your own? I would appreciate some more ideas in this topic so please comment away!


  1. These are great ideas!! Thanks for the tips.

    1. Glad I could help, Kristen. Good luck :)


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Kristyn here. I'm really good at Googling, dreaming, and thinking outside the box. Someday I'm going to save all the puppies and perform on a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade float.

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