Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Youtube are all free to set up and use. And if you know what you’re doing, your messages can reach an audience of thousands or even millions. So isn’t social media basically a form of free advertising?
To answer this question, we’ll be posting a daily blog on the merits of each of the main social media platforms. Today we’ll be discussing Facebook.
Are Facebook pages free?
- They doesn’t cost any money to set up
- All you need are lots of good ideas for posts so that people will read them and respond to you
- You can easily promote your page through your network of friends by (a) sharing your posts on your personal Facebook account (b) inviting all your friends to like your page (c) inviting all your email contacts to like you page
- You can use your other social media channels as well as other marketing channels to promote your page.
- You can add free apps that turn your Facebook page into a mini-website. These are the square buttons that show at the top of your page under your main profile image and display information such as likes, photos, or a map of your business. Free apps include the youtube app , Twitter app, and Pinterest app. To see a more comprehensive list of apps, go to https://www.facebook.com/appcenter/
- Do you really want to promote your Facebook page to your friends? Let’s say you’re an accountant, what you offer may be irrelevant to most of them. And even if you have hundreds of friends, that’s not going to get you very far.
- To reach the right customers, you really need make use of Facebook ads. These enable you to promote your page to a highly targeted audience who are actually interested in your products. Only those who match the specified age, gender, geographic area and relevant interests will see your ad. So for example, you can target women aged 35-55 living in Manchester who are interested in knitting. Facebook enables you to do this because of the detailed information it gleans from the profiles of users. It’s not expensive but you’re looking at a cost of 20-50p per fan
- To bring your Facebook posts to life you need to include images. Evidence has shown that visual posts (especially humorous ones) have 53% higher engagement. We don’t recommend pulling images straight out of Google search as you could be in breach of copyright and end up facing legal action. A safer option is to pay for royalty free images from sites such as www.fototlia.com. They have a massive library of images for you to use on Facebook. Most are only about £1 each and the more images you use, the lower the cost per image.
- It’s recommended you consider going for paid Facebook apps rather than the free ones. Not only do they offer more functionality but they also tend to be free of advertising messages. These help raise your game by enticing users to sign up to your page. Services such as North Social allow you to add sign up pages, coupons and even competitions. Many of your visitors will be saying “what’s in it for me?”. The chance to win a prize or qualify for a discount can be powerful bait for them to fan your page!
So having seen all the evidence, do you think Facebook is free? You can certainly do a lot without paying a penny, but will you be able to reach your target audience?