How To Stretch Your Facebook Marketing Budget

In today’s economy, businesses big and small are squeezing a dollar, but there is a way to market large while spending small.

Racking up sales, no matter the product is only successful when businesses work smart. That means setting goals and providing exceptional customer service.

It also requires a modern twist to appeal to the going-on one billion Facebook users, with at least 600,000 checking in at any one time.

First up, moving beyond the like is critical to building brands. The good news is,with a little creative thinking and good ideas, it doesn’t cost much.

Recent marketing changes implemented by Facebook last fall, such as lending users more control over their own news feed, means businesses must socially engage fans beyond the traditional thumbs up like to break out from the crowd.

Social action and interaction is a must. User stories offer brands a critical opportunity to become part of that story, by weaving product or service into the experience.

The more interesting and the clearer the opportunity for user interaction, the better it is for business.

Plus, thinking up a few good approaches is a good excuse to gather friends and colleagues for fresh infusion of new ideas during a classic brainstorming session.

Second, make the branding approach fun and edgy.

One of Ford Motors’ most successful campaigns began with an orange puppet named Doug. At first, many questioned this Sesame Street like approach but a plain orange puppet with a wacky sense of humor and strong sense of self appealed to the younger demographic who tuned in to Facebook to see what he’d do next.

At a nominal cost to Ford, which spent only pennies on the dollar, Doug breathed new life into a formerly stale car brand.

And, it isn’t all about spending lots of money on ads. Ford actually bought some small ads on Google directing viewers to Facebook where they could see one of 49 Doug videos that cost Ford the same as producing three 30-second commercials for TV, according The Wall Street Journal.

Third, everyone loves for their opinions to matter. Get product updates in the mix between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. when office workers are likely to pop in and out to check their feeds. That’s prime time to engage users in talking up your brand.

Speaking of prime time, CBS leveraged Facebook’s power to catapult into ratings domination after languishing in the shadows of the other big two by heavily promoting a new police drama that preyed on people’s fear of being continually watched by Big Brother.

The Thursday night show “Person of Interest” debuted to tepid ratings until producer J.J. Abrams enlisted one of the show’s stars Taraji P. Henson to post behind the scenes snippets about shooting on the streets of New York City.

Loyal first-round viewers not only liked this, but posted questions to Taraji, who answered back. Producers pushed the show’s mystique along by telling hero stories about star Jim Caviezel, who during filming actually rescued a woman from an attack, according to line producers.

Finally, show producers repeatedly encouraged followers to vote for the show in the week’s leading up to the January 11th broadcast of the “People’s Choice Awards…and the show won Best Drama.

  1. Other smart and inexpensive marketing tips include:
  2. Cross promote with other social media to offer users a full experience that they can share with even more friends;
  3. Partner with a non-profit or charity and encourage your followers to donate; and
  4. Offer a small prize for asking fans to recommend the business.

A small hotel in Maine tried it out and managed to increase page followers to 1,500 in a matter of days, by encouraging recommendations and rewarding one contributor with a random prize drawing for a $100 resort credit.

The key to stacking deep and selling cheap is to use creative methods, manage the ensuing input and figure out a way to keep the excitement going. It’s more valuable than buying ads and followers become part of the sales force.

Lead image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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