There are many ways to gain followers on your social media platform of choice. You can pay for advertisers, participate on more popular pages, recommend your page to everyone you meet or you can offer a free product or service. Of all the options, the free product or service offering provides you with the most loyal followers. The U.S. Small Business Association suggests that giving away a free product is a good incentive for people to follow you or sign up for your newsletter.
Deciding on the Free Offer
If you’re new to the game, giving away your product may seem like a risky move. In practice, giving away a valuable product often results in extremely loyal followers. It builds trust in your business since individuals get to see what you have to offer with no obligation. Many tech start-ups offer a free, limited plan to get new users in the door. Once they have signed up for a plan, you can encourage them to follow you for additional offerings, recommend your page to a friend or purchase an upgrade to their existing free service. Something that is pretty low risk is an eBook, like this one, where you just provide information to users, rather than actual product or service.
Your Website Is the Hub for Your Business
Think of the various social media websites as salesmen who go out and promote your product and main website around the clock. When a visitor likes your status, you get free advertising as their friends and family also see your free product offering. When you factor in the cost of traditional advertising, the idea of using your product to get others to advertise for you starts to make a lot of sense. No matter how much money you spend, the most effective form of advertising is still word-of-mouth.
Develop a Plan
Make sure you have a plan before you go out and start giving away your product for free. Decide what you’re hoping to accomplish, determine your target audience and carefully construct the image you want to portray. If your company is interested in attracting a young audience, then aim to provide products and offerings that inspire your followers to try something new. Think about each social media platform, and choose the right platform for each message. For example, use Twitter to advertise limited time offers. Use Facebook for product offerings that are going to stay valid for a long period of time and likely won’t change as often.
How Social Media Marketing Helps
When you advertise through social media, you have a greater likelihood of getting a larger audience for your product. Most people who come to your website will come because they were specifically looking for your company. On social media platforms, you might get new visitors based on something their friend or family member liked. Social media marketing helps to increase conversions, bolsters website traffic, creates brand awareness and gives you a chance to interact in a positive way with your customers.
Understanding the Different Platforms
Don’t be one of those company’s that throws up the same message across every social media platform. Take the time to customize your campaign for the specific platform you intend to use. It’s better to become an expert on one platform than it is to randomly shoot out updates across the Internet. For example, if you promote on Facebook, keep your tone light and friendly. Facebook is a place people go to relax. Pinterest is completely image-based, so cater to your Pinterest audience using info-graphics and attractive media. Twitter is part fun, part business, so you need to ensure you are responding to other tweets, providing relevant industry news and mixing in an occasional product offering.
Ultimately, you can make more money by giving your product away for free in the early stages. Instead of spending all your money on advertising, put your energy into getting a good following for your business. Once you get a solid following, start pushing the more expensive items. At this point, your followers will know your product, trust your brand and be willing to shell out the cash.