Ah, remember the good ol’ days when it didn’t matter whether you were a small or large business on social media? Back when content reach was limitless, the playing field was level, and bringing in new business was just a matter of using clever words, eye catching photos and fun contests? Well, unfortunately, those days are over as many social media outlets have turned to the “pay-to-play” option in order to get your promotional posts seen.

So what are small businesses to do if they can’t afford to pay for ads? Certainly, there are other ways to reach potential customers without paying? Right? Right.

Shared Content is Gold

There are creative ways to get around these new pay-to-play formats. One is to get your content shared. Sharable content is a valuable commodity on social media and there are certain approaches that have proven effective and others, well, not so much. Unfortunately, one of the least shared types of posts are those directly promoting your business. Ouch! These types of posts are a turn off in most cases. And even if your current followers love the offer, they may just opt to give you “like” instead of a “share” because they don’t want to appear to their followers as if they are advertisers themselves.

Think Outside the Box

But How Do I Get People to Like My Brand If Advertising is Not an Option?

One thing that does work when it comes to getting more shares is posting informative and interesting content. Post content that your followers will love to pass along to their followers, and so on and so forth.

For example, say you work for a coffee company. Most likely, the majority of your followers have already tried your product and have liked it enough to follow you on social media pages. Now, the goal is to reach more potential customers; those who haven’t tried your product.

Posting a comment such as “Try our new dark roast ground coffee and get 10 % off your next purchase,” may get some likes among current followers, but most likely won’t get many shares. Now imagine posting a photo with a fun fact, such as:

coffee

 

Believe me, your coffee-loving followers will share this interesting factoid with their followers, and your reach will include potential new customers who will notice your subtle branding in the lower right corner. Much better than an in-your-face sales pitch.

Try Infographics

Another type of post with a proven high share rate track record is one containing an infographic. An infographic brings together creative images/illustrations and statistics to present information in a fun way. For example, what goes great with a cup of coffee? How about a slice of pie? Here is an infographic fromCouponCabin.com that they posted close to Thanksgiving that featured the most popular types of pies.

theres-always-room-for-pie_50ad832198395

You can create an infographics pretty simply and reach more potential customers through sharing. There are some free programs including www.piktochart.com and www.visualize.me that you can use to create your infographic, or you can utilize programs such as Photoshop.

Keep in mind, there is no shame in asking your audience to share your posts. You can also refer them to a Pinterest page for a retrospective of all the fun facts and infographics you have posted about your brand or service. And there is also no harm in sharing posts from other brands. For example, recommending a bakery for some tasty pastries to go with your coffee brand. Hopefully, the bakery will return the favor and recommend your coffee. So remember, post and post often! At least twice a day (10 a.m. and 3 p.m. they say). Stay tuned for more great tips like this to avoid the pay-to-play jungle!