Facebook is one of the most well-known social media sites around, having survived the many rises and falls of favor in the web industry and continuing to go on strong. For businesses of every kind, attracting customers and making profits with Facebook is a successful tactic. However, paid posts and advertisements show little profits. With such a large community at your fingertips, how can you make your followers into evangelist for your brand, connecting to more customers on a greater scale?

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Here are five tricks for using Facebook as a hands-on marketing tool.

1. Broaden Your Posts

Facebook was originally designed for people to connect with friends and old acquaintances, share what was going on in their life, and interact on a close, personal level. Businesses have since cashed in on the present audience by advertising to people on their home turf, yet the key is to keep Facebook’s original purpose in mind: it’s about connection. By making audiences feel personally invested in your brand, how it functions, and what it has to offer, they’ll feel they’re contributing to your success by sharing your content and recommending your services. You need to strike a chord with them.

  • Make it personal.

By posting more casual and informal content, your followers will be more willing to share it on their own pages. They may not feel compelled to post an advertisement of your latest sale on their page, but if your brand specializes in modern clothing, posting a picture of old 50s-style outfit will draw attention. The latest outfit may be of little interest, but a vintage outfit is cute, it’s stylistic, it’s something someone will want on their page and to share with their friends. Even if the picture isn’t a direct advertisement, you have followers sharing your content, and inherently your page, with their friends, who will share it with more friends, and so on, until that 50s outfit has you laughing all the way to the bank.

  • Make posts relevant.

No one likes spam. Opening your email’s junk folder and feeling like you’re stepping into an annoying game of Minesweeper proves this point. Having posts be slightly off topic is wise, but having them be wholly irrelevant will irritate your current followers and confuse new ones. If you are a business that sells doors, posting your predictions and bets on the latest sporting event may draw the attention of sports fans, but drive off those who care nothing for it. They follow your page because they’re interested in doors, not in sports. Carefully choosing content that is personal but relevant is key; as a business specializing in doors, perhaps post a picture of an old Victorian archway or a celebrity’s new home security gate. This will add a new element to the content your brand offers without distracting from your brand’s true purpose.

2. Use Visuals

People are visual creatures, and studies have shown that marketing campaigns which rely heavily on visuals have more success than those with text or audio. There’s a reason people waste tim- ehm, spend time recreationally looking at cat pictures rather than reading about cats. By posting a picture instead of text, it captures the eye as followers scroll through their newsfeed. Additionally, the follower has a higher chance of sharing the photo based on aesthetics alone, and now you have your brand’s profile featured on another page.

3. Talk to Followers

It’s easy for a brand to become a faceless entity, but Facebook offers businesses the chance to connect with their customers on a personal level and create a relationship. If a customer feels familiar and comfortable with your brand, they will have a greater chance of choosing you over the competition. By speaking and interacting with your followers, you are encouraging trust and familiarity. In addition to this, you are making an impact; when a customer or their friend needs a service in the future, they will think of and recommend the brand which has made a distinct impression on them first.

  • Comment and reply.

By commenting on other page’s posts, you are encouraging conversation among the followers and spreading awareness of your page to new customers. Also, by replying to comments posted on your page, you are showing your brand is attentive, active, and genuinely interested in what your customers have to say.

  • Be personal.

There are enough faceless entities available online and especially with brands; by taking up a fun and conversational tone, you are standing out from the crowd, encouraging followers to interact with your brand, and building a close relationship with potential customers. Once this relationship has been established, said customers will be more willing to recommend you to others, and even suggest that friends interact with your page for the fun conversation.

4. Ask Questions

Opening a dialogue with customers is vital. People like to have their opinions heard and recognized, so by asking for their feedback personally, it gives a sense of familiarity and shows that your brand values them as individuals. If you are starting a new service within your brand or developing a product, post a picture or two and ask your followers questions on the style, the approach, and what they think could be improved. This encourages followers to engage and they may ask their friends to weigh in on the topic, drawing in more traffic and potential buyers.

5. Share Successes

When your brand experiences some form of success – gaining 1,000 followers, breaking your profit record, launching a new product – be sure to share this accomplishment with your followers. If followers feel they are a vital part in your rise to success, they’ll be excited and motivated to speak with their friends, acquaintances, and coworkers, and encourage them to help you reach your future goals.

By using these few tactics and techniques, you can have your target audience advertising your brand independently, drawing in new customers on an effective and personal level.