When it comes to advertising on Facebook, small business owners may find themselves at a bit of an impasse.
Given the 123% increase in Facebook per ad costs last year alone, coupled with the 25% decrease in ad impressions, it’s harder than ever for smaller brands to reach out in an increasingly saturated (and expensive) market.
Since we here at BeFunky pride ourselves on being a small business, we decided to do a little research to come up with solutions to this pesky problem.
We came up with two solutions. The first? Launch a contest geared towards small business owners called Design Your Dream, in which businesses are invited to design their own business cards using our graphic Designer Toolset. The winner gets a fabulous public relations prize package designed to take their business to the next level, so we’re pretty happy with Solution #1.
Solution #2, however, was a bit trickier, but we think we’ve done it justice.
Here’s the official BeFunky list of 5 new and creative ways brands can reach out beyond traditional Facebook advertising.
1. If you’re looking to connect with your ideal target audience… then try Reddit!
The most popular online forum since the dawn of the internet, Reddit is a place in which registered community members can go to debate everything from Game of Thrones fan theories to the best way to cook an omelette. While Reddit is traditionally viewed as a news and social media juggernaut – with an estimated 17 million users monthly – advertising options for small businesses are surprisingly cost friendly, with brands being able to buy in for as little as $5.
By utilizing the many specialized communities within Reddit – known as “subreddits” – small businesses can leverage Reddit’s massive fan base to connect with their ideal target audiences in unique, innovative new ways. The office furniture maker Haworth, for instance, chose to advertise on Reddit by creating a thread titled, “If you care about your gaming, you should care about your chair”.
With over 400 responses generated, the thread not only helped Haworth find and connect with their ideal audience, but it also gave them valuable feedback about their products, too.
Traditional ads on Reddit are also substantially lower than other ad platforms: with all Reddit ads at $0.75 CPM, advertising on Reddit is a fraction of the cost compared to platforms like Facebook, which usually runs at $1.25 CPM.
2. If you’re looking for more brand exposure… then try Product Hunt!
Product Hunt operates under a simple premise: a website for savvy shoppers and product enthusiasts alike, it provides an online community in which people can get together to “geek out” over the next big thing. Members of the community can then upvote new products they like daily in a fashion similar to Reddit, with the product with the most votes then experiencing a “Product Hunt Boost”.
Since the community is so large (with over a quarter of a million registered members and counting), a feature on Product Hunt can do wonders for increasing your brand awareness and reach. It’s a great place to go if you’re looking for more brand exposure as products that rank well can expect to see a huge increase in visitors to their site, with some brands reporting up to 10,000 website hits in just a 24 hour period after a feature.
While Product Hunt is great for certain types of products – especially for the tech, gaming, and publishing communities – membership is invite-only, so prospective brands looking to advertise are advised to engage in the community before submitting their products to the site.
3. If you’re looking for increased engagement …then try Pinterest’s Promoted Pins!
The market research firm Yankelovich estimates that a person living in the city 30 years ago saw up to 2,000 ad messages a day—compared to a staggering 5,000 today. Having to sort through such a large amount of information on a daily basis can lead consumers to experience ad fatigue, making it near impossible for small businesses to stand out. The solution?
Create stunning, visually appealing content. With 86% of B2B marketers focused on creating visually compelling content now or within the next 12 months, it stands to reason that the rise of visual content is certainly a trend worth capitalizing on.
But how can small businesses take advantage of this trend to help boost their brand engagement? By using Pinterest’s Promoted Pins, of course. With a stunning 42% of all women online having used the platform, Pinterest’s Promoted Pins are just like regular pins, only you pay to have them seen by more people. Small businesses can make their own visually arresting pins with programs like the BeFunky Designer, which offers users a series of pre-made templates from which to work with.
Promoted pins not only offer brands the chance to stand out in an increasingly saturated ad market, but they’re also “evergreen”. Since the pins are seamlessly integrated within the user’s native experience, they’re not viewed as intrusive, which means that all you have to pay for is the initial boost on your pin. After that, all the natural engagement you drive is free and continues to generate impressions, resulting in more traffic and increased brand awareness.
4. If you’re looking for more site traffic …then try StumbleUpon!
A popular content discovery tool that suggests tailored content based on users’ interests, StumbleUpon’s Paid Discovery feature is a surprisingly useful advertising tool for small businesses looking to get the most bang out of their buck. The Paid Discovery tool essentially operates like a PPC ad, with brands only paying when someone actually visits the site. It’s especially handy for brands looking to boost their site traffic because it allows brands to showcase their content without users ever having to leave the site: you’re simply paying to have your own native content served up to users more frequently.
Apart from saving brands the hassle of having to create eye-grabbing copy, the Paid Discovery tool’s real power lies in its “evergreen” quality: much like Pinterest, you only have to pay the initial PPC. Since StumbleUpon’s model is based on votes from users (thumbs up), the more users stumble on the content, the more likely it is to become discovered organically, potentially turning your content into a virtually unlimited free traffic stream. It’s a lesser known tool that, when correctly utilized, can generate astonishing results including a whopping 60,000+ visitors for a mere $0.2 cents per visitor over the course of a year.
(Source: Stefan Maescher)
5. If you’re looking for a strong call to action …then try Snapchat!
Since it’s debut as a video sharing platform back in 2011, Snapchat’s evolved quite a bit. With new, dynamic features like the popular discover tool rolled out earlier this year, Snapchat provides a great platform for enterprising brands to connect with their users like never before. As Social Media Examiner puts it;
“The limited lifespan makes Snapchat the perfect tool to deliver a call to action that creates excitement and a sense of urgency.”
This is great news for small businesses on a budget since it provides them with a multitude of new, creative solutions by which they can leverage their products. Brands can utilize the tool to offer users “sneak peeks” into new and upcoming products, for instance, or even use it to offer limited time exclusive promotional coupons. These techniques not only incentivize users to take action, but reward them for doing so as well, increasing the likelihood of repeat customers in the process.
While big brands will inevitably continue to wage the war against Facebook’s ever-changing advertising algorithms, there are still plenty of great, viable alternatives to Facebook ads that don’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. Small businesses can take advantage of these creative solutions to accomplish everything from increasing sales to boosting site traffic and beyond, proving that sometimes being the underdog is, in fact, a good thing after all.
And if you’re a small business looking to grow your brand in a big way, check out the BeFunky Design Your Dream contest to get the opportunity of a lifetime.
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post by BeFunky