Starting With $0? Here’s How To Advertise on Facebook for Free

how to advertise on Facebook for free

Facebook advertising is becoming increasingly expensive. Data compiled in Shopify’s Future of Ecommerce report found the average cost per click for search ads increased by 15% in a single quarter.

However, Facebook advertising is something you should try to do, even without a budget. With an estimated 64.8 million Facebook buyers by 2025, social commerce is on the rise.

Luckily, you can advertise on Facebook for free—it just takes some creativity and patience. Here’s how to do it.

1. Create a Facebook Business page

A Business page is similar to personal profiles, but people like a page instead of sending a connection request. All page content is public—anyone who stumbles upon your business’s page can see the content you’ve shared to it.

Optimize your Facebook Business page by uploading:

  • A cover photo
  • A profile image (usually your business’s logo)
  • A description of your online store
  • Contact information
  • A call-to-action button
About section of Bear Walker’s Facebook page showing a cover photo with tire patterned background and yellow “Bear Walker” text
Bear Walker optimizes its Facebook page by using two variations of its logo in a profile photo and cover image.

2. Share free, helpful content

Once a Facebook page is up and running, share free and helpful content with followers. This could be anything from guidance on how to use your products to an image of a previous customer using them.

When posting on Facebook, timing is key. There isn’t much use sharing content when your target audience isn’t using the Facebook app. Time it so your content isn’t buried under more recent content by the time they sign in.

Studies show the best time to post on Facebook is between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., though consider the daily routine of your audience when planning. If you’re targeting office workers, for example, schedule posts outside of peak working or commuting hours.

Facebook begins to collect data about your followers after you post consistently. Use Facebook page Insights to find the most popular time period your followers are apt to log in.

3. Run a Facebook livestream

As social media platforms evolve to facilitate livestreaming, live shopping is becoming increasingly popular. Facebook, in particular, expects to process $500 billion in revenue from global livestream shopping by 2023.

Followers will get a notification when you go live on Facebook. Others browsing your business’s page will also see a live icon to watch the livestream.

Popular livestream formats include:

  • Step-by-step tutorials
  • Question and answer sessions
  • Collaborations with micro-influencers or complementary vendors

Use Shopify’s Facebook integration to make it easy for viewers to buy products you’re demonstrating or discussing.

Take it from Melissa Gersin, the inventor of Tranquilo Mat, who hosted Facebook live videos that educated parents on how to calm their baby, what to expect when changing their first diaper, and baby swaddling tips.

Melissa says, “We send those out in an email blast so that we’re also educating customers. That usually keeps them engaged with us and our platform and obviously keeps our product in their mind so that they’re very likely to add it to their registry and thus convert.”

Woman with brown hair sitting in an office and broadcasting through Facebook live.
Melissa hosts Facebook Live videos to educate Tranquilo Mat’s audience.

4. Invite friends and family to share the page

Chances are, your friends and family will support your small business. Take advantage of your network and invite people to share your business’s page. Your branded content will appear in the news feed of their own audience, increasing brand awareness and showcasing your online store to more people.

You could do the same and actively share content to your personal profile. That way, your entire network sees the content you’re sharing to your business’s Facebook page.

5. Create a Facebook shop

A Facebook shop showcases your product catalog to social media users without forcing them to visit your ecommerce website. They can browse a product’s photos, description, and price without leaving the Facebook app.

Use Shopify’s Facebook integration to automatically add and update product information in your Facebook shop. Tag products from your Facebook shop in content posted to the page to guide followers toward making a purchase.

Product listing for an £11 cream tote bag with the words “Good energy gang” printed in green.
TRIP Drinks’ Facebook shop allows followers to browse its product catalog without leaving the app.

6. Sell via Facebook Marketplace

Facebook offers commerce features for brands to sell to local shoppers through its online Marketplace. It works similarly to Facebook shops, though buyers can browse items for sale near their own location. They can purchase goods and have them shipped to their home directly on Facebook.

Appear in Facebook Marketplace results by optimizing your product listings.

That means:

  • Writing keyword-rich product descriptions
  • Pricing products competitively
  • Using high-quality vertical images (98.5% of Facebook users browse on mobile)
  • Resharing Marketplace listings to your business’ page

Note: You’ll need Checkout on Facebook enabled to take payment via Marketplace. There’s a fee of 5% per shipment, or a flat fee of 40¢ for shipments of $8 or less.

Example of a Facebook Marketplace listing for a matching family Christmas pajama set.
Facebook Marketplace’s guide to optimizing product listings.

7. Host a Facebook giveaway

A giveaway isn’t technically free to run, but you can give away some of your products for free (essentially using the cost price as your advertising budget).

Create a Facebook post with entry details. Require people to like the page, share your post, and tag a friend to enter. Betty Jade Gifting Company, for example, ran a £50 gift voucher giveaway in which followers had to meet specific entry requirements.

Large black square icon with £50 giveaway text and Betty Jade Gifting Company’s logo.
Betty Jade Gifting Company’s £50 giveaway required followers to share the post, tag three friends, and follow the business’s page.

For extra leverage, partner with complementary vendors to host giveaways to increase eyeballs. A Facebook co-marketing campaign allows you to lean on each other’s existing audience, while also building a strong relationship with another retailer.

8. Join local community groups

Communities often use Facebook groups to chat with locals. Use these as a place to advertise on Facebook for free.

Write a short advert that promotes your online store. Consider giving people an incentive to take action off the back of your Facebook ad campaign, such as a discount on their first purchase or free local shipping.

“I advertise on Facebook for free by joining several groups related to my work and posting about it in those groups. I also tag several influencers and reach out to people in the comment section if they have queries related to my topic.” —Corrie Duffy, founder of Corrie Cooks

However, this advertising strategy comes with a word of warning: always read the rules of the Facebook group first. Some only permit advertising on certain days of the week; others require adverts to be approved by an admin. Failing to follow these rules could result in you being forced out of the group.

Corrie Duffy of Corrie Cooks has used this tactic to some success: “I advertise on Facebook for free by joining several groups related to my work and posting about it in those groups. I also tag several influencers and reach out to people in the comment section if they have queries related to my topic.”

9. Encourage previous customers to leave a Facebook review

The vast majority of shoppers seek out reviews before purchasing. Cater to this when people are browsing your business’s Facebook page with positive reviews from previous customers.

The easiest way to encourage people to write a Facebook review is to create an automated post-purchase email campaign. Thank people for their purchase and ask for feedback. Divert them to your business’s Facebook page and offer an incentive, such as a discount on their next order, in exchange for an honest review.

Review from a Harper Wilde customer that thanks the brand for providing comfortable bras for her daughter with sensory issues.
Harper Wilde’s happy customers write reviews on its Facebook page.

10. Work with micro-influencers

Social media platforms like TikTok have made it possible for anyone to make money online.

Partner with micro-influencers and ask them to shout your business out on Facebook in return for a free product. Creators with fewer than 10,000 followers often try to make money through Facebook, and are therefore more willing to accept free products in exchange for producing sponsored content.

Granted, it’s not a completely free tactic, but the only fee involved with this Facebook advertising technique is the cost of your product.

11. Engage with followers through Facebook Messenger

Start conversations with people who interact with your page, such as following, liking, or commenting on your social media posts. These people are considered warm leads. They’ve already shown an interest in your online store; a simple conversation could be enough to divert them toward your ecommerce website.

Initiate a conversation with Facebook followers by asking:

  • If there’s anything you can help with
  • Whether they have questions about your products
  • If they’re interested in a first-time customer discount

As you scale, use a Facebook-approved chatbot, such as ManyChat, to automate as much as you can.

Luxy Hair’s Facebook page with a small pop-up box with the following prompts: “What is your returns policy?” and “How long will shipping take?”
Luxy Hair uses automated responses to answer FAQs on its Facebook page.

12. Use free Meta advertising credits

Meta, the platform that runs Facebook, gives small businesses free advertising credits. There are two ways to receive these: through Meta partnerships or in-product promotions.

Redeem these free credits to run ads through Facebook Ads Manager. Install the Meta pixel, open an ad account, and experiment with your:

  • Facebook ad campaign objective, such as catalog sales, video views, or link clicks
  • Budget, such as lifetime budget or daily budget
  • Ad formats, such as Facebook video ads, single image, or carousel ads
  • Messaging, such as free shipping incentives, a blog post, or customer reviews
  • Audience targeting, such as lookalike or custom audiences

If you begin to see results, reinvest profits into your best-performing Facebook campaign. It’s a smart way to start Facebook advertising with no upfront ad spend.

It’s possible to run Facebook ad campaigns on a budget

Facebook is a brilliant social media platform to advertise your business. Even if the budget for your social media strategy is non-existent, you don’t need a sky-high budget to compete with brands dominating advertising placements.

Use Shopify’s Facebook sales channel, get creative, and involve your existing audience to start advertising on Facebook for free.

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Advertise on Facebook for free FAQ

Are there free Facebook ads?

Facebook doesn’t offer free advertising campaigns through its Ads Manager. However, you can run free adverts on other elements of the platform, including groups, Marketplace, and shops.

How do I advertise something on Facebook for free?

  • Share content to your business’ Facebook page
  • Advertise in local community groups
  • Create a Facebook Marketplace listing
  • Tag products from your Facebook shop
  • Host a Facebook live video

How can I boost my post on Facebook for free?

Facebook sometimes offers small businesses free advertising vouchers to redeem when boosting an organic post. Other free ways to boost your post include resharing it to your personal profile or in local community groups.

How can I get free Facebook ad credits?

There are two ways to get free Facebook advertising credits—either through in-product promotions or Meta partnerships. You can redeem these credits to run Facebook ads through Meta Business Manager.