Little Known Ways To Use Facebook Wifi For Free Advertising

by Toby

October 30, 2021

Little Known Ways To Use Facebook Wifi For Free Traffic

One of the biggest challenges any business faces is increasing its repeat visits, growing average orders, growing local exposure with new potential customers unaware of your business, and improving advertising response rates. While these are common struggles for most businesses, in the hyper-competitive restaurant niche it’s even more critical to success. (If you’re a restaurant, a helpful related post here on Facebook ad strategies for restaurants.)

Not optimizing these challenge areas means your return on marketing and advertising is lower while forcing you to spend more to keep sales up.

Of course, to grow your business you have to have the foundations in place of providing a quality product and good service. Putting that aside, there are simple Facebook and Instagram (Facebook owns Instagram) social marketing tactics that are often overlooked that can be used with wifi that will cost you very little money but have a significant impact on growing your repeat traffic and increasing local exposure and new customers.

In this post, I will outline how Facebook and Wifi can help you generate free to low-cost exposure? Interested? Then read on…

Do you allow visitors and guests to use your Wi-Fi connection?

Whether or not customers get WiFi access at your business and how they access WiFi can have a significant financial impact on these challenge areas mentioned above. Done the right way, however, businesses like yours can realize the following positive benefits:

  • Increase in repeat visits
  • Local social exposure growth with thousands of potential new prospects
  • Revenue growth
  • Increase in the return on marketing and advertising

Leverage the Shift in Consumer Behavior

It’s no secret that smartphones have fundamentally changed consumer behavior and how consumers interact with your brand.

Facebook is the 800-pound gorilla in the social space – consumers spend on average 3 – 4 hours per day on their phones and 1 hour of that time alone is spent on Facebook. Just by the sheer numbers, you cannot ignore Facebook as a channel to reach new and existing customers.

Your Customers Want To Share Their Lives – Help Them and Grow Your Brand Awareness

People want to share their life socially wherever they go – make it easy for them. Every user is now a power user with the ability to influence online conversations about your business in real-time. This scares some business owners; but for others, it’s a golden opportunity to have customers help you increase your local exposure through Facebook and Instagram for almost no cost to your business.

How To Utilize Facebook and Wifi To Grow Your Business For FREE

Free Wifi Access

To have customers push content for you about your brand into Facebook or Instagram (Facebook owns Instagram), you must give them an incentive — and one step in that process is to turn your business’ Internet into a Free Wi-Fi hotspot in partnership with Facebook.

If you’ve been marketing your business on Facebook, you may have already heard of Facebook Wi-Fi. So, why are we highlighting it now? Well, Facebook has been quietly testing a feature to help users find nearby Wi-Fi hotspots since last November — and it’s live.

Facebook rolled out its Find Wi-Fi feature on June 30, 2017, worldwide for both iOS and Android smartphones. To find free wifi from within the Facebook app, users need to click on the 3 bars (hamburger menu) at the top right from within the app, then scroll down to Settings and Privacy and open it up - under there you will see Find WiFi.

how to find free wifi sources within facebook app

how to find free wifi sources within Facebook app

how to find free wifi sources within facebook app

how to find free wifi sources within Facebook app

Facebook determines your location and suggests businesses nearby that offer Wi-Fi. The user can visit the business’ Page or view directions to the location in their navigation app of choice from there.

list of free wifi locations within Facebook app

list of free wifi locations within Facebook app

list of free wifi locations within Facebook app

list of free wifi locations within Facebook app

The bottom line: Facebook is increasing the visibility of businesses with complete profiles which offer free WiFi … for FREE! (for now, at least).

Wait, Facebook will advertise your business page for free? Yep!

If you have more activity on your Facebook page, like “Check-Ins”, Facebook will even push your business higher when people are searching for businesses like yours.

Why should I give my guest free Wi-Fi anyway?

If you’ve already got Wi-Fi in your business, then you’ve already recognized how useful this can be. Even if you’re not a public-facing business and only get the odd visitor to your business, any customer that can access your wifi is grateful for piggy-backing onto your Internet connection as it will often be faster (and cheaper) than using their smartphone or tablet for internet access. If you’re running a business like a cafe or a restaurant, then your guests will probably be expecting free Wi-Fi.

Aside from all the other benefits, we’re discussing, free WiFi encourages people to stay longer in your business, and spend more money while they are there. For the sake of a few extra dollars every month, it’s a no-brainer.

Free Internet Access Means Increased Free Social Exposure To Thousands

In a world where everyone is a content creator – meaning people can post pictures, videos, audio, or text that they create themselves – you’re increasing the likelihood of customers taking photos and shooting video at your location, which they want to share on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat. (And many of you are already aware of how important user-generated content, or UGC, is.)

More check-ins, social shares, images, or videos of your place of business and engagement with your Facebook Business Page will improve how it ranks in Facebook search and the Nearby tab on the Facebook mobile app.

Facebook Check-Ins for FREE Social Exposure To Thousands

If you’re not super familiar with Facebook, then you need to know about a Facebook feature called “Checking In”. This means that people who visit your business can share on Facebook that they are at your place of business. People can “Check-In” on their smartphones, tablets, and laptops.

The simple act of “checking in” is a big checkmark in the box for your business’ social profile. It’s a big thumbs-up from a real person saying, “I am here!”. That’s free advertising since that check-in update goes into the newsfeed of the people that person is friends with. That’s a lot of free exposure when you consider the average person has more than 200 friends – now multiply that exposure by 5 people, 10 people, and hundred people and you can see that exposure grow.

However, to get this free exposure and to increase the likelihood someone will check-in and grow your social exposure, you need to set up Facebook wifi access.

The older frustrating and antiquated way of allowing customers to connect to your WiFi does not allow this.

The old way: Sarah comes to your business, she may be coming for a coffee, a meal or a meeting. She wants to get on the Internet, so she goes through the following steps:

  1. Scans for available wireless networks on her phone and she finds a network with the same name as your business
  2. She can’t connect so she has to ask someone for the password
  3. You give the password to her
  4. She is online

This older path to connecting to your wifi will not prompt the customer to check in on Facebook.

Compare to The new way of connecting to the Internet with Facebook WiFi

  • Sarah scans for networks and connects immediately to your network without a password, and without troubling you.

Benefits To Your Business By Providing Facebook Wifi

Number one benefit: Free social exposure with automatically prompted check-in requests.
Facebook prompts for check-in as soon as she connects; her phone will popup asking her to check in on Facebook (this is a key difference from the older method).

And it’s this automatic prompting for a check-in that gets you more free exposure to Sarah’s friends. Immediately, that check-in hits the newsfeed of many of her friends letting them know that Sarah is at your business – free advertising.

This prompts more conversations to start amongst her friends:

  • “I was there last week!” or,
  • “They have amazing food!”

In fact, every comment by another user exposes your business to hundreds of other people as each person’s comment can potentially be seen by all their friends – exponential growth in free social exposure!

Better yet, descriptive check-ins, especially those with photos, offer a burst of social proof. That sort of advertising would cost good advertising dollars that you are now getting for free every day.

Number two benefit: Facebook prompts for page “Likes.” After your guest checks in, they will be asked if they also want to “like” your Facebook page, so you can continue to connect with them on Facebook (this will allow you to remarket to them later which I’ll explain more shortly, just keep reading…)

Ok, so now that you see the benefit and potential to get your business FREE exposure on Facebook, how can you start leveraging Facebook Wi-Fi?

What Are The Other Benefits of Facebook WiFi? Lots of other pretty cool things…

 1. Gain Demographic Insights Into Your Customers:

Within your Facebook Audience Insights, you can see activity like how many guests liked your page, their age, gender, location, etc., this is data gold about who your customers are that can be used to market to them later both organically and with paid ads. Below is a sample of demographic insights from a Spanish Tapas restaurant.

Facebook Audience Age Insights From Page Engagement

Facebook Audience Age Insights From Page Engagement

Facebook Audience Age Insights From Page Engagement

Facebook Audience Age Insights From Page Engagement

And additional insights on languages spoken:

Facebook Audience Insights - Languages Spoken

Facebook Audience Insights - Languages Spoken

Facebook Audience Insights - Languages Spoken

Facebook Audience Insights - Languages Spoken

is was only a sample of the deep demographic data Facebook can provide to you about your customer base.

2. Increase Repeat Visits, Brand Awareness, and MindShare with Facebook Remarketing (and for very little in ad spend)

Now that you have insights of profiles that have visited you, liked your page, and checked in, you can build a Facebook remarketing ad campaign to reach out to these past customers on an ongoing basis to maintain mindshare, brand awareness and bring them back! How great is that? What other marketing tactic allows you to so easily reach out to past customers?

The other benefit of remarketing ads is that they typically cost very little money to run.

As an example, a restaurant using Facebook remarketing ads can promote an upcoming special day like Mother’s Day, a new item in your menu, your Friday night entertainment, or your catering services. Bring these past customers back by retargeting them! This is a no-brainer tactic.

One Final Killer Facebook Ad Tactic To Grow Customers – Lookalike Audiences

Lookalike Audiences Based On Past Customers That Have Checked-In:

Lookalike audiences are a Custom Audience. A Custom Audience is a special term in Facebook for an audience you define based on some data set like a customer list you have uploaded or people that have checked in as in our case.

The Facebook algorithm finds people that have similar profiles and demographics to the existing audience of checked-in customers that you can run ads to. This is another very powerful way to inexpensively reach other potential customers that have a high likelihood of becoming a customer. After all, the people most likely to buy from you are your existing customers, but the next most likely group is going to be people that have similar interests, behaviors, and demographics as your existing customers.

How To Setup and Leverage Facebook WiFi 

Setting up Facebook wifi is straightforward. There are three prerequisites to set up Facebook Wi-Fi for your business:

  1. You must be an admin of the Page you want to connect
  2. Your Page must have a valid address
  3. You must have a compatible router

Facebook has specific routers and instructions per router on how to set up Facebook wifi – click here to see which routers support Facebook Wi-Fi and how to set up each

Also, note that only Pages with valid locations can use Facebook Wi-Fi, so you’ll need to create a different Business Page for each location of your physical business locations.

If your guests don’t have a Facebook profile, you can give them a password to allow them to skip the Facebook check-in, or you can allow guests to skip it without entering a password.

Wi-Fi users are segregated from your main business network, so they cannot access your PCs, laptops, servers, or any other equipment on your computer network. So, don’t worry there is no downside to allowing your guest to use your Wi-Fi.

When your guests come back, their mobile device will automatically check them in again to the WiFi network.

Wrapping It Up

To summarize, Facebook WiFi provides a significant number of benefits to restaurants that most of your competitors are not doing, and most importantly, costs you very little to implement.

  • Free local social exposure with potential new prospects via check-ins and page “likes” via Wifi access
  • Increased exposure within Facebook with people searching in Facebook
  • Demographic insights about your customers that can be used for better marketing
  • Retargeting campaigns to grow repeat visits and maintain mindshare with your customers

We appreciate and welcome your comments or questions below.

About the author 

Toby is the co-founder of 39 Celsius. He has over 20 years of digital marketing experience and has started several companies throughout his career. He's an expert in SEO, Social Media Ads, Google Ads, Marketing Automation, and more. He has a BA in Chemistry/Biochemistry from UC San Diego and an MBA from SDSU.

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