It’s not news that Facebook has been the platform du jour for big brands for the past few years. The ability to target ads, build apps and communicate with fans and potential customers makes it an obvious choice for online marketers. Recent changes to their EdgeRank algorithm, however, has left a sour taste in brands mouths as they’re now required to pay in order to garner views, let alone engagement. But what about the small business that can’t afford the five-, six- and seven-figure media buys to build their fan base? Well, they’ve figured out a work around.

We’ve noticed a growing movement among small businesses to create personal pages on Facebook to help circumvent the much maligned pay for play ponzi scheme we’ve covered. In this, businesses are able to add their friend network, make offers, tag friends and comment on pages. Sure, they aren’t getting the analytics or apps that brand pages do, but they are able to add friends, turn up in search and reach a much deeper level of engagement – for free.

Nearly encouraging this, Facebook will convert these personal pages over to brand pages for free when they’re ready. I know of two business owners who’ve done this purposely for the reasons listed above.