Facebook’s previous foray into e-commerce didn’t end too well when the original marketplace extension failed to gain steam among the social channel’s user base. Facebook even convinced major brands like Gamestop and Nordstrom to open dedicated shops between 2009 and 2011, but almost all of those brands wound up closing their integrated shops within a year.
That didn’t stop Facebook from trying again with the addition of its new “shop” section for business pages.
After an extended beta period for select businesses, the new tool is available to all business page owners who are interested in selling products directly through their page. Rather than functioning as a product feed like Google shopping ads, Facebook is providing a platform for businesses to sell products directly to their fans.
While you’re likely used to advertising on other channels like Google Adwords, Pinterest, or Instagram, Facebook is one of the best channels for boosting sales and getting products directly in front of your target audience.
As a bonus, your customers don’t need to click through to your website to make a purchase. They can shop right through Facebook.
With consumers spending more than 85% of their smartphone time in apps like Facebook, using the right strategy for advertising and selling through the social network could bring huge gains in revenue and new customer acquisition.
Some of the world’s top brands are keenly aware of the potential, investing millions in Facebook advertising annually. When GM pulled its $10 million ad budget from Facebook, Ford defended the platform’s return on investment. Even Anheuser-Busch uses mobile ads for promotion of events like its Made in America music festival and used the social network to advertise during the World Cup.
Thankfully, you don’t need to have a multi-million dollar budget to see results. Try these tips to boost your sales when promoting and selling through Facebook.
1. Shopify Facebook Integration
If you already have an established e-commerce store, the idea of trying to load all your products into a new platform all over again might be a no-go. That’s a time-intensive process if you have a lot of products, or a lot of variations.
Fortunately, if you use a platform like Shopify, you can take advantage of its prebuilt Facebook Shop integration. Your products, including pricing and product images, are imported directly into Facebook with just a few clicks.
“We want to help our merchants sell where their customers are,” says Casandra Campbell, Content Marketer Lead at Shopify. “According to Nielsen, consumers are spending over 85% of their time on their smartphones using native applications, but the majority of their time – 84% – is spent using just five non-native apps they’ve installed from the App Store, with Facebook being number one. Because of this, we want to enable our merchants to display and sell directly on Facebook, as well as through Messenger.”
Selling on Facebook is simple for Shopify merchants. A two-click checkout process lets customers purchase from you directly on Facebook without redirecting to your Shopify store. The integration with Shopify also means you can review traffic and sales data from your Shopify account. Shopify also allows merchants to sell on Messenger, meaning that customers can browse and buy directly in the conversation they’re already having with a merchant.
“On top of the ease of buying and selling on Facebook, messaging apps are enabling consumers to rekindle the conversations they used to have with businesses and recapture some of the lost intimacy that comes with shopping online,” says Campbell. “We believe this integration is a step towards merchants developing deeper relationships with their customers and gives them an opportunity to reinforce their brand’s personality.”
2. Write Compelling Headlines and Product Copy
If you loaded your products using integration, such as through Shopify, you’ll need to edit your products through your Shopify account. If you loaded products manually, then you’ve got a bit more control over those products.
You can create a basic description for your store when you’re initially setting it up, but you also want to create compelling product descriptions and headlines that are going to win you more conversions. When people browse your products on Facebook, they’ll only see the product title or headline. Give each product a strong, compelling, and impactful name that best represents the product and the value proposition.
3. Foster a Community Around Your Facebook Shop
Just because you have the ability to sell on Facebook doesn’t mean you should heavily promote or push those products. It’s meant to be a point of convenience for customers and a way for you to close the gap in lifting conversions.
You should still treat Facebook as the social channel it’s meant to be. That means regularly engaging your fans, encouraging them to share user-generated content, and fostering engagement among the group. At least 80% of the content you generate and share should have nothing to do with promotions or your products. Aim to provide value to grow your community.
Check out this comprehensive guide at Social Media Examiner on how to maximize Facebook engagement.
4. Leverage Your Email List
The larger your following is, the more difficult it will be to get your content in front of all of your followers – including your product promotions and special offers. With the decrease in organic reach that businesses are experiencing across Facebook, you need to supplement your efforts to reach more fans.
Integrate your email marketing and social to let your customers and fans know about new offers and new posts you’ve made on Facebook that would interest them. This will bring more engagement, likes, and comments. When the algorithm registers the increase in engagement, your organic reach can improve among your fans.
When you do post promotions and offers in the future, they’re likely to be seen by more people.
5. Set Up Facebook Offers
When you make a post to your page, you have the option to create an offer. These offers are displayed on your page, and in the feed of your audience just like other posts. You can choose to send that traffic with the offer code to your online e-commerce platform, or apply the offer right in your Facebook store.
With a call to action button fixed to the post, it’s a great way to drive purchases right to the products you’ve listed on Facebook.
Here’s a great guide from Kristi Hines and Crazy Egg on how to promote your brand with Facebook offers.
6. Run Highly-Targeted Ad Campaigns
There are two ways you can promote your products on Facebook: run a display ad, or share a product in a post and boost the post. In both cases, you can target your followers or create very specific audiences for each campaign.
To sell more products, try creating custom audiences in Facebook’s Power Editor based on your audience research. This puts you in front of people who haven’t heard of you but are still likely to be interested in your products.
More importantly, when you take the time to research your audience and fine-tune your targeting, the people who see your ads will be more likely to convert and make a purchase.
Targeting is going to vary wildly from one audience and industry to another, but there are still some common approaches you can take. The customization of ad targeting allows you to get very granular in how you connect with your audience. This includes targeting by:
- People who like your page as well as their connections
- Any custom audience based on interests, behaviors, and demographics
- Any custom audience with exclusions based on interests, behaviors, and demographics
- Stored audience data from Facebook pixels or tracking codes on your site
- Lookalike audiences targeting people who match an existing audience
You can even pull your email list, generating custom and lookalike audiences based on how you segment customers on your list and the data you’ve collected.
Check out WordStream’s collection of Facebook ad strategies for more insight on how to improve your own audience targeting.
7. Share Your Best Products
You can set up collections in your Facebook store, but customers may not want to browse your entire collection in order to find what they’re looking for. To generate more sales, mix in occasional product shares with your other posts. Focus on sharing your top sellers – those are likely to receive the greatest response from your audience.
Don’t hesitate when it comes to experimenting with your Facebook store and testing out which methods drive the most sales.
“There isn’t one tactic that will work across the board from all businesses, and of course, what does work is always changing,” says Campbell. “The businesses that do well on Facebook are the ones that keep trying new things and measuring the results. For example, different targeting options, ad copy, or images can all yield very different results. Use the Ads Manager to compare performance across all your campaigns and focus on the ones that are bringing in the best return on ad spend.”
Just be mindful not to promote too heavily to your followers. They’re following you because they like your brand and your products, but that doesn’t mean they’ll tolerate constant promotions clogging their newsfeeds. If they unlike or unfollow you for being too spammy, you’ll be hard-pressed to convince them to come back.