Selling on Facebook can be profitable.
Until recently, smart internet marketing consultants were advising clients that selling on Facebook was not profitable. The thinking was that most people were on Facebook to interact with friends, groups and pages that they followed. Many Facebook users were turned off by posts and ads encouraging them to buy something. Buying was something they did on Amazon or the webpage of their favorite store. Facebook was for social interaction.
That line of thinking isn’t true anymore. Facebook is becoming a place to sell things. According to Jeff Bullas, a leading online marketing influencer, 10 of the top music brands are selling products on Facebook. There are now thousands of local selling groups providing a platform for buyers and sellers that’s quick, convenient and trustworthy.
With Facebook Messenger, sellers know they will get a fast and fluid response from their buyers over more clunky email.
People likely feel confident shopping on Facebook because:
- It’s a familiar platform. There were 214 million Facebook MAU’s (monthly active users) in the US in 2018. That’s two thirds of the country that are regularly interacting on the Facebook platform.
- Facebook is easy to use. All a Facebook user has to do with click on Marketplace and products show up. The Marketplace is easily searchable, and Messenger is used for communication between buyer and seller. Of course, much like Craig’s List or eBay, the rule of thumb is “buyer beware”. If the deal looks too good to be true, well, you get the idea.
The appetite for shopping on Facebook seems to be steadily growing. 2019 is a good time to jump on board, especially as Messenger remains one of the most downloaded apps across app stores. Messenger presents a unique opportunity for businesses to communicate with their customers; providing customer support, receipts, order updates, offers etc., on a platform so many people frequently use.
Selling on Facebook for Business
There’s clearly an interest in buying from individuals on Facebook, but what about business?
In 2015 Facebook made the idea possible with the ‘Facebook Shop’ also known as Facebook Store. An extension to the FB business page, it provides limited functionality as a platform to browse and pay for products without leaving Facebook.
Businesses can choose to use the built-in shop or connect their own, such as:
Many Facebook users still don’t see Facebook as a place to buy. It will take some convincing before you see significant results. Also growing awareness about your products and brand need something ground breaking for people to take notice.
Some Tips for Selling on Facebook
- Set a high price point. If you start low, there is nowhere to go. If you have several versions of a product, showing the highest priced first will make the lower cost versions more palatable psychologically.
- Offer a discount. If you have an online store you can offer a discount to your Facebook followers. Make sure the store is integrated with Facebook before proceeding.
- Attempt to go viral with a new product or product offer. Clear thinking and logic does not a viral post make. You must appeal emotionally with your audience. Sprout Social has an excellent article on how to do this.
- Grow your Facebook base. Your current fans may keep you in business, but you need new fans to grow your business. Beyond sharing engaging content, a good way to get new fans is by offering a deep discount on a popular product. Make sure the expiration on the offer is not far off on the calendar. Urgency is important so the offer should be for a short time.
- Build a community around your brand. Being engaging, funny, a resource of information and commentary helps build a sense of community among your fans and build loyalty towards your company and your brand. The efforts will pay dividends in the sales that loyalty will generate.
Is it Worth It?
Facebook remains one of the most frequently used social media websites and businesses can reach that audience relatively quickly with highly targeted advertising. However putting together a sophisticated store and campaign takes time and investment.
It helps if you already have a Facebook audience to sell to. Do not assume that customers will simply discover your products, and even better still do not assume that they will buy them as eCommerce on Facebook is not yet the norm. However, that will change as more individuals and businesses start offering products and deals on the platform. Getting started now will put you in a good place when that time comes.
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