When it comes to making sales online, much has been said and written about optimising your website – but in modern commerce, that's only part of the picture. Social commerce has been making waves for the past few years, with platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest continually developing new ways for brands to monetise their social presence.
Whether you are making social commerce the centre of your selling strategy or simply want to add another string to your company's bow, here's a brief guide to making more sales on Facebook.
Why social commerce?
More and more customers rely on social media to help influence their purchases, so it's only natural that the leap from influence to buying directly through an app should have taken place. There are currently three major social commerce sites where you can buy and sell direct: Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. In this blog, we'll be offering a brief guide to selling via Facebook, as each platform's approach differs.
Set up a Facebook Business Page
To get started with your Facebook shop, you first need to establish a Facebook Business Page. This is free to do, but you can't make your Facebook shop without a personal Facebook account. This shouldn't be too problematic, as businesses which intend on selling should really consider establishing a Facebook Page anyway – it's a great way of gathering followers, sharing content and securing reviews. By setting up your own Page, you'll soon have access to plenty of advantages from a marketing and selling standpoint, including a number of opportunities to use Facebook's suite of budget-conscious advertising tools.
Set up a Facebook shop
Once you've established your Business Page, now it's time to launch your shop on Facebook. This can be achieved by partnering with a Facebook-friendly ecommerce solution like Shopify – or by clicking ‘Add Shop Section' which should appear below your cover photo using Facebook's own ecommerce platform.
Once you have chosen to add a shop, you'll need to quickly agree to a few terms and conditions, add payment information and business details, then go ahead and describe your store and upload products.
To optimise your chances of making a sale, we recommend:
- Adding clear and relevant images of the items you sell – not illustrations or icons.
- Describing your products in simple but appealing language via bullet-points and short sentences.
- Never using text on images – this can detract from the item itself.
From here, you can go ahead and create collections of similar products (ideal if you sell lots of different stock) and even add ‘Featured Products' to capture and promote your best products within your store.
Maximising your Facebook Shops visibility
Now you've set up your shop and listed a few items, it's time to start boosting your profile to maximise the social commerce opportunity. The following tips will help you stand out from the crowd, encouraging purchases and repeat purchases:
- Social Commerce Messaging
Facebook's messaging app continues to grow in influence and users, with a streamlined interface for quick and simple communication. This aspect of running a Facebook Shop is particularly intriguing, opening up options to buy directly through live chat by interacting with a retail bot.
- Audience Targeting
This is one area where Facebook is still far ahead of comparative social commerce platforms, with a wealth of data providing opportunities to target your ads and draw more custom to your Facebook Shop. The complexity of this data is astonishing, allowing you to target different age-ranges, interests, locations and much more – so getting to know your own audience is paramount.
Use Facebook advertising
Facebook has a fairly extensive advertising infrastructure with a wealth of advert formats to choose from. It’s a cheaper option than traditional PPC advertising and allows you to very carefully target Facebook users based on their profile information (such as age, gender, location, occupation and likes).
Incorporate offers and events
Treat your Facebook shop as you would a traditional online store – that means regularly offering customers an incentive to buy with special offers and events. Something as simple as free shipping could tip an undecided buyer over the fence into becoming a customer.
Create posts linking back to your shop items
When you’re creating your social media updates for Facebook, be sure to work in posts related to your shop, its offers, new additions, limited stock and so on. Making regular reference to it increases awareness and can drive traffic to that part of your profile, helping you to sell more.
Use Facebook Live
Video is one of the most consumed content formats on Facebook and its Live and Stores options are growing in popularity. Don’t be afraid to incorporate video into your social commerce plans – just make sure you create content that adds value, is interesting, entertaining or informative rather than a blatant sales pitch.