Do you have a small business with big ambitions?
Selling on Facebook is an option that you shouldn’t overlook if you’ve got sales to make.
It might sound like an old school platform by today’s standards, but Facebook has incredible reach. It’s the third most visited site in the world, after Google and YouTube.
If you’re not sure where to start, we’ll show you how to sell on Facebook, and how to do it successfully.
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If you’re new to selling on Facebook, you might be a little lost or confused.
The platform offers more than one option for profiting from products.
Depending on who you are and what it is you’re selling, you could use either Facebook Marketplace or Shop. In the future, you’ll be able to use Shops too.
Yes, that’s Shop and Shops.
While all options are open to business sellers, they’re not all equal.
Let’s take a look at the differences between Facebook Marketplace, Shop, and Shops before deciding which route is right for you.
Rolled out in 2016, the Facebook Marketplace feature is sometimes referred to as the site’s answer to Craigslist.
Facebook has made moves to open their marketplace up to business sellers, but at its heart, this feature is a garage sale.
Don’t be deterred – Facebook Marketplace could just be the perfect model for your business.
There are potential benefits to selling through this feature:
If you’re a business with bigger ambitions, you have probably just read between the lines to find the cons.
In the spirit of balance, though, here’s precisely why you might want to avoid selling on Facebook Marketplace:
Facebook has had an iteration of a ‘Shop’ tool for some time. If you browsed the app for personal use, you’ve probably noticed it on the pages of your favorite store.
The Shop feature is available to businesses of any size and it sits in the navigation pane of a business profile page.
In terms of getting your business some traction on social media, the Shop feature has some real benefits.
While the selling side feels a little more passive than on Facebook Marketplace, Shop offers:
Shop is a great feature to utilize, but it has its downsides too. Think about these while you’re getting excited about selling:
So, Shop versus Shops: what’s the deal?
Introduced in 2020, the Shops feature is an eCommerce platform designed by Facebook with small businesses in mind.
While Shops is so new it’s still being rolled out, it’s highly likely it will take over the existing Shop feature in a bigger, better way.
Offering a much more tailored shopping experience, the new Shops update gives Facebook a really clear footing in the world of eCommerce.
If you’re new to using Facebook as a small business owner, the Shops feature could give you all the tools you need for success:
While it looks like a better business proposition than Facebook Marketplace and the more established Shop feature, Shops is still an unknown:
In case you didn’t already think that Facebook loves the word ‘shop’, we should mention something else.
You’ll see that some business pages already have the word ‘Shops’ featured on their navigation panes. This will direct users to physical store locations, not an eCommerce platform.
Users will be able to access your shiny new Shops eCommerce feature by tapping a button at the top of your business profile.
Before you start selling on Facebook, be confident that your business is ready.
There are millions of people selling on this app. Having impactful visuals, a cool backstory, and tons of information prepared will help your business stand out from the get-go.
Check you’ve got all of your housekeeping in order so you can start selling on Facebook with ease.
Sure, you can just about get away with not having an online store to sell on Facebook. If you’re only planning to make a bit of money through its Marketplace, all you really need is an account.
Otherwise, having an online store will be crucial for your success:
If your online store looks good and conveys a compelling message, you’ve done a great job.
Make sure you’re ready to replicate this as you start selling on Facebook. Remember, consistency is key when it comes to developing your brand.
A clear brand identity is at the core of any successful business.
Want your followers to trust you and feel loyal to your brand? Of course you do.
Make sure you look consistent across every channel you’re selling on, including Facebook. You should have a clear idea of:
While Facebook isn’t the most visual social media platform, you’re still working with short attention spans.
Just like a storefront in a mall, your business page or Marketplace listing will need to be captivating right away.
Unlike a real life store though, you’re selling people things they can’t touch yet. Get your images right by:
If customers discover your store on Facebook, they’ll want to know all about it.
While you shouldn’t overload users with information, it’s annoying to have to go on a scavenger hunt when all you want to do is buy a product.
Be ready to go with:
Happy with the look of your brand?
The next step is to set up your Facebook business page, which will act as the gateway to your Shop.
From here, you can manage everything to do with promoting your business to Facebook’s users.
Unless you’re still sure that Facebook Marketplace is the only way you want to sell products, this page forms the foundation for your store on this app.
Check out our comprehensive guide on how to create a business page on Facebook.
Once you have a Facebook page ready, adding the Shop feature is a straightforward task.
You can choose to upload your entire catalog of products or a selection that you’d like Facebook users to see.
Choose filter options for items that mirror those on your website, or which feel the most intuitive for a browsing user on a voyage of discovery.
Then, with your Shop in place, you’re ready to go.
Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of listing items to sell. Facebook users aren’t just going to fall into your Shop without any effort from you to promote it.
This is where Facebook Marketplace kind of has the upper hand when it comes to visibility.
On the Facebook Marketplace feature, if you have what people need, they’ll find your listing.
With a Shop though, you’re in it for the long haul.
One great perk of selling on Facebook is that you can be way more personal with your customers.
We’re not saying invite them over for dinner, but don’t hold back from giving them a little more insight into your brand.
If you sell on Facebook through a Shop rather than via Facebook Marketplace, customer retention should come easily with consistent posting.
Reassure your followers that they aren’t buying products from faceless robots.
If you have people helping you sell items, show them off on Facebook. This is a great way to add personality to your brand, and it’ll also add value to what you’re selling.
You could feature your coworkers:
Don’t have a team? That shouldn’t stop you from engaging with users.
Think about how much you want to feature yourself on a page for your business. It might be overkill, but it could also be the making of your personal brand.
If you sell handmade items, sharing your personality through your posts can be a great move for engagement.
In a world obsessed with convenience, people still like to see that there are small businesses taking the time to do things properly.
We’re also all inherently nosy. Social media is the best, most wholesome way for people to indulge in their nosiness.
Capitalize on this by sharing regular updates like:
If you use dropshipping or you work out of a badly-lit warehouse, get creative with your posts.
You’ll always have to be thinking about what to sell next, so share what inspires you. Try to not be just another faceless dropshipping store.
Opinions: Facebook is full of them.
With over 2.6 billion monthly active users, you’re sure to get feedback whenever you post on your Facebook page.
Open your store up to opinions by posting items you sell on your main page. It’s quick, free, and will also help you understand your customers better.
Your business page is where users will first discover your store. Don’t hide items in your Shop tab and expect people to stumble across them organically.
With a bit of effort, you’ll probably find that featuring items on your main page will influence what you sell in the future.
Do the legwork and feature your products by:
If just thinking about this is making you tired, plan ahead.
Like any other social media app, there are optimal times to post content on Facebook. If these moments don’t align with your free time, schedule your posts.
This is a simple action you can use in-app, if your Facebook page is set up for business. You could also use a third party app or hire a freelance social media manager to do the scheduling for you.
If you have a personal passion for the items you’re selling, give your followers the inside scoop on your industry.
Chances are, if you sell smartphone accessories, your followers will be interested in an article about the newest ways to take a selfie.
Selling jewelry items to customers in a particular location? They’d probably love to know about local silversmithing classes.
You could also share:
Remember to connect your social media accounts to one another.
This will show consistency and let your Facebook followers see that you’re active elsewhere, too.
Facebook generates most of its revenue through advertising. You should embrace their sophisticated ads setup if you want to promote your brand and gain sales, but tread carefully.
You’ll be able to advertise your page, its posts, or your website through Facebook. The objective with ads is to generate interest, not make instant sales.
Ask your users for an email address to sign them up to your mailing list first rather than piling on the pressure to buy something right away.
Using ads is another great way to build trust and credibility – selling on Facebook needs a long-term strategy.
As you would expect from a multi-billion dollar revenue stream, there are many layers to advertising on Facebook.
Before you get started with using ads, find which tools are relevant to you first.
While a Business Manager account is best suited for agencies and larger businesses, you will probably want to start out with Ads Manager.
This tool is completely dedicated to running campaigns. It’s powerful but completely manageable, so don’t be deterred.
In Ads Manager, you’ll be able to set objectives, find your audience, and get creative with your ads.
Facebook has devised comprehensive guides for every facet of Ads Manager, so put some time aside to learn as you work.
Unless you’re running ad campaigns for fun, you’re going to want to utilize this.
The Facebook pixel is a piece of code that basically tells you what return you’re getting on your ad spend.
You place the code on your website, so that when someone purchases through Facebook you’re able to track that conversion on a report.
If you’re unsure how to add the Facebook pixel to your website, find someone who can. This is an invaluable resource for optimizing your ads experience.
There are billions of Facebook users and it might be tempting to target them all.
But you should have a clear idea of the target market for your store and staying on-target is key. Facebook also makes it remarkably easy to completely fine-tune your targeting options for ads.
You can get started with targeting by:
It’s also possible to target by broad categories or by more precise interest targeting, which will yield incredibly specific results.
Interest-based targeting lets you find people based on what they say they like on their page, which Facebook groups they follow, plus what they talk about the most.
You might feel like a stalker, but targeting by interests will help to boost your sales.
Make sure your precise targeting isn’t wasted on a terrible image.
Getting the right visuals for your ads is key to their success on Facebook. You want your store to stand out for the right reasons, so think carefully about how you grab attention.
There’s more than one type of Facebook ad. You could create videos, use canvas ads or even use gifs if that suits your brand.
It might be best to start simple, though. Keep up the standards you’ve set for your website, and:
You don’t have much time to sell your store with words.
Users will be drawn to the image on your advert first, but you’ll have space to write some text, too. If you’re not a natural wordsmith, find a friend who can help you out.
With a brief attention-grabbing headline and a short line of text, you’ll need to interest the viewer, create desire, and finalize the ad with a call to action.
Your Facebook Shop is filled with products. You’re generating great content. You’ve set up a powerful ad campaign.
After all that hard work, you’re definitely ready to start selling on Facebook. But don’t forget to engage directly with your followers.
Unlike with Marketplace, where you’re in very direct contact with customers, using Shop calls for some more dynamic ways of connecting.
User-generated content – or UGC – is any content about your brand that has been created by someone not affiliated with it.
So if a customer tags your Facebook page in a photo they’ve taken, or posts a review about one of your products, that counts as user-generated content.
And your store can profit from that.
User-generated content gives your store something that traditional marketing will never achieve: trustworthiness.
It doesn’t matter if your ads say that 9 out of 10 customers love your products (by the way – that’s a really overused line).
Shoppers trust other shoppers. User-generated content impacts the purchasing decisions of most people browsing online, and it all starts with visuals:
If customer posts are more trustworthy than ads, you know what to do.
Integrating user-generated content into your Facebook advertising is a clever move. You’re proving that your store is authentic and showing that your products are already fulfilling other peoples’ lives.
Case study – Toyota
Incentivizing user-generated content can give your store a massive boost.
Car brand Toyota created a whole Facebook ad campaign that relied on musicians posting videos or photos of them performing, using the hashtag #feelingthestreet.
From the original posts, followers would vote for their favorites in order to assemble a Feeling the Street Band.
The final band members won the opportunity to go on tour and perform around Australia. This one Facebook campaign boosted Toyota’s engagement by 440% – a campaign worth incentivizing.
Every now and then, incentivize your followers with a prize.
There are plenty of ways to get people involved in a Facebook contest that will benefit you as well as them.
Your engagement will spike, as will your relatability as a brand. This move might sound like the opposite of selling on Facebook, but it will pay off in a more indirect way:
Now that you know how to sell on Facebook, get started with boosting those sales.
Whether you choose to stick with listing on Facebook Marketplace or you see the need for your own Shop, there are plenty of dynamic ways to sell items on this app.
Keep your activity consistent and you’ll be selling in no time.