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.
1. Find where to sell
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.
What it offers 👍
Don’t be deterred – Facebook Marketplace could just be the perfect model for your business.
There are potential benefits to selling through this feature:
- It’s great if you have one-off items to sell. If you love selling antique items or upcycling furniture, you might prefer the pace of Facebook Marketplace.
- It’s ideal if you want to keep your business local. Shoppers using Facebook Marketplace can filter sellers by location, which is great if you don’t budget for shipping.
- It’s good at connecting you to customers. Sellers have to interact with shoppers a lot, from answering general queries to giving out after-sales advice.
What it lacks 👎
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:
- You can’t show off who you are. Facebook Marketplace doesn’t let shoppers follow sellers and the product information section is pretty basic. There’s no storytelling with Marketplace.
- Anyone can sell anything. On the search page, your items will mostly be displayed alongside a lot of low-quality items posted by less scrupulous sellers.
- Shoppers have to contact you through Facebook Marketplace to purchase your listing. And when they do, there’s every chance that you’ll have a negotiation on your hands.
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.
What it offers 👍
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:
- A chance to commercialize your business page. Although the page itself will be used for promotion and interaction, the Shop feature highlights your items and their prices.
- A browsing opportunity. Shoppers can immediately see your entire product range in one place, as if they just wandered into your brick-and-mortar store.
- Traffic for your website. Your Shop is a place of discovery, so pack it with just enough enticing content and shoppers will be drawn from Facebook to your own online store.
What it lacks 👎
Shop is a great feature to utilize, but it has its downsides too. Think about these while you’re getting excited about selling:
- It can feel a little clunky. Shoppers can’t complete purchases on Facebook outside of the US. This is a plus for your own site traffic, but it lacks convenience.
- Your display options are limited. Photos of your products will have to work with the standard Facebook background. Not ideal.
- Shopping is a bit primitive. Potential customers don’t have many filter options or the opportunity to see detailed shots.
So, Shop versus Shops: what’s the deal?
Introduced in 2021, 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.
What it offers 👍
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:
- You can personalize your storefront. Facebook gives you a template that you then edit to fit your brand’s identity. You can tailor the colors, logo, and content.
- The whole interface is much more similar to an online site. Shoppers can fill up and view a shopping cart. They can also create wish lists and see recently viewed items.
- You can go global. There are no location limits with the Shops feature. It’s suddenly much easier to get your small business in front of Facebook’s vast audience.
What it lacks 👎
While it looks like a better business proposition than Facebook Marketplace and the more established Shop feature, Shops is still an unknown:
- It’s not available to everyone yet. Facebook will be rolling this launch out gradually, so you might not be able to jump on the Shops feature right away.
- The in-app checkout option still isn’t globally available. But as you know, this does mean more traffic to your website.
- It’s unchartered territory. No one really knows how to sell on Facebook Shops yet, although it is exciting.
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.
2. Look your best
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.
Start with your website
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:
- You’ll need it for buyers to complete purchases. Without an in-app checkout feature, users have to click through to your website to make a purchase.
- It’ll also show you’re a credible eCommerce business. Users will be compelled to learn more about your store if they see you have a website.
- Syncing your online store with Facebook helps you, too. If you build a website on a platform like Zyro, you’re given tools to help sell, advertise, and track shipments on the app via a centralized dashboard.
Check for consistency
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:
- The color palette you’ll use on all of your store’s visuals, branding, and packaging
- The tone of voice you’ll stick to when talking to customers and writing about products
- The principles of your business and what makes your store unique
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:
- Using professional-level photography. Use our guide for how to take product photos.
- Formatting them to suit the Shop layout. There is nothing worse than badly cropped photos.
- Keeping it consistent. Build brand awareness by sticking to the same visual brand identity anywhere you sell.
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:
- Prices and product descriptions. Make sure your prices are accurate and that the copy is engaging.
- A snappy value proposition. You can position this at the top of your Shop tab so people can see it right away.
- The technical bits. Add delivery details and an email address – build that credibility.
3. Create a business page
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.
Add in a Shop
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.
4. Build a following
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.
Share the team
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:
- In weekly introductions. Post a photo of a team member and his/her short bio. Let your followers know what value your coworker adds to your store and finish up with a fun fact or two.
- By letting them engage directly with Facebook followers. Have your coworkers take turns answering queries or posting content on your page.
- When they reach a milestone, like a birthday or graduation. As long as your Facebook page stays on target, injecting occasional personal news is a nice touch.
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.
Show them the ‘behind the scenes’
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:
- Photos of items being packaged to order. If your operation is all in-house, customers will love to see the personal touches that go into shopping them their items.
- Captivating videos of things being made. Pottery on a wheel or cakes being frosted, share the oddly-satisfying content that people love.
- Product demonstrations. If your products are innovative or take a little work to use, get your team members to try them out on video to add some variety to your posts.
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.
Show off your range
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:
- Calling out each new listing. Add a little information as to why you’re selling that product. If you want to add several products in one go, post them as a new collection.
- Highlighting weekly favorites. Give existing products a little love and show them off on your main page every now and then. It’s great for getting a sales boost.
- Giving shoppers a first glimpse of new items. Don’t forget that followers can comment on your posts, so you could be getting much-needed feedback with these updates too.
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.
Post related content
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:
- Trend reports that highlight your products. Let your followers know that they can find the hottest items in your Shop right now.
- Articles that you’ve been featured in. Is your store getting some press attention? Your Facebook page is the best place to showcase the news.
- Events you’ll be attending. If you also sell products offline, share any related information on your page. Your local Facebook followers might like to put a face to the name.
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.
5. Invest in marketing
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.
Get the right tools
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.
Target the right users
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:
- Location, language, and workplace
- Age, gender, and relationship status
- Interests, education, and net worth
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:
- Avoid stock photos. Use your library of captivating images to show your products in their best light.
- Make sure your visuals match your brand values. You’re paying for ads that will drive traffic to your store, so don’t stray from your brand’s identity.
- Keep typography consistent. If you want to add any text into your ad visuals, match it to the typography on your website.
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.
6. Share user-generated content
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.
Re-post customer photos
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:
- Encourage customers to share photos of their purchases on Facebook. Add a little note to each delivery and include a hashtag for the customer to use.
- Share content across platforms. Instagram is the true home of user-generated content. Re-post on the app, but be sure to send the post to your Facebook page, too.
- Add a theme to your customers’ content. Ask for photos of pets posing with your products or ask people to engage with items in a different way. Be creative.
Turn UGC into ads
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.
- Integrate reviews into your ads. Use the best, genuine reviews or ratings on your favorite items to give tangible proof in their ads that they’re worth buying.
- Use customer photos in ads. If you’re happy to diversify your visuals, use Facebook’s carousel ads format to post a series of compelling customer images.
- Create ads around an incentive. Tell customers to use a hashtag so that you can find their content and instantly re-post it as an ad.
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:
- Hold a naming competition. If you name your products, ask your followers to help out. This one doesn’t even need a prize, but it would be a nice touch.
- Turn themed photos into a contest. Remember those photos of people’s pets? Offer a prize to the most handsome creature – this is a great move for brand loyalty.
- Let people win your products. You can spare the odd item for a giveaway. Why not boost awareness of your store by letting happy followers sample some items?
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.