F-Commerce (also known as Facebook e-commerce) is a growing trend. Initially the music industry used it to great success, but now many others are seeing the value of having a Facebook shop front.
Here’s what you need to know if you intend to use Facebook to sell to your customers.
1. Set up a Facebook store front
The first step is to make your Facebook site ready to do business and sell things immediately. There are now many apps (one of which is “Facebook Fanpage Toolkit”) which allows you to set up your own Facebook store in three simple steps, with no knowledge of coding necessary.
2. Professional graphic design with high resolution photos and videos
Next, make sure your branding looks professional. Even if you want to do it to yourself, it pays to run it by a professional graphic designer before launch to get an objective view from a trained eye. No one signs up to a Facebook page that looks amateur.
Take clear high resolution photos of products you are selling. Neutral backgrounds in good lighting using the advanced settings on your camera generally produce the best images. Same goes for video.
3. Obey Facebook etiquette
Just as unwritten rules govern social interactions face-to-face, the same is true of social media. For example, if you’re trying to use Facebook to network with other businesses, reach out first via a private message instead of writing on their wall.
Promoting your products on Facebook groups can be a great strategy. However many groups have “business only” days where you can only post sales-related messages on a certain day.
Find out when these are and don’t break the rules. On other days of the week try and interact with group members and take an interest in them or post something humorous. Additionally make an effort to thank new ‘likers’ for supporting you. The personal touch goes a long way.
4. Grow your fan base
In order to get your products and promotions to appear to more people, it’s vital to increase your number of Facebook likes, and then hopefully capture their email address also so you can add them to your subscriber database.
To increase your number of Facebook likes it is often helpful to have an incentive such as a competition or one-off specials (more about that below).
To capture email addresses once you have gained new likers, you can change your Facebook Call-To-Action button to “Subscribe” using the drop down menu beside the button.
5. Respond to comments/questions promptly
Sales can be won or lost depending on how promptly you respond to potential customers’ queries and comments. Facebook success depends on relevant, timely and consistent interaction.
Ideally, you should be checking in on Facebook once a day to respond to comments or add new posts.
6. Offer one-off specials
Most people won’t voluntarily like a page unless there’s something in it for them. By offering a discount coupon to your online store via your Facebook page you will not only gain new followers, but also effectively use your Facebook page as an extension to your online store front.
7. Promote your Facebook store in your “bricks and mortar” shop
If you have a physical store as well as an online one, you should have posters in-store that remind them you are on Facebook, and to like your business to receive exclusive offers. Let them know that you post there regularly so they won’t want to miss out on the action.
8. Use Facebook as a public relations tool
Facebook is also a way of monitoring public opinion and your brand image. Remember to post good news such as your business winning industry awards or donating to charity to improve public perception.
You can also use it as a chance to gain feedback directly from your customers about how they think you meet their needs.
You might create a short 5-question survey via an online tool like SurveyMonkey and ask your followers to fill it out. Remember to ask what they think you can do to improve.
If possible try and implement some of the ideas if they’re feasible then feed this information back to your consumers via status updates or blog posts.
9. Use catchy headlines
Last, but not least, use catchy headlines. Newsfeeds are scrolled through; most people only skim read, so make sure your headings are punchy, witty or create intrigue or mystery so people want to read on to find out the rest of the details.