What’s the first word or phrase that pops into your head when I say “Facebook”?
Political memes? Congressional testimony? Aunt Elaine’s annoying comments?
...How about “Shopping”?
Facebook has had a little bit of an image problem in the last few years, but that hasn’t stopped the social media giant from quietly becoming an ecommerce powerhouse. As of Q2 2018, Facebook had 2.2 billion monthly active users, and in the U.S., one out of every three people use its Marketplace feature.
Facebook’s tools for online stores enable brands to reach out, advertise, sell, get reviewed, and provide customer service, all within the platform. Theoretically, a customer could go through an entire buyer’s journey without ever leaving Facebook.
If your store isn’t tapping into this resource, you could be missing out on a metaphorical buried treasure of lost revenue. But finding buried treasure without a map is pretty damn hard (just ask August Gissler), so we decided to draw one up for you.
Here’s your treasure map to a winning facebook ecommerce strategy:
1. Be a user. We get it. Keeping up a social media presence for your online store is a hassle, and paying someone else to do it can get expensive. But if you want to walk the walk, you’ve got to talk the talk.
Having an active Facebook profile isn’t technically required to use other features like Ads or Shop, but it is important. According to BigCommerce, the average ecommerce site publishes 4.55 posts a week on their Facebook page, and online stores that have social media accounts have 32% more sales on average than those that don’t.
One caveat: remember that Facebook posts are not ads. You might want to repeat that two or three times. Facebook posts are not ads. Well, at least not all of them. You can throw in product promotion every so often, but if it’s all your profile is made of, customers aren’t going to engage.
So what else are you supposed to post? Here are some ideas:
Giveaways or contests
2. Get on Shop. Facebook Shop is facebook’s ecommerce feature. Brands use it to sell their products directly through Facebook. It looks like this in action:
Yes, people actually use this feature, and yes, it can help increase revenue and site visits. Bohemian Traders, the brand featured in the image above, experienced 309% customer growth after switching to an ecommerce platform that enabled Facebook Shop integration and now sees 94% of web traffic coming from Facebook, email and Instagram alone. Needless to say, Bohemian Traders’ CEO David Berlach is correct in prioritizing a seamless user experience between multichannel environments: "it’s important that those channels work in unison.”
Which brings us to an important point: in order to use Facebook Shop effectively, you have to integrate with your website’s ecommerce platform. Facebook offers the option to manually update every listing, but providers like BigCommerce will handle all of that automatically. Some also offer back-end dashboards to make the process simple and easy.
3. Advertise, advertise, advertise. We don’t have time to get into the nitty gritty of Facebook advertising in this post, so consider this an introduction. There’s a few important things you need to know before you go off to do more research:
Facebook Pixel is a piece of code that you get from Facebook and put on your website. Pixel tracks user behaviors and uses that data to automatically optimize your advertisements and retarget shoppers.
Facebook Ads come in many shapes, sizes, and formats, including domain ads (which link back to your website), lead ads (which ask the user to fill out their contact info), video ads, offer ads, carousel ads, and more. Almost all of these can have value for ecommerce, so take the time to get acquainted with each of them.
Facebook Dynamic Ads are one ad type that’s worth calling out. They enable you to upload your entire product catalog, then automatically serve relevant product ads to different users based on their interests. This saves you from having to manually set up ads for different products or product categories.
4. Reviews? Facebook’s reviews feature (confusingly called “Recommendations”) is unique in that it allows businesses to choose whether or not to use it. Unlike Yelp or Google, where reviewers are going to review you whether you like it or not, Facebook lets businesses simply close the tap.
Your brand must decide whether or not to allow reviews on your page, and that’s not as simple as it sounds.
First of all, consider that 40% of U.S. adults always or almost always read reviews before buying a product for the first time. Next, consider the benefits of positive reviews. If you do enable reviews and your rating is up near five stars, that can be huge. 68% of online shoppers said trustworthy reviews influence their purchase decisions.
But then again, bad reviews can be a real killer. And while we like to think that if we try our best to do right by customers we’ll get positive reviews, we all know that isn’t the case. We’re all just one confused grandpa away from this:
5. Messenger? I hardly know her. If you’re going to be on Facebook, you should be using messenger. It’s one of the most powerful tools for ecommerce brands.
Messenger is one of the world’s most popular direct messaging apps, but it’s also so much more. Here are some examples of things you can do with Facebook Messenger:
Add a messenger chat window to your ecommerce site for customer support
Program a chatbot to guide shoppers toward relevant products and offers
Allow customers to buy items directly from within the Messenger app
Use it as a personal shopping platform with live sales reps
Enable order and shipment tracking functions
Adweek calls messenger marketing “the next frontier for business growth” and that might actually be an understatement. With new functionality being developed all the time, we’ve only just glimpsed the possibilities of Facebook Messenger for ecommerce.
Your buried treasure awaits.The last thing I can give you before you start your journey is a healthy dose of perspective. Lord knows I can give you tons of that.
If you look at Facebook as just another social media site, you’re not likely to find a whole lot of success. Instead, think of Facebook as an ecommerce platform, complete with the tools and features you need to launch, manage, and advertise your business.
With luck, it could end up as one of your biggest sales channels.