Running an e-commerce operation in 2020 requires every bit as much skill and savvy as running a brick-and-mortar store, as entrepreneurs and small companies – not to mention consumers – continue to flock to online operations.
While it may seem that popular e-commerce platforms like Etsy, Amazon and eBay make it easy to achieve internet-based commercial success, a multifaceted Facebook marketing and commercial strategy – alongside a genuinely worthy product or service that customers want and need – may go a long way in achieving success for your e-commerce company.
Facebook's potential reach for e-commerce is staggering
While Facebook e-commerce marketing and advertising require a concrete strategy, it also presents a unique opportunity to expose your products to a larger target audience.
That is well worth the effort, as Facebook is the world's largest social network, with more than 2.45 billion users every month worldwide, accounting for 1.62 million users per day, according to third-quarter 2019 results released by Facebook.
To take a closer look at Facebook users, according to data from the Pew Research Center, it's estimated that 74% of U.S. adults check Facebook every day, with more than half of Americans logging in to the social network multiple times a day. Additionally, based on Pew Research Center surveys, 79% of Americans age 18 to 29 report using Facebook. Seniors, however, are Facebook's fastest-growing age group. According to Pew Research Center, Facebook use by older Americans has more than doubled since 2012: Among Americans age 65 and older, 46% use Facebook, and women outnumber men on the platform 75% to 63%.
The best part is that you don't need a huge marketing or advertising budget to play the Facebook game. Sharing valuable content that connects with your community, fans and potential customers wherever they are located on the planet will determine the ultimate success of your e-commerce business.
Here are 10 tips on how to create a successful Facebook marketing campaign.
1. Identify your target audience.
If you're intent on marketing your product or service, you need to know who needs or wants it. You want to determine their age, location, job and why your product or service is good for them.
Facebook's Audience Insights tool lets you delve deeply into your potential customers to find information on gender, education, relationship status, location, language, Facebook usage and even past purchases.
2. Create a Facebook business page.
Creating a Facebook business page is inexpensive and easy to accomplish. Sign up for a business page at Facebook.com/business, and choose from the available business types, including local business or place, brand or product, and cause or community. Fill in the details to give more information about your company. Then start adding images or your logo, a cover photo, and a profile picture – it's just like setting up your personal Facebook page.
That represents the skeleton of your page where you then add a short description of your business with information that will interest your potential customers. Next, create a username that allows customers to contact you via Facebook Messenger. You can then augment your description, give your location, and create your first post. Now you're in business – at least on Facebook.
3. Sell your product directly on Facebook.
You can augment your e-commerce store by selling your products directly on Facebook. Just add a shop to your Facebook page so customers can purchase your products directly. Just click the "Shop" tab on your Facebook Page to take you to the Commerce Manager's "Sell on Facebook" page, the tool that lets you link business accounts, set preferences for shipping and returns, and establish payouts. With that set up, you can use Commerce Manager across Facebook and Instagram and even Marketplace for some products.
You can also use third-party platforms like BigCommerce, ChannelAdvisor, CommerceHub, Quipt, ShipStation, Shopify or Zentail with your Facebook shop. If you already use a third-party platform, you can set up a shop on your Facebook Page automatically so that the products from your third-party platform appear in your Facebook shop.
4. Create visual posts.
Make sure your e-commerce design is professional and highly visual so that your products or services sell themselves. Use professional photography and videos in addition to articles and testimonials about your products.
Don't forget about Facebook Live posts, real-time video broadcasts that can instantly connect your company with your potential customers. Switch out your product images and videos regularly. Allow customers and observers to participate in creating and showcasing images and videos.
Once you have content assembled, determine the proper mix of elements. The 80-20 rule dictates using 80% of Facebook posts to inform, educate and entertain, while 20% promotes your product. The social media rule of thirds, on the other hand, dictates that one-third of your content should share ideas and stories, one-third should involve personal interaction and one-third should promote your business.
5. Stick to a posting schedule.
When your aim is to engage customers and expand your markets, posting informative and entertaining content is critical, and you should commit to a schedule so your audience knows what to expect and when. Are you posting every day? Multiple times a day? What kind of content are you sharing?
Your posting schedule will depend on the response of your audience; be prepared to tailor your messages, but always set a hard calendar for posting, and schedule that posting during peak engagement hours. Most retailers post on the weekend because people have more free time, but it depends on your business when the optimal posting time actually is.
Facebook Insights can help determine the best times for your business to update content, even though posts do not always appear in chronological order. Consistency and variety are the core of content success.
[Looking to expand payment options you’re offering customers? Read our guide on how to accept credit card payments.]
6. Announce and promote your products.
While you don't always have to hit people over the head with a sales pitch, there's nothing wrong with putting your products and services in front of an interested public to generate traffic and sales, and that's especially true if you're introducing something new.
Interact with your target audience and make sure to share any in-store promotions. It takes just a few minutes to create and upload these messages, including calls to action that suggest specific actions beyond engagement.
Facebook for business is primarily about building relationships – if you provide enough value, your audience will be open to learning about your products and services via sales-focused posts.
7. Engage with customers.
Often, your customers and fans may post content on social media, and you should (with permission) share that content with your audience. You can also promote giveaways and offer other free valuables because it generates buzz and acts as a PR campaign. Augment your ads with customer-generated reviews: Some of the most popular posts are reviews of products by users.
Do clicks and traffic translate into sales? It's the perennial question for e-commerce sites. While your mileage can vary depending on what business you're in, generally, landing page views take a back seat to a conversion strategy that's focused on adding actual merchandise to shopping carts. That's because converting a shopping cart item to a purchase is better at finding qualified users who intend to buy.
8. Run Facebook ads and Pixel.
Running ads on Facebook is a sure-fire way to draw attention to your company. All you have to do is establish a Facebook Ads account wherein you pay to share your content with specific targeted audiences. This gets your ads in front of potentially interested customers to achieve conversion goals – that is, to convert lookers into buyers.
This may be well worth the cost, according to eMarketer, which found that 96% of marketers consider Facebook the most effective social media advertising platform for return on ad spending. Facebook offers tons of options for advertisers, including brand awareness, user engagement, app installs and visits to your store.
Whatever you decide to do, set up a pixel account. Even if you don't plan to use Facebook ads right away, set up a Facebook Pixel, which is a code snippet that you place on your website to remarket to people who have already visited your website.
The pixel helps build targeted custom audiences for future ads: It collects data and triggers cookies when you place it on your site, tracking visitors as they interact with your site or your ads. With Facebook Pixel, you'll have remarketing and custom audience information available if or when you launch an ad campaign.
9. Monitor and retarget ads.
When you spend money on ads, you want to make sure they're doing their job of bringing in paying customers. Monitoring ad performance and retargeting potential customers are both critical to e-commerce success.
Retargeting helps you reach engaged viewers who are already considering a purchase – maybe they even put an item in their cart but have yet to make the final decision. Retargeting reminds them of their desire to purchase what you're selling.
Monitoring ad performance lets you pause or halt ads that aren't doing their jobs or adjust ads to bring in better results. Try setting up Facebook's built-in optimization algorithm to automatically, in real time, make changes to your campaign based on performance criteria that you set.
[Learn more about how to set up an email retargeting campaign.]
10. Use Shopify and Facebook together.
Shopify is a popular and easy-to-use e-commerce platform, and it has superlative integration with Facebook to build your site, track and ship orders, and sell in person or through social media.
Use Shopify to customize your site via a 14-day free trial which lets you open a Shopify account and connect it to your Facebook account to create a Shopify Facebook store called a Facebook Shop.
To link your Shopify store to Facebook, click "Facebook Shop" from the list of sales channels, choose your Facebook page, and connect your account. Facebook will review your store and let you know of its decision to authorize your store, or just sign in to your Shopify store to find out the verdict.
Shopify store Facebook marketing strategies include running Facebook ads, offering a referral program and using affiliates, which turns over a percentage of referred sales to the affiliate. One of the biggest benefits of having a Shopify Facebook Store is controlling the customer process and experience. By selling on Shopify, your customers are your own, which allows you to market to them later.
Running an e-commerce operation these days is competitive. A solid marketing campaign, augmented with well-planned Facebook outreach tools, advertising and a customer-oriented strategy, will run that extra mile to help your online company succeed.