This week we have a guest blog from Chandrashekhar V at Around.io, a social media & image management tool for online sellers. Check out their website for a free trial.
Summary: Just setting up a Facebook page and posting your shop / products on it doesn't count as social media marketing anymore. Here's why and how to leverage every minute of time you spend promoting your shop on Facebook.
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If you've ever tried to market your shop on Facebook – and failed – you're not alone.
Facebook is home to more than 50 million business pages. More than 1.8 billion posts are shared every day. The social network has changed its algorithm so much that if you post something on Facebook, it typically reaches less than 10% of your fans / followers / friends.
So even if you had 5000 fans on your page, each of your posts will reach less than 500 people. (In most cases, it's far fewer).
And that's one of the biggest reasons why most sellers trying to market their shops on Facebook fail.
But despite the uber-popularity of Instagram and Pinterest in the ecommerce world, Facebook still brings in the moolah. Facebook drives the most number of sales to online shops, so don't even think about abandoning the platform!
The Secret Sauce to Make Facebook Work for your Shop
Here's the secret word you need: “engagement”.
Do you know why some brands (and shops) are making a killing on Facebook while others fail? It's because of that secret sauce. Engagement.
Take a look at this:
- If your page has a high level of engagement (more people like, comment or share your posts), Facebook ensures that you reach more of your fans. More engagement on page = more reach = more traffic / sales.
- If you engage with groups regularly (not just post to groups but participate in the discussions), you can increase your profile popularity and, with it, page popularity. This in turn increases reach.
- If you actively seek out discussions, posts and pages talking about a specific topic in your market (hashtags and graph search for the win!), you will find new channels within Facebook to market your shop.
If there's just one takeaway here, it's this:
You can no longer just create a page, add fans, post to the page and expect to get some results from Facebook. There’s much more to it than that these days.
The 3-Step Guide to Promoting Your Shop on Facebook To Get The Best Results
1. Be a part of many relevant, niche groups
This is a lesson we learnt from our community of Etsy users at Around.io. Your prospective customers are already part of many niche groups. You should tap this resource for what it's worth.
Groups are more personal than say, interacting with a business page. People are more responsive here and receptive to ideas and products. Some groups are specifically there to let buyers meet sellers.
The key is to be a part of these groups and that means not just promoting your shop / products but really be a part of the group. Comment on other posts in the group, interact with the members of the group and act as a curator of interesting things. This way, you build your credibility.
One caveat here is that you can't interact with groups as a page but you can share posts from your business page in the group. This way, you can promote your shop as well as your Facebook page.
Key takeaway: Build a routine into your daily schedule where you participate in group discussions, post in a few groups and skim through the rest.
2. Seek out and make friends with relevant people and pages
Just like Twitter, you can discover new pages or people whose interest match your target market by searching for relevant hashtags and keywords.
In the past you could create a Facebook page and share it with your friends and you'll start seeing a lot of people become fans of your page quickly. That doesn't happen anymore. Every day, hundreds thousands of new pages are created on Facebook. There's just too much noise.
To cut through this noise, you have to find your fans.
One of the ways to do this is to find out those people who are talking about things from your target market. Search for hashtags and relevant keywords and Facebook will show you who is talking about those things. You can initiate a connection with a simple like and a comment.
A quick way to gain more fans is by connecting with other pages and being an active participant on that page. Many pages go beyond this and ask other pages for a shout-out (or a shout-out exchange) and this works great.
Key takeaway: Once a week, schedule an hour or so to use Facebook's search to find new pages to like and participate in and new people who could eventually be your potential customers and connect with them.
3. Optimize your profile and posting schedules
This is one of the easiest things you can do to supercharge your Facebook marketing.
If you post updates to your Facebook page when no one's around (online), you are going to reach very few people. Instead, if you post updates when most of your fans are online, you reach more people and the click-throughs increase.
The easiest way to find out the best time for your Facebook posts is to:
- schedule a post for every hour, for a week or so
- then, after a week, check the Page Insights.
Page Insights will give you a very clear idea of the optimal time of the day when you reach maximum people. The next time you post on Facebook, schedule it to be posted at the optimal time.
People check out your Facebook page and your profile and may click-through to your shop. But that's possible only when you optimize your page correctly.
- Include a link to your shop in the About section of your Facebook page.
- Include a discount code / coupon in your Facebook page cover photo.
- Pin a post (preferably with a discount / coupon).
- Optionally, feature a video in the About section.
The basic idea is to give people reasons to click through to your shop from your Facebook page.
Discounts, free shipping, something interesting and unique – these trigger psychological reactions in us and we click through to check out the shop. If you include these things on your Facebook page (About section, Pinned post, Cover Photo, etc), you will see a spike in the traffic coming to your shop through Facebook.
Conclusion: Be consistent and helpful
Ultimately, marketing your shop on Facebook and getting traffic and sales from social media is all about being active (and sometimes, pro-active), engaging and consistent. It takes a bit of time to add those minutes into your daily routine but it pays off well.
Every successful online seller who has tasted success on Facebook has done so because they have been consistent and helpful. Now’s the time for you to apply those principles to your social media marketing strategies.