Facebook Ecommerce - The Handiest, Dandiest Guide to Facebook for Ecommerce

If you’ve been thinking about extending your online store to Facebook, it’s time to stop thinking and start doing. To make sure you’re making the most of Facebook for your ecommerce site, use this comprehensive guide.

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So you’ve decided to use Facebook to help market your ecommerce site? Congratulations! You’re about to tap into a platform that’s perfect for making customer connections, growing your business, and yes, even selling products. Even if you’re already leveraging Facebook for ecommerce, now’s a great opportunity to improve your efforts to better reach your business objectives.

But what’s all the hype about Facebook, anyway? Like it or not, Facebook has established itself as a legitimate tool for businesses, especially ecommerce sites.

Consider the following:

In other words, Facebook ecommerce is popular for consumers and businesses alike, which is why it’s particularly important to stake your claim in the Facebook game. That’s what this guide is all about – helping you make the most of what Facebook has to offer your ecommerce site.

Whether you read the entire guide, or are just looking to dabble in specific sections, feel free to print this out, bookmark it and/or share it with your friends and colleagues.

 

Here’s the questions we’ll tackle along the way:

Let’s get started, shall we?
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What can Facebook do for my online business?

There’s been a lot of talk about social commerce lately, and a lot of it revolves around Facebook. And while many of these conversations have been about making money and selling products directly on Facebook, at this point (at least in my opinion), the real ecommerce value for Facebook is to build connections with your audience.

Let’s take a step back and outline some of the benefits Facebook can offer to your budding ecommerce operations:

There are several more benefits that can stem from a solid Facebook presence, but focusing on the ones listed above is a good framework to ensure that you’re on the right track in blending ecommerce and Facebook.
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How do I build a Facebook Business Page?

Building a Facebook Business Page is pretty intuitive. The main tasks include choosing a classification, filling in your basic information, selecting an address for your page and uploading a cover photo and profile picture.

Here’s a step by step version of how it works:

  1. Set up a personal account: First, make sure that you have a personal account so you can tie your Business Page to that account. Your personal profile will be completely separate from your Business Page, but Facebook will use your profile to connect you as an admin to your company’s Business Page.
  2. Choose the right category: Next, choose the best category that represents your business. Most likely, your ecommerce site will select the “Brand or Product” or “Company, Organization or Institution” option. (If you’re primarily a retail operation, go for “Local Business or Place.”) Choosetherightcategory
  3. Enter your name: You’ll then be prompted to choose a category and enter your company/brand name. There are a multitude of categories to choose from, so browse through them carefully before making your decision. Finally, you’ll agree to Facebook’s terms and conditions.
  4. Add basic information: Now that your Business Page exists, it’s time to start entering some information, namely three main things: your profile picture, “About” information and web address. Here’s what it looks like for my fake shop, Matt’s Awesome Bear Hats:

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  5. Update your info and cover photo: All right, now it’s time for the fun part, which is actually adding content to your page. As a heads up, Facebook is going to prompt you to start inviting people to your page, but hold off until you have something worth looking at – what’s the point of asking people to like your page if there’s nothing to see?The main things you’ll want to focus on at this stage are: 1) updating your info and 2) adding a cover photo. To enter your information, click the “Edit Page’ button in the top right, and select “Update Info.” It will take you to a page that looks like this, where you’ll fill in as much (well-written) info as you can:Now it’s time to add your cover photo, which is the main visual component of your page. Your cover photo should reflect your brand as well as possible, as this image will serve as the first impression for anyone visiting your page.The proper size for a Facebook cover photo is 851 x 315 – try to make your image fit those exact dimensions for maximum impact. Also, note that your cover photo isn’t allowed to be a blatant advertisement, so avoid including any type of obvious promotions, coupons or sales pitches:

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  6. Start adding content: As mentioned before, you’ll want to have some content already on your Facebook page before inviting users to like it. Here are some ideas to help you get started:
        1. Status updates: Add a couple of text updates to your page, including a “welcome” message for when you begin inviting others to like your page.
        2. Milestones: Take a trip down memory lane and add key company achievements to your page, such as when it first opened, any awards won, new product lines, etc.
        3. Photos: This is Facebook, after all. You can add photos of some of your products, various culture shots of you and your team and even lifestyle shots that represent your brand well.





The main takeaway is to have a couple of things for users to see on your timeline when they come to your page, like this:

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Now that your Facebook page is looking great, let’s talk about driving traffic to it.
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How do I attract more likes to my Facebook page?

Just because you build a Facebook page for your ecommerce site doesn’t mean that anyone will actually come. Keep in mind that there are millions of Business Pages out there, so it’s up to you to share your Facebook presence with the world.

Ideally, you’ll want two approaches to attracting more likes, one that gives you a nice bump in the short-term, and another that provides consistent, long-term growth. To help you prepare for both, take a look at these ideas:
 

Short-term growth tactics

 

Long-term growth strategies

As we continue to grow the size of our Facebook community, what the heck do you say to them? Keep reading to learn how to engage your audience through high-quality content, and gain a better understanding of Facebook’s algorithm, which determines whether your posts are actually seen by your fans or not.
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Once I get fans, how do I keep them interested in my page?

Getting Likes to your page is just one piece of the puzzle, and quite frankly, it’s not nearly as important as ensuring that fans are engaged with your Facebook content. Unfortunately, many business owners focus solely on increasing the size of their communities, whereas the real challenge (and fun) of Facebook marketing is fostering a vibrant, highly-involved user base.

Think of it this way: the top goal of your business is to increase sales, right? Facebook’s role in helping reach that objective is to create positive word of mouth from your loyal fans. This positive word of mouth, in turn, leads to higher brand awareness, referrals and sales.

The only problem is this: in order to build this type of loyalty via Facebook, your fans need to see and interact with your content first. Unfortunately, your like count doesn’t contribute toward this need. Why? Because Facebook has established an algorithm, called EdgeRank, which dictates exactly what content appears in users’ newsfeeds.

In other words, just because someone likes your page doesn’t mean that they’re actually seeing your posts.

If this comes as a surprise, you’re not alone. Once you understand EdgeRank, however, you’ll have a much clearer picture of how to boost the visibility of your Facebook content.

 

EdgeRank demystified

Before we get too deep into explaining EdgeRank, keep this idea in mind: approximately 95% of Facebook activities occur within users’ newsfeeds, not on specific profiles or pages. This means that having your updates appear in your fans’ newsfeeds is absolutely critical to keeping them interested in your Facebook content.

The content that appears on your fans’ newsfeeds is determined by a Facebook algorithm, called EdgeRank. While no one is 100% sure how EdgeRank works, we do know that it largely depends on how much and how often individual fans interact with your content. For example, if a fan comments on your latest post, Facebook will recognize that your page is more important to that user than to someone who has never interacted with your content. This means that the higher your EdgeRank for a specific user, the more likely your content will appear in their newsfeed.

It’s also important to indicate that your EdgeRank differs for each member of your Facebook community. While you may have a very high score with someone who’s highly active on your page, you could have a starkly lower score with a fan who never interacts with your Facebook content. For some context, the entire reason Facebook introduced EdgeRank was to help remove clutter from its users’ newsfeeds and better bubble relevant content to the top.

So what does all this EdgeRank business mean, anyway? In a nutshell, a large community doesn’t contribute much to your objectives, unless that community is actually seeing your content. In other words, bigger doesn’t always mean better – quality trumps quantity.

 

How to boost EdgeRank via engagement

Boosting your EdgeRank within each member of your community is all about increasing their engagement with your page. This means that you need to provide high-quality posts that offer value to your community, whether it’s through education or entertainment.

But before we discuss actual strategies to boost engagement, it’s also important to know that Facebook awards higher EdgeRank scores depending on the type of engagement. The more involved the user action, the more higher the EdgeRank. Here’s how the comparison works:

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Think of it this way: leaving a comment takes more effort than just liking a post, and liking a post is more significant than just clicking into your post. The more effort the user puts into interacting with your content, the more relevant Facebook deems your page to that user.

Okay, now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about EdgeRank-boosting content. Try these ideas out for size – each is proven to help increase engagement:

If you continue to grow your Facebook channel while keeping a focus on maintaining high engagement, you’re well on your way to a healthy presence that contributes to your overall business goals. But as you become more sophisticated with Facebook marketing, you’ll want to start venturing into more advanced techniques, which may include Facebook advertising.
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What are my options in terms of Facebook advertising?

While the majority of Facebook’s functionality is free of charge, there are lots of paid opportunities available to help grow your base, promote your content and even advertise your ecommerce site. These ideas are the foundation of Facebook advertising.

While there are more options available, these are the three most popular advertising avenues:

 

Traditional Facebook ads

The best-known form of Facebook advertising is loosely termed as “traditional Facebook ads,” namely because they’re the oldest form of advertising on Facebook. Furthermore, they take the form of a more traditional advertising model that you’d see in paid search, where you have an ad appear on the platform and you’re charged for either clicks or impressions. This option is particularly useful if you’re trying to use Facebook ads to drive traffic directly to your ecommerce site.

To get started with this type of advertising, when you’re logged in as an admin to your Facebook page, select “Build Audience” in the top right and click, “Create An Ad.”

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On the following page, select the “See Advanced Options” button:

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Then, create your ad by selecting its type, entering your text, choosing a landing view and uploading an image. When creating your ad, remember that your headline is limited to 90 characters, the ad text is only 90 characters and your photo should be 100x72. You can see the preview of your ad before publishing:

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Next, you’ll see a place where you can also sign up for Sponsored Stories, so you’ll need to decide whether or not you want to go for that option now, or you can simply click “Remove” and work with that later. At that point, you’ll be prompted to “Choose Your Audience,” where you can target by location, age/gender, interests and connections. Here’s an example for Matt’s Awesome Bear Hats:

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Then, it’s time to decide on your campaign type. You’ll need to name your campaign, set a budget and decide on how your campaign is optimized. I’ve decided to optimize my campaign for clicks, which many advertisers opt to do.

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Your last step is to place your order, enter payment information, and track performance.

 

Sponsored stories

As Facebook notes, “Sponsored stories are messages coming from friends about them engaging with your page, app or event that a business, organization or individual has paid to highlight so there’s a better chance people see them.” In other words, sponsored stories allow you to pay for any engagement from fans on your page to appear to friends in their personal network.

Fortunately, setting this up is easy, and takes place in the same place where you set up your traditional ads. All you have to do is select what stories you want to show, and then proceed to place your order:

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Promoted posts

Beyond advertising your Facebook page or ecommerce site, it’s often a good idea to promote your content, especially when you have something important to say. This is where promoted posts come into play. Promoted posts is an advertising option that allows you to turn any post into an ad that appears at the top of fans’ newsfeeds. Leveraging promoted posts helps boost the likelihood that your fans will see your updates, as will their friends. Setting these up are also fairly easy, and can be highly effective when leveraging best practices for promoted posts.

You can create promoted posts in the “create ad” section, but it’s often easier to do so directly from your timeline. To get started, first create your post as you normally would. If you want to further target your post to specific locations, interests, etc., you can do so by clicking the compass icon.

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Next, upon clicking “Promote Post,” you’ll decide on your audience and budget. Note that the higher your desired reach, the more you’ll need to pay:

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Just like before, you’ll need to enter any payment information (if none is already on file) and your ad will be launched. As with any form of advertising, pay close attention to performance by utilizing the reporting tools available in Facebook’s Ads Manager.

Of course, all of this effort to boost your Facebook presence is great, but how can you gauge success without measuring performance? Let’s move on to discuss some basic Facebook metrics and what you can learn from Facebook Insights.

 
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How do I measure the success of my Facebook efforts?

While it’s true that every blind squirrel eventually finds an acorn, it’s much better to rely on solid metrics to help discover success in Facebook marketing. Facebook itself provides a large quantity of data to sift through, so before you dive in, think back to your main Facebook objectives, then tie data that measures the performance of those objectives. For example, if the main goal of your Facebook page is to distribute content, you’ll want to take a look at engagement levels, such as number of comments, virality, etc.

Facebook also provides a handy metrics tool, called Facebook Insights, that helps you track the performance of your Business Page. Before we take a closer look into that tool, let’s define a few key metrics:

There are also several metrics outside of Facebook Insights that help gauge how your Facebook presence impacts your ecommerce site. Many of these can be found within Google Analytics, such as number of referral visits from Facebook and even attributable sales. Be sure to incorporate those when gauging overall Facebook performance – at the end of the day, we’re still looking to attract sales.

 

Facebook Insights

Now that we have a basic understanding of some key metrics, let’s take a look into the Facebook Insights tool, which can be accessed directly from your Admin Dashboard. It’s important to note that you must have 30 people like your Page before receiving access to insights about your activity.

Once you click into Facebook Insights, you’ll be presented with your overview dashboard. This shows high level metrics, such as your total likes, PTAT, reach, etc. Even more, you can see how performance with these metrics has been trending:

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If you scroll down the overview dashboard, you can see the performance of individual posts from a reach, virality and PTAT perspective. The default view is in descending chronological order, but you can filter them however you like. This section is particularly helpful in identifying what type of content resonates best with your audience. For example, if you see that images have the highest reach and virality, you should start incorporating more photos into your updates. On the other hand, if polls and status update perform well, you can adjust accordingly.

Using the tabs at the top, you can then look deeper into how you’re performing in the area of likes, reach and “talking about this.” Scroll through each tab to see key demographic data, such as age and location, along with how people are interacting with your page, like which tabs are most popular, and which third-party websites are sending the most traffic to your Facebook page.

Keep in mind that the data you see in Facebook Insights is within a specific time range, so to measure long-term performance, it’s best to export your data periodically so it’s easier to compile. You can do so by using the export tool, directly in Insights:

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The best way to learn about Insights is to dig around until you become comfortable with the interface and the vernacular they use. But looking at the data isn’t enough. You need to apply the insights you receive to make strategic decisions on your Facebook activity. In other words, don’t just sit and stare at the data – absorb the information and use it to make a difference.

 

Conclusion

Facebook is a powerful tool for ecommerce. Not only does it help expand your presence, but it can make a big impact on how you interact with current and prospective customers. The platform also has a strong influence on your reputation, and serves as a fantastic medium to reinforce your branding.

Before you dive into Facebook marketing, set your objectives and lay out a strategy that helps you achieve those goals. Don’t just get onto Facebook because “everyone else is doing it.” Instead, enter this social arena with your game face on, and make Facebook work for you.

If you liked this handy dandy Facebook guide, please share it with your networks – hope you enjoyed it!

Happy selling!
-Matt Winn, Social Media Manager, Volusion

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Matt Winn

Matt Winn was Volusion’s Senior Brand Manager, where he helped oversee branding and communications efforts. Matt has created hundreds of articles, videos and seminars on all things ecommerce.