Learn how to use the power of Facebook to sell your products from two of Volusion's social media specialists. In this video, you'll discover best practices for posting, running ads and more. We’ve included the transcript of the video for your reading convenience.
Sam: Hi ya’ll! It’s Sam and Mike from the Volusion Marketing Services team, and today we will be giving you some insider information on how Facebook can be used for ecommerce marketing.
First we will go over why Facebook works well for ecommerce brands, and then we will delve into some of the best performing industries. We will also be explaining some of the best practices for posting, and giving you an inside look at Facebook ads. And then we will be wrapping it up with the dos and don’ts of using Facebook. So let’s get started!
Why is Facebook one of the best social media networks for ecommerce? Well, to start, it hosts the largest amount of users when compared to any other platform. There are actually over 1 billion active Facebook users that include all types of demographics, so you’re almost guaranteed to reach your audience on this network.
Because of its vast user base, Facebook is a great platform to help you boost your website authority since search engines like Google take your social standing into account when ranking your page. Having a growing number of Facebook fans helps you to increase your brand awareness and create buzz around your products or service. Because Facebook can assist in enhancing brand awareness and website authority, it also improves your SEO strength.
Facebook can also help you drive traffic to your online store, whether it’s through paid ads or organic posting. It can help you direct your fans from your social media profile to your store and hopefully get them to convert into a paying customer.
Mike: Speaking of customers, Facebook also acts as a great customer service tool. Since many of your fans are actual customers, it’s easy to engage with them more personally and address their concerns right on Facebook.
And finally, Facebook has one of the most robust advertising platforms around. Its targeting options are top-notch, so you are able to target your audience very specifically with paid advertisements. And don’t worry, we’ll dive deeper into Facebook ads in just a bit.
Just about any business can thrive on Facebook and many do. From niche retailers to famous brands, there are a ton of industries that do well on Facebook. So…what are they?
Business-to-consumer industries—including fashion and home decor—are always changing with the seasons, which provides fresh new content to inform customers about, and seasonal offerings are a great way to introduce promotions or contests. A wide portion of the automotive industry is dedicated to do-it-yourself repairs and auto upgrades, which may involve in-depth video tutorials that spark conversations that solve problems many car enthusiasts may be facing—turning the Facebook page into not just a fan page, but a resource for reliable information. Social media provides great value for the fitness industry as well, where many people go for inspiration as well as affordable dietary supplements and fitness products. Industries involved with products related to outdoor activities thrive on Facebook due to the active and engaging nature of their fanbase. They also benefit from their fans creating content for them, many times in the form of beautiful scenic images with their products included. After all, Facebook is a visually driven platform, and nothing beats a mountaintop view.
Business-to-business companies involved in technology and specialty services industries are able to provide value to each other in the same way as other industries, just with a slightly different target audience. But no matter how niche your market, the goal should be to provide value in the form of information, inspiration, and entertainment—all while engaging with followers when they show interest.
Alright, so it’s safe to say that most ecommerce businesses can successfully create a Facebook marketing strategy. But when it comes to managing your page, there are a few best practices, and we’re going to touch on the most important ones here.
First, the rule of thirds: promote, share, and converse. Go ahead and promote your products, but try not to overload your fans with too many self-serving posts. Instead, make sure you are sharing engaging industry-related posts to maintain brand relevancy. And lastly, converse. Make sure you’re talking and responding to customers on Facebook.
Also, I cannot stress the importance of proofreading enough! Make sure your posts make sense and are spelled correctly. It may help to use Google Translate's "listen" function as a way to make sure everything sounds correct, as well.
Next, always make sure to use high-quality images when posting to Facebook. Smartphones have come a long way, but consider investing in a digital camera that provides the range of functions necessary to create truly professional images and videos worthy of your brand. Consider using free services including Canva.com or picmonkey.com to create custom images.
Also, be sure to interact with commenters—it's important to positively engage with your audience when they show interest in your page. This is how you turn fans into friends. Show a genuine interest in their question or comment and include an engaging question yourself about them. Try to be personable and professional with your responses, and feel free to send them additional information in a private message.
Sam: Next, don’t post YouTube links—upload videos directly to Facebook. Many people may not know that Facebook is not a fan of YouTube links. Why? YouTube links take you away from the Facebook platform, which takes you away from their advertisers and places you in front of Google/YouTube's advertisers. So, they tend to "bury" posts that include YouTube links. Embedding videos keeps users on Facebook's platform, which keeps Facebook happy.
You may also want to consider boosting engaging posts. If you are having a flash sale or posting an original piece of content that has gotten a lot of engagement, consider boosting it for a few bucks. Facebook allows you to “boost” a current post to serve it to more relevant people. It has some targeting options, but not as many as traditional Facebook ads, which we’ll talk about in just a minute. But putting some money behind important or engaging posts can truly increase your visibility to a relevant audience.
And lastly, post when your audience is most active. Make sure you are catching the eyes of your audience when they are most likely to be browsing Facebook. The general consensus on when is the best time to post lingers around mid-week in the middle of the day. But it's best to sift through your Facebook insights to determine when your particular audience is most active.
In addition to posting regularly, you’ll also want to promote your store. The best way to do that is through Facebook Ads. Facebook’s robust ad platform allows you to create different ad campaigns that focus on a variety of objectives.
The most popular objectives, especially for those in ecommerce, is to drive engagement and earn traffic to your store. The best thing about Facebook ads is that they allow you to pinpoint your target audience through a wide variety of filtering options. So if you know that you have a niche product and your audience is very specific, the Facebook ad platform really allows you to dig into demographics and make sure you’re only serving ads to your target audience. This makes them a great way to gain relevant fans and traffic to your site.
However, be sure that you are only targeting relevant customers. Ads that are too broad tend to be more expensive and usually have a lower conversion rate.
Mike: Depending on your audience, you can also decide where you want your ad to show up on the Facebook Timeline. They can be placed directly in the News Feed, looking almost like a normal, organic post, OR you can choose to serve them to the right-hand column on the side of the News Feed. Ads can also be served to mobile users as well. If you know that your target audience tends to browse Facebook mainly on their mobile devices, clicking that mobile ad placement would be a great option.
So what makes a good ad? If you look at our example to the right, you’ll get an idea of the anatomy of a successful ad from Jasper’s Market. You want to ensure that your ad has a short, punchy headline, an intriguing description that beckons customers to click, a clear call to action, and an eye-catching high quality image.
Sam: Now that you’ve gotten an inside look at ongoing ads, we’re going to give you a rundown of how they differ from the boosted posts Mike discussed before. Boosted posts are great for promoting quick multi-day sales, contests, or highly engaging original content like blogs, videos, or infographics. If you’re thinking about whether you should boost a post versus whether you should create a traditional ongoing ad, it all comes down to time. Boosted posts are ideal for short-term campaigns, like no more than a week. So again, flash sales, announcement of new arrivals or new locations—all of these things would work well as boosted posts.
Mike: On the other hand, ongoing ads are for more long-term strategies; for instance, when you want to run traffic to a specific landing page for a longer period of time, or if you are running a special sale for an entire season. You can also use ongoing ads to get newsletter subscriptions or gain leads from prospective customers.
All in all, ongoing ads are key in maintaining a healthy, constant paid ad campaign to grow your audience by increasing your Page Likes through engagement-based ads OR to drive highly specific traffic to your online store. This could mean using Facebook retargeting ads or creating niche custom audiences to capture shoppers that may be interested in your brand.
Sam: When it comes to the dos and don'ts of Facebook, the list could go on forever. We've put together some of the more important dos and don'ts for using Facebook. Let's start with the dos:
First, post actively. It's important to post actively, but not clog up your followers' feeds with content that isn't relevant or interesting. Your followers will appreciate the content you do post more if you develop an appropriate schedule.
Second, vary posting habits. Mix things up by including a variety of posts including images, videos, blogs, articles and fun informative content. This gives your followers a more holistic view of your brand and keeps you from appearing typical, repetitive, and boring. And don’t forget to create custom content. Unique, high quality content is ultimately what users want to see and what gets the most engagement.
Also, consider a monthly budget. Facebook is an advertising platform; if you are a business, you will need to use Facebook like a business. As I’ve said before, Facebook allows you to create advertising campaigns that are hyper-targeted to only those Facebook users who fit within your campaign parameters.
Next, stimulate engagement with contests. Contests and giveaways are a great way to provide a jolt to your social media traffic and drive sales to your online store.
And finally, take note of what's trending. If there is something trending that your brand and followers can relate to, don't be afraid to jump on the pop culture bandwagon and have fun with what's trending. Do a little research to make sure you fully understand the context of trending topics, as to not offend or alienate possible customers.
Mike: The Don'ts...there are just so many! But, to start:
First, don't buy followers: This doesn't work. The value of your social media accounts is directly related to your followers' level of engagement. If you have 100K followers with only 2 "likes" per post, your audience will immediately know, and you will lose your credibility in their eyes and in the eyes of Facebook.
It’s also important that you don't steal content. This is a big problem on Facebook. Sharing a funny meme from another page is not going to hurt anyone; but stealing videos or photos, plagiarizing articles, and stealing content created by others will cause your page to appear dishonest and not trustworthy.
Make sure you don't post unrelated content. Your Facebook posts should be very targeted and relevant to the products you sell and your followers you wish to gain and keep around. If it is not related to your brand, save it for your personal social media accounts.
You don’t want to use too many hashtags on Facebook. Hashtags do work for Facebook searches, but using too many will make you look desperate and your posts look cluttered. Use hashtags sparingly and only use them when they are appropriate.
Finally, don't neglect user comments. Always engage with interested followers. This makes your followers feel like they are a part of your brand family, giving you the opportunity to reach out to the most valuable followers of them all: the ones who voluntarily engage with your brand.
Don't hide or delete negative comments. Hiding or deleting negative comments only makes them stronger. Instead, inquire about why a customer or follower is unhappy and find a way to repair the relationship. Many of the closest relationships brands have with their online audience began with a negative comment or experience. Repairing these relationships goes a long way to growing a stronger, more connected audience.
Sam: Alright, so we’ve walked you through some best practices and revealed some insider tips. Now you’ve got all you need to start creating a great Facebook marketing campaign for your online store! Facebook is a great way to generate brand awareness and get in front of more potential customers, which is why this month [April 2016] we are offering a free setup with the purchase of a 3 month prepaid or 6-month Volusion social media marketing package. Check out our website for more details, and don’t forget to like us on Facebook!