Everyone’s on Facebook – right? Well, not really. Despite a reported 24 million Britons logging in every day (figures from 2013) that’s still only one third of the population.
And I frequently meet small business owners who tell me they “don’t do Facebook”.
But if you’re an ecommerce business then Facebook isn’t something you can ignore these days. You may not be on it but your customers certainly are. And with search optimisation and social media becoming more closely linked, it’s time to bite the bullet and jump aboard.
So this article is for those of you who “don’t get Facebook” to help you start building a Facebook presence from scratch.
Before you start
Set your objectives
If you expect Facebook to be the main driver of sales to your ecommerce shop, forget it. Facebook is great for many things but direct sales isn’t one of them. Facebook is good for:
- keeping your brand in people’s minds
- getting people to really engage with your business
- market research
and whether you like it or not, people will use Facebook as a customer service channel.
Allocate a budget
Even if you don’t use paid advertising options you will need time to manage your account (or pay someone to do it for you) and some nice looking graphics.
Plan your communications
Think about what you will post onto your Facebook page – and how often you will update it. It’s recommended you post at least 2-3 times a week. Post too often, however and fans will start turning away.
Your Personal profile
You will need a personal Facebook profile in order to set up a Facebook page for your business. On Facebook people have “Friends” and business pages have “Fans” or “Likes”.
Make sure you adjust the privacy settings. Your business page fans won’t be able to see any of your personal posts as long as you set your privacy so that only your friends can view.
Create a great looking page
Setting up your page is straightforward – Facebook guides you through the process. You will need a great cover photo and remember to complete your profile fully.
This article includes a really useful step by step guide to setting up your page and more hints and tips for getting started.
Now you’re on Facbook you need to get some people to Like you.
If you don’t use Facebook personally this could be the time to take the plunge and start using your personal account. If you are an active Facebook user yourself, you will find it much easier to run a business page.
To get your first fans:
- invite your friends to Like your page. If you have staff and they are on Facebook, encourage them to to invite their friends to Like the page too.
- email your existing clients and contacts, let them know about your page and ask them to Like. Give them a reason why they should – a competition, for example.
- add links to your Facebook page to your website (be careful where you put these. Remember that you don’t actually want to send people off your own site onto Facebook if they are about to make a purchase!)
Facebook will encourage you to gain more fans quickly by promoting your page through paid advertising. It’s worth testing this with a small budget – if nothing else it should increase your fan numbers to a level which doesn’t look embarrasingly small. Make sure you give a reason for people to Like your page in the advert.
As your fanbase grows you can leverage your existing fans through posts which encourage them to share.
Keeping your fans engaged
It’s vital that you post items on Facebook that your fans find interesting and that they respond to. The more people Like, Share and Comment on your posts, the more they will be seen.
Every business is different so you will need a bit of trial and error to find what works for you. Here are some ideas:
- ask them for their opinions on new product ideas
- links to your blog articles
- behind the scenes photos
- special offers
Take time to respond to comments and messages – this is vital for building relationships with your customers.
Check out your competition too – look at which of their posts get lots of engagement.
Once you have established yourself on Facebook you can start looking at more options to extend your presence and connect with your customers.
Facebook advertising can be extremely targeted and very effective when done well. Jon Loomer is a Facebook advertising expert and a great source of information.
You know when you visit a site once and it keeps following you around, including on Facebook?
It’s known as remarketing and the reason you see so much of it is because it works! It’s not that difficult to do and it’s worth looking into if you have decent numbers of website visitors.
You can also set up a Facebook store so people can purchase directly from you within Facebook. You may not want to put all your items in there, but a few selected best sellers or your current deals could gain you a few extra sales. Many ecommerce platforms now have Facebook apps so check if there is one for your shop software.
A word of warning – when browsing the internet to find hints and tips for Facebook for business always check the date of the article – Facebook changes so quickly and you need to be sure you are acting on up to date information.