How to Sell on Facebook: Promote, Personalize and Engage

From letting Facebook users simply comment 'sold' to buy an item to engaging your customers, CIO.com looks at how a small business should invest in Facebook as a social commerce channel.

By Vangie Beal
Wed, December 11, 2013

CIO — In today's digital world, "Facebook commerce" (or F-commerce) is a bit of a buzzword that describes all aspects of using the social media site to profit — everything from advertising to facilitate sales on your own ecommerce website to selling directly to your fans on Facebook.

What ecommerce business owners need to know before venturing into the world of social commerce, though, is that selling on Facebook is a different experience than what most expect it to be.

Facebook commerce

Chris Bennet, founder of Soldsie, a company that helps businesses leverage Facebook and Instagram, says Facebook is a new way of selling. Businesses have to fully embrace social to be successful, he says. "It's not just about the revenue. Social commerce is also about your brand and customer engagement."

Use Facebook to Promote, Personalize and Let Customers Share

"In the early days of Facebook commerce, a business would focus on sales conversions directly on the Facebook page," says Josh Constine, the resident Facebook expert at TechCrunch. "With time, we've seen this change. People don't usually log in to Facebook to shop."

[Related: 5 Best Ecommerce Software Platforms for Small Business]

Using a Facebook app to sell products is a smart idea, but Constine says it shouldn't be the core component of your social commerce strategy. An even better idea, he says: Use your Facebook page to promote your products, then lead customers to your central ecommerce website. "Social commerce is evolving toward using Facebook logins, personalization and sharing to augment the customer experience on your website."

When customers visit your website, many are already logged in to Facebook, so it's easy to obtain important customer information for your business — names, email, geography and other useful data. Leveraging Facebook logins on an ecommerce site helps a business use the customer data to personalize the website experience and offer product recommendations relevant to that specific person.

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Another area where Constine says he sees the Facebook connection growing in popularity is encouraging people to share a purchase. On the purchase confirmation page, instead of focusing on the receipt, businesses increasingly suggest that people to share their purchase and invite friends to join that commerce experience.

"For example, when people buy tickets, they can share and tell their Facebook friends they just bought tickets to an awesome show," he says. "That will encourage their friends to purchase tickets and join them at the concert or event."

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