In March 2012 Facebook had over 800m people using its service worldwide at least once a month. Online retailers know that this number is a reach not to be missed, but they also know that to be successful they need to be very targeted.
Thankfully, Facebook gathers plenty of information about its users’ habits and interests that can help you reach the right people.
Set up a shop on Facebook
If you’re already running your own e-commerce site, listing your products on Facebook makes perfect sense. Unlike Google, where people are searching for specifics, Facebook gives you the opportunity to target potential customers who might not even know what they want. You can jump in and gain their interest before they are actively searching for what you supply.
It’s a good idea to test the waters before recreating Facebook shop. Therefore, start by listing a few products you are trying to clear to see how it goes. Browsing your store in an environment they’re familiar with gives shoppers confidence and helps turn browsers in buyers.
Thanks to Facebook’s built-in features that enable social sharing and commenting, users can easily share products they like. So, after creating your Facebook page, the next thing is to emphasise it wherever you can on marketing collateral, email footers, business cards etc.
Promote your “Like” button with incentives, exclusive offers, free downloads, as well as by listening, commenting and offering advice to followers – they will all encourage people to click. Have a “Like” link on each page of your main website which visitors can click without leaving your site.
Recommendations are an essential element in building your business and “Likes” help spread the word about what you do, whilst building trust from potentially like-minded people who might be interested in your products and services.
Advertising on Facebook is the next step in your f-commerce strategy. It can be cost-effective in comparison to PPC on search engines, but you’ll find that click-through rates are typically lower. However, as you only pay when people actually click, this should not put you off. Here are the basic steps for creating an advert:
1. What do you want to achieve?
The first step to a successful campaign is to identify what you want to achieve with your advertising. For example, you need to decide if you want to engage with prospects, have promotional offers to increase sales, or build brand or product awareness.
Decide on who you want to target. This is where the real power of Facebook advertising comes into its own: you can be very specific. Prospects can be identified by location, language, education, work, age, gender, birthday and relationship status, or by likes and interests, such as “sailing” or “cats”.
You can also target friends of users already connected to your pages. This approach offers fantastic possibilities for catching people before they realise that they want your products, and is potentially hugely useful for launching anything new.
3. Ad design
It’s best to include images in your adverts to make them standout. Avoid stock photography and take your own. Be creative and try different ideas to see what works best.
4. Set your budget
You can specify your daily maximum budget and elect to pay on a cost-per-click (CPC) basis (you will be charged each time someone clicks your advert) or cost-per-impression (CPM) (for the number of times your advert is shown and you are charged per 1000 impressions).
5. Review the results
Did you know that Facebook provides you with detailed reports and analysis? Monitor the reports to see how your ads are performing. Then you can make adjustments to optimise them for maximum effect. Using a responder demographic report you’ll be able to see a profile of the people who have clicked previously and can target users with a similar profile.
Simon Armstrong is marketing manager for cloud-based ecommerce platform Actinic.
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