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Facebook for small businesses. Made simple?

Facebook for small businesses. Made simple?

Selling on Facebook? Hmmm. I have to confess that I haven’t done it. I’ve spent the past hour trying to find out how to open a shop and failing miserably – it doesn’t appear to be intuitive. I went to my business page and looked for a tab that would say something like. “Create your truly amazing shop here in just two short minutes!” Well, unless you guys know differently that doesn’t appear to be the case. However, I remain undaunted. Let’s look at the theory and practice of selling on Facebook and see if we can make it work, shall we?

I have wrote 3 parts, this is part 1 the others are here…

Part 2
Part 3

Why we should be selling on Facebook

If you’ve already opened an eBay shop and you have your own website is there any point in setting up on Facebook as well? Well yes is the quick and easy answer to this. Plenty of sellers are very disillusioned with eBay – particularly small businesses like you so selling on Facebook makes sense.

In fact, given that Facebook has over 1.44 billion ACTIVE users every single month (and is growing) that’s one hell of a lot of noughts (1,440,000,000) and one hell of a lot of potential custom, isn’t it? Of course you can’t target them all, and many of them will be outside the UK, but still, even a micro fraction of 1.44 billion potentially makes you a very happy businessperson, doesn’t it? Just directly targeting 100,000 active Facebook users, will have a significant effect on your business.

But just how do you do it?

Facebook allows you to sell products on your Facebook page and will let you set up a store. You need a Facebook page that is dedicated to your business – so you would need to distinguish this from your own personal Facebook account.

This is a good place to start with your Facebook business page

This is a good place to start with your Facebook business page

Setting up a Facebook page for your business

Setting up a Facebook page for your business is relatively straight forward. You can click here

1. Click to choose a Page category (in this case BUSINESS)
2. You get a new box to fill in. Select a more specific category from the dropdown menu at the top and fill out the required information (let’s say Shopping/Retail) etc.
3. Click Get Started and follow the on-screen instructions

Add a cover

Add a cover

Don’t forget to have a fiddle and add a profile picture for your business and a ‘cover’ as they call it. This is the large photo at the top of the page. Use the cover photo of your page to present your brand’s logo and try to make sure that the overall look of your page is clean and professional-looking. Remember – it’s your business not your personal life.

Incidentally – a useful tip. When you set up your Page, you can request a web address such as “facebook.com/nameofmybusiness“, which makes it easy for people to find. Then, to maximise the impact, include this address on your business card, website and other marketing materials.

Theoretically, once you have your own Facebook Page set up, you can then add your store to the tabs on your page which means you can skip between one or the other, and when people visit your Facebook Page, they can click through on your Store Tab and actually purchase products directly through your Facebook Store. Ingenious. I just wish I could do it…

Setting up your Facebook store

To maximise your potential for selling on Facebook you need to create a store. However, many people don’t necessarily do this, they just post photos with the price and details of each item and invite people to message them, so that’s an option if you want an easy life and can cope with that level of admin. You have to invoice people through PayPal which can be a bit of a fuss. If the person messaging you via Facebook is not known to you, you may get the message in your ‘others’ folder (which seems to be the Facebook equivalent of spam), so look out for that.

Facebook will allow you to start up a store on your Facebook Page, but you will have to know how to create an App, and then upload your products and pricing information into Facebook, then somehow connect all that to some sort of shopping cart to process your payments. It is very technical if you don’t know what you’re doing, as I don’t, and hence why I’ve been banging my head into a brick wall for the past hour or so. So what’s the alternative?

Sadly you need to spend some money and use reputable ecommerce solutions

Sometimes the best strategy is hiring someone who knows what they're doing!

Sometimes the best strategy is hiring someone who knows what they’re doing!

There are a variety of ecommerce solutions out there and at this stage I don’t know which of these are the best. They all big themselves up. The ones that shout the loudest about what they do are Shopify and Bigcommerce, as well as website builders such as Wix. These have built in programs so that you can quickly create your own Facebook store based on your existing portfolio of products.

I found this gem of useful information online – create a separate landing page using a platform that allows you to ‘create custom pages, different categories, an SSL certificate, a responsive, adjustable format, etc. Just search around through different apps and platforms, read real user reviews, and find a store platform/app that’s affordable, feature-rich, and one that can be used to tie your store in with Facebook seamlessly.’

And then once you have your page and your store created, you simply use your Vulcan superpowers to mind meld the two together to ‘create a seamless store experience on Facebook’ using an e-commerce widget, such as Ecwid – which is apparently affordable, and provides 30 separate payment options. Or you can use StoreYa, which allows you to create multiple product categories, list dozens of products, choose from a variety of templates, and integrate your store with your Facebook page to ‘create a seamless e-store experience’ – there’s that seamless experience again. I feel quite exhausted and just a little disheartened!

Link in your social media

If you do want people to buy from your Facebook Store, it makes sense that engaging with your Facebook audience/community should be part of your overall business marketing strategy. Target users and their specific interests –we’ll come back to this next week.

Open for business?

Open for business?

In Part 2 and Part 3 of my selling on Facebook guide I’ll look at some ingenious ways to market your goods, as well as taking a peep at advertising. You could consider running promotions or events for example, or hold contests to help you market your products. Anything that draws people in and gets them to share your page is a great idea.

Over to you

Do you have a Facebook store? What sort of experience have you had with it? Did you design it yourself or how did you go about it? I’d really like to hear from you so get in touch, either below or come and have a chat to us on our Facebook page.🙂

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