Savvy small business owners are always looking for innovative ways to boost sales and grow their business. The explosion of social media over the past decade has created a massive opportunity to boost brand awareness and drive sales for existing and new products by engaging on social media platforms and showing up in their customer’s news feeds. The digital revolution has also created a thriving eCommerce industry that is very accessible to small business owners. What if I told you that you could access all of this for your business right inside your Facebook app?
Facebook Marketplace has created the opportunity to do just that: Do business on the social networks your customers are already using. You can create engaging Facebook posts and sell your products, side-by-side.
Facebook Marketplace for business is an essential part of any local business’s marketing strategy to list items and sell products to drive sales.
First Things First: What is Facebook Marketplace?
Facebook launched Marketplace in 2016 as a way to allow Facebook users to buy and sell from each within their communities. Hundreds of millions of people use Marketplace each month, and it’s totally free to set up a Marketplace listing on the platform. While it’s primarily a person-to-person informal marketplace, certain businesses can also list their products on the platform. These include those selling used vehicles, real estate professionals, and retail/eCommerce businesses. Most small businesses that fall into these categories will be able to effectively leverage Facebook Marketplace to drive sales.
Marketplace’s easy integration with existing transaction and store management tools like Shopify and Bigcommerce makes it a no-brainer for small business owners looking for an easy way to expand their footprint. If you work with Facebook’s existing eCommerce partners all you have to do is reach out and ask to get the process started. If you work with a different eCommerce partner, you’re not out of luck. You can fill out this form to get the attention of Facebook’s team.
The transaction is either handled by your eCommerce partner or through Facebook (for a small extra fee). Facebook Marketplace also has a large suite of order and inventory management tools available to businesses engaging on the eCommerce platform.
You might be thinking, “Isn’t this just eBay or Craigslist? What’s the difference?” The biggest difference between Facebook Marketplace is how the user actually makes a purchase. On eBay, users go through an auction system to eventually “win” an item. Facebook Marketplace is much more similar to a more regular shopping experience – users select products and buy them in real-time. Additionally, Marketplace meets the user where they are. Users browsing Facebook will see Marketplace in their feed and can navigate to the Marketplace seamlessly without having to leave the website.
Winning on Facebook Marketplace: Our Top Tips for Success
As with any new strategic effort with your small business, you want to go in prepared. We’ve curated the best tips and advice from experienced sellers and Facebook’s team to make sure you find success leveraging Marketplace.
Do A Competitive Analysis
Before you start selling on Marketplace, do some research to see what the landscape already looks like for the products you’re looking to sell. This will give you two critical pieces of information:
- You’ll get a sense for the level competition for your type of product or niche by surveying the number of businesses already listing products
- You’ll learn a lot about how you can position your product to beat out your competitors through more impactful product descriptions or competitive pricing
Invest in an SEO Strategy
The search engine on Marketplace works just like Google. A strong search engine optimization (SEO) strategy will pay huge dividends by ensuring your products come up first when users search for them. A small investment in SEO will pay itself back many times over.
Use High Quality, Square Pictures
When you’re online shopping, what’s your reaction to a less-than-great photo? You probably won’t buy that product, right? The same thing goes for Facebook Marketplace.
In sales, presentation is everything, and you have to adapt to the medium you’re using. Use photos from lots of angles, photos of the product “in action”, and show all of the possible variations of your product in the listing. Square photos are also preferable because otherwise, Facebook will crop the “preview” of the listing in a user’s feed.
Leverage Facebook Messenger
Facebook Messenger is built seamlessly into the buying and selling experience. It’s super easy to use Messenger as your in-platform customer service tool. You can even automate responses to keep customers engaged!
Engage in Relevant Facebook Groups
Facebook is, at its core, a platform for communities. There are so many Facebook pages that users already engage in. Sellers can share their listings within the groups their target audience is already engaged in, which opens up massive exposure to thousands of potential customers for your products.
If you sell pet supplies, join groups for pet owners. If you sell car accessories, join groups full of car junkies. The possibilities are almost endless. There are groups for almost anything on Facebook. Take some time to do the research necessary to find where your target customers already are on Facebook’s existing platform.
Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
Facebook’s ad tools are a powerful way to get your listing in front of your target customers. You can put your money towards ad spent in two ways:
- Use the “Boost” Tool: After you list an item on Marketplace, there’s a tool you can use to “boost” the listing. It very quickly turns the listing into a Facebook ad. You can set a fixed budget, the timeline for the ad, and then Facebook will get it in front of the users it thinks will be most receptive to the product. This is a great option for those less savvy with digital marketing tools.
- Take it to the Next Level: The Facebook ads manager is incredibly complex and powerful. You can target the tiniest of customer segments using their tools and create complex, comprehensive campaigns. This is a great option for those looking to take their ads to the next level. There’s also a large community of Facebook marketing specialists who can help you optimize your ad spend.