Squeeze Facebook to boost your ecommerce profits: here’s how

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A billion people on Facebook translate to a billion reasons for businesses to be there. Any business – big or small – now finds the need to be on Facebook and tap into the ever-increasing appeal Facebook has for businesses.

Now, Facebook might not be everyone’s favorite. Yet it has potential. It has a user base, and it allows myriad applications and tools to interact with it. Friends trust friends and Facebook goes a long way to help translate that fact into business transactions.

Ecommerce websites – especially those in the B2C niche – have a lot to gain from Facebook. Scoot, a low-cost long haul carrier launched by Singapore Airlines, achieved 14X ROI for its launch in Japan gaining more than 9 000 entries to their campaign. The company also saw an increase of more than 60% in new fans from mobile devices alone. Mishika, an online fashion retailer that sells vintage clothing, found 1 000 unique buyers in the first 6 months of operation. It then enjoyed 30-40% repeat buyers. For a business starting from scratch, and using nothing more than ads and posting regularly on their Facebook business page, those are impressive numbers!

But how can you replicate these numbers? What are the strategies that can guarantee that your campaign will be just as successful? As in life, there are no guarantees on Facebook. What I can do, however, is point you towards higher chances…

Set up your assets

You ideally have an online store that’s already social ready. You can benefit from a way to display your products directly on your Facebook page or creating a Facebook store using an interface integrated with your ecommerce site framework, or a third party tool such as StoreYa.

Simultaneously, create mini-bridges between your Facebook business page and your content with your blogs, landing pages, and other properties. By mini-bridges, I mean little gateways and pointers from Facebook to your content and vice-versa. You can link every product page to Facebook and back this way if you’re clever about it.

Needless to say, you’ll need content which works as fuel to drive relevant traffic and help convert visitors into paying customers. Your assets will include your storefront, your Facebook business page, the stand-alone Facebook storefront, the posts on your Facebook page, relevant ads and sponsored updates.

Setting up all of this is just the beginning.

Reach your core audience

People watching
Image: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center via Flickr

Facebook is working continuously to make the platform more appealing to paying customers (businesses specifically) by offering more benefits. As such, it now boasts of features that make it easier for businesses to reach precisely targeted customers on Facebook. Ad buying interfaces and sponsored posts now have a way to identity your core audience, with parameters such as location, age, gender, languages spoken, specific interests, behaviors, and connections. Facebook also has a new custom audience interface that gives you specific insights on people visiting your website or app. Combine this with your existing ad interface, and you have powerful tools to enhance your campaigns.

Seeking Alpha — a leading financial news app — reduced its average campaign cost by 28% by showing targeted mobile app install ads to people who had previously visited their site.

Facebook also has enhanced Call to Action features to give your customers a better way to reach your landing pages or other marketing assets through desktop and mobile. You can access and make use of action buttons such as “Shop Now,” “Learn More,” “Sign up,” “Book Now,” or “Download” with ease.

Use Facebook’s advanced features

Burning Facebook

Image: mkhmarketing via Flickr

Facebook’s sponsored update feature, which you can employ to carry your marketing assets such as ads, updates, or even videos, allows you to focus on promoting each product. You can choose your core audience and roll out focused updates based on your budget and campaign intent.

Further, consider tapping into Facebook’s Open Graph and releasing sponsored stories, which can appear in newsfeeds as a status update from a friend, a photo post that a friend likes, and many other variations.

Facebook’s Advanced Advertising suite of products offers a power editor that helps you create dozens of variations of a single ad for a single product. This is great if you’d like to test ad images, headlines, copy and other content in front of specific target audiences.

Facebook also has Facebook Exchange, which is best for advertisers or businesses with an online conversion objective or for businesses that already have consumer intent data. Facebook Exchange works based on behavioral patterns of users (such as repeated attempts to find “best packages to visit Hawaii”). In this way, businesses can target users who’ve taken particular actions on the web.

Even if you were to advertise on an external site, Facebook’s conversation tracking pixel feature to know whether or not your ads are paying off. For instance, you can track conversions and have the results reported back to you in your “ads manager” dashboard.

Leverage contests and campaigns

Tickets
Image: Nathan Rupert via Flickr

Direct advertising, tracking conversions, and rolling out sponsored updates are the staple on Facebook. You can also bring in contests, Facebook gateways, and add interactivity to your business page to enhance traction and engagement.

North Social (now owned by Vocus), for instance, gives you plenty of tools and apps to help you launch sweepstakes, contests, and give away valuable information in exchange for Likes. You can build a database quickly using these and eventually nurture it to bring in customers for your products.

On Facebook, targeted advertising meets social intent. Together with information sharing and conversions, you can boost your ecommerce goals. Launching campaigns, maintaining conversations, and convincing users to carry out transactions aren’t exactly straightforward. However, it’s not as complicated as it might seem; it’s just that all these assets need to roll in tandem.

While it’s getting harder to hold an average Facebook user’s attention span, consistent efforts can make Facebook work for you. The tools exist and the platform still brims with life. All that’s left to do is to capitalise on the ready customer base that Facebook makes available to your business.

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