For most ecommerce brands, Facebook is still the number one social platform when it comes to driving traffic and building an audience of customers and fans.
This is particularly true for lifestyle brands and businesses that know how to create compelling and shareable content.
By now, chances are you’ve got your Facebook page up and running and you’re regularly sharing content with your followers.
But how do you actually generate sales with Facebook and not come across as too self promotional and burnout your audience?
Let’s take a look at some effective ways to sell with Facebook and create an audience of raving fans.
1. Use Images
In order to generate traffic and sales from Facebook, you first need to create engagement and build an audience. By now you’ve probably heard that images perform better on Facebook than other types of posts.
However, not all images are created equal. The folks at Buffer found that images that are self explanatory get higher engagement than images that require further explanation. In the example below, the image on the left is for the most part self-explanatory while the one on the right requires a description to explain what it’s all about.
If you're posting product images, consider overlaying some text on your image that gives more context such as "New", "Back in Stock" or "Winter 2013 Collection" they way Warby Parker does below.
2. Sell the Lifestyle Around Your Product
Another important strategy for online retailers when it comes to creating compelling images is to understand that you’re not just selling your products, you’re also selling the lifestyle around your products.
In other words, post images that show examples of your ideal customer using your products in a setting that makes sense for your brand and target demographic. Or, surround your product with other products that are non-competitive but are still “on brand”.
Poler Stuff, an outdoor gear and sporting goods retailer, does a good job of this in this example where they show a solo, cross-country cyclist striking out on his own for the weekend. This image inspires their fans while promoting the outdoor lifestyle and their products (in an under the radar way).
3. Create Themed Product Collages
Let’s face it, posting product shots over and over can get boring for your fans pretty fast. To make your product images more interesting, try creating visually appealing product collages that place similar themed items together.
You can even use this strategy to offer snack sized style guides or quick tips on what other products work well with yours.
4. Run Giveaways and Contests
Research has shown that 42% of people ‘like’ a brand on Facebook in order to get coupons or discounts. Put another way, you should be offering deals to your Facebook fans.
Contests are a great way to offer a deal and package it in a way that engages your audience and brings new customers to your page.
In the example below, Diamond Candles asks their fans to Like, Share, Pin and register for a chance to win one of their products.
With 3,269 Likes and 3,627 Shares you can see how effective this can be.
5. Offer Time Sensitive Discounts
Offering time based discounts can be an extremely effective way to get people to take action and move the needle when you need to. Putting an expiration on your discount leverages scarcity which is a powerful psychological sales trigger.
In the example below, ecommerce menswear brand Bonobos offers a discount that expires and has a minimum purchase limit. Minimum purchase limits can be a smart way to still offer your fans a nice incentive but also make sure you don't give away the farm.
6. Offer Gift Cards
People love buying gift cards.
In fact, according to a National Retail Federation survey, 81% of Americans will buy at least one gift card during the holidays. The same survey also found that 70% of customers who use gift cards will spend more than the value on the card.
Offering gift cards on Facebook (especially near the holidays) gives people a way to share your brand and products with their family and friends.
7. Run A Caption Contest
Caption contests are a great way to ramp up engagement and get people interacting with your content.
Check out how Petflow asks their fans to come up with a caption and also slips in a link to their “Secret Toy Sale”. Naturally they have a bit of an unfair advantage as they’re able to use kittens but 4,574 Likes, 423 Comments and 899 Shares is pretty impressive.
8. Showcase Polarizing Topics, Images or Products
Featuring a polarizing topic or product can be one of the best ways to boost engagement. In the example below, Frank & Oak pits it’s iPhone app users against it’s Android app users and asks them to either like or share based on their device.
If you’re a fashion brand you could pick one of your products that people either love or hate and ask “Would you wear this? ‘Like’ if you would and comment if you wouldn’t”.
9. Offer Free Shipping
If you don’t normally offer free shipping, then occasionally doing so can be a very compelling incentive to get people off Facebook and over to your store.
Here, Holstee offers a time sensitive free shipping deal that coincides nicely with the holidays.
10. Use A Custom Facebook Store App
Facebook Store is an official Shopify App which allows you to publish your products and collections to your Facebook page. This is great for generating traffic and sales from Facebook, as well as increasing engagement with your Facebook fan-base.
The Facebook Store app will place a custom tab on your Facebook page that’s highly visible and that you can customize.
Here’s some great examples of ecommerce brands already using the Facebook Store App:
When it comes to selling on Facebook, it’s important to try and strike a balance between creating engaging content that builds an audience while also gently nudging people towards your products.
Creating special offers like deals, discounts and giveaways will help you bridge that gap by allowing you to highlight your products while still creating interesting content for your followers.
In addition, custom apps like Facebook Store can help you bring your shopping experience and products right inside Facebook itself.
How do you promote your business on Facebook? What's working for you right now? Let us know in the comments.