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How to sell on Facebook: Promote, personalise and engage

Vangie Beal | Dec. 12, 2013
From letting Facebook users simply comment 'sold' to buy an item to engaging your customers, CIO.com looks at how a small business should invest in Facebook as a social commerce channel.

But before you can sell to your customers, obey the golden rule: Make sure your fans are engaged before you push product. It takes only minutes to install an ecommerce app on your Facebook page, but it takes much longer to build your channel to a point where people are engaging with you. Without this engagement, Bennet says people will not be interested in buying from you in social channels.

"Businesses that invest in the marketing aspect of Facebook commerce tend to have more success," he says. "Business owners have seen success in selling through Facebook comments, which leverages the engagement your brand has with fans. The more people who like, share and comment on your photos increases the visibility of your products."

Using a Facebook page to sell product turned out to be a positive business decision for Jenny Boston. The company started with two ladies designing their own accessories and selling at flea market sales on Cape Cod. The first Jenny Boston boutique opened in in 2008; today the Jenny Boston team has successfully launched a total of six stores.

Owner Kristen Maynard says Jenny Boston launched its first Facebook sale in October 2012, offering more than 30 products that sold well in the retail stores. On Facebook, Jenny Boston posts product images and descriptions and lets people purchase by writing "sold" in the comments.

Jenny Boston successfully runs weekly Facebook sales allowing customers to purchase simply by typing "sold" in the image comments.

"People started posting 'sold' and asking questions right away. Every week since doing our first Facebook sale, it's a little bit better and a little bit bigger," she says. "When November hit we couldn't believe how many orders were coming through the Facebook page."

Jenny Boston runs a Facebook sale each Wednesday, featuring new products that will be available in store the following day. Maynard says the Facebook-only sale drives Thursday in-store foot traffic. During the holiday shopping season, the boutique also offers a seconds weekly "themed" sale on Facebook.

"What sets us apart from other retailers on Facebook is that we had a large customer base before we started selling on our page. Many companies don't build a customer base first," Maynard says. "I see businesses that launch on Facebook and then open a store to sell products before they engage customers. They don't seem to have as much success."

Not many businesses can claim their first Facebook commerce sale a success, but Jenny Boston can. Social selling on Facebook has increased sales by tens of thousands while boosting the company's following more than 2,000 percent. Maynard says in-store sales are up significantly as a result, too.

 

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