Facebook wants to become the next big platform for e-commerce. And it’s already a great platform for building a brand and interacting customers.
For online merchants, this means you need to have a strategy to tap Facebook’s power to help your business.
We recently spoke with Cathy Halligan, formerly CMO of Walmart.com and now SVP marketing at PowerReviews, which helps e-commerce sites leverage Facebook about Facebook commerce and asked her: what do I do if I’m an e-commerce site and I want to use Facebook to drive sales?
Here’s what we learned:
- FIRST: Deliver on the fundamentals of commerce. That’s mandatory. Don’t think about Facebook if you can’t deliver on the basics, which are: product, price, in stock, fast checkout, and fast delivery.
- Facebook ads aren’t great. Unlike search engines, on social networks people don’t have purchasing intent. So Facebook ads might be great for brand advertising, but not for converting people into purchases.
- You can do conventional marketing, but that’s not enough. Most of what e-commerce sites do on their Facebook Pages is traditional marketing, meaning based on sales and deals, pushing discounts to their fans. Another good idea is to give your Facebook fans early access to new products. There’s nothing wrong with that and you can do it, but it’s not enough.
- Engage your customers. It’s become a trope of social media marketing, but it’s worth repeating: actually engage your customers. Talk to them. Get them to contribute. Respond to them. Pay attention. Build a two-way communication and community.
- Have great content — and the best content is user generated. You need to have an active program to encourage your customers to interact with you. Compelling content is great marketing, and the best content comes from your users. That means reviews. Encourage your customers to post reviews of your product, and highlight the best ones. (If your customers hate your product, go back to item 1, do not pass go.)
- Integrate Facebook into your site It’s not just about what goes on on your Facebook Page. You should integrate Facebook into your site. That means Like buttons above the fold on each product. That means allowing people to connect with Facebook to post reviews — which they can then push out to their friends.
- Most importantly — experiment! This is very early days for Facebook commerce, so try things out! Don’t be afraid to try new things and see how it works.
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