2.19 billion people.
Let that number sink in for a second.
I want you to think about just how much money you could make if I came to you with a list 2.19 billion people long.
People who are just waiting to be marketed to, who are waiting to find the right product before bringing out their wallet to buy.
If you can find that right product, you could be sitting on a potential fortune.
The question is, where are you going to find 2.19 billion people?
According to Statista, Facebook boasts a monthly active user base of 2.19 billion people. That’s 2.19 billion potential customers active at least once per month.
It sounds great in theory, right?
I mean, it’ a huge number of people and the opportunity there is gigantic. If you could figure out how to leverage that ready-made audience, you could be sitting on a massive potential windfall – even if you could only convert 1% of the users.
But that’s the problem right?
How do you leverage that audience?
You can’t rely solely on Facebook’s marketplace as it robs you of international trade. It’s a service focused on “selling within your community”, not on driving hundreds of thousands in revenue through the platform.
Table of Contents
The Common Approach to Selling on Facebook
Check any brand advertising on Facebook from the small mom and pop store down the road to the massive multinationals like Nike, Coke, and Hilton and you’ll see the same tactic being employed.
Engaging posts, images, and videos being shared to grab attention.
Fun ads that are set up not just to appease what clients want, but to also play the game set out by the Facebook algorithm.
And yet all of these ToFu elements point back to the same place. They all direct traffic to the brand’s online store where the purchase can be completed.
When we’re talking about how you as an entrepreneur can sell through Facebook, the advice invariably travels along the same kind of lines.
You’re advised to create awesome Facebook ads that direct people to your Shopify or WooCommerce store.
What’s never talked about is the drop off at each stage of this purchase journey, which is weird. There’s so much advice out there which explains how the highest conversions come from a frictionless journey.
How reducing the steps a user has to take to the bare minimum and making those minimum viable steps incredibly simple, is the easiest way to increase sales.
And yet we’re then told to grab attention on Facebook before directing users to a convoluted, complex user journey on your Shopify store.
But what if you didn’t have to?
What if you could sell directly to those 2.19 billion people without them having to leave Facebook. That’s a truly frictionless journey, right?
And it’s exactly what can be achieved with smart chat solutions like jumper.
I mean, take a look at this graphic from ChatBots Life and you’ll see that chat solutions convert at a far higher rate than those who are directed to your site.
I’m not saying that having a Shopify storefront is useless. Far from it. You need that storefront to drive organic traffic and sales.
What I am saying is that, if you’re in the early stages of setting up your business and need to find products users want, are looking to generate more sales on Facebook for impulse purchases, or are simply looking to increase conversions on social, examine how selling directly through Facebook could work for you.
In this guide, we’re going to run you through how to start selling your product (or a product you’ve found for a profit) directly through Facebook. No need for a shopfront, no need for a website. All you need is a Facebook Page and a product to sell.
Let’s start at the most basic level.
How to Set Up Your Business Facebook Page
Setting up a page on Facebook for your business is super simple and doesn’t require anything but 5 minutes of your time.
The first step is to go to facebook.com/business. When you’re on the page, look int the top right for the link titled “create a page”.
Once you’ve clicked on that you’ll have two options – brand or public figure.
If you’re a traditional ecommerce store selling on Facebook, go for brand. If, however, you’re more of an influencer who drives sales through social media, then go for public figure.
Once you’ve chosen one you’ll have to list your store’s name and the kind of business it is. Don’t worry too much, these can be changed later.
The next few stages involve setting up the page in terms of images. It takes just a few seconds to upload your logo and a cover image and, boom, you now have a Facebook business page.
At this point though, there’s nothing on there that’s going to drive sales. Click on the “about” section on the left-hand side and you’ll be presented with a number of options to personalize your page where you can tell your story.
The key areas you want to focus on first here are:
- Your about section
- Your username (so people can mention you with @[username]
- Add your products
Setting up your Facebook page is the first step you’ll need to take to build your social media ecommerce empire.
Turning Your Facebook Page into a Store
Ok, so now you’ve got yourself a Facebook page for your business, but how can you sell directly through the channel?
This is where jumper comes in.
jumper.ai allows you to turn every post on the platform, be it paid or organic, into an automated checkout. I’m going to detail how you can get this set up before we look at how to get those posts in front of even more people to explode your sales.
Step 1 is to sign up for a free jumper account. Once you have, you’ll be greeted with the below dashboard.
Once you’re there, click connect Facebook and Messenger. You’ll see a long list of social media services you’re able to integrate with. For the time being, we’re only interested in Facebook and Messenger.
Once you’ve synced the services, head to business details and fill out everything until you see all green ticks in the box on the right.
When that’s done, do the same for payment methods – without these when you sell something you won’t be able to get paid.
Head through the business settings tab and fill in everything that needs to be completed.
When complete, you need to add the product you want to sell. You can see from this image that I set up a test to demonstrate what’s needed.
If you’ve done it right you’ll immediately be given the option to share to numerous networks. Go ahead and pick Facebook and give it a test run.
jumper kicks in only when your potential customer comments with the specific hashtag as your post instructs. As soon as someone drops that comment, they instantly receive a message from your page like below, which is the start of the automated checkout.
And that’s it.
You now have a page which can drive sales directly through an automated checkout bot, removing the need for an ecommerce storefront and the complex customer journeys they bring.
You can rinse and repeat this process to add as many products as you like, but that’s not going to be enough to drive serious amounts of revenue alone.
Increasing Organic Reach and Traffic On Facebook
Unfortunately, this isn’t field of dreams and the simple act of setting up your page and sharing shoppable posts doesn’t ensure the traffic will come and buy from you.
You’ve got the foundation in place for driving sales, but you now need to get your offers in front of the right people.
There are two ways to do this.
- Through paid ads
- Organic traffic generation and audience building
Don’t think these two are separate tasks. Your ad and organic strategy need to work together.
Unfortunately, organic engagement on Facebook is pretty low. After the changes brought about by too many link bait-esque posts of questionable quality, organic reach has diminished.
Now, one of the key components of getting your posts to reach a wide audience (and thus attract new people to your business page) is to create share-worthy content.
Not that kind cheap like farming stuff where someone says “like if you’re X, share if you’re Y”, but genuinely fun, interesting, or useful posts.
Here are a few tips to zeroing in on an organic Facebook strategy that should help you show up in more people’s feeds and see more engagement.
1 – Quality over Quantity
As reach has decreased over the years, the logical solution would be to share more right?
I mean, if the average organic post is reduced to reaching 10% of the original audience, then simply share 10X the number of posts and you’ll keep your engagement numbers the same, right?
In testing this theory out the guys at Buffer actually reduced the number of posts they put on Facebook.
You can see that they drastically dropped their frequency around October 2016.
This, however, didn’t see their engagement drop but instead caused the opposite to happen. Their reach and engagement increased at exactly the same time they started dropping their posting frequency.
Of course, there’s probably more to this story than simply reducing the number of posts such as an increase in quality of the posts they were now sharing, but the effect is pretty obvious.
Don’t spam your users.
Keep your posting on Facebook to 1-2 times per day and ensure that they’re of a high quality.
Face on value and you’ll start building an audience who will not only then see more of your shoppable posts but will be more receptive to them.
2 – Keep Consistent
OK, so you don’t want to be smashing out 10+ updates every day as it’s going to do nothing for your reach.
But don’t think that doing 1-2 per day for a month is going to keep bringing growth to your Facebook channel.
You’ve got to keep those posts going. The more people see you in their feeds when their friends like your content, the more likely they are to like your page and add themselves to your audience.
So don’t stop.
3 – Create ENGAGING Content
As a brand, your reach has been limited.
However, your user’s reach hasn’t. If you can get them to share the content you’re pushing out you’re going to see it reach more of their friends.
Instead of doing what so many lazy ecommerce brands do and simply putting an image of your latest product and saying something like “buy now”, “claim 20% off today!”, or something equally easily ignored, make it fun.
Inject your brand’s personality and humor into the post and create something unique that catches the eye.
- Using interesting copy that doesn’t just aim to sell the product.
- Getting a killer image knocked up for the post
- Optimising the headlines of your posts
But more than any of this, you have to make sure there’s something for the user to engage with. More than just leaving a little [EMOJI] as a reaction.
Think about questions you can ask, pain points you can solve, and the problems your audience is facing. If you can hit one or more of these areas, people won’t be able to not get involved.
Some of the better organic posts I see online are from the Ahrefs team. Check out the one below.
4 – Test, Test, and Test Some More
You can follow all the guides like this on the web and never achieve your full potential on Facebook.
Because your brand is unique.
Your audience and the way they react with your brand is unrepeatable.
You need a unique approach.
These kind of articles are meant as a jumping off point for you. We can give you the guidelines, but you have to go out there and test everything we say to refine it into the most perfect version for your brand and audience.
Test everything you can from the time of day you post to the number of times in a day. Run different kinds of headlines, copy variants, and images against one another to see what gets the most clicks and engagement.
Never. Stop. Testing.
5 – Stop Trying to Sell
OK, so I know the title of this piece is focused on selling through Facebook. And I know it’s the blog of a tool that specializes in helping you make selling products through Facebook incredibly easy.
However, you sometimes have to take your eyes off the goal in order to achieve it.
The bigger your audience is on Facebook, the more potential eyes you’ll have when it is time to run a promotion.
That means that a good deal of the content you share on the platform should fall into one of the below categories:
- Educational (of course based around your core products)
- Entertaining (which again, could even include the products you’re selling)
- Questions (which could be used as market research for your next product)
- Promotional (of course)
Make sure, at the least, that you’re only running a hard promotion of your product in one of every four posts.
Or you could take my earlier advice and simply test this to see what works for you 😉
6 – Joint Ventures and Collaboration
If your Facebook page is small or you’re just starting out, the fastest way to foster growth is to join partners with someone who has an established audience with overlapping interests.
Let’s say for example that you sell beauty products.
You’d go out, find beauty influencers and get in touch with them seeing if there’s scope for a collaboration.
That collaboration could take many forms, but most common comes down to one of the below:
- Simply ask them to mention your page or reshape your content to their audience to increase your exposure
- Ask them if they’d be willing to promote your product for an affiliate commission (with jumper you can actually set up quick and easy affiliate checkout bots as well).
They have an audience, you have something that can help them, it’s only natural you should want to join forces.
7 – Audience Optimisation
If you head to the settings section of your Facebook page, then the general tab, you’ll find an option to optimize your audience for your posts (if you have over 5,000-page likes, this will be enabled automatically).
What this will do is add a new option when sharing Facebook posts to your page, allowing you to more thoroughly segment which parts of your audience see the post.
If you were selling shoes to your audience, you could then limit the post to those who prefer Nike, Adidas, or something else.
Whilst these tips will help you increase your organic reach which will give your promotions more impact when you do share them, you shouldn’t rely solely on organic to grow your Facebook sales strategy.
You’ve also got to couple it with a paid campaign.
Starting your Facebook Advertising Campaigns
Paid advertising has been the bread and butter of any product based business for decades.
From the times of buying ad space in popular print media, through radio promotions, TV ads, and now PPC advertising, paid ads have always worked well.
In addition to your organic growth strategy, you should also be looking at how you can leverage paid advertising to grow your brands reach.
We’ve got a couple of in-depth guides we’re working on right now that’ll be out very soon (sign up to the newsletter to be notified as soon as they’re live), but in the meantime, I’ll offer a quick and dirty overview of what you should be doing.
Rather than go into the complete breakdown of the different conversion goals and ad types you can run, I’m going to quickly run through the overarching strategy of your ads.
Let’s get into it.
Before You Start, Figure out Your Profit Margins
You’re spending money here so you need to know what targets you need to hit to remain profitable.
Let’s imagine your product costs $100, $50 of which is your profit. I’d recommend you then aim to spend $25 on acquiring new users. This means that you then have a 1:1 ratio of profit to ad spend.
However, if you have numerous products to sell and a sophisticated back-end follow up upsell and downfall, it’s not unusual to break even on that initial sale.
Many brands I’ve worked with have worked to a simple break even on the first sale because they know that they can then secure more sales from each customer later down the line.
That first sale is simply getting them into the store, the future sales are where profit is made.
If you’re just starting out, then try to achieve a 1:1 profit to ad spend ratio.
To do that, you’ve got to know what sort of tools are in your Facebook Ad Toolbox.
Understand Ad Types and Conversion Goals
Most ad advice out there is aimed at getting traffic back to your website. But as we’ve already discussed, that’s not a goal if you’re selling directly on Facebook.
You’re not going to have a store to send people to, and so want to maximize the engagement on your actual ads and within Messenger.
When you create an ad, you’ll see the below options.
In red I’ve highlighted Brand Awareness and Reach. Both viable options for those just starting out and who haven’t yet attracted a wide audience.
Put some killer content in these objectives to get your brand and products in front of as many eyes as possible.
Reach is also a good option if you’re planning on getting your first ad out to as many people as possible to populate your remarking strategy (more on that later).
However, what we really want to focus on are those highlighted in green. These are objectives that focus on driving the desired result of getting people to comment on your ad. Which, if you’ve set up jumper as above, could lead to the automated checkout bot taking over and closing the sale.
Here’s how they break down.
You’ll get three options within engagement – Post engagement, page likes, event responses. Choose the first for this.
If you choose post engagement Facebook will optimize for those most likely to either like, share, or comment. It’s the latter you’re after. Also be sure to choose “Post Engagement” as the optimization option.
This one’s pretty straight forward. Facebook optimized these ads based on who’s most likely to start a conversation with your brand.
There’s a lot of information out there which will tell you to focus on the conversion-focused objectives. For this though, ignore them. They’re entered around actions on your website, which is something we’re not optimizing for.
Now, onto the next most important area of your ad strategy.
Facebook Ad Targeting
I’m not going to cover the basics of Facebook audience targeting here.
You should already know which area your target audience resides within and their general interests. That will see you right on the initial targeting needed to get your ads off to a good start.
What I am going to explain though, is a few more advanced targeting ideas that are perfect when you’re not directing to a separate store. This is key as the actual ad targeting has to be focused on those who have already engaged on Facebook.
Here’s what we recommend.
Lookalike audiences are custom audiences that allow you to target people who are similar to your existing customer database.
You can build your custom audience by heading to All tools > Audiences in your Facebook Business account.
When you’ve clicked that, simply click Create audience > Lookalike audience.
Ideally, you want 1000+ people to seed your custom audience. The more people in your seed batch, the more likely you are to find similar people.
However, you also want to make sure that the people you use for your seed audience are the highest profit audience possible. That means try to focus on those who have purchased from you more than once in the past.
You want as many of those repeat purchasers as possible in the seed audience to help you find others who have the same online behavior.
To find your seed audience, you’ve a couple of options. You could use any of the below to populate your first lookalike audience.
- Email addresses of past customers (you’ll never find 100% on Facebook, but you can usually get a pretty decent match rate)
- Your page fans (which is why it’s so important to constantly use organic means to drive engagement)
- Any purchasers, even if it’s below 1000 (even 200 is better than nothing, right?)
As your business grows and you start attracting more customers you’ll see the effectiveness of your lookalike audience increasing. The more source data Facebook has to pull from, the easier they’ll be able to find others who match their habits.
Retargeting is one of the highest return actions you can take with your Facebook ads.
A well thought through retargeting campaign will have your products consistently in the feeds of those who have expressed an interest but haven’t yet pulled the trigger to make the purchase.
However, the majority of the advice out there revolves around people who have visited a certain page or abandoned their cart.
That’s great, but what if you’re selling on Facebook without a store? How can you retarget people who are only engaging in Messenger?
I should kick this off with a caveat. Facebook, right now, hasn’t put a lot of time into the ad options for Messenger. You can base retargeting on engagement, but you’re going to have to get a little inventive.
The first step is to go to Create Audience > Custom Audience. When there, click on the bottom option of Engagement to see the below.
We want to first build an audience of people who have engaged with your Facebook Page. When you click that option, you’ll be presented with some more options.
Later on, you can retarget people who visited your page but took no action or those who saved a post. But for right now, we want to focus on those closer to a conversion.
So we’re going to set up an audience of those who engaged with any post. That covers the comments that are needed to kick off the jumper.ai automated chatbot.
What I’d then also do is layer that audience to EXCLUDE anyone who has sent a message to your page within the same time period.
In the above, I put the time limit as 7 days. You can change this to represent a time limit that best suits you and your promotions though.
But what this effectively does is builds an audience of people who liked your original promotion, but didn’t follow up by sending a message.
You have an audience of people who liked what you shared enough to either share, like, or comment, but who didn’t follow up with the automated chatbot.
It’s not perfect as there will be those who engage and abandon. However, with Facebook’s current targeting it’s the best we’ve got.
Experimentation and Optimisation
As mentioned earlier, your audience is unique. I can give you all the tips and tricks I think will work but you have to use and refine them to perfect your own strategy.
If you don’t, you risk ending up with mediocre results that will provide you with a good living, but won’t be anywhere near the level of success you should be reaching.
See what resonates best with your audience. One thing I would say that has, so far, been true across the board is this method of selling directly through social is great for small products and impulse buys.
If you’re selling a $10,000 product the user is going to need a longer stage of consideration. In that case, you’d be better off selling something small to get them into a longer email funnel that then pushed them towards the end product you want to sell.
That’s our ongoing, updated guide to selling on Facebook without a store. If you’ve got any questions or think we’ve missed anything key, feel free to drop a comment below and let us know.