You’ve made the website, the UX is out of this world.
The layout, the navigation, the checkout experience - all smooth and clean.
Everything is almost perfect…
Except for one thing.
There’s no one there.
No one’s buying anything.
Nada, zip, diddlysquat.
Your online store is a virtual retail ghost town.
So, how do you get more potential customers to your online store?
For 40 million small businesses, Facebook is a huge part of the answer.
Clearly, Facebook marketing alone will not solve your customer acquisition problems.
But a smart Facebook content program designed to lure followers back to your online store, will help you meet, nurture and retain more customers.
We've rounded up the four key ways to use Facebook marketing for your ecommerce business, and we've included 10 supporting online retail Facebook success stories from brands of all different sizes, industries and budgets.
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You’ve got a website, but no one on it. Facebook is a great way to get your brand out there to millions of potential customers.
But how do you do this?
Not only will we show you how, but we’ve included examples of the businesses that are killing it when it comes to using Facebook marketing. Click on the dot points below to take you to the interesting stuff.
Four ways to use Facebook to grow your business online
After analysing hundreds of ecommerce brand’s Facebook activity, we’ve pulled together 10 of our favourites, of all sizes and budgets. We wanted to share these examples with you to help you harness Facebook to drive growth and genuine business results for your ecommerce brand.
In the process of this research, we’ve uncovered four key techniques you can use as the foundation for your Facebook Marketing program to help you meet, greet, and keep more customers.
#1. Use Facebook to develop a strong relationship
Facebook marketing can help you maintain two-way communication with a new customer.
Strong relationships mean satisfied customers, and satisfied customers turn into loyal, repeat customers.
More repeat customers mean more referrals, and more chances to develop strong relationship with new customers.
That means more money in the bank long term.
It’s a beautiful circle of compounding ecommerce success.
Open and clear communication lines also allow your customers to voice their unique perspective on your business, and give you invaluable feedback and criticism.
#2. Use Facebook to become a leader
You want more social media followers, right?
Followers need a leader.
Show your customers that your brand is the number one authority figure in your niche and they will respond in kind.
How do you establish authority?
You show them through content that is both entertaining, and educational. Entertain, educate and inform. Instead of promoting you own brand, create and share Facebook content focused on your customer’s needs and wants.
If your followers genuinely believe you can solve their problem better than anyone else, you’ve earned their trust – and they’ll choose your business.
#3. Use Facebook to increase sales with product promotion
What more could you want out of your marketing?
Cold. Hard. Cash.
Because isn’t that the point of ecommerce?
There’s no point developing a brilliant Facebook page and a best-in-class online store if no one’s going browse, shop or checkout.
Facebook marketing needs a balance between helping, entertaining and selling. But there is a time to promote, and if you know how to do it well – you can reap the revenue rewards..
#4. Use Facebook to generate awareness and trust
This one is simple.
The more people who know and trust your brand - the more people exposed to your products and services.
If your brand can share helpful, valuable content on Facebook to gain the awareness and trust of a few potential customers, the few can grow into many (particularly when supported by targeted Facebook advertising).
She’s got the body, she’s got the product, and she’s also got the brains when it comes to using Facebook to develop relationships.
Ashy Bines is famous for her Bikini Body Challenge – a program designed to help her customers achieve a bikini body in just 12 weeks.
Here’s what Ashy (and her social media minions) do so well:
They start a conversation...
They respond to the conversation...
And they show they are paying attention to their client’s successes...
These before-and-after shots from an Ashy Bines customer establish more trust than any branded promotional campaign ever could.
If you can empower your users to generate content for your brand – you can receive the most powerful social proof for your user’s friends and followers.
Sure – you have to be prepared to deal with the good, bad and ugly side of two way social media interaction with your brand. If you truly believe in your brand and your products, the benefits will significantly outweigh the costs.
(Amy Porterfield is one of the most reliable Facebook marketing experts in the business. Her article, titled "How To Get More Fans And Increase Engagement, will give you some specific tactics to help you generate more engagement from your followers.)
Who would’ve thought the humble shaving goods industry could provide one of the biggest success stories in online retail?
Evidently – not Schick or Gillette…
You’re probably all familiar with Dollar Shave Club CEO Michael Dubin’ viral Youtube video.
With the launch of a single two minute branding masterpiece in 2012, Dubin’s company sold 12,000 orders within two days.
The DSC’s Facebook strategy continues where the absurd and hilarious launch video left off, and ensures continual conversation and engagement to strengthen the DSC brand’s relationship with their customers.
Andrea Miller writing for Sprout Content has five tips for businesses that have a content marketing strategy – and these universal rules ring just as true for Facebook as they do for any other platform:
- Be real
- Make an emotional connection
- Be a good listener
- Don’t expect a one-night stand
- Be consistent
Dollar Shave Club never deviates from this marketing oath.
Although it may seem daunting, investing time into developing relationships over Facebook can mean the difference between a one-off customer, and a dedicated brand loyalist.
The allure of travelling is not lost on Contiki. The travel brand promotes their products on their Facebook page with inspirational content designed to maximise the wanderlust of their followers.
Contiki post a collection of helpful tips, inspirational blog posts and envious images taken by their customers, to engage and entice their Facebook users.
How could anyone resist the urge to travel with photos like this screaming out from their Facebook feed every day?
Contiki don’t need an overt sell, there’s no need to ram products into their social posts. Appealing to their target audience’s lifestyle aspirations is enough to trigger consideration and keep Contiki the first brand that comes to mind when someone mentions a trip to Europe.
With content crafted specifically for 18-35 year old travel enthusiasts, Contiki make sure they get maximum bang for their Facebook buck.
Onya bags may not be the sexiest products on the market.
But they don’t have to be.
Onya aren’t about sex appeal, high fashion or supreme value for money - their brand is about saving the environment, one bag at a time.
By selling their environmentally friendly bags and educating their audience.
If sustainability is something you genuinely care about, there’s a good chance you’ll be interested in buying an Onya bag.
The brand’s content (particularly on Facebook) communicates this core belief, and establishes trust from potential customers who hold this environmental sensibility dear.
Your posts don’t have to include a call-to-action each and every time.
Sometimes, it’s better just to educate your customers on why your product is the best option for your target audience.
Customers don’t just buy a product; they buy what the product means.
If you are selling surfboards, don’t just sell the board. Sell the lifestyle.
If you are selling boutique beers, you’re not just selling the beer; you’re selling the air of superiority over the unwashed, uneducated Tooheys New guzzlers.
If you can use Facebook to sell the culture your brand believes in, your customers will buy in.
Tieks by Gavrielli sell one thing: ballet style flats.
One pair of shoes. That’s all.
Their Facebook page has over 1.4 million likes.
Tieks are clever. They know their audience. They know young women love to see shoes. They know young women love it even more when said shoes can be worn in so many ways it could make your head spin.
This image froman excellent Marketing Profs article on Facebook carousels, shows the much lauded Tieks outfit diversity.
They’re just shoes.
And yet their Facebook posts can have over 37,000 likes.
Tieks by Gavrielli focus their content on what their audience wants.
These shoes are an investment piece, so their audience needs to know they will get their money’s worth.
By using Facebook as a platform to educate and engage their audience, Tieks can focus on promoting their shoes, and to enable their fans to do the selling for them.
Tieks doesn’t do fancy Facebook offers, or elaborate discount codes. They rely on their 1.4 million loyal followers to sell their products for them.
Selling only one product doesn’t mean your business is limited in what it can achieve, it just means your Facebook content needs to focus on getting your audience excited about your product. One singular goal makes this whole caper a whole bunch easier.
It won’t be so easy to begin with, but with a great Facebook marketing program your brand can develop loyal followers like those at Tieks, and your sales will grow.
BoozeBud certainly are winning at keeping the message simple:
They make it easy for you to buy great booze online.
Boozebud’s products are boutique/craft beers, wines, and spirits.
And you know what?
That’s all they need to talk about.
Boozebud keep things nice and simple.
Post an image, add some info, throw in a hashtag or two, and copy in the link if required.
If you know your range and selection of merchandise is your point of difference – Facebook will help you make this clear to your audience.
BoozeBud are a smaller business, but they know how to make Facebook contribute to genuine business results.
They aren’t using fancy techniques or expensive videos, and it’s working for them.
Even better – Boozebud enhance their Facebook program with their “refer your friends” incentive promotion.
Boozebud use this referral program in conjunction with their Facebook content to generate more awareness - without annoying their audience with streams of paid ads and sponsored posts. Referral programs like this add value for their following, and get the customers to help pull your marketing program’s weight.
Don’t be afraid to use referral promo’s like this. They can boost sales and lure potential customers onto your Facebook page to develop a future relationship.
Just because the marketing budget is small, doesn’t mean your ideas have to be.
Activewear is to 2016 what stonewashed denim was to the 80's. If you're not wearing it every day, you're noone.
We know who is personally responsible for starting this booming ‘athleisure-wear’ phenomenon.
Her name is Lorna Jane Clarkson.
Lorna Jane active wear is a seasoned veteran when it comes to selling their products with the help of Facebook marketing, but it’s not all pretty bras and colourful shorts doing this brand’s legwork.
Lorna Jane are doing two things extremely well on Facebook:
They respond quickly...
And they promote their products with high quality imagery...
Eloise Keating from Smart Company has five lessons business owners can learn from Lorna Jane’s success in social media:
- Make it personal
- Find your audience
- Create your own content
- Respond to your likers
- Use hashtags
These tips will help your business develop content that will see potential customers flock to your website, and hopefully see some dollars flow into your bank account while you’re at it.
PC Case Gear isn’t winning fans with pictures of bikini-clad women bending over a desk.
They aren’t about the funny videos or memes.
And they certainly aren’t posting about changing the planet. (They couldn’t anyway, with the amount of plastic in their products!)
PC Case Gear sells computer hardware and software.
And they do it really well.
Their Facebook page specialises in promoting the latest software and hardware to their audience, with no extra frills, bells or whistles.
They know their audience, and they know their audience won’t stand for BS.
Know your audience - know what works but also what doesn’t.
PC Case Gear knows their customers want their product information, updates and education sans the bikinis.
An intimate knowledge of your customer’s information needs and wants will help you tailor your Facebook content to attract, nurture and retain your ideal audience.
UK based e-commerce retailer ASOS has set the bar high for building a brand through Facebook.
Of course – if the internet has taught us anything – it’s that cute animal pics are universally lolled over.
But don’t estimate the difficulty involved in developing marketing content that makes your audience laugh.
Don’t believe me?
Spend some time over at the Condescending Brand Facebook page and you’ll see how this tactic can go horribly awry.
Neil Patel, digital marketing soothsayer, has this to say about ASOS and their success on Facebook:
“They’re pretty laid back and humorous, and they don’t really have a lot to do with clothes — which is what Asos sells. Yet they still have a lot of engagement. How is this so? It’s because these posts are suited to their audience and the platform in question.”
ASOS builds their ever-cool brand by communicating and exploiting their personality.
They have a cheeky, fun brand voice, which makes it easy for the social team to create entertaining and engaging content.
It’s the kind of content that makes you think ASOS is your friend. That’s a powerful asset.
Of course, ASOS’ marketing budget is quite substantial, but their strategy on Facebook is simple: keep it light, keep it fun, keep it friendly After all, Facebook is a place their audience use to have fun catching up with their friends.
Consistency breeds trust, and Asos’s brand voice helps the clothing ecommerce giant turn potential customers into loyal brand fans.
If you’ve frequented Gorilla’s blog before you will know this: we have a crush on a guy named Frank.
The natural beauty products company has built a cult following on the back of their coffee body scrub, and the quirky character of their brand ambassador – ‘Frank’.
Frank brings the concept of ‘brand personality’ to life. He is their mouthpiece. He allows the brand to say edgy, scandalous, debaucherous things and get away with it - all the while promoting their young and sexy brand in the process.
Frank’s Facebook page takes advantage of social media buy buttons, allowing their audience to purchase direct from the page.
If you’re after more proof that Frank’s got the goods for you - you’ll see the content building the brand into a super sexy, super cool heartthrob. Soon you’ll be lusting after their scrubs as well.
They know what they’re about, and they know how to sell it.
Their audience trusts Frank, because of his personality.
The tagline “let’s be frank” enforces the very idea that Frank is honest, fun and won’t lead his ‘Frankfurts’ (Frank users) astray.
If the customers feells a real connection to your brand, they’ll feel more comfortable handing their money over for your goods.
Building a brand personality will help you develop a trusting relationship with your potential customers. Your brand is one of your company’s few assets that sets you apart from your competition.
Your business and products may not be as sexy as Frank’s, but that doesn’t mean your business has to be boring.
You can still develop your brand’s personality on Facebook to build awareness, and trust with your audience.
Your Ecommerce Facebook Marketing Takeaways
It’s hard to navigate the world of marketing on Facebook.
It’s a scary place.
Measuring ROI can be a significant challenge, but with one of these four key approaches you can establish a simple yardstick. Whether by developing stronger customer relationships or directly increasing sales - these brands give you the map – you just need to blaze your own tailored trail.
These ten online retailers run the spectrum of all shapes, sizes, budgets and goals - but all of them recognise the importance of using Facebook to get in bed (literally) with their customers.
All these businesses have one thing in common.
They all have a marketing plan for their Facebook activities.
Investing time into building a good Facebook page may seem like a waste initially, but it's one of the best ways to expose your business to a huge chunk of potential customers, and develop a long term relationship with them.
Subscribe for the Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram instalments of our ecommerce social media series
You’ve seen 10 innovative, successful ecommerce brands killing it on Facebook, in a few different ways. Not all are big budget, multi-national monoliths. As long as you have a target audience using the platform, you can establish and nurture a relationship with new customers with relatively minimal effort.
If you’d like to hear more about how to effectively market your ecommerce business on multiple social media platforms, subscribe to our Weekly Ecommerce Jungle Gym Update. Facebook is just one of the many platforms out there that can be used by ecommerce retailers.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be profiling the best ecommerce brand examples across a number of different social platforms.
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