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Sunday, 17 November 2019 04:24

How To Make Sales On Facebook!

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Making sales online can be very challenging, sometimes depressing, for most people that are trying to build an online presence.

Are you about to take your offline business online? Are you about to venture into a new business online? Do you have an existing online business that's struggling to give you returns? Then take the front seat, fasten your seat belt, put on your 3D glasses, because this post is for you.

Social Media has been married to Online businesses for quite some time now. Just like newly wedded couples, their marital relationship at first was the sweetest.

You could market your business on Facebook for example, organically (for free) and make huge sales. You could post your products or services Online and receive likes, comments, inquiries, and feedback. Facebook was so generous with online business, but what changed?

For over a decade, Facebook has been the most successful social media platform. Others are great, but Facebook laid the foundation for most of them.

 In the last few years, Online business on Facebook has been pushed to the sidelines.

As at the time of writing, only 5.5% of people that like your business page on facebook sees your post. What this means is this- If you have 5000 Likes on your page, an average of 275-page likers sees your post, not necessarily engaging with it though. If however, you have 100-page likes, this also means an average of 6 people gets to see your post on Facebook. As a marketer, this is very poor for the success and growth of your business.

These statistics might push you into advertising which is like a magic wand for big businesses but more like passing a JAMB exam for small businesses and starters who don't have the financial strength to invest.

But why did Facebook tighten their grip on business owners?

Most starters or small business owners or managers might argue that it's because Facebook wants to make more money, or that Mark Zuckerburg is very greedy and wants to keep acquiring more. Others might argue that he's a businessman and the goal of every businessman is to make a profit and so he has to tax those making money from his platform because nothing is free even in free town.

In as much as everyone is entitled to one opinion or the other whether they are true or false, here is the reason Facebook gave for their actions- Businesses are nowhere to be found in their mission and vision statement. It's just an added incentive we as users or marketers should be grateful for. 

Facebook was initially built to connect family and friends.

Because of the stamped business owners created on the platform, Facebook, seeing how far they had fallen from their mission and vision, carried out a survey. The results of that survey showed that most users on Facebook prefer to see a post from family and friends rather than businesses. This prompted Facebook to adjust its algorithm to suit the majority. 

Do you remember the Cambridge Analytica Scandal that happened in 2018 with the press almost splitting Facebook into two? Yes, I know you remember, millions of people were ready to opt-out from facebook. But if they do which social media platform will you run to, Twitter? Pinterest? LinkedIn?

If you're just a regular user of social media and not a marketer, Twitter alone wouldn't give you your desired satisfaction because it is a 'by-the-minute' news network. You might have fun with the latest trends in sports, entertainment, and news but it doesn't connect with friends and families as Facebook does. If you were considering switching to Pinterest, its a B2C (business-to-customer) platform made up of about 70% women. As for LinkedIn, you know its more or less like a Professional circle, a B2B(business-to-business) platform mostly used for recruiting and connecting with employers. If you had considered leaving Facebook for Instagram, well, it's the same management so you haven't voiced your displeasure. This makes Facebook the best of tools for online business owners.

How about if you were a business owner on facebook during the Cambridge Analytica Scandal. You wouldn't have possibly left either because your target audience couldn't just seem to press the delete my facebook button. Funny enough it was only a hashtag that ended up trending on Twitter. Even if you do, where would you have possibly turned to, Twitter? Pinterest? LinkedIn? According to SproutSocial, brands get 300 Interactions for every one million followers on Twitter compared to Facebook's 700 Interactions. That's over double and I'm sure that's why you weren't so quick to leave the platform regardless of the crisis. Pinterest, on the other hand, is made up of about 200 million active users, but can it be compared to Facebook's 2 billion? It's no match. We can go on and on about this but Facebook is the number one place to be if you want to make sales online. No matter what kind of business you do, there's a 99.9% certainty that your target audience is on Facebook. 

But with all these measures put in place by Facebook to promote Family and friends rather than businesses, how do you make sales on the platform?

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I had a conversation with a dear friend some days back. It was just a random checkup because we hadn't communicated in a long time, so I asked how she was doing and what she was up to. She said she was doing great, and that she has been training herself, trying to get better at doing business. I was so happy that she had started running a business and I was like, 'make sense'(Nigerian slang) and she was like "Marketing is not my area of strength. It's been affecting sales...I mostly put it on my status and sometimes my Facebook page, but very few people see my post on Facebook". Business owners on Facebook can surely identify with this fact due to the decline in organic advertising on the platform.

WHAT SHOULD I DO TO MAKE SALES ONLINE?

You only need to do Two things to make sales online. Set Goals and take action.

Obviously, the goal of every marketer is to make sales, but there are certain things you need to do to achieve that.

BUILD TRUST

One of the most important things you should do is to build trust with people. Remember the mission statement of facebook which is to connect families and friends. If your prospects don't see you as a friend, you might not be able to convert them into customers. But how do you convert a total stranger to a friend? You need to engage with them, talk with them about random stuffs, not your business. You can even find common grounds with them like a hobby or movie character you both like and discuss on neutral grounds. DON'T discuss your products, DON'T discuss your services, DON'T discuss your goods. Let them see you as a friend before telling them about what you offer.

 This could probably take days, or weeks, even months. But the longer the neutral conversations take, the higher the conversion rate.

Note that during this period of friendly interaction, they will also be seeing your updates on the goods you sell or the services you render so when you eventually present it, it wouldn't be news to them because they are already subconsciously seeing you as an authority. 

But you can't engage with people if you don't even have access to them in the first place.

GROW YOUR COMMUNITY

Growing your community/reach is the first thing you should have in mind when setting your goals. Most business owners have 5000 Friends with only 50 Page likes. Out of the 50 likers, only 3 of them sees your post on an average, thus making sales difficult. If this is the case with your business page, you can try sending an invite link to all your friends on Facebook. This will help increase the number of likes on your page although it might not guarantee you sales because it's only a handful of your friends on facebook that might be interested in your business.

 Therefore there is something else you need to do.

RUN SPONSORED ADS

I've been trying as much as possible to run away from sponsored ads in this post but it seems inevitable. You have to run paid ads to invite people to like your page. The minimum amount you can spend on paid ads on facebook is N200 per day. But for you to reach more people you have to spend much more. This needs to be considered when setting your goals.

 If you're a small business there's no harm in starting small. A lot of people will tell you that if you don't put N10,000, N50,000, N100,000, N1m in advertising you are not ready for business. Don't listen to that bullshit*(pardon my wrong choice of word). In as much as they might be right in a way in the sense that the higher money you put in the higher returns, I strongly believe in the phrase "Cut your coat according to your size". 

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Everyone knows that the more money you invest the higher returns you get, but with the little you have, you can grow your business little by little. So don't let it weigh you down. If it's N1000 you have, use it. If it gets you, 10 new followers, that's like N100 per follower, an investment well spent. But please make sure you run targeted ads, not for sales at this moment, but to grow your community.

TAKE ACTION

The new ones that like your page you need to follow up on them, add them as friends and interact with them. Remember don't market to them immediately, build trust. Once you've been able to nurture the relationship and it's healthy enough, you can start marketing to them. This all looks like a whole lot of work and it is. Na serious work o(In Nigerian Pidgin), but it works and the end result is worth it. 

The simpler thing you can do as a starter or small business is to run sponsored ads marketing your product, but it might fail for two reasons

1. You're not a popular name/brand that most people will want to identify with because they don't trust you to solve their problem

2. Most people in general, especially in Naija, like free things. If they don't have that connection with you, they won't dip their hands into their pockets.

You can start running ads when you have a defined community. The reason is this- When you've managed to groom your community, the interactions you have with your initial prospects and customers prompt them to engage with your post. They tend to like, leave a comment and even share them with their friends. When you eventually advertise, those interested in your business will want to do a quick research about you before trusting you with their money. The first place they go to is your online page. When they see how healthy the atmosphere there is they will be pushed to trust you and buy from you.

Will Instills - Transforming starters into professionals

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