Facebook may have started as a platform for friends and family to stay connected, but it has since become an ecommerce platform where small business owners and other entrepreneurial-minded people can sell their products online.
Facebook Marketplace is a go-to resource for people looking to buy and sell physical products in their communities. However, it can also be a powerful selling tool for small business owners.
Once you’ve set up your Facebook Business page, you’re ready to create a dedicated Shop page and start adding your products. Keep in mind, only physical products can be sold through Facebook Marketplace. As you’re adding your inventory, keep these tips in mind for successfully selling on Facebook.
Before you start selling on Facebook, you should first do your research to get a feel for the level of demand for the products you plan on selling. Consider how many similar Facebook merchants there are in your niche and how your products differ from theirs.
This is a similar step to conducting a market analysis when writing a business plan. The last thing you want is unsold inventory sitting around and costing you money. Confirming that there is substantial demand for your products and understanding your unique selling proposition is a crucial first step.
While you’re looking at your competitors, this is also a great opportunity to take note of how they price their products, so you can enter the market at a competitive rate. You should either try to come in at a lower price point than your competitors or, if that’s not possible, show why your products are worth more—whether it’s a higher quality, larger quantity, etc.
Selling on Facebook Marketplace successfully—as with most other online platforms—comes down to visuals. You need high-quality, professional-looking images in order to catch potential customers’ eyes. You should also include multiple photos per product in order to show various angles, features, color or size variations, and more. If you can show the item in use, that can be a big benefit as well.
With Facebook Marketplace in particular, though, you also want to be cognizant of how you size your images.
“If you upload regular portrait or landscape photos, then Facebook will crop them in the preview, and your item may not be recognizable,” explains Morgan Taylor, chief marketing officer of LetMeBank. “It’s always better to upload square photos to avoid cropping, as that way you know your items will be perfectly visible in the preview.”
Consider your potential customers when you create your product listings. Most users aren’t going directly to a merchant’s page; instead, they’re searching for the item or category they want and scrolling through the first few results. If your listing doesn’t show up at the top of the search results, it has a much smaller chance of being found and for a sale to be made.
Research what terms, also known as keywords, are searched most often for the products you’re selling. Keyword research is one way to improve your ecommerce SEO strategy, then make sure your product names and descriptions include those keywords. There are several tools you can use to research keywords, but you can also look at how similar sellers market their products and note what terms come up most often.
When shopping via Facebook Marketplace, buyers can reach out directly to your business through Facebook Messenger. Similar to the live chat feature found on many websites, Messenger allows you to have conversations with your customers in real-time.
This can be a huge benefit to your business by allowing you to provide excellent customer service and respond to potential buyers quickly and with the information they need to complete their purchase. However, this can easily hurt your chance of making a sale, as well. If you or someone on your team doesn’t respond quickly, chances are good that your potential customer will go somewhere else.
“Customers don’t like to wait long and usually, the chances of them buying your products are higher if you can respond to them sooner,” says Lewis Keegan, owner of SkillScouter. “Answer customer queries as soon as you can.”
Of course, 24/7 customer support isn’t usually an option for small businesses. However, answering questions as quickly as possible will help your chances of making a sale, so consider prioritizing this task each morning. And clearly outlining your customer service availability on your business’s Facebook page can help temper customer expectations.
Facebook leaves it up to individual merchants to create their return policies, so you’ll need to decide on the terms of when and how you’ll accept returns and post this policy on your Facebook Business page.
Communicating this clearly with buyers is another way to provide a positive user experience. After all, if you don’t clearly lay out your terms and then refuse a return, you’ll have an unhappy customer who is unlikely to shop with you again and may warn others away from your page as well. With such a direct line of communication between business and buyer, it always goes a long way when you can work with a customer to ensure they get the product they need when they need it, and that any errors or quality issues are resolved efficiently.
Experienced Facebook Marketplace sellers know that groups can be a gamechanger for their business. As Jeremy Owens, chief marketing office of Seriously Smoked, explains, there are various Facebook groups dedicated to buying and selling. “Sellers can share their Marketplace listing to a wide variety of groups, which allows thousands of people to see the listing without paying any money for advertisements,” he says.
Even if you don’t engage with a group to directly sell your items, simply starting a conversation or providing helpful information on your area of expertise can help build your brand authority and reputation. This, in turn, will drive more people to your Marketplace page.
It will take some research to find the right groups for your business. Knowing your target audience is key. Then, spend some time finding the groups where your target audience likes to hang out.
“If you’re selling pet supplies, joining a Facebook group composed of pet and animal lovers is a great start,” says Yaniv Masjedi, CMO at Nextiva. “Posting relevant information like a list of pet vitamins helps inform people of critical knowledge they need to parent their pets. Additionally, the posts are also lowkey advertisements for your products. You can plug the Marketplace listing of the product somewhere within the post, preferably on pictures for each product.”
If you are advertising your products within a group, just be careful that it doesn’t come across as spammy. You’ll want to be intentional about your placement and try to provide some value along with the link to your listing.
Facebook Marketplace is a great platform for sellers, but it shouldn’t be the only place you advertise your products. As you likely know, Facebook owns Instagram, so it’s easy enough to promote your products on both platforms.
Businesses often have slightly different audiences for each of their social media platforms, so this is a great way to get your products in front of more people. Plus, this can also help more of your Facebook users follow your Instagram account and vice versa, meaning more brand visibility for you.
Additionally, if you use another ecommerce platform to sell your products, such as BigCommerce or Shopify, they may partner with Facebook Marketplace to easily let you list your inventory.
Sometimes, especially when you’re first building an online presence, it can be hard to get eyes on your page. If your listings are optimized, have high-quality images, and are competitively priced—but still aren’t getting much engagement—you may want to consider putting a little money behind your posts.
After you list an item on Marketplace, you may have the option to “boost listing,” which will essentially turn it into a Facebook ad. You’ll set a budget for what you want the total spend for the ad to be, as well as how long you want it to run for, and then Facebook will boost your listing so that more users see it.
While there are plenty of free Facebook marketing strategies to consider as well, this may be a good solution for businesses that need a little help to get the ball rolling.
Selling on Facebook can be a great way for small business owners to expand their digital footprint while keeping costs low. With Facebook Marketplace, you can list your products, build your brand authority through groups, and chat directly with customers to build a solid reputation as a trusted seller.
With more than one billion active Facebook users and over 100 million monthly Instagram users, there’s a huge audience just waiting for you to tap into. While it will take some time to create professional-looking listings and find your target audience, selling on Facebook Marketplace can pay off in a big way.
Nina Godlewski is a former staff writer at Fundera.
Nina worked to help make complicated business topics more accessible for small business owners. At Fundera, she focused on complex topics ranging from payroll management to launching a business. She was previously a staff writer at Newsweek covering technology, science, breaking news, and culture. She has also worked as a reporter for Business Insider and The Boston Globe.