Selling (And Socializing) On Facebook

Facebook offers ecommerce companies an opportunity to both market their products and connect with their customers. Traffic to Facebook has increased by 149% from February 2008 to February 2009, according to Hitwise, and it’s not just from the young crowd. Visitors over age 35 have increased by 23% over the same time frame.

First, Create a Facebook Profile

eCommerce companies can create Facebook profiles very similar to what is available to individuals. Using Facebook applications, merchants can easily and automatically display content from Flickr, Twitter, blogs and even lists of products. Consumers who are interested in your company and products can become a “fan” and are then automatically notified of your updates. You can also add video, notes, links and events to your page.

Selling directly on Facebook is also possible by using the Facebook Marketplace, powered by Oodle. Sellers can list products by category and then sell them for a profit, for a cause (to benefit a charity) or give them away. Best of all, products can be viewed by location, enabling local transactions to be coordinated over the Internet.

But the real power is in what Facebook inherently offers – the ability to socialize and communicate directly with your customers Once customers become a fan, or join your group, you can send them messages, updates and news. Most importantly, you can see exactly who they are and can reach out to them to gather information about why they like your products and what can be improved.

Large Retailers Benefit from Facebook

Nike uses Facebook to promote its shoes and already has over 1.4 million fans. Customers can post pictures of their shoes and comments, which are visible to everyone. Nike also hosts a discussion board where customers can ask questions and socialize with each other and the company representatives.

L.L. Bean uses its Facebook page to post news and events, promote its products, and offer discounts. L.L. Bean encourages its customers to post product photos and photos related to the L.L. Bean experience, and to comment on photos left by other enthusiasts. Customers also can discuss products, the outdoors, favorite hiking trails, and stories about their dogs. L.L. Bean targets promotions to its followers via blog posts, videos, and special offers.

Target takes interactions with its customers further by allowing customers to post ratings, video, photos, discussions and comments directly on its Facebook page. Target has embedded a Facebook application that allows consumers to browse new products directly from Facebook. Target also offers special promotions via its Facebook page and visitors can even download special computer desktop backgrounds from it.

However you want to interact with your customers, Facebook allows you to customize the experience, and address your marketing agenda, while also interacting and socializing directly with your customers.

Sarah Worsham
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