Learn Simple Social Steps to Market Your Online Store

E-commerce websites, online marketplaces and even Facebook stores are becoming popular and are very successful for many new sellers; it is prime time for all small businesses to make sure that their products are viewed online.  You can easily set up an e-commerce store, a marketplace on eBay or Amazon or even set up a Facebook store right on your Facebook business page in a matter of minutes. Once that store is setup and ready to go, you need to know how to market your products.

Regardless of where you have placed your products online, you need to create a marketing strategy to guide your activities.  You may already have a plan to drive customers to your physical store location; this is a good starting point when taking a look at how you can market yourself in the digital space. However, the options online are almost unlimited since you are opening up the world to your products.

The first and lowest cost step to a solid marketing strategy is to take advantage of the popular social media sites, especially if you have a Facebook shop on your Facebook fan page. Use these channels to promote your products, build brand awareness, and interact with your customers. The more you interact with customers and you continue to be active on these channels the more you will begin to build trust with current and potential customers. While most of your engagement is free to create, it may make sense to add paid advertising options from a platform such as Facebook or Twitter to drive new users to your page and gain exposure to your products and brand.

Social sharing is a route you can take to encourage people to share products from your news feed or online store. We suggest that all sellers provide social sharing buttons for the top social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. These can increase exposure for you ecommerce site, marketplace listings or Facebook store. Our Facebook store app, ShopTab, lets your customers quickly and easily share your store’s products on their favorite social media sites.  Encourage your fans to do so.

social_share_link

We know that special promotions and “deals” work very well inside of social networks – there is lots of research to back this up.  We suggest you offer your customers promotions and then market them directly on your fan page news feed. An app like ShopTab provides a quick way to post that promotion right from your product listing page. Showcasing your special offers will help create a buzz with your customers and they will be more likely to socially share the links to your products. Take advantage of the simple posting options to both Facebook and Twitter new feeds.promote_boots

Now for the hard part of the discussion, social networks weren’t built as a sales channel. They are in place first for individuals and brands to start conversations, engage their fans and be social.  This means that integrating your products and store into the discussion requires some nuance. Selling all the time in your news feed will turn off your followers.  Make sure you are first engaging them in your brand, telling your story, listening for their queues about their needs and then pull in your products and store to highlight new products, new directions, deals and offers that may not be available to non-fans. Done in the right way this product information will be appreciated and you will see sales.

These are simple steps and tools to promote your products and services but the real effort lies in making this all work in a social context for your brand.  The trend to buy online is compelling for buyers and sellers.  Make sure you take the time to learn the unique attributes of each of your online selling channels.  Simple to say, hard to do really well.  Good luck!

Read More

How to Build Your Brand and Increase Sales Through Social Media

Image by sheela2010
Image by sheela2010

Building your brand can sometimes be difficult. You need to establish credibility and a consistent social voice in order to build up your brand. You need to build a reliable and helpful presence that encourages interaction and provides service to create value for your customers. Developing your brand can lead you to increased sales, which is particularly important if you focused on ecommerce marketing.

Gaining customer trust is a key when developing your social brand. This can be achieved through providing information that customers are searching for as well as handling any customer complaints that occur. This last part is particularly important, you need to be transparent with your customers about issues and respond to these issues publicly. Potential customers want to see that you are vested in customer’s opinions and that you are quick to respond to any issues they experience.

If you have an ecommerce store such as a website or a Facebook store, being transparent is key as customers may have a lot of questions about your products and it is easy to ask you about them while they are on your Facebook page and viewing your products. Make sure that you answer their queries as quickly as possible as that is when they are in the shopping stage and they might be more likely to purchase.

You also need to position yourself as an expert in your industry. The better information and service that you can provide to your customers they better they are going to trust you and the more likely they are to purchase your products and services. Offering great recommendation and then backing it up with information from you and others can be useful in establishing yourself as an expert. When customers are able to see value in what you are providing they will seek out your advice more frequently.

As we have already briefly touched on listening and responding to customers is a way that you can provide value to customers. There are many businesses that create a page and post information but they don’t truly listen to their customers and respond to their comments and questions. Monitoring your social media channels and being ready with answers to questions and responses to comments is going to assist you in both your efforts to build an effective brand and to increase sales.

By listening to customers you can determine what they are interested in and tailor your social approach and provide the information they are seeking. You can also use this to determine what products they are interested in so you can effectively promote those products that are in your Facebook shop or you can offer discounts on those products knowing that is what your customers are seeking.

How do you use social marketing to enhance your brand?

Read More

Facebook Ecommerce: The 5 Step Selling Guide

The first step to successfully selling and promoting your products on Facebook is to setup a Facebook store. Once this has been setup you can use the functions within Facebook to drive customers to your shop. Follow these 5 social selling steps to success:

1.       Choose Your Brand Personality

When determining your social personality you should consider whether your posts are going to be lighthearted and humorous, inspiring, thought provoking, or informative. TO determine what time of brand personality is the most effective for you, look to your current brand’s image and the way you interact with customers. This will point you in the right direction of why your social personality should say about your brand. Once you have decided which posting will engage the best with your audience be sure to stay consistent with that personality.

2.       Interesting and Engaging Posts

This area can sometimes be a bit more complicated as it can be difficult to always come up with the right material to post for your business while still remaining true to your personality. One thing to always keep in matter no matter which brand personality type you are using is to always try to include an image or a video with your post. These are more interactive for users and create more opportunities for them to like or share your post which will then be visible to an even wider audience. Studies have shown that images with human interaction are particularly successful; keep that in mind when you are developing your posts.

Another way you can create interesting posts are by using questions to encourage your customers to engage with you on your Facebook page. You get more engagement from your fans while also finding out with products they prefer. When your fans are commenting on questions or even just giving general feedback be sure to respond to them so they know you value their opinion.

3.       Promote Your Shop

When you are posting images and comments about your products always post a link back to your shop. This makes the product easy for customers who are interested to find and purchase. To find the quick link for your products within your Facebook shop you can go into the admin panel and click on the My Products tab and from there you will see Facebook and Twitter icons that will allow you to promote specific products on either of these social channels.

Promote your store by linking back to your Facebook shop in general by going to the Settings tab in the admin panel and then selecting the Promote My Store feature.

4.       Create Special Offers and Discounts

Fans and customers can be very loyal to a brand when they feel that the loyalty is reciprocated. Make them feel appreciated by offering them special offers and discounts on products. This can be easily promoted directly on your Facebook fan page. There are also Facebook daily deal apps available for your fan page that will offer discounts for a limited time only to your fans. This app creates an exclusive offer for your friends and shows them that you value them as fans and customers.

5.       Track Your Success

Facebook has an analytics system built in that allows you to track your successes. This system is known as Facebook insights and it is located at the top of the admin panel of your Facebook fan page. Facebook insights track your likes, reach, and social engagement.

In the Facebook insights panel you can spend time evaluating your posts to see which types of posts received the most comments, likes, or shares. You can also use this area to determine which types of special offers or discounts drives the most sales. In this section you will also be able to see how many page visits you received during the time period and what types of people are interacting with your store.

Are you already selling on Facebook and using other methods to promote your products? Let us know what works for you!

Read More

Creating Successful Facebook Ads

xfacebook-shop.png.pagespeed.ic.E-s4KD6bmOFacebook can be an effective tool in reaching your audience if you know how to maximize Facebook ads and use them correctly. You can drive this traffic to multiple locations such as your Facebook page, your website, or your Facebook store.

It is important to note that you have news feed ads and the right column ads available to you. The right column ads are paid ads that show up on the far right side of the page. When you distinguish your target demographics, Facebook uses this information to target Facebook users that would be the most interested in your products or services.

News feed ads are more visible to your consumers because they are showing up in their news feed. This can make them more valuable to your business as they are more likely to get seen by the consumer than the right column ads.

Whether you decide to create a news feed ad or a right column ad you will still need to have a Facebook page that promotes your business. Once you create the business Facebook page you are then eligible to create either type of ad. Make sure that you don’t neglect the business page you created especially if you are driving traffic back to your Facebook page.

Facebook-Like-Button-150x150There are some benefits of the newsfeed ad:

  • As mentioned above more visibility
  • Larger ad for more content
  • You can include a larger image with your ad

When creating your ads be sure to have the text and images well prepared before implementing the ad. Be sure that the main points of your message are in the top of the content. If you have any special offers or discounts on products or services the top area of the ad is the best place to showcase this deal. Any time you are offering a discount there is a high incentive for consumers to click on your ad.

Facebook ads are an effective way to drives sales and they can be directed to any landing page. You can direct them to your website, your Facebook shop or any other ecommerce site. If you are looking to direct them to your Facebook store you can use the smart links in the app to promote your products. You can pull these links from the “promote” feature in the app that is located under the product listing or under the settings tab in the mobile settings area. You can see this area pictured below.

ST_link

Both types of Facebook ads are highly targeted and you can use this to reach the audience with the highest potential to convert. These ads offer a variety of demographics, make sure that before you develop your ad you are well versed in the demographics that make up your best target audience.

When developing your Facebook ads be sure to use several types of ads with different ad copy and images to determine which ones are the most effective. There are no set guidelines to determining what types of ads are the most effective for your business, try out a few and see what is the most effective for you.

Already using Facebook ads? Let us know what works for you!

Read More

Adding Surcharges to Products in your Facebook Shop

When you run an ecommerce store you often offer variations of products such as size and color. It can be more expensive for you to provide the larger item, to provide an item of a certain color or provide a special package of multiple products. It is imperative that you have the capability to add a surcharge or an additional price to your item. This can be achieved through your Facebook shop.

You can easily add this capability to your Facebook store. To use the surcharge option, select the product variable option for the product listing and then check the surcharge box as seen below.

Surcharge__1

From this step you can then designate which variables you would like to set for the incremental changes since you aren’t required to have a charge for each variable. For example, if there are different sizes such as small, medium, and large you can set a surcharge just for the large product only. You can see this depicted below. An additional charge could also be provided for a color variation or other product variations that you make available in the Facebook e-commerce app.

Surcharge__2

When a buyer is in your Facebook store and the product and the variable that has the added surcharge is selected, the amount charged in the checkout cart will be noted as the cumulative price. This is a great way to add this into the total price of the item instead of showing the customer a breakdown, which would show that a surcharge is being added. Showing line items can be confusing and irritating customers. Having the surcharges added into the cumulative price is a more fluid way of making the price differentiations between variables.

Surcharge__3

The incremental price will be noted in a download of your products listings that you use as a back-up or as a template to edit your listings for future updates of your store. You should keep tabs on which of your product variations you have added to your inventory. You should also make sure that what you do with pricing is consistent across your products, since you don’t want to confuse your buyers such as a consistent surcharge for large shirts.

The flexibility to add a surcharge is very important for many sellers to effectively capture increased product or packaging costs. Some items can be more costly to manufacture and ship than others so it is crucial that you are able to reflect that difference to your consumers in a simple to understand manner.

Resources:

1. http://support.shoptab.net/hc/en-us/articles/201986123

Read More

Create a Catalog in your Facebook Page

Some clients indicate a desire to create an online catalog for their products without a need to complete an online transaction.  Their desire is to show, share and support customers and potential prospects regarding their products or services without the high cost of building a website.  We’ve created an option, using our Facebook shop application, which allows an organization to access their fan base with a catalog layout using our optimized desktop and mobile store templates in their fan page.

Desktop Layout Example
Desktop Layout Example

          Mobile Layout Example

Mobile Layout Example

How to build your catalog

1. Register a ShopTab account and add the app to your page.

  • Sign-up for a ShopTab account to support the number of products you want to show in your catalog. Click to see subscription packages for a Facebook Shop.
  • Add the app to your Facebook fan page.  The system will take you through the Facebook permissions required to add the app to your fan page.
  • Default to the website e-commerce integration. This shouldn’t require you to do anything during set-up. We won’t use this functionality but that setting allows us to hide the buy buttons.

2. Configure the store design with these special selections.

So that we show only the product information, as noted in the example images above, you’ll want to follow these specific steps in the “Store Design Options.”

  • Go to the Store Design Options Page
    • Select to remove the “buy now” link. main_product_options
    • Now we need to make some changes to the colors used in the store. Make the edits as noted below. Use “FFFFFF” for the Buy Now button and the background price bar. color_theme_options

If you desire to eliminate any pricing information, place “FFFFFF” in all fields or just don’t include a price in your product listing.

    • If you want to eliminate the price drop down option, you can check the box in Store Design Options to eliminate it.

3. Modify your fan page icon to reflect your catalog.

You can change the app icon on your fan page as noted below to reflect your catalog.  You can load an image to replace ShopTab’s cart and rename the tab from “Shop” to “Product Catalog” or whatever makes sense for your page. Your image will need to conform to Facebook’s required 117 X 74 pixel size.desert_turtles

4. Add your product listings.

Click the “Add Product” and load your listings either manually or via a data file. update_product

5. Promote you catalog to your fans and friends.

Use ShopTab’s special promotion features that allow you to highlight items or the entire store to your fans and their friends at no cost.  Or you may even want to consider using marketing options from Facebook, such as their paid ads to promote your fan page or the catalog.

Resources:

Promote items in Facebook

Promote your Facebook Store to all desktop and mobile users

If you are using a catalog in your Facebook page, let us know how it works best for you and your organization.

 

Read More

Reordering Categories and Products for Search

A big part of running an ecommerce store is the ability to efficiently lead customers to the products or services that meets their need. This includes the organization of how your products or services are offered to your customers. ShopTab makes it easier than ever to organize the categories and products in your Facebook shop.

You can find this feature in the admin portion of the app. Go to the “My Products” page and click “Change Order”. At this point you are given the option to choose to reorder your categories or products within your Facebook store.

product_and_category_button

Categories are a key helping customer quickly find the merchandise they desire. These days, customers have a very short attention span. If they go to your store and can’t quickly find the product they are looking for than they are likely to move on to your competition. Many clients put their most popular categories at the top of the category drop down list to help their clients.

On the page to reorder categories you can choose to drag and drop your categories to their desired location. This is located in the left column of the listings. You can also reorder by choosing the order number and editing that field with the desired number order that you would like that category to be placed in. Changes to listings that are made in this screen are immediately saved to your store.

category_button_reorder

In order to change the product order, select that option from the “Change Order” button on the “My Products” page. The reordering process on the product page works the same way as it does on the categories page. You can choose to drag and drop to reorder your products or you can choose the order number and select which order you would like that product to appear.

Change product order 2

Every product and category is available in this section so you can easily view all and determine what order you would like everything to appear. Please note that any updates you make in the category section will not affect the order of the products; you must be in the product reorder screen to update the product order.

The order of your products and categories can affect the overall usability and conversion rates of your Facebook store. Setup your products and categories relevant to what your customers are looking for, this will allow them to find your products quickly, which in turn will increase your opportunities to finalize a sale.

Resources:

  1. http://support.shoptab.net/hc/en-us/articles/200583366

Read More

Facebook Shop Back-Up Saves Big Hassle Later

A few articles ago we mentioned that you should be backing up your Facebook store to protect your product listings. We believe that this subject is important enough to reiterate our point and be clear about the process you need to follow. Accidents happen! You can accidentally delete one listing or all of your listings. We get a note every few months where someone deleted their whole store and we don’t want this to happen to you.  You want to be able to quickly and easily get your listings back in your store in the event of an accidental deletion.

In the initial stages of setting up your Facebook shop, you spent time and effort into creating your product listings; filling them with descriptions and images that will best showcase your product. This is especially true for our clients that use our integrated cart and where it required a manual creation of their products.  We know this takes some time to do, which is why we cannot emphasize enough the importance of backing up those files.  Additionally, once the listings are up we see store owners making numerous changes to their listings.

If something goes wrong with Facebook or if you accidentally delete your listings, you should be able to easily access your products and upload them back into your store. There is a simple process you can use to easily back-up your products. It is simple and only takes a couple of minutes; a couple of minutes could save you a lot of time in the future.

In order to back-up your Facebook store files, you should first login to your ShopTab account. Once you are logged in you will see the admin panel, and here is where you will see your product listings. On the bottom of the page is a green button that says “Download.” Once that file has downloaded be sure to save a copy on your computer or on another server location.

back_up

That is the whole process to backing up your store. Get in the habit of downloading this file EVERY TIME you update a listing or make changes – as soon as you make those changes, the old file isn’t valid and needs to be updated.  You want to have a copy of all your listings so if in the event something is accidentally deleted you have quick access to all products.

If anything ever happens to your listings and you need to get them back into your store you can easily do this through the ShopTab application. You can upload your downloaded document under the “Settings” and “Product Feed” tab.  It is important to note that the ShopTab app or database doesn’t store a back-up of your product listings on our servers so you are responsible for any database restore of your listings.

We cannot emphasize enough the importance of backing up your files. Accidents do happen and it is possible to completely delete all of your product listings. We want to make sure you protect your Facebook store and back-up all of its listings. This can save you a lot of hassle and frustration later on in the event a product is accidentally deleted. In the event of an accidental deletion you should make sure you have your listings on hand and are able to upload them quickly to your store so you are able to have that product available to your consumers again in minutes.

Read More

The Simple Process of Protecting your Facebook Store

A few articles ago we discussed some best practices for managing your Facebook store. One of those ideas that we mentioned is that you should create a back-up of your Facebook store. Having a back-up of the listings is critical in the process of managing your store in the event you accidentally delete a product listing or all of your listings at once.

You have taken the time to input all of your product listings into the system whether it was done manually or whether you used the product feed features o export your products from your website store, Amazon, eBay, Etsy, etc. You have taken the time to make sure that your products are listed in the order you desire and that they each include 4 images so you can get the maximize exposure for each of your items.  You have your Facebook store’s product listings just the way you want them to look within your Facebook shop. This is a considerable amount of work and we don’t want to lose this information.

In the event that someone unintentionally deletes a product listing or in an even more tragic event, deletes the whole product catalog, it is important that you have a backed-up version of your product listing files. This will enable you to retain your product listings and in the event any of them get deleted they can be quickly restored to your page. ShopTab has streamlined this process and in a matter of a few clicks you can easily update all of your files.

In order for you to back-up your files, login to your ShopTab account. Once you are in your admin panel you will see your product listings. On the bottom of that page is a green button that says “Download”. Once that file has downloaded be sure to save at least one copy of the file on your PC or on another server location.

back_up

Be sure that as you add new product listings to your catalog that you frequently download the new listing back-up so that you have an up-to-date back-up of your files. This will enable you to have all of your files updated and easily transferrable in the event your files are deleted by error.

If something ever happens and your current product listings are deleted you can upload your back-up file. You can upload this file under the Settings and Product Feed tab to manually upload this file.

Having the foresight to save your files in the event some are deleted could save you a lot of time and effort in the future. If a product listing gets deleted accidentally this means that it is not listed in your Facebook store and available for purchase. You want to make sure that you have all product listings readily available so if a deletion error occurs than you can quickly re-upload that listing and have it be available to your consumers again in a matter of minutes.

Read More

New Product Feed Features Make it Simple to Start Your Facebook Store

Starting a Facebook Shop has been made simple if you currently have your products listed in a website store or marketplaces like Amazon, eBay or Etsy. All you need is a file export from those online selling platforms and ShopTab will do the rest with our enhanced product feed options. The product feed feature streamlines the process and makes it easier for you to upload and manage your data files.

These new enhancements include:

-          Simplified menus

-          Mapping of your file fields to our product listings in one screen

-          Support of both CSV and text tab-delimited formats without limitation.

Simplified menu for the file type selection and manual or automated upload is noted below with a help button that shows the information associate with the file type and method of upload you selected.

source file

Almost all e-commerce carts and marketplaces will allow you to export your product catalog in a data file. Just select the CSV or text file formats and the system will review the file and allow you to upload the appropriate information needed for a valid listing. This makes it easier for you to transfer current website product listings to your Facebook store.

The field mapping screen is noted below. After you map your file the first time the system will remember your field settings but you can always change them.

map fields

For those who are using our integrated cart option there are some enhancements for you too. You have the ability to create your product list in a spreadsheet and upload it into ShopTab. After the first upload, you can edit listings in this product feed and maintain those files for back-ups using our “download” button. We also provide the ability for you to upload images manually after the feed is loaded or simply add links to your product images with this new feed.

The ShopTab Facebook store app provides you with CSV and Text Tab-Delimited file support. The new capability allows you to automatically clean up files that aren’t in a specific formatting; this will save you a lot of time and hassle and it makes uploading your files even more simple.

You have the ability to add 4 product images. This allows you to better showcase your products. You get a simplified automated feed process as well as contextual help by file type. You also have the support of the “Is Active” setting for each product listing. This enables you to keep all of your items listed in your store and you determine whether they appear in your store to consumers.

These new data feed updates provide many benefits for you and your Facebook store. The enhancements allow you to more effectively import and manage your product files. This makes the entire process of adding files and images more simple for you and enables you to spend more time customizing your store and focusing on your marketing efforts.

Read More