Social media is excellent for connecting with your audience, growing a following, and allowing your audience to get to know you more. However, many crafters have created unrealistic expectations for a platform to do things it is not designed to do. Therefore, you should not rely on social media to convert sales for your small business.
KNOWING SOCIAL MEDIA
Converting a sale means a customer has successfully placed an order with your business. A conversion rate is the number of visitors to your website or store divided by the number of orders. The target conversion rate for e-commerce businesses is 2-5%.
To know how to take advantage of social media, you must first understand what the platform wants. Learning the platform's objectives allows you to work with it versus trying to "game it." According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, social media is a "form of electronic communication through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (such as videos)." Notice the keyword, community. Social media does not have a goal of allowing small business owners the opportunity to sell their products.
Diving deeper, let's explore the mission of Facebook: "stay connected with friends and family, discover what's going on in the world, and share and express what matters to them." Have you noticed the trend? Once again, Facebook does not have a goal of helping small business owners sell their products.
What about those who go on social media? Are they there ready to buy? According to Linkedin, users get on social media to "connect with others, be entertained and/or inspired, share/consume content, be "insiders," and have a voice." With the goal of Facebook and our users in mind, we can create a strategy that works for all parties, including your small business.
Now, let's explore why social media isn't optimized for you to convert sales.
Picture yourself at a vendor event. It is full of traffic, and you sell nearly all your inventory. A potential customer asks how they can order from you when you have more in stock. You hand her your business card and tell her she can find you on Facebook and order in your group. She quickly shifts from excitement to dismay when she says, "I don't have a Facebook," and puts the card back down.
One of your top customers has decided that social media has started to dominate their lives, and they want to do a 90-day cleanse. So she messages you to say she is bummed she won't be able to order for a few months.
What now? By only selling on social media, you are excluding potential customers who may have wanted to buy if you had a way to shop outside social media.
It is no surprise that social media's algorithms will affect your ability to sell your product. For example, Facebook group posts are typically shown to 3-6% of its group members. Next time you view your post reach, if the reach is 3-6% of your total group members, you are on par! While Facebook's algorithms constantly change, how can we expect our customers to buy if they don't even know our offer exists?
Using a Facebook page, you can purchase paid ads to show to an audience of your choosing. But again, this is not fool proof as you are still at the mercy of the algorithm gremlins.
Currently, Facebook is an @everyone feature as well. This has a high chance of notifying your entire following, but we have seen that not all respond in the best light when using this feature due to some overusing this feature. Also, it will work for your current post, but to retake the advantage, you will need to use it again.
Provide your audience a dedicated new release link, so they know they will always be able to view your current offer.
You can only make your Facebook group so organized that it is consistently clear which products are available at any time. There may be confusion on which blank or material each design is available.
Even if your customer sees it in their feed, you may find yourself consistently asking, "how do I order?" If they do know how to order, it will be up to you to stay engaged with Facebook to find their comment and send a timely invoice to pay. If you don't see the comment, that is a missed order. What about those that comment with their order, but because you didn't invoice within an order, that comment again "never mind."
Due to the nature of social media, it delays the time it takes to convert an order. What if you could take an order without interacting with the customer? What if your customer was clear on what products are available without asking?
Your potential customer finally gets notified to come to check out the new tee drop in your group. She is browsing your page...
*ding* She gets tagged in bachelorette photos from last weekend and jumps over to check those out. The same platform that puts your offer in front of your customers is the same platform that just took them away.
Another scenario is a new member joins your group and has no idea how to order or where to go and is just confused, so they leave the group. What if you could control the customer experience from start to finish? They hit your landing page, scroll down to click to learn more about you, then browse your new releases directly to checkout. You don't have to worry about pop-up notifications while your customer is shopping. You control the experience.
You don't own your followers or group members, point blank. Mark Zuckerburg owns them. You are simply renting space for free on his domain. What happens if you get locked out of your account? Would you still have a business you can run and convert sales? What if your account gets hacked? (PRO TIP: Go add a backup admin to your page and group right after this!)
What if you get put into Facebook Jail and temporarily can't post? There are so many what-ifs when it comes to social media that it is not worth putting all of your eggs in one basket when trying to convert sales.
Don't build your business on borrowed land. Instead, make it on a domain that you own and control!
So why a website?
To recap on your dedicated website, there is no other competition competing for your customers' eyes to show their offer. Therefore, your customers will remain on your platform until they are ready to checkout or exit.
Your website is searchable online, and you will begin building SEO (Search Engine Optimization). SEO allows your business to be found by a simple Google search. All of your Facebook posts created on their platform builds Facebook's SEO, not your own.
Maintain the same new release link. If your customers want to know what's new, they don't need to wait to find it on Facebook. You can keep the same new release link consistently updated with your latest offer. Even those off social media will know exactly where to look.
Don't miss orders again! Instead, allow the customer to place their order in an instant. Then, whether you owe them an invoice, or the order is fully converted, your website allows the customer to take action without asking questions before ordering.
Finally, Google converts better than social media! This means those who find your website directly or from the search bar are more likely to shop than those who land on your site from social media.
Am I saying to ditch social media?
No way! Think back to the earlier part of this blog; social media is a great place to grow your community! Your community eventually transitions into customers. However, social media is not optimized to convert sales. So continue to show up to serve and connect consistently on social media. But if you are looking for a sign to build your website. This is it.
➡️ If you aren't ready to pay a monthly fee but still want a designated website, you can join my waitlist to build your free website with me via Google Sites & Systems.
➡️ This topic was a webinar I conducted on my Facebook Page. If you want to hear more expanded details and join the conversation, rewatch it here.