This isn’t one of those get rich quick scheme tutorials or a piece that shows you how to build a Facebook store, sell a product and make a quick buck. There are hundreds of blog posts, guides and entire websites dedicated to doing that. This is more about how to build a following and trust and leveraging that to earn a living. I’ll cover the principles of what it takes to make money on Facebook and how you can use it to push your business, product or online store.
First let us analyze how and why we buy things. If we know why people spend money, we can use it to earn it. While it may seem like it sometimes, we don’t spend money randomly. We may make impulse purchases but there is still a thought process that goes on even if that’s unconsciously.
When you buy something online over a couple dollars, chances are you check who is selling it, whether you have heard of them before, whether they are a domestic company and whether they are internet only or brick and mortar too. You will also likely check reviews and see if anyone else has heard of them. The higher the cost, the more checking you do.
This is all to verify the authority of a vendor to assess whether we can trust them or not. Trust them to be legit, to deliver the goods they say and trust the goods to do what they say they can do. It’s why we stick to certain retailers and why we go back to the same stores over and over again. Because they have proven we can trust them.
It is this trust that helps you make money on Facebook.
Online marketing and sales has come too far for most of us to trust blindly in someone or something just because they say it’s true. Remember ‘screenshot or it didn’t happen’? We are in the era of proof, be it social or scientific. We need to use that to our advantage.
What you need to make money on Facebook
You need a few things to make money on Facebook.
- A great Facebook profile that is frequently updated
- Time to invest in being helpful
- Patience and lots of it
- A business or product worth promoting
A great Facebook profile that is frequently updated
To build trust you need to be trustworthy. That begins at your Facebook profile. The profile page will need to be populated with all the relevant information, lots of images, details and updates. You need to create an online persona that reflects your real personality while also positively reflecting your brand.
Your persona needs to be friendly but most of all authentic. You need to be honest, truthful and real. People will soon detect if you’re not and you will fail immediately.
People need to find you likeable and trustworthy. That begins with the profile. If you come across as neither of those, it won’t matter if you have the best product and service in the world. It will not make you money on Facebook.
Time to invest in being helpful
Online marketing is the science of selling without selling. We are all fed up of being marketed at, sold to, preached at or convinced out of our money. So forget all that. Instead, try to be genuinely helpful. If you offer readers value they become friends. If you solve their problems, they become fans. Fans are what make you money.
Fans can also help spread the word, help you build authority and increase sales so should be cultivated at all times!
Trouble is, being helpful doesn’t earn you money but is essential for building brand authority, trust and fans. That is where patience comes in.
Patience and lots of it
Making money on Facebook isn’t instant. It can take months to build the necessary brand persona and following. Longer still to generate the correct levels of trust. Unless you’re promoting something that costs less than $5, you’re going to need to work hard to get that trust.
When performing social media marketing for clients, I tend to post an update 3-5 times per day, five days a week. Sometimes seven days a week depending on the brand. Each update needs to be helpful, informative and offer value in some way to the reader. The majority of them should not be selling anything.
Less than 5 percent of your posts should be self-promotion or sales!
Facebook marketing is an investment. You need lots and lots of content, the ability to dedicate lots of time to it and the ability to engage with people on both a superficial and a deeper level. All this takes patience.
A business or product worth promoting
This one should go without saying but if you’re going to put all this effort into Facebook marketing, you need to have a business service or product worth promoting. That means you have to believe in what you’re selling and be able to demonstrate that it works. You will also need other people to be able to demonstrate that it works too.
So all that is well and good but how do you go about putting all this into practice?
Planning your Facebook money making strategy
For the sake of this tutorial, let us create a fake company that sells a new product. Let us say, a battery booster for a cellphone. Plug it in and it charges your smartphone up to 80 percent charge in under a minute.
For argument’s sake let us imagine we have permits, certifications and everything we need to go to market. We also have a company website with its own blog.
How do we make money on Facebook using this product?
Create a Facebook page
Our first piece of business is to create the Facebook page for the company. We need to make it as professional as possible, complete all elements of the profile, especially the About Us. Get some good pictures of the company, you, the offices, any employees and add those too.
Add a short line about what you do, i.e. sell the battery booster and set up a couple of welcome posts to get things moving. Then add links to your company website.
Create a content schedule
Online marketing is all about content and you’re going to need lots of it. Set up a content plan that will deliver one long form piece of content per day >750-1,000 words, two short form <350 words and a couple of shorter updates. The plan will need to deliver this content every weekday, with potential for every day.
Post the long form to your blog and have it link automatically to your Facebook page. If you use a CMS, there are plugins that automatically ping Facebook, Twitter and the others so you don’t have to do it manually. Then schedule the shorter posts to appear a few hours apart of each other. The shorter updates and sit anywhere in-between.
None of this content should sell anything. All of it should offer actionable or useful advice to readers and people in your industry. Mix up how-tos with industry analysis, opinion, humor, business tips and anything else you might be able to offer.
Add at least one post per week that shows your personality. Be that a post of you doing a marathon one weekend, going to a farmer’s market, on the beach or whatever. We are creating trust and building that persona we spoke of earlier. It doesn’t have to be too intimate but it should show that you’re a real person as well as just the face of the company.
Include in that content schedule one sales post per week. It should not be the hard sell, more a highlighter of a special offer, upcoming webinar, dates of live demonstrations, notices of your appearance at an event or something else. Keep it light and soft sell. We want people to engage, not turn away.
Once you have an idea of the volume of content you’re going to need, we should now build a schedule for posting it online. There are lots of theories around the best times but I tend to go with Quick Sprout with a slight difference. They say when people don’t want to be at work, they are on Facebook. Which is true, but you also need to factor in our desire for regular updates from friends.
I tend to post at 8 am, 10 am, 12 pm, 2 pm and 4 pm daily. The long form post goes first so it can be read either with that first coffee of the day or throughout the day. Shorter posts come later so they can be quickly digested while people are working.
I use a scheduler like Buffer and set up all of my social posts as early in the week as possible. That gives me time to work on more content and to react to people as they comment.
Act and react
Posting regularly to Facebook is the action. Reacting to replies, comments, chats and likes is what comes next. Many businesses regard social media marketing as a one way street. They put their posts out there and forget about them. They forget the social and concentrate too much on the media. Both are equally important.
The reason I use a post scheduler is so that I can react to everyone that comments on the page. Any time someone says something, I can respond. Any time someone gives a like, I can thank them. It takes time, but it also builds a community. By responding and offering that personal touch, you already elevate yourself above the majority of businesses who try to make money on Facebook.
Answer every query, handle every criticism and manage every question. Do it professionally and you will build trust and authority. Once you have both of those, you will start selling product.
Use your audience
While your own content schedule is important, if you can use your audience to generate some, all the better. In the context of a smartphone battery booster, you could offer a discount on another unit to anyone who submits a story about how their booster got them out of trouble or the strangest place they have had to use it.
Featuring real stories from real people will help build social proof as well as trust and authority. Social proof is a review in another form and is hugely beneficial. You can post these to your Facebook page, hopefully with an image showing how your battery booster helped out a real person in a real situation. If that doesn’t get you more sales I don’t know what will!
Rinse and repeat
Once you have a page, content and a posting schedule, you need to run them continuously to get results. People quickly get into routines and begin to expect their content at a certain time and will wonder what is wrong if it doesn’t appear. The social media audience is incredibly fickle so you cannot afford to let them down if you want to make money from them.
Be regular, be reliable. But also throw in a curveball every now and then to avoid being too predictable or boring. Add a special event, popup shop, surprise quiz with prizes, competitions, special features, interviews and other content of interest. The more interest and the more value you offer, the more engagement you will experience.
It is engagement with the audience you grow that helps you make money on Facebook. As I said at the top, you could have the best product in the world but if people don’t know you or trust you, it really doesn’t matter. Hopefully, after a few months of this, people will begin to know you and begin trusting you. Get a few real life case studies on your page and people will quickly buy what you’re selling.
Making money on Facebook isn’t easy, quick or that lucrative to begin with. But over time, you should begin to see an increase in your audience, in engagement and then in sales. Continue building on this foundation and you should start seeing a return on your efforts. With a potential audience of billions, it could be very lucrative indeed!