“First there was e-commerce then m-commerce and now it's all about f-commerce: otherwise known as selling in Facebook”

Here are seven great tips to sell your products and services on the site that’s quickly becoming a rival to eBay and Etsy, Facebook.

Carving out a profitable career as a visual artist can be incredibly tough. After all, digital marketing prowess isn’t a skill people expect painters and sculptors to be proficient in.

However, artist Natasha Wescoat has embraced social media as a means of selling. She’s sold her work online for the past eight years, and in 2010 began to use Facebook as an e-commerce platform. 

To date she has made more than $50,000 exclusively through the site and now also sells iPhone cases, homewares, murals and even customised cheques adorned with her signature swirling illustrations. “Facebook, despite its constant scrutiny, is a growing giant and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon,” she says.

And it’s not just Wescoat who has found success selling online via Facebook. In fact, the site is fast becoming a rival to online auction sites like eBay and Etsy.

“First there was e-commerce then m-commerce and now it's all about f-commerce: otherwise known as selling in Facebook,” says technology writer Cynthia Boris.

Facebook is gearing up to release a function which would allow consumers to purchase items using their login details, but in the meantime businesses can still use a number of apps to set up a Facebook shop. 

Here is a list of apps and some extra tips on how small businesses and entrepreneurs can sell directly through Facebook:

  1. Bigcommerce – An all-in-one solution, use it to build a 100-item store and connect it to your page using the SocialShop app. In a nutshell, it drags your online store catalogue onto Facebook – but the customer doesn’t leave the Facebook page when shopping.
  2. ShopTab – This runs as a tab on your Facebook page. It can be hooked up to an online store or website but can also run as a standalone Facebook store if you prefer to just sell on social. You can also run sales through PayPal. It supports 50 currencies – perfect if you have a global audience. You can also share products on your Facebook wall.
  3. Soldsie – “Instead of adding a store tab, Soldsie sells your products through Facebook posts. Upload a photo, the price and description into the Soldsie dashboard then schedule your ‘event’. At the specified time, the item will appear on your Facebook page like any other scheduled post. To buy the item, customers use Facebook Connect to sign in to the app then type ‘sold’ into the comment box. Then Soldsie sends them a Paypal invoice and when the invoice is paid, you ship the product and it's done,” says Boris.
  4. FaceBuy – Launched in July by 20-year-old Australian entrepreneur Stephen Chapman, this is an interactive and easy way to buy and sell between friends through Facebook and Twitter feeds (friends can comment and promote). It’s free to download and list items, but for each sale FaceBuy takes a $2 fee and 1.5% of the price (30 cents also goes to PayPal).
  5. Engage with your fan base and build relationships by posting photos of products you’ll soon release and asking what they want. One of the unique elements of selling on Facebook is the ability to make it fun. Create contests, post inspiring or funny quotes, and encourage fans to share their own photos and stories on your page – make it a community. Use Facebook Insights to research your audience – this will help determine what products or services of yours will resonate with Facebook fans.
  6. Offer exclusive deals and limited-edition products – Create a schedule of when you’ll sell and notify your fans and followers – think of Jetstar’s ‘Friday Frenzy’ sales. 
  7. Create a sense of urgency and rarity – “This is important because everything is posted in real time – exposure on Facebook is short-term and not every follower will see your posts… Creating urgency not only helps keep your fans’ attention but will increase engagement which in turn will help increase the exposure of that particular post across other timelines. More likes, comments or shares equals more exposure for that post,” she says.

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