There are a lot of ways for small business owners and marketers to use Facebook to promote their brand and products. An under-utilized tactic for promoting sales is the use of Facebook Groups. Many small business owners and craft makers have used Facebook Groups to sell items to members of the community. Facebook has recently announced some new features that will make it easier for community members to buy and sell things within Facebook Groups.
Facebook Groups are useful to small business owners because posts within groups are more likely to be seen that posts made directly on a business page. As Facebook continues to restrict the organic growth of Business Pages, small business owners and marketers have use their membership in groups related to their industry to improve their reach. Bear in mind, this works better for small businesses than large corporations but even large businesses can get invited if they join the right groups.
The biggest improvement Facebook recently announced is that group members will be able to write posts about items for sale and put information such as price, description, and location into prominent locations. This is useful for local artisans who use groups to sell items to friends, family and other community members. For example, a local art walk could start a group on Facebook and then use post to sell items in-between art walk days. And artisans can use Facebook’s Groups to keep tabs on what is selling and what is not before going to shows.
Another enhancement is that sellers can easily catalog the items for sale and availability. Sellers will be able mark posts as Available or Sold. And sold items are automatically added to a easy-to-view catalog of items previously sold. This helps entrepreneurs establish a reputation with every item thy posts.
To illustrate the possibilities with the new system, Facebook used Lisa Duncan-Thayer from Florida as an example. She created the group “Made By Mama Buy/Sell/Trade” to sell her crochet work and give other local artisans a place to sell their handmade items. The group has grown to more than 4,500 members in or near Pinellas County, Florida. Many of the members have used the group to turn their hobbies into businesses.
“We have a very wonderful community,” Lisa said according to Facebook. “There are several members whose hobbies have now grown into part- or full-time businesses! Metal stampers, bow makers, bread makers, soap makers…you name it.”
And to show it’s not just about networking moms, Facebook also mentioned Kadu Carvalho, a professional guitarist from Rio de Janeiro, who created a Facebook Group to help musicians in Brazil buy and sell instruments. The group now has gained more than 34,000 members in just three years and has enabled Kadu to personally buy, sell and trade musical instruments. An as an additional benefit, the group raised the profile and awareness of his band, Swell.
There was clearly a benefit for marketers and business owners to manage groups in Facebook even before the new features to foster selling were introduced. With the new features, it will be easier for people within a group to find items for sell, get useful information on the item, and see other items sold by the person in the past.
These new features, designed to make group selling easier, won’t be everywhere, nor will they be automatically applied to a group. It’s up to the Group Admin to request that these features be added to their group. This means that if a business owner or brand marketer is part of a group but not the manager, they can’t request that the feature be added.
Additionally, these new features will roll out to all slowly, coming to Facebook For Sale Groups on iOS, Android and web over the next few months. And though not specifically stated, it’s safe to assume that the features will come to English-speaking markets first and then branch out to the rest of the world.
For more recent news about Facebook, read this article on Facebook’s plan to mark hoax and fake news stories.