Facebook sales before 2023
Before the sweeping changes, companies using Facebook could set up stores – create product catalogs and sell them directly from the social platform. With the ability to combine a Facebook store with Instagram, users got their hands on a powerful sales tool that has worked extremely well in some industries. This was evidenced by statistics that confirmed that in 2022 as many as 22% of marketers used stores on Instagram, and 21% used the twin feature offered by Facebook.
New requirement – finalizing transactions on Facebook
The issue of finalizing the deal turned out to be a problem for Meta’s management. Although users were shopping on their platforms, payment was already taking place outside the sites, owned by Meta. As a result, drastic action has been taken – it has been announced that as of August 10, 2023, all stores on Facebook and Instagram must use the transaction finalization function on these platforms. Trouble is, the feature is currently only available in the United States.
So what about store owners outside the U.S.? To some of them, Mark Zuckerberg’s company reached out with a thumbs-up. Stores from Australia, Japan, Canada, Mexico, France, Germany or Norway can still operate on Facebook and Instagram, and that’s because Meta says it has begun work on implementing a transaction finalization feature for those countries. The list of those covered by the program is longer, but look in vain for the country on the Vistula River on it.
Is it possible to set up a Facebook Store in Poland?
We answer straightforwardly: it is currently not possible to conduct direct sales on Facebook using the Shops function from a Polish account. Nor is it enough to log in through a VPN (virtual private network) to simulate being in another country. So we won’t open a store anymore, we won’t tag products in posts or rolls, and our followers won’t be able to make a purchase from Facebook with a few clicks.
So is there any way out of this situation? Yes, but only half-heartedly. Business users using Instagram can still tag products, but only on that platform (not Facebook) and only within Instagram Ads. In this way, we can promote the sale of our products, but we will have to pay for each of these activities as for any other advertising.
Product tags on Instagram, but not on Facebook
Let’s emphasize this very important piece of information: using Meta’s ad manager, you can create ads that include product tags and then promote them, but only on Instagram. What about if you already have a community built on Facebook and don’t use or don’t want to use Instagram? Unfortunately, this is tantamount to not being able to label products.
Despite not having a Store, can I still sell on Facebook?
We have a far better answer to this question: yes, you can support Facebook sales using the other Meta solutions, although not necessarily in the way their creators planned. Here are three solutions you can use to – I emphasize again – support your Facebook sales.
Topical groups are a goldmine of knowledge for those interested in technological innovations, fans of a particular sport or fans of Indian cuisine. We can safely assume that there is no interest to which no Facebook group is dedicated.
If you want to support sales through Facebook groups, you have two choices (although one does not exclude the other). First: you can join groups as a vendor or store profile. Second: you can start your own group.
Join existing groups
Choosing the right approach depends on many factors. If you want to take an active part in the life of an existing group, keep in mind that pusillanimous offering of your products can be frowned upon – not to mention that this is usually prohibited by the group’s bylaws. Moreover, some groups prevent business profiles from joining, remaining open only to private users. So if you plan to operate in this way long-term, read the group’s rules carefully and follow them.
The upside of this is certainly that there are quite a few groups bringing together people who may be interested in your products or services. So if you fail to carry out activities on one of them, you can try with others. However, the trial-and-error method will not necessarily be effective. So before you take concrete action – adding posts – spend some time participating in the life of the group, commenting on other members’ posts in a substantive way and staying on topic. After a few days or weeks of presence on the group, you will be able to assess whether there is room for sales activities.
Start your own group
It’s a solution that is certainly more transparent. If you want to act long-term and be fair to your potential customers, starting your own group is the right choice. This can certainly be helped by a regularly maintained fanpage of the store, on which you have already accumulated a certain number of observers. You can invite them to a group (actually, Facebook automatically invites followers at the beginning if you set up a group as a page) and share special offers, discounts or other promotions with them.
This solution may initially be much more time-consuming and seem more difficult. Launching and setting up a Facebook group is one thing, but growing it often requires a lot of commitment. After all, the ideal situation is the growth not only in the number of group members, but also in their increasing activity. The ideal Facebook group is not just an announcement post.
In the long run, however, your own Facebook group will allow you to create a community that is eager to return to your store and make purchases there, as well as to share impressions, such as service or variety. Statements from real customers, involved in the group, can prove to be very valuable!
Live broadcasts on Facebook
Facebook’s golden time of sales broadcasts ended back in 2022, when Meta shut down the live shopping feature. So why are we writing about it? Currently, it is still possible to organize live broadcasts, but we will not tag specific products in them. However, this does not necessarily mean that nothing will sell on them.
However, it is worth knowing that the effectiveness of transmissions on which the product marking function is missing may be lower. Encouraging viewers to go to a specific page (type the address into the search bar) or enter a discount code manually is certainly more difficult than displaying a link that directs directly to the product, during the broadcast.
Once again, community building may be key. With an engaged audience, you can sell effectively even without Facebook’s official tools.
The solution intersects with groups – the Meta platform still has groups where users share links to live commerce events. One of them is the group TRANSMISSIONS LIVE (original spelling), with nearly 60,000 members. As I write this article (Monday, around noon), one of the ongoing reports is watched by more than 600 people, while the other is watched by just over 300. It is worth mentioning, however, that these are only the first two of more than a dozen broadcasts taking place at the same time.
In an article about sales support on Facebook, we couldn’t miss mentioning the official Meta tools, which include hundreds, if not thousands of opportunities to promote content, products and brands. As it turns out, the multitude of options available can sometimes be problematic, especially since Facebook itself seems to suggest simple but ineffective solutions.
Although Meta’s Ad Manager offers multiple ad targets, advanced targeting settings and many other options, the adventure of promoting content users often begin with the “Promote post” button visible under posts. Unfortunately, using it often ends in disappointment – a post, admittedly, displays an increased number of users of the platform (how large, depends on the budget), but rarely brings tangible results. That’s because promoting a post in this way uses an automated setup that is often completely unsuited to the advertiser’s needs.
How to use Facebook Ads correctly?
The key is to create ads manually, through the Meta Ad Manager. This gives you access to advanced options, including the ability to choose from six advertising targets. We can promote content on Facebook in order to achieve higher sales, gain contacts to potential customers, encourage users to be active under posts, promote our own application, increase traffic to the website, and finally ensure brand recognition.
Each time you promote content, you should think carefully about which target can be particularly effective at any given time.
When launching a new product brand, it’s a good idea to get it recognized first, and over time try to increase traffic to the site. Let potential customers get to know your products first before you try to sell them. Starting a promotion by trying to sell an unknown product will most likely end in spectacular failure.
Keep in mind that this is only an introduction – just promoting a company and its products or services on Facebook is a topic for an extensive publication – a topic to which we will certainly return.
Although Facebook no longer offers store creation on its platform (at least not in Poland), it is still possible to support sales activities on Meta. In 2024, however, Facebook is not the optimal tool for selling products and services. Running a fanpage, your own group or advertising through Facebook Ads are, of course, still solutions that carry a lot of potential and absolutely should not be abandoned. However, it is important to note that direct sales on Facebook are not available as they were just a few years ago.