Facebook just launched Marketplace where users can officially buy and sell. There are over half a million transactions in buy and sell groups on Facebook every month; Mark Zuckerberg saw the opportunity and made it simpler and easier for users to trade.

Whilst the Marketplace is consumer-focused as of release, the service could be expanded over time “to additional verticals or types of product discovery”, according to a Facebook spokesperson, which could pave the way for more business-friendly selling practices.

The site has been working to bring traditional retailers on board by using engaging business pages, and messenger, where customers could communicate through chat rather than emails or calls. It has also made advertising user-friendly through the Ads Manager.

Businesses at the forefront

If businesses aren’t investing in an official Facebook page yet, now is the time to build a presence and a following. With Facebook’s sheer number of users, the social network has the potential to be the future of online shopping, and if businesses aren’t at the forefront, they are going to miss a lot.

“Facebook is coming close to saturating time spent on the kinds of things people use Facebook for, but opening up new categories of social activity means you open up new segments of time to tap into as well,” said Jan Dawson, chief analyst with Jackdaw Research. “So it increases time spent, increases loyalty, and gives people more reasons to visit the service in the first place.” (source: SMH)

The Marketplace is an online shopping forum, a mecca filled with people looking to part with their money. It’s a shopping centre where all sorts of stores are within, only it’s all online. And in the future, your business could be at the centre of it.

Businesses should ride the tide

Connecting and establishing trust with customers is key to a lasting relationship. Whilst Facebook makes it easy to find the audience interested in what you offer, the challenge is keeping them excited and piqued.

Social media management is not just about keeping an updated page, it’s about keeping your followers interested and engaged. Here are some ways to do that:

Constant interaction: To stand out in an extremely competitive market, you need to take your customer service up a notch. For example, T-Mobile took social media management beyond mere engagement: they are a leader in social media interaction through their Facebook page. T-Mobile has a response rate of 91.13 percent. That means 9 out of 10 customers who engage with their page get a response from the company.

New offerings: The Lush Kitchen use Facebook and Instagram to announce weekly limited products — they don’t just post, they go all out in terms of promotion, video production and customer service. Every week, fans get something new, and each time they delight watching colourful videos of products in the making or in action. With senses tickled and anticipation built up, almost all products are sold out within hours of release.

Resonate with your audience: ShowPo founder Jane Lu built her online retail company from the ground up with the help of social media. She and her employees (most of them 20-something bombshells) wore their latest merchandise wherever they went, took selfies, and shared them on social media. They encouraged their target audience, women 16-28 years old, to do the same, which boosted their social media reach. Now ShowPo turns over more than $10 million a year and sells to over 45 countries around the world.

Compelling stories: Social media made it possible to transform boring advertisements into interesting, thought-provoking stories. GoPro has been the leader in POV camera technology and they made sure customers know that by showcasing videos taken using their cameras. The ads take people to a journey around the world — zip lining across the vast Copper Canyon in Mexico, trekking up the Bernese Alps in Switzerland, and swimming with humpback whales in the Polynesian Tonga Islands.

These are only some of the practices you can do to grow your followers and keep your business relevant and interesting to your audience. When Facebook finally allows businesses to open shop in the Marketplace, you’ll be ahead of the competition.

The Marketplace will be rolling out to everyone over 18 years old in the US, UK, Australia, and New Zealand on the Facebook app for iPhone and Android. Facebook will continue expanding to additional countries and make Marketplace available on the desktop version of Facebook in the coming months.

Do you need help with your social media strategy? Get in touch with Bambrick, a Brisbane-based digital marketing agency. We have launched successful social media campaigns for hundreds of businesses in Australia. We also provide SEO, PPC and Website Design services.