You may not see Facebook as new and edgy anymore. But you cannot deny its popularity. There are more than 2 billion monthly active Facebook users, of which 1.37 billion actively use the social network daily.
So it’s no surprise that many people and businesses are trying to monetize Facebook. With such a huge potential audience, it makes sense.
However, making money on Facebook can be challenging. Due to the sheer size of Facebook, it can be challenging to stand out from the crowd. This is especially true now that Facebook only shows a selection of posts in a person’s feed. In fact, it’s likely that the statuses you love and upload to your business page won’t reach more than 2% of your followers.
Every time someone opens their Facebook feed, the Facebook algorithm goes through four steps to decide which posts that person will show:
- Inventory – the algorithm examines all of the recent statuses shared by the person’s friends and the pages they follow.
- Signals – it then takes a look at a whole range of signals based on the user’s past behavior. These include, who made the post, the average time spent on content, post engagement, tagging and comments, how informative the post is, and many other signals. A significant signal from a money-making point of view is that the algorithm weights statuses from people as being more important than posts from pages.
- Predictions – the signal attempts to guess how the user will react to a particular story – will they share it, comment on it, read it, or ignore it?
- Score – The algorithm generates a Relevance Score for each post, based on the signals and its predictions.
When Facebook assembles a person’s feed, it only shows the posts with the highest Relevance Scores.
We have previously shown how Instagram, which is Facebook-owned, operates a similar scheme in How to Beat the Instagram Algorithm Without Actually Cheating.
How to Make Money on Facebook [Easy Step by Step User Guide]
Are You a Business, and Influencer, or Just an Ordinary Person?
Facebook is primarily a social network; an online place where people can hang out, socialize and share things of common interest. This is one of the reasons why posts from one’s personal account are given a higher weight than posts from a Page.
Companies should always take this into account. It will always be easier for people to spread their words on Facebook than it is for businesses.
But it’s not that clear.
If a person only has a small number of Facebook friends, they won’t be able to spread the word very far – unless they can share content so deep that people share it multiple times and it goes viral.
On the other hand, if a person can attract a significant number of supporters and then engage with them on a regular basis, they will find that their posts will show up in many people’s feeds.
So the best way to make sure people hear what you have to say is to build your support base to the extent that they see you as an influencer. When you get to that point, it’s easy to make money on Facebook.
However, business accounts should not be completely ignored. If companies manage their accounts well and regularly share quality content, Facebook will recognize their efforts and increase their relevance scores.
And then of course there’s Facebook Advertising, which can help boost the reach of posts. We recently looked at How Much Do Facebook Ads Cost – The Real Cost of Running Facebook Ads.
Build your audience first
The whole reason influencers are successful on Facebook is that they have already gone through the process of building followers.
You need to build your expertise on Facebook by sharing a series of excellent posts – interesting links, images and updates. To really succeed as an individual, you need to build an area of interest where you can be recognized as an expert.
While companies can choose to use influencers to advertise for them, they will likely also want to build some form of Facebook presence of their own. Over time, they can use it to help people recognize them as experts in their niche. Starbucks showed you how to do this right, and their page has 37 million followers.
The primary purpose of your Facebook fan page should be to provide a place for people to get to know you. If they like your content, they will start to respect you. Over time, that means they will trust you. And in the end, they will probably be happy to spend money to buy something from you.
Kim Garst sums it up well when she says, “To sell on Facebook, you have to stop treating fans like commodities and start treating them like your friends.”
1. Sell items in the Facebook Marketplace or a Facebook buy and sell group
Depending on your location, you’ll see a wide variety of goods and services for sale on the Facebook Marketplace. These are listed in categories ranging from Home and Garden to Vehicles and Bicycles.
A Facebook user can select the geographic area from which they see products for sale. For example, you can set it up to display goods for sale within a fixed distance of your home. You can also filter by price.
You could earn some money by posting your spare items to the Facebook Marketplace. You may have to bargain with people, so be mindful of the lowest price you’re willing to sell at.
Likewise, in most regions, there are buy and sell groups on Facebook. In these groups you can post messages about the sale of your spare parts. They often have a common core of members, so they are less prone to bickering from people trying to get a bargain.
2. Sell from your Facebook fan page
Many companies are discovering that this can be difficult. It’s not easy to build a relevance score high enough for your Page’s posts to show up in your followers’ news feeds.
Therefore, in order to monetize Facebook with your fan page, you need to regularly create and share content that people appreciate. As Kim Garst says, her sales formula on Facebook is, “Be helpful + be authentic + sell occasionally = big Facebook sales.”
If you do influencer marketing, your influencers can help you with this. They can provide the useful and authentic content and direct their supporters to your fan page.
You may want to consider adding some Facebook ads to increase the reach of your sales posts. But remember that to build an organic audience, the bulk of your posts should not be sales-oriented. They should be valuable and/or entertaining to your potential audience.
With Facebook Advertising, it is essential to remember where most Facebook users are in the buying cycle. They do not use the platform for the purpose of buying anything. It’s not like advertising on Google, where potential buyers search for terms to help them make a purchase. People come to Facebook to chat with their friends, catch up on what their acquaintances are up to, and watch funny cat videos — not to buy your product.
Therefore, it is your responsibility to build a sales funnel. To do this, you want to reach the widest possible audience – so you need to share a variety of content. Provide a mix of links to high-quality blog posts, videos, funny anecdotes, controversial statements, infographics, and anything else you think will draw people to you. They must somehow relate to the product you are promoting – or at the very least the kind of people who would be interested in your product.
Once you’ve created a base of supporters (either by yourself or with the help of influencers), you need to start promoting content for them. Pay attention to the engagement levels on these posts and share more of the highest-engagement type of material.
Then consider promoting content in ads targeting similar audiences. While these people may have never heard of you, their past activities have shown that they share the same interests as the people who have followed you. Therefore, it shouldn’t be too complicated to attract these audiences with your content.
3. Operate a Facebook Group in Your Niche
While there’s little point in running a Facebook group solely focused on sales, they can be a useful way to let people know what you offer.
Facebook groups can be especially helpful if you sell information products. You can set up a group and encourage members to help each other and exchange ideas. Again, you need to make sure that your group members provide helpful content, and every once in a while you can present your product as a solution to their problems.
Facebook groups can also work well as an offshoot of other activities. For example, if your product is a course or an eBook, you can set up a Facebook group for members of your class or people who have purchased your eBook.
If you provide paid coaching, you could use a Facebook group as a place for your clients to come together. You might even run it as a Mastermind group.
4. A suggested Facebook sales funnel
Neil Patel has written a detailed step-by-step guide to creating a Facebook sales funnel. Like most commentators, he emphasizes the importance of gradually building up to a Facebook sale.
Neil believes it takes a seven-step funnel to make money on Facebook. In essence, his seven steps are:
- Create a variety of quality of content for your “warm audience” – those people who have already expressed an interest in you or your product
- Create a “Lookalike Audience” of people with the same interest as your warm audience
- Promote high-quality content to that “Lookalike Audience.”
- Some of the “Lookalike Audience” will like what they see, and become a fan of your Facebook page. Some may even choose to buy your product at this point
- Use a Facebook Pixel and remarket to those who have not yet purchased any products
- Continue remarketing to those who have still not converted
- Maximise your conversions
5. Influencer Marketing on Facebook
Many brands struggle to build the numbers it takes to monetize Facebook. In this situation, it is common for companies to turn to influencers for help.
Influencers have done the heavy lifting to build a following. Anyone who is now a Facebook influencer started out with a “Facebook nobody.” However, they have taken the time to establish themselves in a niche and have gone through the necessary steps to build authority and trust, and thus a following.
They know they can partner with brands and spread the brands’ messages in ways the brands would otherwise be unable to do. The most essential requirement is that the brand connects well with the influencer’s followers.
Influencers can deliver sponsored content to their fans. They can also work more directly by sharing affiliate links.
Sometimes influencers can promote products in a more subtle, perhaps humorous way. In the UK, The Meat Man, who sells meat to the public and restaurants, paid British Facebook influencer Brad Holmes to make a funny prank video. In the clip, Brad fools his fiancée into thinking she ordered 500kg of chicken instead of 5kg – with a £2,000 bill. The Meat Man’s product comes in clearly labeled boxes that are fully visible throughout the video.
This Facebook influencer drove 7 million video views within 48 hours and also provided newspaper coverage for The Meat Men. By comparison, The Meat Man’s own Facebook page has only about 10,000 likes and could never have generated so much publicity on its own.
Perhaps the best solution for a company is to build its Facebook page, but at the same time work with influencers to kick-start the process and give it the reach that most brands cannot achieve alone.