You may not think of Facebook as new and edgy anymore. But you can’t deny its popularity. There are more than 2 billion monthly active Facebook users, with 1.37 billion actively using the social network every day.
It is no surprise, therefore, that many people and businesses try to earn money from Facebook. With such a vast potential audience, it makes good sense.
It can be challenging, though, to make money on Facebook. Because of Facebook's sheer size, it can be challenging to stand out from the crowd. This is particularly the case now that Facebook only shows a selection of posts in a person's feed. In fact is it probable that the statuses you lovingly craft and upload to your business page will reach no more than 2% of your followers.
Every time somebody opens their Facebook feed the Facebook algorithm goes through four steps to decide which posts it will show that person:
- 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.
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 it gives posts from someone’s personal account a higher weighting than posts from a page.
Businesses always have to bear this in mind. It will always be easier for people to spread their words on Facebook than it is for companies.
But it is not quite as clearcut as that.
If a person only has a small number of Facebook friends they will be unable to spread the word very far – unless they are able to share content so profound that people share it multiple times over, and it becomes viral.
On the other hand, if a person can attract a considerable number of supporters and then engage with them on a regular basis, they will find that their posts will appear in many people’s feeds.
So the best way to ensure that people hear what you have to say is to build your support base up to the extent that they consider you an influencer. When you reach that point, it is easy to make money on Facebook.
Business accounts should not be wholly ignored, however. If businesses operate their accounts well and share quality content on a regular basis, Facebook will recognize their efforts and increase their Relevance Scores.
And then, of course, there is Facebook Advertising, which can help give an extra push to the reach of posts. We have recently looked at How much do Facebook Ads Cost - the true Cost of Running Facebook Ads.
Build Your Audience First
The whole reason that influencers are successful on Facebook is that they have already gone through the process of building a following.
You need to build up your expertise on Facebook by sharing a string of excellent posts – interesting links, images, and updates. To really succeed as an individual you should build up an area of interest where you can become recognized as an expert.
While businesses may choose to use influencers to market for them, they will probably also want to build up some form of Facebook presence themselves. Over time they can use it to help people recognize them as experts in their niche. Starbucks has shown how to do this well, and their page has 37 million followers.
The primary goal of your Facebook fan page should be to provide a place where people can get to know you. If they like your content, they will come to respect you. In time, that means they will trust you. And ultimately, they are likely to be happy to spend money to buy something from you.
Kim Garst sums it up well when she says, “To sell on Facebook you need to stop treating fans like a commodity and start treating them like your friends.”
Steps: How To Make Money from Facebook
Selling Items in the Facebook Marketplace or a Facebook Buy and Sell Group
Depending on your location, you will see a wide variety of goods and services for sale on the Facebook Marketplace. These are listed in categories ranging from Home and Garden through to Vehicles and Bikes.
A Facebook user can select the geographical area from which they see products for sale. For instance, you can set it to display goods for sale within a fixed distance of your home. You can also filter by price.
You could earn some money by placing your spare goods on the Facebook Marketplace. You may have to enter into negotiations with people, so be sure to keep in mind the lowest price at which you are willing to sell.
Similarly, there Buy and Sell groups on Facebook in most regions. You can make posts selling your spare goods in these groups. They often have a common core of members, and therefore suffer less haggling from people trying to get a bargain.
Sell From Your Facebook Fanpage
Many businesses discover that this can be tricky. It is not easy to build a high enough Relevance Score for your page’s posts to appear in your followers’ news feeds.
Therefore to make money on Facebook using your fan page you need to create and share content that people value on a regular basis. As Kim Garst says, her Facebook Selling Formula is “Be Useful + Be Authentic + Sell Occasionally = Big Facebook Sales.”
If you engage in 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 could consider adding some Facebook advertising to improve the reach of your sales posts. But don’t forget, to build up an organic audience, the bulk of your posts cannot be sales-oriented. They need to be valuable and/or entertaining to your potential audience.
With Facebook Advertising it’s essential to remember where most Facebook users are in the Buying Cycle. They are not using the platform with an aim to buy anything at all. It is 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 with what their acquaintances are doing, 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 as broad an audience as possible – so you should share a variety of content. Provide a mix of links to quality blog posts, videos, funny anecdotes, controversial statements, infographics, and anything else you think will attract people to you. They should, in some way, relate to the product you are promoting – or at very least the type of people who would be interested in your product.
Once you have created a base of supporters (either by yourself or with the help of influencers), you should start promoting content to them. Pay attention to the engagement levels on these posts, and share more of the type of material with the highest engagement.
You should then consider promoting content in ads targeted to Lookalike Audiences. Although these people will probably never have heard of you before, they have demonstrated from their past activities that they have similar interests to the people who have followed you. Therefore it shouldn’t be too complicated to attract these audiences with your content.
Operate a Facebook Group in Your Niche
Although there is little value in running a Facebook group with the sole focus of making sales, they can be a useful way in which to let people know what you offer.
Facebook Groups can be particularly useful if you sell information products. You can set up a group, encouraging members to help each other and share ideas. Once again you need to ensure that you offer group members useful content, and every so often you can suggest your product as a solution to their problems.
Facebook Groups can also work well as an offshoot to other activities. For instance, if your product is a course or an eBook, you could run a Facebook Group for members of your class or people who have bought your eBook.
If you provide paid coaching, you could use a Facebook Group as a place where your clients can come together. You could perhaps even operate it as a Mastermind group.
A Suggested Facebook Sales Funnel
Neil Patel has written a detailed Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Facebook Sales Funnel. Like most other commentators he emphasizes the importance of building up gradually to a Facebook sale.
Neil believes there to be a seven-step funnel required for you to earn 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
Influencer Marketing on Facebook
Many brands struggle to build the numbers necessary to earn money from facebook. In this situation, it is common for firms to turn to influencers for help.
Influencers have done the hard graft of building a following. Anybody who is now a Facebook influencer started off a “Facebook nobody.” However, they took the time to establish themselves in a niche, and they have gone through the necessary steps to build authority and trust, and therefore a following.
They know that they can join partnerships with brands, spreading the brands’ messages in ways that would otherwise be impossible for the brands. The most essential requirement is that the brand makes a good fit for the influencer's followers.
Influencers can deliver sponsored content to their fans. They may 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 a UK Facebook influencer Brad Holmes, to make a funny prank video. In the clip, Brad pranks his fiancé into thinking she had ordered 500kg of chicken instead of 5kg – with a £2,000 bill to go with it. The Meat Man’s product sits in clearly labeled boxes in full view throughout the video.
This Facebook influencer drove 7 million video views within 48 hours, and also led to newspaper coverage for The Meat Men. As a comparison, The Meat Man’s own Facebook page has only about 10,000 likes and could never have generated as much publicity on its own.
Perhaps the best solution for a business is to build up its Facebook page, but at the same time work with influencers to kickstart the process, and give the reach that most brands can’t achieve alone.