Facebook™ is no longer only a digital platform for people to socialise, share holiday photos and cute photos of kitten. Over time it has evolved into a complex forum where businesses, advertisers and marketers try to connect with customers and attract sales.
The tendency of Facebook™ to become a digital version of our own complex business and social lives was marked by its development strategy. First of all it created a separate app for direct messaging – allowing users to choose between public and private conversations. Then it developed one of the most advanced ad creation and targeting tools available for free to marketers. And now it has created Marketplace – a special section of the mobile app where users can buy and sell products.
What Is Facebook™ Marketplace and Who Can Use It?
Before you jump for joy and prepare to set up your Facebook™ online shop, here’s some sobering news: for now, Facebook™ Marketplace is currently available for individual users, not business pages.
“Then why do I need to know about it?” you may ask. As we have already noted over time, the strategy of Facebook™ is to launch new features for individual users first, and then allow businesses to join in. Thus, taking a peek at how Marketplace works right now is worthwhile – both to benefit your current business operation, and in the perspective of being able to use it in the near future.
Here are a few quick ideas:
Feel the Pulse of Your Local Market
Most small businesses depend on their local community to find customers, vendors and suppliers. It makes sense to avoid expensive transportation fees and complex foreign trade tax calculations. Knowing the dynamics of your local market is very important – it helps you define your marketing strategies and pricing policies in order to stay competitive.
By taking a look at what people buy and sell in your specific niche in your local area, you can get a picture of what people consider a fair price for various products. Also, you can estimate the level of demand for these products. Of course, you will be using your own personal account to browse listings, and you cannot contact any of the vendors with your business page. But it is still a valuable insight into your prospects’ buying interests and behaviour.
Find out More about Your Potential Customers
It is easy to recognise some of your followers (the most active ones, at any rate) by their profile on Marketplace. In this way, you can connect to them at a personal level, and maybe gain access to their own friends through personal posts. These direct interactions will help you understand what your customers expect from their next purchase and when they may make it, and help you plan and roll out your future ads and special offers.
Prepare Your Business for the Future
While Facebook™ Marketplace is still forbidden territory for businesses, it makes sense to get ready for the moment when it may be open to you. Right now, the Marketplace section is only available through the mobile app. There is no knowing whether it will extend to the desktop version, so this tells a lot about the growth strategy of Facebook™.
It is a signal for business people to focus more on their mobile audiences, to develop customised ads, messages and interactions for people who use their smartphones for internet browsing. Being mobile-ready is no longer sufficient in this day and age – you must become a mobile pro.
Enrich Your Marketing Strategy
Native ads are already a must, but now there is an increasing pressure for brands to tell a story and to embrace various communication channels. You need to sound more human and relatable than ever in your ads – especially those catering to your Facebook™ leads and followers. By browsing Marketplace, you can get in touch with how individuals trade, barter and do business together. It will be a useful experience for your own marketing efforts in the long run.