For many of us, Facebook is a time-wasting hobby and it’s easy to end up spending far too much time on there. So, if you are on Facebook anyway, why not turn it into a money making venture? With this post, I want to take a look at what’s involved in doing so and separate out the facts from the hype.
Just to be clear, we're talking about Facebook Pages, not Facebook accounts. This is a fan page, business page, or even a community where there's a specific topic being discussed. And if you’re trying to make money with your Facebook page, you’re going to run into a lot of misinformation. There are many sites that make bold claims about how much money you can make and how easy it is.
Yet, many of those promises simply aren’t realistic. Instead, they are ways to lure customers in and to get you spending money on something that you don’t actually need. So, how do you actually earn money with a Facebook page?
Affiliate Marketing With Facebook
The simplest and most effective way to your Facebook account as a way to make money is via affiliate marketing. As a concept, affiliate marketing is incredibly simple. Basically, you promote products via special links (called affiliate links). When a person clicks on that link they are taken over to the website where the product is being sold.
If they then make a purchase, you earn a commission from the sale. In most cases, your commission will be a percentage of the original price. The percentage varies from one company to another but somewhere between 4% and 20% is pretty common.
That level of commission might not seem like a lot, especially if you are promoting inexpensive products. But, does add up pretty quickly. Remember that you can make hundreds of sales per day from around the world and you don't need to be present for the sale to go through. Plus, you also have a major advantage because you don’t have to worry about shipping products or dealing with customer service.
Facebook can work quite well for affiliate marketing because you just have a link to share. So, you often see people make posts like the one below, where the link is an affiliate one:
In this case, the owner of the group is specifically targeting a set of fans that are heavily hyped up about Dr. Who and this does increase the chance of making sales. The same Facebook page also makes use of a ‘shop now’ link, which is also an affiliate link to the same site as the previous one.
The technique can work well, especially if you have an audience that’s passionate about the topic. However, it does require a balancing act. After all, if you spam affiliate links too often, you’re going to annoy your audience and there is a good chance that they will stop following you. You may also find that some people choose not to buy specifically because they are frustrated at how often you’re sharing.
Oh ya, and don't forget that you have to grow the page first. Many times page owners will spend a significant amount of time publishing awesome content with no advertisements at all just to gain likes and followers.
Now, this particular example is a Facebook fan page and these can work better for affiliate marketing. In fact, you’re probably safer to use a fan page or a business page if you want to make money, rather than your personal profile.
Likewise, fan pages have the ability to create offers, which can be another way to get people to buy. With an offer you could post an affiliate link and a discount code. Many affiliate companies will offer discount codes for their members to use from time-to-time, so this can be another way to make money. It’s even possible to create offers if you don’t have a discount code.
But again, you need to be careful not to spam your audience with sales pitches.
With Facebook, you can also use ads to get more traffic to your page. For the most part, Facebook ads are fairly easy to use but you do still want to be careful. The challenge is that the ads cost and they’re only going to be useful if you are actually reaching a relevant audience. You can pay $500 dollars for 10,000 fans, but if you haven't established trust yet, then they could just as easily unlike your page or not buy stuff you promote.
Because of this, it’s easy to end up spending hundreds of dollars (if not more) on ads and getting next to no results from them. Likewise, if you don’t target your ads well, you may get traffic from them but those people may be unlikely to buy anything.
The Limitations of Facebook
Now, if you use it right, Facebook can be a powerful tool. The platform makes it easy for people to share information and most people using it are inclined to do so, especially if the posts are interesting.
However, turning sharing and engagement into profit is a lot more difficult.
After all, most people on Facebook aren’t shopping and don’t intend to buy anything. For that matter, someone is browsing through the Facebook app on a phone, making a purchase can be a hassle and may be unrealistic.
Using Facebook To Support A Website
It is possible to make money with your Facebook page, especially if you plan carefully. But, your potential is always going to be limited. After all, you are dealing with an audience that isn’t typically ready to buy and with a platform that isn’t designed for content or for sales.
In contrast, having a website gives you the chance to target people who are interested in products. At the same time, having a website lets you create something that is actually useful to other people.
For example, some sites focus on providing information about how to do specific things effectively, like brew beer or cook vegan food. Others may offer reviews about products to show which ones are worth buying and which are just a waste of time. Other sites may highlight specific ways to build skills or products that can make a job better.
The beauty is that a useful site is one that people will keep coming back to, time and time again. It is also fairly easy to create a useful site that also makes money. Regardless of your topic, there are likely to be some products that you can promote with ease. In fact, many website topics naturally lend themselves to products.
You can make money with a website in the same way that you can with Facebook, via affiliate marketing. So, you’re still using an affiliate link and promoting products. The difference is that you’re not just spamming people with posts. Instead, you’re writing useful content and creating something people are going to be interested in.
Leveraging Facebook's Strengths
Even though you’re not using Facebook directly to make money, the platform is still relevant. For example, many people create a post on Facebook each time they write a new post and they may also use Facebook as a way to interact with followers. You can write a mini excerpt of what the post was about, and link to your full post where you can embed videos, images, and make a more user friendly experience.
In fact, social media can often be a good way of getting more traffic to a website. It lets you attract a different audience than you might with search engine traffic alone. Plus, there’s always the chance that some of your content will go viral.
Though we mentioned that people on Facebook aren't ready to buy, they are ready to click. So you can leverage that desire to click interesting articles to drive traffic to your site. If your page is interesting enough, you can use your site to convert them into buyers better than if you only used a Facebook post.
All of this begs the question, how do you get started with a website?
Truthfully, websites aren’t complicated any more. I mean, it's just like learning anything else, in that it does take some reading and visual tutorials to understand the basics, but you really don't have to learn coding any more. I barely understand the basics and look what I was able to build!