October 25, 2020

Although it’s an unorthodox use of the social media platform, a growing number of entrepreneurs are using Facebook as a tool to gain income, rather than for social networking.

With Facebook buy-and-sell groups appearing in almost every region around the world and the introduction of Facebook Marketplace in 2016, freelancers are now switching their online profiles from traditional service-selling sites such as Fivrr and Kijiji to Facebook to spark the interests of a larger audience.

Traditionally, when an individual needed to purchase a good or service online, they would opt for buy-and-sell outlets to search for a desired product or service. However, with sales appearing on Facebook, many freelancers or “gig employers” can now target potential buyers through a person’s online timeline.

“Facebook is a very active site where you can reach people who may not even be looking for your type of service or business on their own terms at the time. This allows you to ‘plant seeds’ on their timeline,” said Adam Sulkers, a freelance photographer in London, Ont., who has been posting ads since November.

One of photographer Adam Sulkers’ ads on Facebook Marketplace

Sulkers has recently made the switch to social media marketing and has seen an extremely positive response since doing so.

“I have gained and booked over 35 weddings for 2019 and am now booking into 2020. I basically filled and closed my 2019 book within a two-month span,” said Sulkers. “I wake up to at least three to five email inquiries via my website that people clicked on via Facebook and an average of two Facebook messages every day since running ads.”

Facebook Marketplace has seen a growing success since its launch in 2016. According to the platform’s CEO, Mark Zuckerburg, Marketplace is used by more than 800 million people across 70 countries around the world.

Although Facebook buy-and-sell groups are often used for single-sale purposes, many professionals use it as a free marketing service for their business.

Conestoga College freelancing and entrepreneurship instructor Kyle Christie says for individuals posting on social media websites, it is important to understand their demographic.

“You need to know where your ideal client is. Every freelancer should write down a description of their ideal client and then research where that demographic is spending their time. You don’t want to waste money advertising on every social platform,” said Christie.

Christie also owns his own real estate video marketing company, which often relies on the work of freelancers for all aspects of the business, including shooting, editing, graphics and social media. Christie notes that having a “stellar portfolio” is what makes a freelancer stand out.

“Make sure your ad stands out and you have a phenomenal demo or portfolio linked to it. I’d suggest going to a site like Fiverr and searching for someone who offers the same service as you. Look at who is getting the most jobs and then read their profile and watch their demo,” suggested Christie.  “Ask yourself, ‘What’s one thing I can do better than this person?’ Knowing your competition will keep you sharp.”

Sulkers has been able to adapt his photography marketing to Facebook and says his ability to stand out is exactly what has led him to his success.

“The ability [or] knowledge to stand out … is the main reason I’ve booked so many [clients],” said Sulkers. “Facebook ads don’t work for everyone and, in my opinion, it’s solely based on your ability to stand out as an ad on someone’s timeline, because, I know for myself, I usually keep scrolling as soon as I see an ad, unless it really catches my eye.”

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