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Julian Canita

How To Sell On Facebook Without Selling

This is how businesses are winning on Facebook. And you can do this too.

Photo by Anderson Guerra from Pexels

Imagine this.

It’s a Sunday morning. You go to the market to buy yourself some fresh meats, fruits and vegetables for the week. You’re in loose clothes, shorts and slippers as you enter the market, then BAM! Here comes this man looking at you with a friendly smile with a big fish in his hands saying,

“Do you want some fish? We caught it just this morning.”

Would you get caught off guard? I honestly don’t know what your answer would be but chances are if you’re like most people I asked this question to, you won’t.

Why? Because you’re at the market. You know that people will sell you stuff. Let’s erase that and create another image. Imagine that you’re about to enter a wedding reception. You’re all dressed up and you’re excited to see your family and friends and hit the open bar. You enter the doors and see the beautifully styled venue and right when you take your first step in the room, BAM!

A guy in shorts and a sleeveless shirt appears in front of you, looking straight into your eyes, with a big smelly fish in his hands saying,

“Do you want some fish? We caught it just this morning.”

Would you now get caught off guard? Chances are, you’re the answer to this would be yes. Why? Because you’re at a party. You’re not expecting being sold to. But this is how a lot of people approach Facebook marketing. Remember, Facebook is a social media platform.


In our exercise earlier, Facebook is the wedding reception. And a lot of businesses bring their products and services to Facebook not knowing that they are being the fish guy at the party turning off the party guests. So it can actually be damaging to your business by being this person. Am I saying that we can’t find customers on Facebook and get them to buy?

Of course not.

Let’s change the situation. Let’s say you’re at a party and you find your seat and you wait for the program to start. You’re seated next to a stranger in a tuxedo looking like he’s enjoying himself. He then greets you and proceeds to start a conversation with you. Out of courtesy, you ask him what he does and he answers that he is an entrepreneur who helps fish lovers get access to fresh fish for their consumption. Let’s say he then proceeds to share with you how to make sure that the fish you find in markets are fresh or not.

Now let’s say you DO love fish. Chances are if the person you’re speaking with starts talking about something relevant to you (in this case, fish), you may continue engaging with him. Then the night ends with him being happy to have met you and he gives you his card. Then let’s say, the next week, you suddenly have a craving for fresh and delicious fish.

What would you do?

Again I don’t know what your answer will be but if I had to guess, I’d contact my new friend, the fish entrepreneur from the wedding. We can find customers on Facebook. But the way we get them to be customers is through ENGAGEMENT. Start a conversation and allow your prospects to respond and self-identify as someone interested in what you are offering just based on your conversations. If someone was not at all interested in fish, he/she would probably not entertain the guy.

This is how businesses are winning on Facebook. And you can do this too. If you’re not sure how to engage with your target audience, here are 5 E’s that will allow you to do just that:


I got this from my friend, John Pagulayan, who happens to be one of the world’s best email copywriters. He told me to imagine myself waking up one morning with severe lower back pain. And that when I try to get up, it feels like there’s a sudden bolt of electricity runs from my back to the side of my neck and it hurts so much.

Then he told me to imagine myself going to a bar with my friends where I tell them about this pain. I get random and even contradicting advice on what I should do but none of them seems like they are what I need. Then comes in a random stranger who approaches me and says,

“Sorry for eavesdropping but I heard you had terrible back pain. Is that the one you feel right here and when you try to get up, it feels like a sudden bolt of electricity runs from your back to the side of your neck?”

If that’s what you were experiencing and here comes this stranger you do not know to explain to you the exact pain your feeling, would you respond? I would. I’d say “Yes!” Now imagine the stranger smiling and saying “Ah, that’s easy to get rid of…” What would you say next?


When we can create content and stories that clearly show our target audience that we understand the pain they are going through with whatever problem we solve, chances are, they’ll have no choice but to listen.


Like in any party, there are many things people can preoccupy themselves with. So even if you have a good message or a good offer, if people don’t notice you, you can’t get that message across. That’s why when we can, we try to be entertaining. When you’re at the party, we tend to prefer being with a funny and interesting guy or girl.

How can you entertain your audience to get their attention on Facebook? For ideas, you can go to Youtube and search for ads from the Harmon Brothers who created video ads for Squatty Potty, Chatbooks and Dollar Shave Club, just to name a few.

They do very well because they can create very entertaining videos that go viral but yet at the same time, they are effective in selling products because of their ability to also…


This is probably my favourite way of generating engagement on Facebook. This can be through a post, a link to a blog article, a video, etc. As long as it’s providing valuable information to your target audience. We found this to work for a couple of reasons.

First, it goes through the conversation route rather than straight up selling. Second, you can build rapport and trust by giving advice upfront. Third, you’re establishing yourself or your business as a thought leader in this space.

I shared this with a lot of Financial Advisors and Online Marketers who fear to put out education content because they feel that they are not experts yet. But here’s the thing. You don’t have to know the whole book to teach it to someone. You just need to be a page ahead. And when you’re the one who opens up people to new ideas, regardless of how many competitors there are in the space, you automatically become the experts to them.

Besides, for me, it was when I started to write educational content that people started to perceive me as the expert, not the other way around. And finally, educational content solves problems and when people engage you with your content, that means that the content you are sharing is relevant to them and that they are likely to need your services or products.

More on this at the end of the article. 


In empathize, we talked about moving away from pain as a way to engage our target audience. Exciting them to potential pleasures your business can give also works. I’ve seen international network marketing companies take this approach by creating content that focuses on the “dream life”. People in the fitness space also use this by showing the results of their products, services or programs.

Sometimes, when we focus on the result rather than the means, people take action. 


Okay, that’s cheating haha. I mean Introduction but I just want to keep the fun going, sorry. When it’s difficult to come up with engaging content, you can just start by introducing yourself. Particularly, explain why you’re doing what you do in your business. I was once at a networking event when people had a difficult time understanding what it is I do for a living.

But when I changed my language to say that instead of Facebook ads, I said that I was Julian and I am an entrepreneur who empowers Coaches to bring their programs to more people and change more lives, people understood what I wanted to achieve and started connecting me with coaches who may be interested in hearing about what we do.

By putting yourself out there, you allow people to see it and they can self-identify whether they are interested in working with you or maybe they can refer you. So there’s no need to overthink what content to put up.

So why are these important? Am I saying that we shouldn’t be promotional at all? Of course not. This is where the magic of Facebook ads come in. Facebook ads allow you to run ads only to people who have engaged with you before.

This way, you’re no longer wasting ad spend promoting to people who don’t know you and turning them off. You can now focus on talking to people who you have spoken with before and who knows that you have something awesome to offer.

To end this article, I want to share with you one of our simple yet very successful campaigns.

I work with a local startup that allows entrepreneurs and freelancers to file and pay their taxes online. We knew who our target market was and how to target them but we didn’t promote immediately. Instead, we came out with a blog post entitled “How to file for percentage tax”. Then we had a follow-up ad which only went to the people who viewed that blog post.

Why was that effective?

Because by having engaging and relevant content first, we were already able to identify who would be interested in availing of our service. If you were someone who didn’t have a problem with taxation, chances are that you would skip that ad and scroll past it. And that’s ok. The people who did click were people we knew had a problem with taxation and this was our target market.

This process of using ads to follow back up with people who have engaged with us before is called remarketing. We talk about it a bit in another article I did here but we’ll dive deeper into this in another article.

For now, I invite you to come up with ways that will allow you to engage with your audiences 🙂

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Written By

Julian Cañita is a Facebook Advertising Strategist and Coach who runs a Facebook Advertising Agency as well as holds education and training programs on Facebook Ads and Digital Marketing. His dream is to empower entrepreneurs by using Facebook Ads to get them to reach more people and to help more people so they may be empowered to make a difference in others’ lives as well. Follow him on his Website, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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