The global pandemic ripped through the physical shopping experience that we’ve known for so long. However, it made room for a new type of eCommerce that has been in the making for many years - social commerce. But what is social commerce? Why should you consider it for your own brand? Are there any tips to perfecting this aspect of your marketing strategy in 2021?
You’ll find all of the answers to these questions in this detailed guide!
Simply put, social commerce is shopping on social media. It differs from e-commerce because it takes place on social media platforms rather than online storefronts and websites. You might be accustomed to advertising on social media, but now you’re going one step further and encouraging the sale on social media too.
This trend has been encouraged by the social media platforms themselves since they now allow users to make purchases without leaving the app. Previously, customers would click on a link and complete the purchase on an external website. Now, they do everything from Instagram or the social app of their choice. You get a customer, they complete the purchase with added convenience, and everybody wins.
As always, some social media platforms are ahead of others. Below, you’ll find the best social media websites for social commerce and making sales on the platform itself.
Firstly, Pinterest is an ideal platform for social commerce; it feels like the jigsaw is now finally complete. For many years, individuals have been pinning images to their boards, collecting their favorite clothing, and keeping an eye on fitness, interior design, fashion, and other niches.
With the addition of social commerce features, brands can offer customers a chance to buy the products that they see with fewer clicks. Although Pinterest has fewer users and clicks than a platform like Facebook, people on Pinterest are already engaged and looking for inspiration in a certain area. Therefore, it makes sense that some will click and make the purchase.
With 2.8 billion active monthly users, you can’t deny Facebook’s capabilities on a global scale. Now, it has Facebook Shops and is even more attractive to businesses that are using the platform to generate sales.
In short, Shops is a new mobile platform whereby businesses create online storefronts. Specifically designed for small and medium-sized businesses, it allows you to bring your products to users on Facebook for no cost. Like on other platforms, customers browse the storefront and purchase directly from the Facebook app. This allows businesses to make quick sales rather than relying on customers to click through and complete the ordering process.
Like Pinterest, Instagram seems ready-made for social commerce, and this is especially true given the rise of influencer marketing. With Instagram Checkout, you collaborate with influencers and encourage consumers to click on posts and purchase items directly from the platform. Along with buying from individual posts, Instagram users find the Shopping tab on the homepage and enjoy shopping opportunities there too.
Instantly, the Shopping tab displays products from followed brands, celebrities, and influencers. If you work with an influencer, their followers will see your products in the Shopping tab.
Although TikTok is just a baby compared to the elder statesmen of social media platforms, it has clearly invested in this area and learned from its competitors' approach to social commerce. Although the company has already cultivated links with Walmart, we think TikTok will be the platform to watch as the social commerce field continually expands. The platform has advanced algorithms, users are engaged, and the shopping features will continually improve.
While every business around you is leveraging social commerce, you don’t want to feel as though you’re standing outside the party unable to get in. With this in mind, here are some tips to find excellence when it comes to generating sales through social media!
If ever you needed the motivation to post consistently on social media, this is it. We know - motivation comes and goes for social media. If you’re to generate sales on social media, make sure you’re boosting awareness and engagement with consistent uploads.
It’s all well and good making it easier for people to buy from you, but this counts for nothing if nobody actually knows your name. It’s even worse when people recognize you as ‘the page I stopped following because they weren’t posting’.
For the longest time, social media has acted as a hub for people to share information and stories. Brands need to take advantage of these origins to advertise in a way that doesn’t seem blatant and desperate - in other words, through user-generated content (UGC).
As time goes on, user-generated content will continually add value to businesses, so it’s wise to jump onto the trend early. With content led by users, people feel as though they’re buying a product rather than being sold a product.
There are many benefits of UGC including the fact that people are more receptive to opinions and views when they’re not coming from the brand directly. Social proof is a model suggesting that people follow the actions and views of others online. This is why we choose Amazon products with thousands of reviews rather than products with 13 reviews - UGC works in the same way.
Other reasons to choose UGC include the fact that content comes from a trustworthy and neutral source. This is not only important to customers, but also to the business because it improves the reach of a brand online. With social commerce, it’s now possible to transform UGC posts into shoppable posts. Upload customer images and make them shoppable - add links to your products and make it easier for prospective customers to purchase them.
Social media companies are focusing on mobile phones for social commerce, and you should do the same. Consequently, every aspect of your marketing strategy should prioritize mobile, including content. Make sure the shopping gallery and posts are optimized for mobile devices. If not, people will simply click away, and the purchase will no longer even cross their minds.
It seems inefficient even for large businesses to have people sitting on WhatsApp and Messenger all day just to answer simple questions and requests. Therefore, it’s an unwanted cost for small businesses and one that doesn’t make sense. Fortunately, chatbots allow you to remove this inefficiency while also generating sales on social platforms.
Using machine learning and AI, chatbots can handle simple requests and answer the common questions of prospective customers. Suddenly, the customer gets the answer they need, and your marketing team is dealing with more important matters (like looking after new customers!).
In addition to answering questions, machine learning allows chatbots to have detailed conversations. With the right system, customers will still get through to the sales team if they need additional help. Since social media is the new way to shop online, it makes sense to encourage sales through these platforms. Sometimes, just telling the consumers that they can purchase through social media is enough to get the sale.
Since you can sell on social media, it’s natural to want to advertise on social media too. While tagging products is great, you shouldn’t base your whole strategy around this approach. Primarily, your content needs to engage and add value to the user’s experience. If there’s an opportunity to tag products, take it. If not, you’re still growing the channel.
Think about how you use keywords in articles these days; you should focus on the content first and the keywords second. As long as you add value, it will naturally include important keywords. The same goes for social media posts - add value first and the rest will follow.
Pay Attention to Trends
Finally, this niche is always changing (you don’t need us to tell you this!). The companies that enjoy the best results will be the ones paying attention to the trends. At the moment, this includes the following:
These three areas are capturing the imagination of consumers at the moment, and this means that any content that includes or accommodates them will succeed. At all times, remember your audience, keep your goals in mind, follow a plan, and be flexible enough to adjust when trends change. Of course, you should also analyze performance to identify improvement opportunities.