If you have purchased goods or paid for services through social or online media platforms, then you’ve definitely engaged in social commerce. It is 2021 and there’s virtually nothing that happens without the engagement of social media, definitely not the sales and purchases of goods and services in the least. According to a study, an average internet user spends 145 minutes per day on social media.
This period of time they spend can be harnessed to your advantage to profit your business by engaging in social commerce. Our world is continually evolving and we need to also adapt as it advances.
What Is It and Why Should Your Brand Care?
Social commerce is the use of social media/networks to buy and sell goods and services. Social commerce as a term was first introduced by “yahoo” in 2005.
It is any form of e-commerce that leverages social interaction to convince people to purchase stuff.
Some of the key players in the social commerce market are:
Your brand or any brand at all has a ton of benefits to derive from social commerce. Different social media platforms have their social commerce interfaces.
The major difference between social commerce and e-commerce is that transactions take place directly within or on a social media platform in social commerce without being redirected to the vendor’s online store or website while e-commerce generally refers to the process of buying and selling goods online. Social commerce is:
- the purchase journey of goods starts and ends on your social media platform.
- a term that should not be mistaken for “social shopping”.
- rakes in $89.4 billion annually and is projected to grow to $604.5 billion in the next seven years.
Do you want your brand to have a share of this figure? If yes, why then should your brand care about social commerce?
1. Social Commerce Makes Shopping A Social Experience
Although shopping has always been a social experience since the onset of time, the engagement of social media has made shopping a real “social experience”. Just like “word of mouth” promotes traditional shopping, in social commerce customers can easily consult and seek people’s opinions on items or purchases they are about to make.
2. It Helps To Launch and Promotes New Products
Social commerce enables vendors or service providers to launch and promote new products that will reach a large audience faster than the traditional marketing style will. Launching a new product on social media can influence the performance of that product. A brand’s adaptability to the use of social media can determine and influence the success of the brand.
How To Launch A Social Commerce Strategy?
Launching a social commerce strategy is quite a straightforward task. It involves identifying your target audience and exploring the best options that will suit your type of brand. Launching a social commerce strategy involves a step-by-step process as follows.
1) Identify Your Target Audience
Based on the types of products you are selling or services you want to provide, identify your target audience. For example, if your goods are for school students and young adults, then you need to find a social media platform where you have your target audience in their numbers.
Facebook is the largest social media platform and has users of all ages, races, gender, status, and so on. TikTok and Instagram however have more younger users, GenZ and Millennials. If your brand services the younger generation, then you can outline the social media platforms with this population for your brand.
2) Decide On The Social Media Platform You Want To Engage
Your target audience will help to determine which social media platform to engage with. As mentioned earlier, teenagers and young adults are more populated on platforms like TikTok and Instagram.
If your business is targeted at providing them one service or the other, TikTok and Instagram might be the best platform for you to utilize for social commerce.
3) Register Your Business Profile and Create A Shop or Portfolio
After you have made a decision on what platform to employ for social commerce, you will be required to register your business profile and create a shop or portfolio. When all these requirements have been fulfilled, you can now begin to make sales on your social media platform.
4) Post Catalogs
Catalogs contain details such as descriptions and images of products you have available in your e-shop. You can import already existing catalogs into your shop from brands selling the same product or create your own catalog.
5) Run Social Media Giveaways
Creating and running social media giveaways can increase engagement and draw more attention to your brand. Engagement in giveaway ads can create traffic for your social media business. This tip works for both small and large businesses or brands.
6) Create A Hashtag or Trend
It’s the age of hashtags, if you want your brand to be visible on social media, then you need to use hashtags. For social media platforms like Instagram, hashtags are the easiest and fastest ways to locate what you want.
Creating a hashtag for your business or using existing ones will list your business as one of the providers of whatever you have hashtagged and will bring in more customers to you when they engage and search for the same hashtag.
7) Share Reviews and Feedback on Your Business Profile or Stories
Sharing the reviews or feedback from customers will portray your business as genuine and real. Reviews and feedback will encourage other persons to patronize your business or brand. Making appreciative posts about your customers also guarantees their loyalty, thus promoting sales for you.
How To Craft A Social Commerce Strategy?
Crafting a social commerce strategy involves the following steps.
Identify The Right Social Media
In order to be able to do this, you need to ask yourself a couple of questions. What product do you want to sell? What is your brand about? The answer to these questions will help you identify the right social media for your social commerce.
For example, fashion items like clothes, shoes, and jewelry are products that will do well on Instagram and Pinterest. This is because this is where people go for fashion ideas.
Facebook and Twitter however will promote products like tech gadgets better.
Provide High-Quality Content
It is not enough to just post catalogs or products in your Facebook and Instagram shop. Providing high-quality content that will engage your audience is a social commerce strategy.
Connect With Influencers
You will agree with me that there are individuals who spend a significant amount of their time on social media and have huge followership. Connecting with these individuals to help promote your brand to their large followers will give your brand the engagement it needs. An attestation from a respected influencer can give your brand the boost it needs and make people trust your brand.
Usually, influencers would charge you a certain figure for a “gesture” like this. The figure however would depend on the followership of the influencer, their credibility, and influence as well.
Benefits Of Social Commerce
Why do you need to engage in social commerce? What benefit does your brand derive from using social media for the sales of products?
1. Audience Growth
Social media platforms have various user bases. By using social commerce you increase the chances of your target audience locating your product and completing a purchase.
Social media platforms are used by people all over the globe. Facebook alone has almost 3 billion users all over the world. Ads can be tailored to meet your target audience.
Social media works using an algorithm that enables users with similar interests as your products to be notified of your products on their timelines.
Because potential customers can comment on your products and give reviews, they can also share their experience on their timeline, this engagement can increase your audience and ultimately your customers.
2. Improved ROI and Tracking System
The goal of any business ultimately is to make profits. Social commerce offers a great return on Investment. This is because 83% of shoppers use Facebook and Instagram. The essence of social commerce is not just for increased engagement and interactions but for more sales. Utilizing this opportunity and bringing your products to the social space helps you make more sales which equal more money.
Social commerce enables the easy tracking of your business growth. You can get reports on how many people your ad reached and the effectiveness (how many people engaged the ad and sales you made from the ad).
Social media platforms like Facebook enable you to track your business metrics by giving a report on the number of people your products reached and how many sales you made.
These analytics will give insights into how your business is doing and if your strategy is working.
3. Establishes and Builds Trust
Social commerce involves buying directly from an individual, trust is built. Social commerce gives customers a feeling that they are purchasing from you and not just a brand. Because people trust other people more than brands, potential customers are likely to buy your products and current customers are likely to remain loyal.
4. Inbuilt Customer Support Tool
Unlike traditional commerce tools, one of the amazing features of social commerce is its inbuilt customer support tool.
Potential customers can read reviews and feedback on a brand’s business page. They can also ask questions about products that will benefit other customers. Because there is direct access to the seller, concerns and complaints can be sent directly and will be addressed without the long process traditional commerce entails.
The Best Social Commerce Platforms To Use in 2021
Facebook is the largest social commerce platform. Because of this, it offers more business exposure. Established by Mark Zuckerberg as a social media platform, it has grown over years and evolved into an empire with business outlets. It is the first social media platform to introduce the “buy” button.
To utilize Facebook’s e-commerce tool, and set up a free shop you need to have a Facebook Business Profile. These shops are customizable to your taste and permit the importation or creation of a product catalog. In addition, you can also choose the fonts, images, logos, and colors to reflect your brand.
A Facebook shop enables you to curate your own catalog, manage orders, and run a Facebook ad to promote one of your products.
Another perk to the use of Facebook for social commerce is that it offers features like advanced targeting and analytics. This way you can be aware of the growth of your brand.
To set up shop on Instagram, your Instagram business account has to be linked to your Facebook business page or profile. This is because Instagram is owned by Facebook, hence the interdependence.
Unlike Facebook, Instagram offers more opportunities for promotion due to the nature of the interface of the platform. It is primarily built for mobile users. Purchases can be made within the app or on your business website where shoppers can be redirected.
Shopping is made so easy on Instagram because you can sell in so many ways.
- Shoppable posts. This involves tagging products in your images so users can shop with just a tap on the products tagged.
- “Shoppable stories”. Just like “Shoppable Posts”, a tap on tagged products in your stories enables users to shop from your stories.
- Instagram Reels shopping. An Instagram reel is a short video in which you can also tag shoppable products.
Other ways to sell on Instagram include product stickers, IGTV shopping, and explore tab shopping.
The limiting factor to the use of Instagram for social commerce is that it only permits the sales of goods and not services.
Pinterest is another social commerce platform although it functions a bit differently from Facebook and Instagram.
You can promote your product using “buyable pins”. While it offers buyable pins, they are not available to purchase within the app. Clicking on an item for sale on Pinterest will direct you to an e-commerce site to complete the purchase and make payment. Additionally, it is a great platform to promote products in niches like fashion, beauty, arts, and many more aesthetic-related products.
Above all, the majority of its users are women. This makes it a worthy platform for the sales of women’s products. Pinterest also offers a comparison of products and different inspiration options.
Other Social Commerce Platforms
A couple of other social media apps are also experimenting with social commerce on their platforms.
It started as a social entertainment platform launched in 2016. After that, by 2020, it has already achieved 2 billion downloads around the globe. The largest user population on TikTok belongs to GenZ, (users between ages 16 and 24). Therefore, this made it a perfect platform for social commerce for brands. The metrics and analytics of the app state that an average time of 52 minutes a day is spent by users.
The beautiful thing about TikTok is that it utilizes a special algorithm that extends your posts to users who are not following you, unlike Facebook and Instagram. This means employing TikTok for social commerce makes your brand gain more visibility and significantly expands your audience reach.
TikTok has entered into a partnership with Shopify to enable users to shop directly from posts. The owners of this media platform are also considering affiliate marketing options on the app. That is, influencers will be able to make money as an affiliate when they advertise for brands, and businesses or share their business on their profiles.
The “Shop Module” popularly called “The blue app” is also one of the social mediums that are experimenting with social commerce. The e-commerce test is called the Shop Module. It will enable users to be able to explore a handful of products when they visit a brand’s Twitter account.
The decade-old app is one of the most popular social apps. That is, it enables users to be able to advertise their business online by creating ad campaigns. Its users are mostly GenZ and Millenials. Users of the app hold a global spending power of $4.4 trillion, therefore, making it a perfect market for businesses who want to expand their audience reach.
Google owns the YouTube video app. A study showed that 18-year-olds and above spend more time watching YouTube than any other television network in an average month. This fact here is what makes YouTube Ads an excellent social commerce platform. Unlike other social commerce platforms, you only pay for Ads when a user watches your video for at least thirty seconds.
The key to a successful social commerce engagement is to have a well-planned strategy. Additionally, social commerce is a profitable way to expand your brand reach and connect with more audiences. There are various platforms that can help you maximize social commerce in your business – Socialays is one of the trustworthy ones.