How to Use Social Commerce to Drive More Sales
Social media has massively evolved through the years that it has become more than just a place for people to connect and for brands to promote their business. Now, businesses can actually generate sales directly on social media through social commerce.
What Is Social Commerce?
Social commerce is when you sell your products/services directly from your brand’s social media profile. You can set up your own shop, upload your catalog to showcase your products, and manage your inventory — all from the social media platform itself.
For brands, this presents a fertile opportunity. More and more consumers, especially the younger generation, prefer online shopping more than traditional brick-and-mortar shopping. The number of social commerce buyers has, in fact, grown by 80.1 million in 2020 and is anticipated to increase by approximately 16% in 2022.
Social commerce sales have also seen a huge jump for the past two years: from $560B in 2020 to a whopping $732B in 2021 — and this is expected to continue with an upwards trend in the years to come.
The Benefits of Social Commerce
Utilizing social commerce for your brand can either be a good complement and additional channel for your existing e-commerce website/app, or it can be your main channel for selling especially when you’re just starting out.
Consumers also benefit greatly from social commerce:
- It streamlines the shopping experience: The majority of consumers have used social media to research a product prior to purchasing them. Providing them a channel to purchase your products directly from your page makes the shopping experience easier and more convenient.
- It encourages more engagement: When you create interactive content through your social media shop, this drives more engagement. You’re also hitting two birds with one stone: By having more customers on your page itself, you create instant social proof, which ultimately boosts brand reputation.
So how do you use this to your brand’s advantage?
4 Social Commerce Tips for Your Brand
1. Choose the right platform for your brand
Most likely, you already have an existing social media presence. However, if you’re still new to the scene, it’s important to know where your best leads engage regularly. Your shop will perform best where your target audience is actively engaging.
Each platform also has its own set of unique features that would appeal to different audiences:
Facebook provides a comprehensive social commerce experience where you can create a customizable store where they can directly shop without having to leave the app. It’s also integrated with its suite of products, so your catalog can be synced with your Instagram shop.
Customers can also cross-communicate with your brand through Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp. There is also a new feature where you can enable live shopping from your Facebook Page.
When you post a Story or Reel on Instagram, you can post a link to your products using Shopping Stickers, and this takes the audience to your product page or chosen landing page.
Instagram also has a dedicated “Shop” tab that allows people to browse products from different brands. This increases engagement as well as discoverability.
Similar to Facebook and Instagram, you can set up your own shop on the platform. However, you cannot purchase the products from the app itself. You will have to link the CTA buttons of your product page to Shopify for checkout. It’s also worth noting that TikTok Shop is still in its early stages, so we can expect that more features will be added.
Pinterest is often overlooked by many brands, especially those that don’t cater much to female users. However, it has been found that 50% of Pinterest’s 431 million monthly active users utilize the platform with the intention to shop.
Pinterest Shopping combines many of the helpful features that we also find on Facebook and Instagram, such as Catalogs and Collections, the option to “Explore” or “Shop” at the beginning of your search, and Product Pins. It’s also well-integrated with Shopify, so if you have an existing catalog on Shopify, this can be automatically added to your Pinterest Shop.
2. Create engaging product content
Having visually appealing and professional-quality photos and videos on social media is especially important, as you will have to fight for your target audience’s attention among the sea of other content on their feeds.
This is why it’s also equally important to make your visual content engaging. Get creative in how you showcase your product catalog and go beyond the usual stoic product photography. Some ideas include:
- Showing your product in action
- Using 360-degree photos
- Adding human elements to the photo
- Styling it with “neutral” props
- Playing with lighting
The same goes for video content. You can go beyond the usual explainer videos and make your product videos more candid with short-form videos. This is especially useful when you’re using TikTok and Instagram for your social commerce.
3. Optimize your product descriptions
Strike a balance between using the right keywords and writing product descriptions that are engaging, compelling, and naturally flowing. Some tips to remember:
- Keep your product descriptions short and sweet
- Evoke emotions in your copy by addressing and empathizing with their pain points
- Subtly create a sense of urgency and scarcity in your copy, but use this technique with caution
- Focus more on the benefits instead of the product features
4. Encourage engagement
On a related note to Tip #2, it’s important to have a strategy to encourage audience engagement to widen your reach and add more exposure for your shop on social media. Aside from creating engaging content, some of the things you can do are the following:
- Initiate internet challenges, especially when you’re using TikTok and Instagram
- Encourage user-generated content such as photos of your customers using your products, especially when you’re using Facebook
- Offer platform-exclusive promos
- Have a loyalty program, refer-a-friend campaign, or an affiliate program in place
- Utilize ephemeral content (e.g., Facebook and Instagram Stories)
- Show behind-the-scenes and other more candid content
Social commerce offers a whole world of opportunities for both startup and long-time businesses alike. And with most consumers becoming more reliant on social media for their everyday needs, it’s both a smart and cost-efficient choice to include social commerce in your brand’s digital marketing and sales strategy.
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