Did you know that social commerce is a $90 billion industry and is quickly rising as a major revenue channel for brands? This is no surprise, as social media has become an integral part of our lives. We use social media to connect with friends and family, stay up-to-date on current events, and now – to make purchases. In this blog post, we will discuss the basics of social commerce and how you can start selling on social media today!
What is social commerce?
Social commerce is the term for social media platforms being used as a place to sell products. This includes things like Instagram shops and influencer product recommendations.
Social commerce is a necessary part of any brand’s marketing strategy because social media platforms are where consumers are spending the majority of their time. In order to reach consumers where they are, brands need to have a social commerce presence.
Additionally, social commerce allows brands to build relationships with customers and create loyalty.
Social commerce can be a cost-effective way to reach new customers. Brands that have not added social commerce to their marketing mix are missing out on a crucial opportunity to connect with consumers.
How social media has changed the way we shop
Social media has changed the way we shop in a number of ways.
First of all, social media provides a platform for sharing real-time recommendations and opinions on a variety of topics, including products.
This means that we can see what other people think about a product before we buy it, which can be invaluable in making sure we make the best purchase decision.
Secondly, social media has also given rise to social commerce, which is where people buy and sell products through social media platforms. Even before you could click and buy products without ever leaving platforms like Instagram and TikTok, consumers would still make decisions about products based on social media posts by influencers and brands.
Now that these platforms have released products like Facebook and Instagram Shops (also available on WhatsApp), TikTok Shopping, Pinterest Product Pins, Snapchat’s AR Shopping Lenses, and the beta version of Twitter Shops.
This has made shopping more convenient and accessible than ever before, as well as provided more opportunities for people to find bargains.
Finally, social media has also changed the way we advertise and promote products. In the past, companies would have to rely on traditional forms of advertising, such as TV commercials, and more recently search and display ads following them around the internet, to get their products in front of consumers.
Now, social media has given companies the ability to target specific audiences with ads and create owned content to influence their followers to make a purchase. This means that companies can spend their marketing and advertising dollars more effectively and see a better return on investment.
Then we saw the rise of influencers who we all follow to be inspired. And they are recommending products and services to their millions of followers, which acts as yet another point of attention and influence.
But with all of these forms of advertising and marketing, there was just one problem:
You had to stop what you were doing to go somewhere else to buy a product.
Now, fans, followers, and subscribers can engage in the “See + Buy = Instant Gratification” equation that is Social Commerce.
Let’s dive in deeper.
Why social media platforms are a great place to sell your products
Social media platforms are a great place to sell products because social networks can create communities and conversations around interests and topics.
These communities and conversations are an amazing place to organically place products into images, videos, and text. The ability of any brand, influencer, or regular person to organically initiate product placement without scaring people away is unmatched.
This can be done through brand content, user-generated content, influencer content, and social media advertising campaigns.
The new social commerce tools provided by most major social platforms allow retailers to build relationships with consumers by providing them with a seamless way to engage their audience with top-selling products, new products, timely promotions, and exclusive deals…
and here is the key: without ever leaving the platform.
This is huge.
It might not seem like much when you are scheming to build your e-commerce engine. I mean let’s face it, we all think our content is amazing and the world will recognize all the hard work your team put into it by reading everything, scrolling to your bio, clicking on your website, then looking at every page–right?
But that’s not it works, ever.
Instead, people don’t want to look at your stuff, until they make the decision.
And if you can get them to a purchase in the first few seconds when they see some of your content, then you are golden.
This is exactly what social commerce offers brands and their partners.
The best social networks to sell on
Above I mentioned all the major social platforms that support social commerce, but let’s take a deeper look into each of them and how they work.
Facebook Shops is a dedicated space on Facebook and Instagram where businesses can showcase their products.
Businesses can customize their shop to match their brand identity and create a unique shopping experience for their customers.
Customers can browse through products, save them to collections, and buy them without ever leaving the app.
Facebook Shops facilitates social commerce in a few ways.
One is by allowing retailers to post product catalogs on their brand pages.
These catalogs can be made manually or can be pulled automatically from Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, and other product feeds.
There will be a “Shop” section in the menu that leads to the Facebook shop where a person can shop products the same as they could on an eCommerce website.
Then there are two ways a brand can list its products.
One way is to list products for sale on their website. When a person clicks on these products, it leads to the product page on the retailer’s website.
Another way the social media giant supports seamless social commerce is through the use of “Buy Now” buttons where people can checkout right on Facebook using Facebook Pay.
Instagram Shops uses the same platform as Facebook Shops as parent company Meta wants to save businesses time by having one inventory to manage on one backend platform.
From a brand perspective, the setup is the same. And for Instagram users it looks very similar, it’s just on Instagram instead of Facebook.
Snapchat Shopping Lenses
Snapchat is one of the hottest social media platforms around, especially among younger users.
And as we know–when a platform is swarmed by a younger generation, their parents who spend more money follow right behind them.
And now, thanks to its new Shopping Lenses feature, brands can tag products in their snaps and allow their fans to “try” them on in real-time.
Shopping Lenses use augmented reality to let users see how a product would look on them, without having to try it on. And then, with a few clicks, they can purchase the product right inside Snapchat.
This is a huge opportunity for online retailers, who can now give their customers a more immersive and interactive shopping experience. And since Snapchat is so popular with young people, its Shopping Lenses will likely become a major player in the e-commerce space for years to come.
Twitter Shops is a new feature that allows brands to tag products in their posts and for their fans to buy products right on Twitter.
This is a game-changer for brands and businesses who want to sell their products directly to consumers through social media. With Twitter Shops, businesses can turn their tweets into mini-storefronts where customers can browse and purchase products without ever leaving the app.
This is a huge opportunity for businesses to reach new customers and boost sales. And it’s not just businesses that stand to benefit from Twitter Shops.
Customers will love the convenience of being able to browse and purchase products without having to leave the app.
Much like with Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, with Twitter Shops, everyone wins.
Pinterest & Product Pins
Pinterest has always been a place for people to go to get ideas and inspiration for their next project.
But now, with the addition of features like product tagging, it’s becoming a one-stop-shop for everything from wedding planning to redecorating your living room. And for brands, that’s a big opportunity.
With Pinterest’s Verified Merchant program, brands can make sure that their products are front and center when people are searching for ideas.
And not only can consumers purchase products right on Pinterest, but content creators can also pin products to their favorite boards with many followers, which could achieve organic exposure for that brand.
That’s why more and more brands are turning to Pinterest as a way to reach new customers and drive sales.
TikTok is the most popular social media app for driving consumer spending.
Consumer spending on TikTok increased by a whopping 77% in 2021. Users spent $2.3 billion dollars via the app, compared to $1.3 billion the year before.
TikTok Shopping is a feature that allows users to purchase products directly from the app. When shopping on TikTok, users can browse through a variety of products, view product details, and add items to their cart.
TikTok Shopping also offers a number of features that make it convenient and easy to use. For example, users can save their payment information for future purchases, view a history of their recent searches, and track their order status. In addition, TikTok Shopping provides access to customer support if there are any problems with an order. Overall, TikTok Shopping is a convenient and easy-to-use way to purchase products directly from the app.
Tips for success in social commerce
- Go where your customers are: If you want to succeed with social commerce, you need to go where your customers are. That means being active on the social media platforms that they use most. Figure out where your target audience is spending their time online, and make sure you have a strong presence on those platforms.
- Is your audience younger than 24? Then TikTok and Snapchat are your best bet.
- If your audience is older than 24, then Instagram is highly valuable.
- Is your audience mostly female? Pinterest will help you grow.
- Is your audience focused on news, sports, and entertainment? Twitter could be a great fit.
- Make it easy for customers to buy from you: The whole point of social commerce is to make it easy for customers to buy from you. So, make sure your website and checkout process are optimized for mobile devices and that you’re offering features like one-click checkout and social login. Some of the platforms allow in-app purchases like Facebook and Instagram, but others like Snapchat and Twitter currently click through to the brand website.
- Make sure your product pages are complete: This starts on your website because product info is pulled from your website feed. People want to make quick decisions when consuming content or shopping online. So it makes sense that they will buy products that allow them to see the product, scan its details, and see if others thought it was a great product. And that leads to my last tip.
- Display social proof: one of the largest reasons social commerce is a perfect storm is the “social” part of it. People will make purchases based on proof that its a great product.
When posting content with a product in it, first thing to make sure you do is to tag the product.
Next initiate conversation on the post around that product (if it fits the content).
The positive comments that you get will help viewers see that it’s a great product.
Also make sure that you have a great reviews app or plugin on your website like Yotpo, so that when they click through to the product page, there are lots of quality reviews to encourage someone to make the purchase.
Welp, that’s it. Time to go.
Thanks for reading this far. I hope you found value and are ready to dominate social commerce in a meaningful way.
Social Commerce is not a complicated marketing effort. In fact, your brand probably has most of what you need already setup. It’s just a matter of activating the “shop” on the different social platforms and connecting your existing Shopify, WooCommerce, or other sites.
As far as setup, that’s it really.
The next step is much more challenging…
Build an audience of raving fans who want to click and buy the products on your social commerce channels.
If you need any help with that, send a request to my team and we will help you out.