When we talk about social commerce, you may think of selling your products or services through social media channels.
And you’re entirely right.
However, as social media networks expand their functionality and their user bases are growing each day, selling through social media is a must when it comes to current eCommerce trends.
Social Commerce Benefits
If you were asking yourself why you should use social media to sell your products, well here’s the list of benefits social media networks offer for online businesses.
Engaging with your audience will directly affect customer satisfaction. There are multiple ways how social media can help you in improving customer experience.
First, the majority of people would rather send you messages through Facebook or Instagram for example, as they are using that network at that moment instead of going to your Contact Us page, entering email, subject, etc.
With social media, you have more direct contact with your customers and you give them the answers they are looking for.
Also, it’s not excluded that some people would rather write you a message than check your FAQ page. This can also be resolved by automating specific problems, but we will keep that one for another article.
Reach and Brand Exposure
As we already mentioned, social media have a large user base and those numbers keep growing constantly.
Also, the appearance of new social media networks is not strange anymore. Remember TikTok?
When Facebook and Instagram already had a huge user base, TikTok just appeared and gathered millions of users, too, pushing other social media networks to adapt their strategies.
These platforms have their policies, but they can also help you showcase your brand and improve your brand awareness.
Of course, depending on your target audience, you can choose which platforms you will use as you don’t need each of them simultaneously.
But, you got the point. Having a social media presence is a must if you want more people to know about your business. More exposure – more potential customers.
While Google is focused on keywords (whether for organic search or paid search), social media gather data in different ways and have different targeting options for your paid campaigns.
For example, if you use Facebook, you can target people by their geo-location, interests, language, current location, place of work, etc.
Lots of opportunities.
Why is this important? Well, if you have proper targeting and aim for the right customers, you will have better ROI (return on investment) which is of course a goal of each business.
This refers to User Generated Content. Let us ask you: where would people rather share their content – social media or elsewhere on the Internet?
You already know the answer. And user-generated content is a great way to promote your products, as people will see how others use your product or service which in turn increases chances of buying from you and improving customer trust.
Social media networks are a great place to provide social proof to your customers.
According to Luisa Zhou’s article, 95% of customers read online reviews before buying a product.
And with social media, you have extended opportunities to improve your customer experience and trust.
People are more likely to buy a product recommended by their friends, relatives, or peers.
Sharing content on social media also gives people opportunities to share their thoughts and opinions which will later lead to more influential recommendations.
Seamless Shopping Experience
As we said, social media networks are constantly changing and they bring lots of new features in comparison to 5 years ago.
With new shopping features, people on most social media platforms can purchase directly from you without leaving the app.
For example, take a look at Facebook and Instagram. Or Pinterest.
With advanced business tools, you can integrate your shop with these networks and showcase your products. At the same time, people can buy your products without leaving the app resulting in less cart abandonment.
Real-time Customer Feedback
Through social media, your business can get instant feedback from customers.
People in most cases can comment or send you a message, which can give you valuable insights into their pain points or if some flaws in your product can be improved.
With this, you can improve your product or service, and improve customer satisfaction which will lead to better conversion rates as well as reduced cart abandonment.
Social Sharing Incentives
Social commerce often encourages sharing and referrals through discounts, loyalty programs, or exclusive offers.
This not only helps spread the word about a brand but also fosters customer loyalty and repeat business.
Social commerce aligns well with influencer marketing strategies, where you can cooperate with popular influencers to promote your products.
Influencers can sway the purchasing decisions of their followers, leading to increased sales.
Data and Analytics
Social media networks offer valuable data which you can use to measure the success of your marketing efforts, understand your customer’s behavior, and make data-driven decisions for improvement.
Overview of Major Social Media Platforms
Let’s take a closer look at some of the major social networks that play important roles in the world of eCommerce.
With over 2.8 billion monthly active users, Facebook remains the largest social media platform worldwide.
Its user base spans different age groups, making it great if you’re targeting a broad audience.
Facebook also offers lots of advertising tools and post formats like text, image, video, and carousel.
Also one of the most popular social networks, Instagram, owned by Facebook, has more than 1 billion active users.
Compared to Facebook, its user base is more popular among young people.
So, if you’re the owner of a business in the field of fashion, beauty, lifestyle, and visually appealing products, then Instagram is a better option for you.
Instagram also offers eCommerce features like Shoppable Posts and Stories which enable seamless shopping experience.
Twitter has over 450 million active users as of 2023.
It’s a good platform for businesses that like to share timely updates, announcements, and breaking news.
Twitter’s concise format encourages concise yet impactful product messaging, making it a valuable platform for flash sales and limited-time offers.
Currently, Pinterest has over 400 million active users.
It’s a visual discovery platform that caters to users seeking inspiration and ideas.
If you’re in the home decor, DIY, food, and fashion industry, you should consider using Pinterest for your business.
As for the merchant features, Pinterest offers Buyable Pins that allow users to make a purchase without leaving the platform, streamlining the customer journey.
TikTok has skyrocketed in popularity, surpassing 1 billion active users worldwide.
This short-form video platform is dominated by younger generations and has rapidly become a hotspot for influencer marketing.
Brands that can create engaging and entertaining content often find success on TikTok, particularly with product demonstrations and challenges.
YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world (Google being the largest) that attracts over 2 billion logged-in monthly users.
It is a powerhouse for video content, making it suitable for product reviews, tutorials, and storytelling.
YouTube also offers various advertising options, including TrueView ads and YouTube Shopping ads, to promote eCommerce products effectively.
Demographics and User Behavior on Different Platforms
- 2.95 billion monthly active users.
- 10% come from US or Canada.
- 71% of the entire US population has Facebook.
- 1.62 billion users visit Facebook daily.
- The largest audience is between 25 and 34 years old.
- More than 1 billion users use the app every month.
- The majority of users are between the ages of 25 and 34.
- 123 million users are from the USA.
- 43% of females are on Instagram (USA).
- 31% of males are on Instagram (USA).
- About 368 million monthly active users.
- The average visit duration is 11 minutes.
- The Twitter app had 17 million downloads in 2020.
- 90% of Twitter’s revenue comes from advertising in 2022.
- 68.1% of users are male.
- 38.5% of users are between the ages of 25 to 34.
- Pinterest has 450 million monthly active users.
- 84.6 million users are located in the United States.
- 85% of users have made a purchase from Pinterest pins.
- 76.2% of users are women.
- 5th most popular social commerce platform.
- TikTok has been downloaded over 2.7 billion times.
- It has over 150 million monthly active users in the US.
- The average use of the app is 95 minutes.
- 60% of TikTok users are Gen Z.
- Second largest search engine (just behind Google).
- YouTube has 2.53 billion active users each month.
- 246 million active users are from the United States.
- 54.4% of YouTube’s users are male.
- Most users are aged 25 to 34 (20.7%).
Identifying the Ideal Platforms for Your Business
Deciding the right social media platform for your business is not that simple. Most people just think about opening accounts on each one of these platforms and then they try hard to see why certain networks keep bringing them value, while others are not despite creating content regularly.
To avoid this happening to you, use the following steps:
- Know your audience: First you need to understand your audience and target demographic. This will help you understand which platforms they prefer. Using this data, you can decide which platforms you’re going to use.
- Match content with a platform: Different platforms require different content. If you create visually appealing products, Instagram and Pinterest may be more effective. For how-to or explainer videos, YouTube might be the way to go.
- Assess competition: Analyze your competitors’ social media presence. Identify which platforms they are using effectively and learn from their successes and failures.
- Start small, analyze, and expand: Begin with a few key platforms that align with your goals and resources. Monitor performance metrics, analyze audience engagement, and then gradually expand your social media presence to additional platforms if it makes sense.
Building a Strong Social Commerce Strategy
To achieve success in the social media landscape, consider the following steps to build social commerce strategy.
Step 1 – Setting Clear Objectives and Goals
The first step in creating a social media strategy is defining clear objectives and goals.
What do you want to achieve through social commerce? Common goals include increasing sales, expanding brand reach, improving customer engagement, and driving website traffic.
Ensure that you’re objectives are SMART:
Having well-defined goals will guide your decision-making process and help you measure the effectiveness of your strategy.
Step 2 – Defining Your Target Audience
As we said a little bit earlier, it’s important to understand your target audience.
So, if you’re going to build a social media strategy, do in-depth market research first. This will help you identify your ideal customer’s demographics, preferences, pain points, and online behavior.
In short, with this research, you should be able to create a buyer persona (a semifictional representation of your ideal customer).
This will help you create and tailor messaging and content to resonate with your target group, increasing the chances of converting social media followers into loyal customers.
Step 3 – Crafting a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) for Social Commerce
First, you should know what Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is. In the simplest terms possible, it’s something that you have but your competitors don’t, whether that is better quality, lower price, unique features, etc.
You get the point.
This is why people should choose you instead of your competitors.
However, you should keep this in mind too when planning your social media strategy. So, when working on your social media accounts, emphasize your USP in social media content, ads, and product descriptions.
Simply, highlight those benefits and value you offer but others don’t.
Step 4 – Integrating Social Commerce with Your eCommerce Website
Now, with all the above-mentioned stuff you need to do, let’s talk about the integration so you will be able to use all features offered to the maximum.
Shoppable Posts and Tags
Many social media platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, offer shoppable post features.
And Pinterest has its own Product Pins.
All these features are made to make it easier for your business to sell products or services.
So, when you start using these features and start gaining followers, start using these shoppable posts and similar features on your profiles and pages.
Optimize Landing Pages
When you link your website with social media profiles, chances are you put a link to a certain landing page or a homepage.
Well, these pages should be optimized for a better user experience on mobile devices as a huge number of users use these social networks through mobile device apps.
Also, make sure to check all those pages for things like speed, design, etc.
Social Login and Sharing
Add social login features to your website. This will shorten the registration and login process by allowing users to register or log in by only using their social media profiles (on which they are already logged in).
In addition to this, add share buttons on your pages to allow users to share products, pages, blog posts, etc. on their social media profiles by simply clicking a button instead of copying and pasting the link into their profile.
Customer Support Integration
As we mentioned earlier, social media networks allow you to have one-on-one conversations with your customers through direct messages. In this case, people don’t have to look for the contact page and fill in too many required fields.
Instead, they can just drop a message so you can help them resolve specific issues or answer their questions.
And another great option is message automation. If you’re getting the same messages over and over again, you can create automated messages and replies so people still get the answers they are looking for while you can focus on other tasks.
Social Media Ads
Compared to Google where you target your potential customers through keywords, social media has different types of data.
For example, on Facebook and Instagram (since they are part of the same company Meta), you can target people on the language they speak, country, age, gender, interests, behavior, etc.
Of course, if you have created your buyer persona, setting up ads will help you in configuring targeting options.
If you don’t have enough people who buy from you or your ads are not effective, then recheck buyer persona, your product, messaging, ad structure, etc.
In case you’re launching a paid campaign on social media, don’t rush with a huge budget. Instead, create a few ads and start small. Experiment with them so you’ll either create new ads or keep those effective.
As social media networks became a part of everyday life for a huge number of individuals and by commerce features provided by these platforms, having a strong social media presence and utilizing their tools as much as possible is a must for almost every business today.
Through the article, we listed some of the most popular social media networks (although there are still more networks you can use like Snapchat for example, and many more) as well as how to use them properly and create proper strategy.