Social commerce has become a trendy buzzword, but believe us when we say that it has a lot of merit. For brands that sell products online, social commerce can be a huge asset.
In the age of social media, social commerce is becoming more and more relevant and profitable for e-commerce brands.
If you’re curious about what exactly social commerce is, the best social media platforms to use for social commerce and how to use social commerce to drive e-commerce sales, you’re in the right place.
Read on to see our in-depth guide to social media marketing for e-commerce brands...
Social Commerce: E-Commerce and Social Media Marketing
Before we dive into some pro-tips and discuss the best platforms for social commerce, let’s talk about what social commerce is. Just about every e-commerce business uses social media these days. That’s social commerce! Social commerce is the use of social networks in the context of e-commerce transactions. To say that in a very simple way… social commerce is making a product purchasable from a third-party company within the social media. If you’ve seen third-party products advertised and able to be purchased on platforms like Instagram or Facebook then you’ve seen social commerce in action.
Why Social Media Matters for E-Commerce Brands
Social media is an integral part of a successful e-commerce marketing program. Using social media is spectacular for two big things: getting traffic and driving sales. Increasing organic traffic and using channels like email is wonderful for e-commerce businesses, and so is social media. It’s not a fad. Social media is here to stay and is only getting more popular. All of the social media sites we’ll mention in this guide have a huge reach that can vastly expand your audience and increase your sales.
The 5 Best Social Media Platforms for E-Commerce Brands
To use social commerce effectively, you’ll need to choose which platforms to use. Here are the five best social media platforms for e-commerce brands (in no particular order)...
Facebook has upped its social commerce usability by adding Facebook Shops. Facebook Shops is a designated place within Facebook for brands to sell their products. The Shops feature has made it super easy to display your product catalog in a user-friendly way. Facebook users can browse your products directly from Facebook. There’s in-app checkout, and there are integrations that help brands manage their inventory between their website and their Shops storefront. Facebook has 2.6 billion monthly active users, and the Shops feature makes it super easy to sell your products and communicate with customers. It’s safe to say that you should incorporate Facebook into your social commerce strategy.
Since it’s launch in 2010, Instagram has had mass appeal due to its intriguing display of visual content. IG is all about the visuals, and that’s great news for e-commerce brands who have good-looking products to sell.Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, has a Shops feature that works directly with Facebook Shops. Instagram Shops is only available to brands that already use Facebook Shops. Instagram lets users buy products from photos and videos in the feed and Stories. As a brand, you can add tags to your photos that directly link to your products and show general product info and price. Just like Facebook, Instagram allows in-app checkout. By the way, we want to stress just how huge in-app checkout is. It’s incredibly convenient for consumers.
Pinterest has been a steadily popular social media platform, and they recently added some new social commerce features that help brands. Basically, Pinterest has added features that help direct users to storefronts. Brands can upload their product catalog and create product pins that provide product info. There’s also a visual search featured called Lens which shows users where they can buy the products, or similar products, that they see in pins. Pinterest’s Lens can actually recognize 2.5 billion different home and fashion objects which is pretty incredible. Another cool feature that makes Pinterest a great tool for e-commerce brands is the Verified Merchant Program. Brands who join the program can add a shop tab to their profile which houses all of their product pins. The program also helps brands reach a wider audience on the platform by showing their products on Shop the Look Pins and related Pins.
Snapchat has introduced their Brand Profiles feature which helps brands drive sales by letting users “try on” products with augmented reality (AR) technology. Snapchat also features a great Shopify integration that allows users to browse and purchase from stores within the Snapchat app. Considering the above-mentioned features and monthly users estimated at 46 million, Snapchat might be worth incorporating into your social commerce strategy.
TikTok recently partnered with Shopify to roll out an integration that helps businesses create, run and optimize their TikTok marketing campaigns directly from the Shopify dashboard. The new feature lets brands create ads that turn their products into video ads that appear on TikTok’s feed. As a bonus, brands can target an audience and track their campaign’s performance. TikTok has a heavy influencer presence and a mostly Gen Z audience. If your products appeal to younger crowds, then TikTok will likely be a great asset for your social commerce efforts.
6 Key Tips for a Successful Social Commerce Program
Your social commerce strategy shouldn’t include much shooting in the dark. Here are some pro-tips to get you started on the path to more conversions...
1. Establish Specific Goals
What are your goals? Are they all about conversions? Do you want more followers? Do you want to work with influencers? Do you want more traffic directed from social media to your website?
Set goals for what you want your social commerce strategy to help you accomplish. Keep track of your goals too. If you could use some help with the art of goal setting, try setting SMART goals. Setting a goal for more conversions is a great idea, by the way.
2. Choose Your Channels Wisely
While we do recommend utilizing multiple social media platforms, it can be good to start with one or two channels so you don’t spread your marketing team too thin. It’s better to have one or two social media profiles that look really good than to have five that just look okay. Do your research and choose the channels that you know your target audience is using. Earlier in this article, we outlined the five best social media platforms for e-commerce brands to use. Choose wisely, start with one or two and eventually utilize all of the ones that your target audience uses (which might be all of them).
3. Use Social Proof
If a consumer is considering buying your product and they see great reviews, photos of their peers using the product or influencers talking about the product, it’ll help validate the consumer’s desire to purchase it. The proof is in the pudding. In this case, the “pudding” is satisfied customers vouching for your products. A simple way to use social proof is to share photos of product ratings and reviews. A next level tactic for using social proof to your advantage sharing user-generated content. One of the easiest ways to share UGC is by reposting photos that people have shared of your product. A highly effective and in-depth way to use UGC is by partnering with influencers and having them create UGC (especially video) for your brand. That’s what we do at Insense, by the way! We help brands find influencers to partner with.
4. Incorporate Visual Content
We want to emphasize that people love visual content. Having text on your social media posts is great (we recommend it), but adding visual elements is the next level. In the previous tip, we mentioned sharing photos like product reviews and reposting photos. Those are great ways to incorporate visual content into your social commerce strategy. Photos are awesome, but using video is arguably more important. A recent study showed that 85 percent of millennials have purchased a product after watching a video about it. Remember when we mentioned using influencers to create UC for your brand? That’s why! Video can really drive engagement and purchases. Insense can help a lot with UGC creation. We have 35,000 creators who produce high performing content (unboxing videos, product reviews, etc).
5. Offer In-App Checkout
With features like Facebook Shops and Pinterest’s shoppable pins, in-app shopping has really taken off. It may sound silly, but when a consumer is interested in buying a product they saw on social media, every extra little bit of effort they have to put forth to complete the purchase can deter them from buying the product.If a consumer sees your product on a social media app, they probably don’t want to go to your website, create an account and add their billing and shipping info when they could just complete the purchase within the app. In-app checkout creates a seamless experience for consumers. Use it!
6. Post Consistently
When it comes to social commerce, your content needs to be high-quality and high-quantity. The simple truth is that when brands don’t post to their social channels frequently, people kind of forget about them. It’s like the old saying “out of sight, out of mind.” How often a brand should post on social media depends on the brand, their following and which platform they’re using, but a good starting place is posting once or twice every day. By the way, you’ll probably benefit from using a content calendar to keep track of your posts.
Conclusion: How to Use Social Media to Drive E-Commerce Sales
If you choose social media platforms carefully and follow the six key tips we mentioned, your brand will be on its way to having a successful social commerce program that’ll increase sales and help scale your business. Like we mentioned earlier in this guide, our specialty here at Insense is helping e-commerce businesses create high-performing content for social media. We’ve worked with more than 100 D2C and B2C e-commerce brands. We’re official marketing partners with Facebook and TikTok, and we have a Shopify integration that allows brands to connect their online catalog directly to our platform. Whether your brand’s products are relevant to food, beauty, fashion, home goods, family, pets, health or anything else, we can help you create content that’ll complement and elevate your marketing strategy. Regardless of if you choose to work with us or not, we hope this guide will become an asset for you and your team this year and beyond!