Social commerce is the use of social media channels to sell goods directly to consumers. Users won’t have to visit your site to browse through the product catalog and buy. Instead, they can shop for the items they like directly from your social media posts.
In other words, social commerce streamlines the buying process. It helps people conveniently find and purchase the items they need.
Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and TikTok have social commerce features.
Facebook, for instance, offers Facebook Shops, which, among others, allows retailers to import products from their websites for promotion. Like Facebook, Instagram has Instagram Shops, a virtual storefront. The social commerce feature allows users to purchase products right within the app, as seen above. Users can also access Facebook Shops from the Instagram platform.
As for Pinterest, it has been a pioneer of social commerce since 2015, with its product pins with a Buy Now option for business page users. On TikTok, in-feed video purchases are possible. The platform also offers product showcase tabs and the TikTok Live tool for social commerce.
Whichever platform you use, it’s pretty easy to set up social commerce features for use. Just follow each platform’s instructions.
For instance, to set up your Facebook or Instagram shopping, all you need is a product catalog. You can use an existing catalog or set up a new one that can be used for both Instagram or Facebook.
To set up a new catalog, just follow these steps:
- Go to Commerce Manager in your Business Manager.
- Choose Get Started then Create a Catalog. Then click Get Started again.
- Select the type of inventory you’re promoting. Then click Next.
- Choose how you want to add your products. You can Upload Product Info or Connect a Partner Platform.
- Choose the Business Account your catalog will belong to.
- Name your product catalog.
- Create your product catalog.
If you already have existing catalogs, they should appear in a list provided by your chosen Meta platform. You just need to pick a catalog from the list to set up your social commerce experience.
We know social commerce can help buyers. But as a business, why bother with social commerce in the first place? Answer: With a good social commerce strategy, you can grow your business with ease.
Here are five ways social commerce can ensure your business growth:
If you use social commerce platforms for your business, you’re not just promoting and selling your products. You’re essentially bringing the products consumers love closer to them and making it easy for them to make a purchase.
That can help boost your customer retention. A whopping 70% of consumers cite convenience and speed in the buying experience, apart from good customer support, as the key factors contributing to their loyalty towards a business.
New Balance, a footwear brand, knows this all too well. So, it leverages Facebook’s social commerce possibilities to make its products easily available. Customers can buy right away from NB’s Facebook shop. Sneaker fans can quickly browse through the brand’s product catalog and read through product descriptions before making a purchase.
We’re not sure how many of those who experienced this convenience and speed bought again from NB afterward. But if you scroll through New Balances’ posts, you’ll find people’s nice comments about the customer experience and see plenty of likes and shares.
If you want to follow this strategy, make sure your product descriptions, like NB’s, are as compelling as your images. There are AI templates you can use to help you craft excellent copy. Just add the product’s name and key features to the template, and you’ll get your ready-to-use and effective descriptions.
That’s not to say you should rely solely on social commerce to retain customers.
Use other marketing strategies available to you as well, of course. Whether a part of your SaaS, B2B, or restaurant marketing plan, email campaigns, for instance, are just as powerful as social media campaigns.
You can send marketing emails to customers who clicked on your other products but didn’t make a purchase. Email marketing is a great way to nurture your relationships with them and remind them that you exist. So, the next time they need a product like yours, they’ll buy from you again.
Customer reviews and testimonials are a form of social proof. Here’s a fact: A staggering 92% of consumers are more likely to trust non-paid recommendations like these user reviews and testimonials than ads.
That’s because ads were paid for by the brand selling the products. Non-paid recommendations, meanwhile, were made by users who have no affiliation with the brand. In other words, non-paid recommendations are seen as more trustworthy. The users who make them have no ulterior motive to recommend in the first place.
With people trusting user reviews and customer testimonials more, these forms of social proof become powerful tools for getting people to make a purchase. See below how a five-star average rating by users yields the highest number of orders.
But how is social proof related to social commerce?
With social commerce, your customers can easily leave reviews about your product for everyone to see. Once your Facebook (or Instagram) Shop is set up, for example, you can tag your products that appear in your existing social media posts. Your customers can then leave comments about your brand on these posts.
See the screenshot below:
If the reviews your customers leave are positive, and other people see them, chances are, these other consumers will buy from you as well.
That’s the thing. Just make sure your products are exceptional. If they’re of bad quality, you won’t boost social commerce sales. In fact, your social commerce strategy might just backfire on you. You might just end up with negative reviews that will tarnish your brand reputation.
Around 34% of consumers say they use social platforms for product discovery, and to learn about brands. In other words, with social commerce, you can easily improve your brand awareness. That’s important for growth because a whopping 50% of consumers say they only buy from a brand they know in the first place.
Mallows Beauty is one of the many social commerce examples worth mentioning here. The company used social commerce to boost brand awareness.
According to founder Laura Mallows, back in 2020 when the company was founded, the brand relied on social media content and then on social commerce features (like the live feature on TikTok Shop, for example) to make their skincare products known. The brand would, in particular, hold live demonstrations of its new products. Members of the audience would then just click on the product in the video to consummate their purchase decisions.
The results have been telling. The once-small skincare company has seen remarkable growth ever since. In fact, by the end of 2021, it already had an international market. Now, international sales account for one third of total Mallows Beauty product sales.
You can follow in the footsteps of Mallow Beauty and leverage shopping features such as TikTok Live to boost brand awareness for growth.
However, you need to know what content your target audience wants in the first place. Do they prefer live product demonstrations like Mallow Beauty did? Or maybe they prefer for you to explain how each product was made. Creating a customer persona is key. It will help you craft relevant live shopping events your target audience will want to consume in the first place.
Social commerce means showing your products directly in front of billions of active users. According to Statista, in 2023, 64% of the world’s population are social media users. Statista predicts that 74% of the world’s population will be using social media apps by 2027.
As thousands of new users join social media sites daily, the potential reach for brands increases further.
Shoppable paid ads like the one below are also an excellent way to gain more leads through social commerce. For the best results, you can base the shoppable ads you show on your products social media users have already viewed. Since these users are already interested in the product, they are more likely to make a purchase once they see your shoppable paid ad.
You can also generate leads by leveraging social commerce features such as TikTok Live. Why not ask your viewers to subscribe to your email list during a live event? You can just leave a link to your sign-up form so they can easily give their email addresses.
Social commerce is an excellent way to boost your engagement rate. Remember our Mallows Beauty example above? Well, according to company founder Laura, the boost in their brand awareness through social commerce was possible because TikTok Live also enabled engagement.
So, while she conducted her live product demonstrations on TikTok Shop, she was also able to reply to comments made by her viewers on the platform. And it wasn’t just her engaging with these potential customers. These potential customers were also interacting among each other.
Social commerce allows your audience to engage with your products as well. Besides buying the items, they can like, share, and discuss each item. See above how users talk about the jacket sold by Macy’s through Pinterest. As I said earlier, on Instagram and Facebook, once you have your catalog, you can put product tags in your already-existing social media posts. So, users can also talk about your products with fellow consumers in the comments section of those posts.
But for them to discuss your items in the first place, you have to make sure you pique their interest enough for the discussion to take place. So, make sure your social media images are exciting and interesting. They should be high-quality as well. If you’re using product images, they should showcase the best features of your item.
Customers who are engaged are more likely to stay loyal to a brand and make repeat purchases. Besides, they can bring in more customers for you. According to a report from the Economist Intelligence Unit, 79% of executives believe engaged customers are important since they recommend the products and services they like to others.
As we’ve seen, social commerce can put your brand in front of more potential customers. With social commerce features that enable interactions, you can also drive higher engagement and help generate social proof. You can ultimately ensure better customer retention. Selling directly to consumers on social media can be great for your brand awareness, too.
In other words, social commerce can be a game-changer for your business.
Jump on the bandwagon to enjoy the benefits above, and see your business soar to new heights.
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