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Social commerce: How it works and why you should care in 2021

social commerce how it works 2021

Online shopping is more significant than ever, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how people buy. 

Social commerce is now exploding in every other major market around the world.

Are you aware that the number of social commerce purchasers in the US accelerated by 25.2% in 2020? And it is projected to grow 12.9% to 90.4 million in 2021.

You are missing out if you’re not focusing on social commerce today.

Social commerce can help you increase exposure to potential customers, convert customers in-app, grow your reviews, and gather more customer insights, among others. 

This article will discuss social commerce in detail, how it works, and why you should care in 2021.

What is Social Commerce? 

Social commerce falls under the ecommerce umbrella. It’s also one of the best digital marketing strategies to boost your sales

There’s a simple twist, however. Instead of an ecommerce website, the customers’ shopping experience occurs directly on social media. 

The experience can also involve clicking links on a social network that leads to a seller’s product page with an immediate purchase offer. 

Social commerce transforms a customer’s entire shopping experience. From finding out products and research to the checkout process – everything occurs on a social media platform.

crownaffair Instagram shop social commerce

(Image Source)

For instance, you can simply view an ecommerce shop directly from Instagram without having to visit the ecommerce store. 

Benefits of Social Ecommerce. 

The benefits of combining your social media marketing and ecommerce selling are aplenty. 

Here are some of them: 

1. Increase Exposure To Potential Customers

As a business, one of your top priorities is improving your outreach by reaching your target audience at every touchpoint online. Social commerce allows you to connect with customers while building your brand loyalty at the same time. 

If you look at the stats of the two popular social media platforms, Facebook accounts for over 1.88 billion who use the app daily. And more than 1 billion people use Instagram monthly.

As you can see, there’s tremendous scope for increasing business exposure and reaching potential customers. 

And social commerce doesn’t always have to end in a sale. Getting your target audience’s attention will be enough. If your potential leads like what they see, you can redirect them to your eCommerce website. 

Pro tip: Your eCommerce website should be attractive, robust, and have a quick page load speed. If you build an engaging and personalized shopping website, it will encourage your leads to make the final purchase. 

2. Convert Customers In-app

A typical purchase journey is a hassle, as it involves too many redundant steps in the conversion funnel. Each unnecessary step you include increases the chance of your potential clients abandoning their purchase as well as your store. 

Social commerce resolves this issue and provides your customers a streamlined purchase journey, one that makes it easy to buy. It makes it possible to sell products directly through social media channels.

But don’t mistake social commerce for social media marketing, as you won’t be redirecting users to an online store. Instead, you are allowing your customers to checkout directly within the social platform that they’re using.

For instance, if you visit a brand’s Facebook Business Page, you simply have to tap the “View Shop” button to see products and then proceed to purchase them directly from Facebook’s built-in checkout page. 

Ink Meets Paper social commerce

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Social media chatbot, checkouts feature, and autofill for payment and delivery details make it even more convenient for buyers to complete the purchase in a few clicks.

3. Grow Your Reviews 

Reputation Management is a top priority for any business in any space.

Since most reviews on social media are spontaneous, social proof can offer your business a level of credibility. And the more people use and love your product, the easier it will be for you to ramp up your sales. 

Make sure to enable reviews whenever possible. As in the example below, the Facebook user has enabled his review on the platform. 

Single Grain enable reviews

(Image Source)

Don’t remove negative reviews either, as they make your brand look more authentic. Plus, they can help your business spot, address, and improve specific issues your clients may encounter.

Other than Facebook reviews, you can also run surveys and polls on social media to gather feedback. Regular comments under your posts can also serve as apt social proof. 

4. Gather More Customer Insights 

Gaining customer engagement analysis and insights will allow you to better understand your customers’ thoughts and feelings about your products and services. 

This, in turn, will help you build deep customer empathy and understand not only what they need but why they need it.

To do that, you can share stories and conduct polls on social platforms to gather feedback for free. 

For instance, Sephora conducted an Instagram poll to compare their products, know about current trends, and discover their target audiences’ preferences. 

narsissist bobbi brown armani beauty social commerce

(Image Source)

The Social Commerce Platforms to Know. 

Not every social media channel is suitable for social commerce. Failing to create a strategy to promote content in your niche can be detrimental to overall social commerce strategy and growth. 

Hence, before you go about selling on social media, you need to plan your content marketing strategy to promote the right content on suitable social media and to the right consumers. 

You can’t expect to sell your luxury fashion shoes on LinkedIn, for instance. You have social media channels like Instagram and Pinterest for that!

Here are the popular social commerce platforms you need to know:

Facebook

With 2.70 billion monthly active users, Facebook is the largest social platform in the world. It provides a massive potential to increase exposure to prospective customers and drive sales. 

Luckily, you can create a Facebook Business Page easily and without spending much. 

Simply head to the Facebook.com/business page and sign up for a business page. You will find business types to choose from, including brand or product, local business or place, and cause or community. 

Fill in the details and add product images, a logo, a profile picture, and a cover photo.

facebook business cover photo

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You can then add a short description of your business with info, create a username to let customers contact you via Facebook Messenger. 

And voila, you have your Facebook Business Page.

Facebook also allows you to sell your products directly on the platform. If you tap on the “Shop” tab on your Facebook Page, it will direct you to the Commerce Manager’s “Sell on Facebook” page. You can even preferences for shipping, returns, and payouts on your Facebook shop. 

Instagram

Instagram is no less popular than Facebook. The platform crossed one billion global users in 2020.  That’s a lot of potential customers to tap into. 

Since Instagram Shopping is linked directly to your Facebook Shop, you should first link your Instagram business account to your Facebook business profile to set up a shop.

Once you do that, you can create your product catalog or upload an existing one. Since Instagram is a visual platform, it opens doors for creative social commerce promotion. 

There is an Instagram Product tags feature that will let you highlight products from your catalog in stories and your feed. If you are using Instagram from the U.S. and using checkout, you can also highlight products in post captions and your bios with product mentions.

away instagram social commerce

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You can also generate interest by creating shoppable posts and Stories and link them to in-app product pages. The purchases can be processed within the app or on your business site.

For checkout-enabled businesses, there is another feature called Live Shopping. It lets you sell products while developing deeper connections with people in real-time.

bagsnob go live mobile

(Image Source)

Pinterest

Pinterest is another excellent social media channel to run your business

It’s more like a visual discovery engine with about 459 million monthly active users. Pinterest is also the only social media platform to offer visual search.

To open a business account on Pinterest, go to this link. Enter your email and create a password, then click Create Account.

pinterest business login

Next, you will have to select a description that suits what your business does and add a link to your site.

You can then connect your Pinterest page to your Instagram, YouTube, and Etsy accounts. Users also get the option to run ads on the platform.

Strategies For Effective Social Commerce

Here are the strategies you can follow for effective social commerce:

1. Incentivize With Low Prices

Incentivizing buyers to make purchases by lowering the price of a product isn’t a new marketing gimmick. 

People want to try the product before making a purchase, especially when they are spending on an expensive product. 

The chances are that the consumers would want to get familiar with your product with a lower-priced product before purchasing something more extravagant. 

It’s also worth noting that people usually don’t go to social media with the intent of social shopping. Most of the buyers on social media are impulsive buyers.

And more often than not, they reach brands on social media shops through social ads.  

Thus, it’s a great idea to use your ad spend for lower-priced products if you are selling an assortment of products at different price ranges.

2. Create An Automated Bot Checkout

Automated bot checkout is a relatively new social selling strategy and a great way to grow your brand on social media

Using a chatbot can guide your customers through the buying journey, eliminating the need to get in touch with sales representatives. 

In case you are launching a Facebook or Instagram Shop, Jumper.ai is a good solution. 

The bot also helps you create an automated set of conversational prompts relating directly to the product you’re selling. 

social commerce examples

You can also create and deploy your bot across Messenger, WhatsApp, Google Ads, and more.

3. Integrate Social Commerce With Ecommerce

As you know, your customers are probably spending a lot of time on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter.

Why not embrace that and try to bring them back to your ecommerce store for online shopping?

The most common way of directing your potential buyers to your ecommerce store is by placing your site’s link in your bio or caption. When users discover your social media profile and like your posts, they are likely to want to read about you – which might lead them to your bio. 

Here’s an example

official panda express twitter profile

“CTA Buttons” offered by most social media channels also make it easy to send users and potential buyers to your ecommerce store.

For example, the “Check Out on Website” CTA button on Facebook shops helps brands direct their buyers to their sites. 

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However, make sure you’re directing the buyers to the relevant and powerful landing pages only to make the most out of your social commerce strategy. 

4. Partner With Influencers 

Influencers make a product go viral. This is because people look up to them and listen to what they say. 

There are various reasons to partner with them including, better reach. They can introduce your product to new potential customers who might not have seen your ads or follow you on social media yet.

What’s more, social influencers have experience as a presenter and know how to speak to an audience. Most importantly, they connect with their followers using genuine personality to convince them that your product is worth their hard-earned cash.

You can even get social media influencers to help you generate massive word of mouth by asking them to run contests for you. 

Here’s a great example

In the example, the Instagram influencer is compelling her audience to share posts tagging your brand. This will amplify your brand, helping you generate a massive online presence. 

However, make sure to utilize project management tools to monitor your social selling campaigns to stay privy to your sales and revenue. This will help you incentivize each influencer, depending on the revenue they helped you generate. 

5. Use a third-party social media management tool to promote your online shop. 

It’s no secret businesses are flocking to third party tools like eclincher to overcome social media overwhelm. eCommerce businesses are second in line behind franchises and marketing agencies

Social media management tools help create more time for marketers doing more with less and companies are looking for more packaged solutions to tackle pain points and social media marketing challenges expanding your social footprint, funneling all communications, streamlining your content calendar, creating options for more collaboration, curating and creating content, design, and leveraging analytics to make business decisions. 

Most companies offer a trial period. For example, eclincher offers a free personalized demo and onboarding experience coupled with a free 14-day trial.

Working with a social media management tool is worth exploring, so check them out.

Are You Up for Social Commerce? 

Social commerce is the next big thing in the digital marketing arena. Customers can click a single button and purchase products, or a quick tweet can alert friends of their new favorite pair of shoes. 

Especially now, with mobile devices, social media is playing a more dominant role in our lives.  And this is just the tip of the iceberg on introducing social commerce into marketing. 

Who knows what other possibilities will come from the combination of social media and social selling? 

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