What is Social Commerce? Strengthen Your Digital PresenceBoast Digital
Social commerce is the process of marketing products through social media channels. It is a way to reach a wide audience and increase brand awareness.
Thanks to the new generation of social influencers and the online shopping revolution, social commerce is continuing to increase. As such consumers have become more aware and more connected with local businesses and leading brands. It’s no wonder that businesses are utilising social media to strengthen their digital presence to make shopping online easier than ever before.
We explain what social commerce is and how you can leverage off opportunities to connect with new customers and sell through social platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
What is Social Commerce?
The term “social commerce” is used to describe the use of social media platforms for business purposes, such as customer acquisition, engagement, and retention. Social commerce includes activities like running promotions, using influencers, and leveraging advertising networks to distribute content on social media channels.
How Social Commerce is Changing the Way We Shop
The social media revolution has transformed the way we live our lives and do business. In the last decade, people have become more connected than ever before, and social media is the driving force. Businesses now have the opportunity to market their products and services to a global audience with just a few clicks.
… and consumers are willing to even buy bug ticket items online too! – Once an in-store only option before consumers built trust in spending big online.
These days, when it comes to buying big ticket items online, consumers are not satisfied with simply clicking that ‘check out’ button. There needs to be an element of trust in the product, service, and brand reputation. This includes seeing positive reviews, having the ability to further understand the products features, benefits, and warranty terms, just to name a few. Whilst social commerce is a great marketing transformation opportunity for businesses selling items, it’s important to guide customers to feel confident in their purchase. Considering how customers can engage with other customers, take a look at reviews, and further research through linked web pages with product information are all key factors to consider as part of your overall social commerce marketing strategy.
What are the Best Platforms for Social Commerce?
There are many social commerce platforms that you can use for your business, but not all of them are created equal. The best platforms for social commerce are those that offer the best customer experience and have the most user-friendly interface. To find out which ones are the best, you also need to understand your target audience and what social platforms they engage with. Below are the three most popular social media platforms to consider.
Facebook is the most popular social media platform with over 2 billion monthly active users. The demographic is quite diverse and Facebook’s social commerce tools have really evolved over the years. Currently Facebook has a business-to-consumer marketplace. This has made it possible for e-commerce businesses to integrate their products and enable a complete checkout experience within the Facebook app or through to the seller’s website. The perfect Facebook marketing!
Having a Facebook Business Page enables businesses to showcase their products via the ‘shop’ tab. In the shop tab you can seamlessly integrate your products using automation from platforms such as Shopify, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce.
With Facebook you can also tag images of your products as demonstrated in these posts. This enables a visual shopper to effortlessly click on the tag and check out.
Instagram is a creative platform with a great social commerce offering. Businesses and users can add products to reels and shoppable posts. In addition, users can search for products via a ‘shop tab’, providing a seamless navigation towards checkout.
Pinterest is a visual and creative platform like Instagram. With users mainly searching for popular categories on Pinterest such as interior design, home décor, fitness, and other hobbies, it offers a great opportunity to capture customers in the niche markets.
In terms of Pinterest’s suitability as a social commerce platform it offers suggestions to its users on shoppable products. All shoppable products have a link to the retailer’s checkout page to make for a seamless customer experience. Businesses can also choose to create shop ads for singular products or collections.
For example, someone looking to create a kitchen with a Hamptons style finish will be able to use Pinterest to browse images for some inspiration. Now, if you’re in the business of selling kitchen fittings and accessories, you could utilise Pinterest as a social commerce platform to propel sales. Include photos of Hamptons style kitchens and call out the features such as the tapware; including a link to buy.
What are the Benefits of Social Commerce?
Social commerce offers many benefits to businesses. In fact, social commerce offers a way for brands to grow their audience and connect with a large community. Every day, new users join Facebook and Instagram (and other platforms). Every one of these new users are a potential customer for social commerce brands.
While it is true that the target customer must be relevant to the company in order to be valued, brands / businesses still have the potential to meet new clients every day. Brands can also take advantage of the benefits of social commerce to create a community of advocates when the right recipe of positive engagement, positive sentiment, and brand likeability exist. However, the effectiveness depends on the platform you choose and how you choose to use it.
Social Commerce Platforms
There are countless social media platforms all with different audiences, demographics, and functions. We touched on this earlier outlining just 3 (Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest), with many more platforms like LinkedIn, Snapchat and TikTok. It’s truly an ideal place to engage with a audience. However, as each platform has a different audience it’s important you choose the best social media channel that best aligns with your brand. In addition, you need to choose the best one (or two, or even three) to engage with your demographic. For example, TikTok is generally targeted to a more younger demographic, so it’s most likely not beneficial to use TikTok as a platform to sell construction materials. However, a more suited platform in this instance would be Facebook, where you can target your mid to older demographics and customer interests.
Other platforms such as LinkedIn have a more B2B focus. As such your posts should be more about how you can add value to other businesses. It’s a platform where your employees become advocates for your brand and you showcase your community engagement, brand highlights, milestones, and the likes.
Search Engine Rankings & Social Media
Search rankings can be improved by brand engagement via social media. Even if you don’t sell on social media, people will still visit your website to view your products and services. Google will likely adjust its search rankings to reflect this extra traffic. In fact, Hootsuite conducted a recent study and found that articles with high social shares received a 22% increase in search rankings. However, it is important to note that during this study, the positive SEO growth was correlated against strong social engagement.
Considering the above it’s important to note that whilst positive engagement on social media content linking back to your website needs to be that of quality, likeability, and shareability. If you take this as an opportunity to spam your audience with links, you run the risk of disengaging your audience. As such your content becomes less shareable and may in return render a less effective strategy for search engine optimisation efforts.
Ultimately social media in terms of search engine optimisation needs to play a small part of the bigger picture. If you share meaningful quality content your customers will likely engage, you’ll sell more products and services, and in return support a healthier social brand profile for positive search engine signals.
Increased Customer Engagement
Businesses can better engage with customers and create long lasting relationships. Additionally, other customer sharing the same interest can interact, connect, purchase, review, and advocate. When you understand your audience and drive positive sentiment with an engaging social cannel, you’re also providing further revenue growth opportunities as your community grows and trusts what you have to offer.
Use the power of influencers, promotions and interact with your customers in a meaningful way to increase brand trust, customer engagement and positive sentiment.
Embrace the Power of Social Media
The emergence of social commerce and excessive growth over recent years and it should not be dismissed. We have customers who come to us and often saying, “I don’t want to use social media because I don’t want to bombard people”. Using social media as a platform to drive growth should never be about “bombarding” customers with spam. You don’t need to post every day, It’s all about quality not quantity! Never assume customers don’t want to see your products, learn about your service, or engage with a promotion. Your business, product, and services may just be what they need.
Carefully planning out a social media strategy that not only aligns to your audience but provides quality content they can connect with is key. However, that strategy needs to be adaptable to cater to the different social media platforms.
In terms of search engine optimisation, the benefits of intertwining social media should not be dismissed. Working hand in hand with your search engine optimisation and paid search ads, social media can engage a wider and more targeted audience.
A Final Note
Whether you are a service business or e-commerce business you truly have an amazing opportunity to reach customers with ease thanks to social commerce. To learn more about how to connect your brand to the social world, get in touch with our team today. We’d love to help you soar to great heights!