As we addressed earlier this year, Social Commerce is the new frontier of eCommerce. By meeting your potential customers in the place where they already spend more than two hours daily, you can significantly increase conversion rates, drive sales, and grow your brand.
The Social Commerce market is rapidly growing and is set to hit a staggering $604.5 billion by 2027. According to Business Insider, more than 80% of Facebook and Instagram users already search for new products using these platforms. And as social media usage continues to increase, Social Commerce will account for 7.8% of all U.S. retail eCommerce sales in 2024.
At the same time, many brands have not yet caught up with this trend, which means there’s a massive opportunity for brands who are ready to take the plunge now.
Social Commerce: A Definition
Before we dive into the specific tactics of social commerce, let's again, define what it involves. The term Social Commerce refers to selling products directly through social media and other virtual networks.
Social commerce is different from social media marketing in that it's not about driving traffic to your website. Instead, you offer devices, platforms and browsers the ability to check out right there and then—inside the social network or platform they're using.
For example, a customer who clicks on one of your ads on Instagram will no longer have to leave the app to purchase the item from your website. Instead, they can check out and make the transaction while staying on Instagram.
8 Efficient Social Commerce Tactics to Increase Sales
1: It All Starts With Great Content
Social media platforms are all about the content. As a ground-rule, people turn to social media to consume content that is either educational, inspirational, or entertaining. So the first thing to make sure of is that your content ticks at least one of those boxes.
Image-based content is the hard currency of social media, and investing in high-quality photo and video content is essential. Research shows that people will only remember 10% of information three days after reading or hearing it, while as much as 65% of the information will be retained if paired with an image. So, creating striking images and continually testing which one performs the best is crucial in social commerce.
2: Identify the Social Channels That Your Target Audience Uses
When starting with Social Commerce, don't spread yourself too thin. You will not be able to conquer every social media channel from the get-go, and chances are they're not all equally relevant to you. Instead, do your due diligence to understand which platforms your target audience use and engage with the most.
For example, fashion, accessories, and lifestyle products tend to do well on Instagram, while tech gadgets might get a better reception on Facebook. Many people browse for interior design on Pinterest, and when it comes to courses and educational material, YouTube might be your best bet. The only way to find out is to do the research.
3: Collect and Showcase Social Proof
An essential piece of the social commerce puzzle is the social proof derived from user-generated content (UGC). This includes reviews, social customer service feedback, and endorsements. The simplest endorsements that happen when you encourage customers to post and tag photos of your products in the wild are often the most powerful ones.
And if a customer would have a negative experience or post a negative comment on your social account, don’t despair. Instead, consider it an opportunity to resolve the issue on-platform and have that resolution be visible to potential new customers. This is a powerful way to turn a potentially harmful situation into a win for your brand.
4: Streamline the Customer Journey With Social Checkout Features
The beauty of social commerce is that it combines the personalized and entertaining experience of social media browsing with transactional online shopping. It's a more immersive experience than buying something on a website, and when done right, it helps you build deeper customer relationships and create super smooth shopping experiences.
In a social commerce shop, your visitors follow a seamless in-app customer journey, with significantly reduced friction in the sales process. By leveraging the native, built-in checkout features of each platform, you'll not only be able to increase sales and reduce cart abandonment—you'll be able to provide a way better experience than most of your competitors.
Want more advice on this topic?
5: Build Long-Term Relationships With Influencers
Influencers are one of the keys to successful Social Commerce. They come with a built-in audience that already trusts their opinion, which gives influencer content a valuable head start. Teaming up with the relevant social accounts in your category will help you quickly tap into new audiences and generate more sales.Keep in mind that you want to find the most relevant influencers and not the biggest ones. Often those are not the huge celebrity accounts, but rather what's known as micro-influencers—content creators who have a clear focus and who've managed to build a tight-knit, engaged and trusted community.
6: Leverage Shoppable Links, Tags, and Stickers
Instagram is a true forerunner when it comes to making social media content instantly shoppable. From their "Show Now" links to the shoppable tags, Instagram has long embraced Social Commerce. And now they've also added Instagram Shops, allowing browsers to visit shops from a company's profile through their feed or Stories.
Released simultaneously with Instagram Shops was Facebook Shops, which is essentially the same concept but on Facebook. eMarketer states that 18% of U.S. social media users have bought a product after finding it on Facebook in the past 12 months, and for businesses who jump on this, the potential is substantial.
Also, don't forget about Pinterest. A whopping 83% of Pinterest users have bought a product based on impressions on the platform. If you have an eCommerce store already, creating a shop on Pinterest is very easy. You simply upload your product range to the platform using Pinterest catalogs, instantly creating shoppable pins to rapidly boost your sales.
7: Create An Automated Bot Checkout
With automated social shopping bots, you can recreate the personal service experience from the good old days when we actually spoke to a sales rep for each purchase. Adding a bot to your buyer's journey not only enhances the service level; it prevents distractions and reduces cart abandonment.
A conversational bot is an excellent addition to your social commerce strategy, allowing you to add conversational prompts to move your customer toward, through, and past the conversion point. The business of chatbots is booming, and the segment is forecasted to reach 1.25 billion USD by 2025. Still, many companies have not yet implemented them, which means they represent another opportunity to get ahead of your competition.
8: Integrate Social Commerce With Your Existing eCommerce Platform
Finding ways to integrate Social Commerce with your existing eCommerce platform will set you up for long-term success. Integrating data across different platforms is becoming easier and more manageable, and 51% of marketers are already doing it.
Integrating your different channels is also a matter of efficiency and will save you a lot of time. If you're regularly making changes to your product catalog, you want to make sure all updates are made across all platforms and that all of your outlets are synced.
If you already have an eCommerce platform in place, Social Commerce is the next logical step to take and starting with the basic tactics is fundamental. Whether you're in B2B, B2C, or D2C, your audience already spends hours on social media platforms every day. By meeting them there, with top-notch content and a seamless customer experience, you can be lightyears ahead of most of your competition.
To make the most of your Social Commerce strategy, consider implementing the following seven powerful tactics:
- Focus on creating high-quality content and invest in outstanding images and video
- Identify the social channels that are most relevant to your target audience and stick to them
- Collect and showcase social proof whenever possible
- Streamline the customer journey and reduce friction with social checkout features
- Build relationships with relevant influencers, focusing on micro-influencers
- Leverage the shoppable links, tags, and stickers of each platform
- Implement an automated bot checkout to improve the service level, reduce distractions, and minimize cart abandonment
- Integrate social commerce with your existing eCommerce platform
At Vaimo, we're presently helping more than 65 multi-brand, multi-currency, multi-language clients sync all of their channels and create winning eCommerce strategies. Get in touch with our team of experts to learn how we can help you take your eCommerce business to the next level.