Social Commerce: A guide to the Future of eCommerce Marketing
6 Minute Read
Considered taking the leap into Social Commerce?
For a while it seemed as if the online retail giants, like Amazon and eBay, were setting pace for the rest of the eCommerce industry.
But then, social media exploded – completely changing the way that consumers discover and engage with their favourite brands. And out of this emerged Social Commerce.
What is Social Commerce?
Social Commerce is often referred to as social shopping. It provides customers with the ability to discover and purchase products through their preferred social media platforms; then be redirected to the brand’s main site. According to an eMarketer report, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest are the biggest drivers of social commerce.
Both Facebook and Instagram have full shopping frameworks within their apps. The popularity of social commerce has grown at a rapid rate because it combines 2 entertaining activities – exploring social media and online shopping. If an individual sees an item they like in a featured image, all they have to do is hit the ‘Shop’ button before they’re redirected to your website. The decision making process is much slimmer.
Social commerce harnesses the power of relationship building. Some brands have managed to fully capture the social aspect, building solid relationships with their followers. If done properly, social media management can open up a lot of doors… “You can use social media to turn strangers into friends, friends into customers and customers into salespeople” as Seth Godin explains.
Benefits of Social Commerce
Improved Customer Experience
Informed buyers are happy buyers. An effective brand’s social media will provide their followers with all the details they need in order to reassure themselves that purchasing is the correct decision.
Make sure to maintain a keen eye on your comments section. It’s important to respond to your followers queries – they value your time and it’s more likely to lead to conversions. Remember, 8/10 internet users will trust an online review as much as a personal recommendation. So keep your content valuable and your communication consistent.
Customers also value from a much more simplified shopping experience. Today, everything we could possibly want is one click away. We are arguably more influenced to shop than ever before; 10 years ago the catalogue of content we see every day on social media simply did not exist. Remember how much access your customers have to other brands – is your content providing them value?
It was recently reported that 91% of social media users access the news feed through their smartphones.
Social media is heavily optimised to make the experience of using it enjoyable, as well as slightly addictive. Because of this, it could be said that shopping through your smartphone is designed to be more enjoyable that desktop, or even physical stores. It’s close, fast, refined, simplistic, accessible and convenient.
Users will make purchases on the go, save the products they’re interested in and share to friends. Social Commerce holds endless benefits for brand exposure, customer engagement and boosting conversion – you just have to know who you’re marketing to.
Direct access to a global audience
Because the most popular Social Commerce platforms are accessible in most countries around the world, your potential reach is huge.
Facebook for example, has over 2 billion users worldwide and is available in 101 languages. That’s an awful lot of different ways to tell your brands story and position yourself on a global scale. These days, you don’t need a brick and mortar store to make an impact, just solid products followed by solid branding.
In the past few years, the industry has got pretty good at helping you target the people you want to reach. There’s a tonne of tools on social media to help you specify who your content reaches… the possibilities are literally endless.
Power of sharing
Not everybody in your target demographic is willing to visit your site, copy a link and share it with their mates – it’s too long. But social media shares can be pretty easy to achieve. Optimised features and share buttons make it much easier.
Word-of-mouth marketing is very powerful, especially considering that it comes at a very low cost to your brand. Social commerce is the perfect way to use your followers as brand advocates, sharing your content with a relevant, niche following. Even more powerful than that, thanks to a huge surge in the popularity of social media influencers, it’s becoming more common for people to tag brands in the content they share.
Take advantage of this. Setting up social media competitions can be a great way to encourage your customers to tag you in their posts – it comes at little cost to you, but very effective nevertheless.
Build trust and loyalty
Social media creates a lot of social capital, making it far easier to build trust and loyalty with customers.
You should use this to build interpersonal relationships. Use the comments section or DM’s to encourage interactions – people like the idea that there are humans behind the shop front, nobody likes a faceless brand! Remember, it isn’t always one way traffic – don’t be afraid to Like and Comment on some of the posts that your brand has been tagged in.
These methods do not only go noticed by existing customers. The more your brand interacts, the more potential customers will find security in your positive dialogue. It positions your brand in positive light. Provide personal interaction and it becomes much easier and faster for followers to build trust – eventually leading to loyalty.
Social Commerce: Tools you NEED…
As social commerce gathers more speed, more and more tools are being launched to optimise the experience; both for brands and consumers.
Social commerce is a pretty straightforward idea, but there are some key in-between processes that can’t be ignored. The trick is to create a seamless experience from discovery, all the way to the checkout.
Here’s a few essential tools that will help you get one step ahead of competitors.
Live Streamed video content is the next big wave in the social commerce space.
Gaining mass reach, engagement and conversions, live streaming is becoming an essential tool in eCommerce marketing.
Shopcast is the latest innovation to hit the online retail industry. This Live Streaming tool allows brands to stream video content directly from the corner of their eCommerce websites.
Whilst YouTube, IGTV and Facebook Live are fantastic for exposure, there’s a key issue in the fact that your viewers remain on these platforms – not your website.
By streaming directly from your own site, the traffic belongs to you. Brands have found this method to boost conversions massively; mainly because there’s limited distractions, visitors are closer to products and queries are mopped up in real-time.
Viewers really seem to benefit from the live interaction they experience with the broadcaster. Check out how Jenni from Calla used Shopcast to achieve a 407% sales increase.
ManyChat was made to help businesses optimise Facebook Messenger. It allows you to create your own ManyChat Messenger bot quickly (without coding).
This will act as your brands Live Chat tool, handling conversations with your customers in your absence. As you can’t stay at your desk 24 hours a day, implementing a live chat bot is a great addition to your social commerce toolbox. All you have to do is set up an automated list of commonly asked questions and you’re good to go.
Shop Social is a social commerce product designed to help brands create shoppable social media pages.
Especially compatible with Instagram and Facebook, you can use Shop Social to organise your gallery. This is great for optimizing the display of your brands products, in turn improving the appeal to potential buyers.
Another cool feature in this tool is the ability to add product links to your brands posts. These links will then take you to your brand’s site and the experience is pretty seamless.
In a Marketing Strategy?
Product launches: Social media should certainly be no afterthought in your marketing strategy. Content created for product launches on social is just as important as if you were creating a TV ad.
The emergence of social commerce has made it so social media should be treated as a point-of-sale, not just a marketing platform. Work collaboratively with your sales and marketing team to improve your overall results.
Shoppable posts: Social media is making shopping easier. You only need to look to Instagram and Facebook to see how many post contain product links. Focus on introduction, engagement and simplicity.
Influencers: By working with the correct social media influencers, you can access relevant communities that would benefit your brand. By choosing the correct individuals, the exposure to a niche community can be very effective.
Don’t worry, you don’t need an influencer with a huge following – especially if you’re targeting a niche market. You should consider using Micro Influencers, the social media personalities who hold smaller audiences – their engagement is typically much higher.
Social commerce is so much more than lead generation.
There’s so much opportunity to discover, engage and convert new leads into repeat customers, just by installing some of the simple methods spoken about in this article.
Remember to take a look at the latest innovation in social commerce, Shopcast – it’s a lot more than just a live streaming tool.