Have you noticed how social media has transformed from a simple platform for connecting with friends to a place for establishing social connections, promoting brands, and making a significant impact with just one post?
This shift has given rise to social commerce, which offers a fun experience, allowing users to discover new brands and make purchases without leaving their preferred social apps.
As an ecommerce business, leveraging this change is crucial and that’s where creating a robust social commerce strategy becomes important.
This post walks you through everything you need to know about creating a social commerce strategy this year to boost sales.
What is a social commerce strategy?
Social commerce is the new way of shopping and a great solution for online buying and selling – because it leverages the rising use of social media. Customers can consume social media content and purchase the process without leaving the platform.
As a business owner, this provides opportunities to create platform-based social commerce strategies to boost sales for your ecommerce business. With targeted marketing campaigns and personalized interactions, businesses can leverage social media's vast reach and influence to increase conversions and revenue. Especially with features like social media storefront and social checkout, the process is easy to implement
Why do you need social commerce?
Social media holds a significant amount of influence over customers buying decisions. In a study, internet users between the age of 16-64 years revealed that 28% of them use social media mainly to find inspiration for what they want to buy, and 26% admitted it was to find products to buy directly.
These numbers indicate how the purpose of social media goes beyond connecting with people you know; it has become a vortex of influence and business. From influencer marketing to brands creating relatable and valuable content, social media commerce is one of the unavoidable touch points in the online shopping experience.
This also means the competition for selling on social media is high, and to stand out; brands need a well-planned social commerce strategy. The success of implementing this strategy will be dependent on how you target your audience on the right channel, build brand awareness, harness the potential of User Generated Content and influencer marketing, and build connections with the target audience.
To do this well, brands must create helpful and engaging content that guides customers' purchasing decisions. These posts must be a good mix of organic content and carefully targeted ads. The leading driving factors for social commerce adoption are discounts and deals for 40% of users and ease of use for 31% of users worldwide; understanding what the customers want from you is crucial.
And remember, with social shopping becoming a $1.2 trillion channel by 2025, it becomes unignorable. Businesses must adapt early and timely adopt emerging technologies. You must collaborate with authentic creators and meet consumers' expectations for a personalized and convenient shopping experience.
In fact, in our own research on GenZ shopping trends, we found that social media is a leading channel for them to discover new brands.
The graph above shows you the various shopping experiences of immature and mature shoppers and their primary reasons for shopping through social channels.
- The discount dealers: The older audience segment using social media will only buy when they can get good discounts out of it which makes up 22% of the shoppers. So if you are targeting the age group beyond millennials and gen z, then make sure you are showing the value of your products to them not just through content but also in terms of saving money. Additionally, you want to show them the process is worth it since they may spend less time on social media through a smooth user experience and uncomplicated checkout process.
- Bargain hunters: This group of buyers is keen on getting good deals and understanding the products well before committing to it, making up for 25% of the shoppers today. They are looking to find products from sellers they can trust, source locally, and have viable options to get a return and refund whenever possible. They will appreciate your content informing them well about the product and making them feel like they got the product they wanted at a good price.
- Creatures of convenience: These buyers are easy for you to bank on to repeat customers and make up for 25% of shoppers. They are looking for easy shopping on a platform they already know and love. They like knowing the details of refunds, loyalty programs, and convenient delivery options – you give them value in terms of product quality and make the process smooth. You are bound to have repeat orders and a thriving loyalty program.
- Conversational consumers: These buyers are here for a personalized experience and make up 4% of the shoppers. They want to talk to you about the product, understand the details involved, and realize they can trust you. They love having all the details of their order, from when it is placed to when it is delivered, and more in one comprehensive app.
- Browsing for fun: Only some people who visit your social media storefront want to make a purchase; some are only in it for the experience, which amounts to 16% of the shoppers. They want to browse what is out there, make comparisons, get inspired, and more. Once they really like a product after this virtual window shopping, they make a purchase.
- Experiential discoverers: These are shoppers who love the thrill of quality products online and are 7% of the shoppers. They like coming across products they like from new brands, actively engaging customers through live streaming, chat, and more. This helps them build a trusting relationship with the brand, enough to make expensive products at a higher price.
PS. Did you know that the diverse types of online shoppers are the very reason the bounce rate of traffic from social media is so high? In fact, each bounce costs brands almost $5.11.
What is the difference between social commerce and social advertising?
The difference between social commerce and social advertising lies in their objectives. Let’s get into the details.
The main objective of social advertising is to drive traffic from a social media platform to a website. This includes creating engaging ads for the target audience to redirect them to the shopping page on the brand’s website. Social media ads can be displayed in various formats, such as sponsored posts, banners, and videos, to capture users' attention and generate leads.
Social commerce involves completing the entire shopping experience through the social platform itself. It helps customers with the ease of never leaving the platform, and for sellers, it provides an opportunity to drive higher conversions for sales.
Additionally, getting redirected to multiple pages and sites to shop online can be overwhelming for many people. The social platforms Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, TikTok, and more have built-in features that make it easy to interact with customer support, research products, and make purchases effortlessly.
But at the same time, we have found that both social advertising and social commerce are broken. While advertising is still able to help brands capture consumer interest, social commerce often leads to broken buying experiences for shoppers - this is due to the strategies that brands implement on social media vs those on their brand site.
We documented this in detail in some of our previous blogs here:
- Social commerce - Why Instagram shopping is broken
- Social commerce - Why Facebook shops are broken
- Social commerce - Why TikTok shops are broken
- Social commerce - Why Pinterest shopping is broken
How to create a social commerce strategy?
Creating the right social commerce strategy is crucial to the success of your social commerce journey. To implement it well, here are some steps with social commerce tips that will help to curate the right strategy:
1. Define your budget
Not every brand has the same marketing funds or resources; therefore, before you dive into selling on social media, identify how much you can spend. Allocate a budget considering the expenses such as content creation, influencer collaboration, paid ads, and more. When you can define the budget, it becomes easier to understand the ROI expectation from your social commerce strategy.
Recommended read: How to reduce customer acquisition costs on social media
2. Identify your goals and create a plan
What are you looking to achieve with your social commerce strategy? What kind of conversion are you looking for, and what products are your focus? These are examples of social commerce goals for you to outline as the next step.
Once you have identified measurable goals, you should devise a plan to align with them. What kind of content will you be creating, where will you publish it, and how will you promote it – you have to identify these factors while ensuring you are flexible enough to keep up with social commerce trends and adapt and improve
Ensure cross-functional collaboration involving business executives, marketing leadership, sales, and product teams to build a cohesive and effective plan for your social commerce strategy.
Recommended read: List of social media metrics that should matter to eCommerce businesses
3. Find the channels where your customers are
You can’t market a product and expect a good response if your voice doesn’t reach your target audience. This is why you must identify which social media platform your audience spends the most time on to increase your chances of reaching them.
For example, if you are looking to target men around the age group of 25-34, Facebook is your best bet, as that is its largest demographic. However, if you want to reach men and women of the age group 18-24, a younger crowd, then you want to focus on Instagram. Likewise, you can look into what your competitors are doing and where they are most active to create a social commerce strategy that will help you succeed.
Tailor your strategy to leverage the strengths of each platform and cater to specific audience preferences.
Recommended read: How to create a social media marketing funnel for eCommerce
4. Create engaging content that resonates with your audience
To develop trust with your target audience and increase the reach of your posts, you have to create highly engaging content. Include visually appealing content and interactive elements to make your social commerce posts stand out.
One way to create quality content is by making posts about your users – audience-focused. Create content that helps, informs, or interests users by discussing the audience's preferences, interests, and pain points. Tailor your content to address their needs and desires, showcasing how your products can provide value. Automatically, you will see interacting more and buying more.
You can also create engaging content by humanizing your brand. Behind the scene content, showing the people that are part of your brand, sharing your brand’s store, and more are great ways to connect with your audience.
5. Make your content shoppable
Make it easy for your audience to shop and consume content simultaneously but incorporate product tags, links or buttons on your social media posts.
Such shoppable content makes it easy for customers to discover products, understand the expenses, and purchase without leaving the platform. It leads impulsive buyers to your cart and improves their user experience.
But if you want to go one step further, we recommend creating Edge Storefronts.
Edge Storefronts help you weave social media content and shoppable posts to your brand site experience, creating a connected buying experience for the consumer. This basically means that when a consumer clicks on your social content, a storefront page automatically gets built pulling in the images/ videos used in the content to the page, and displaying all the products shown in it.
6. Make UGC part of your content
Encourage customers to give feedback about your products or services through reviews, testimonials, and user-generated content (UGC). Because using content that your customers create is a great way to establish your brand's trustworthiness and persuade customers to buy.
7. Expand your account’s reach using influencers
Now that you are creating shoppable, engaging content, the next step is to extend your reach to a newer audience. One of the most effective ways to do it is by collaborating with influencers.
Create content with them and share it on your social account or get them to use your products and tag them in the content. This way, you will leverage their reach and credibility to drive sales and brand awareness.
However, ensure you partner with influencers relevant to your brand and products.
8. Social media optimization
Along with creating content, you must ensure your social media is optimized to reach the target audience.
You can optimize for social search by ensuring your account has a bio that informs and is creative; the links are easy to access, profile photo resonates with your brand, there are appropriate geo-tags on your posts, there is alt text on the creative posts, and much more.
Additionally, to improve visibility, analyze social media analytics to understand what time will your target audience engage more, keep track of social commerce trends, and use relevant hashtags.
9. Set up support mechanisms and engage with customers
When you follow all the steps above, you will receive good engagement from prospective buyers. This means you must also respond promptly to customer inquiries, comments, and support questions to show that you are a brand they can trust.
Active engagement is essential in social commerce. Respond promptly to customer inquiries, comments, and support questions to build a positive brand reputation.
A great way to set up support mechanisms is by Implementing social shopping bots. These can improve customer satisfaction and save time for customers and your team. These bots offer instant responses to customer queries, provide personalized recommendations, and guide users through the purchase process.
10. Run paid advertisements
For brands, having a balanced marketing strategy is crucial. Although organic posts can help build brand loyalty and establish a positive image, paid ads offer a larger audience and specific targeting options for reaching people with certain interests and buying habits. You can optimize your marketing potential and enhance your social commerce strategy by using both organic and paid marketing.
PS. Did you know Edge Storefronts can help you reduce the CAC on social media ads? Reach out to us to know more.
11. Set up your brand for success with easy conversions
All your efforts are in vain if the final steps to place orders are confusing or complicated. This is why you need to optimize your social commerce storefront as a crucial step in your social commerce strategy. Minimize friction points, give customers multiple payment options, and provide secure transactions and social checkout options.
This will also reduce cart abandonment rates and improve your conversion rates.
12. Make sure your audience is engaged
Find newer ways to engage your audience with your brand. As per your budget and strategies, provide discount coupon codes, sale offers, loyalty programs, and freebies. Encourage them to provide interesting testimonials that can be featured on your brand’s socials and incentivize referrals.
Regularly host live streams, live shopping events, product demonstrations, Q&A sessions, and more. This creates a sense of excitement among the customers and helps real-time connections with your audience. You can provide limited-time offers during such online events to generate a sense of urgency and improve sales.
13. Stay on Top of Trends
A comprehensive social commerce strategy isn’t complete without staying on top of trends. Consistently learn about the happenings in the social media world, emerging social commerce trends, platform updates, and changes in consumer behavior based on location, gender, and more so that you can change your social commerce strategy accordingly.
Stay informed about social causes that resonate with you and your target audience to create content sensitive to such events. Regularly monitor social media analytics to identify opportunities to capitalize on new possibilities.
Benchmark your Instagram store against Instagram's launch partners today to see where you stand.
Maximize social media commerce the right way!
Ecommerce businesses must evolve to stay relevant and meet their target audience’s needs consistently. And social commerce is the way forward in this evolution.
Ensure your social commerce strategy upholds your brand’s and customer’s needs. It has to be holistic enough to consider the customer’s journey from awareness to purchase – every step along the way has to be optimized for the best results. Because social commerce isn’t just about posting on social media, it is about curating a shopping experience that your audience will love.
SimplicityDX can help you craft an efficient social commerce strategy with a frictionless shopping experience for your shoppable content.
Want to know how? Book a demo today.
Some additional reads on social commerce: