Social media is continuing to evolve, and it’s changing the way we view and react to what we see online. When your favorite social creator’s newest outfit is on display, you instantly tap, click, and find the brand. When you scroll through your social timeline and see an item on sale from a brand you love, you quickly hit “buy.” Similarly, when you see a pair of glasses that you like, you are able to use an AR (Augmented Reality) filter to see how the glasses would fit and look on you. Today, it’s all about instant gratification.
While social media and e-commerce used to operate independently, they are now becoming one, hence the birth of social commerce. According to Investopedia, social commerce is the use of networking websites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as vehicles to promote and sell products and services. The success of a social commerce campaign is measured by the degree to which consumers interact with the company's marketing through retweets, likes, and shares. Marketing tactics may include: inviting users to vote on their favorite product, offering promotions or giveaways, and even using celebrity endorsements of the product line.
Where is social commerce headed?
With the speed of growth across social media platforms, we can expect social commerce to continue playing a large role in the online shopping experience in 2021 and beyond. Social commerce is making shopping online a more user-friendly experience due to the use of chatbots and easy auto-fill payments. Businesses can also provide their customers with real-time shopping recommendations from real users. This makes for a much more personable experience, and who doesn’t want to share their excitement about a purchase with their friends and family on social media?
What are the trends?
According to a recent Hootsuite survey, Magento and Econsultancy found 6 out of 10 consumers saying that a quarter of all of their online shopping is influenced by social media, proving that social commerce is most certainly here to stay. Some of the most common trends include:
- Live streaming: Allows influencers to show off sponsored products, and allows real-time communication between viewers and streamers
- Chatbots: Give customers a more conversational experience with the use of AI (“Artificial Intelligence”) which is more cost-effective for many brands
- Voice technology: Allows customers to make purchasing decisions through voice speakers such as Alexa and Google Home
- Augmented reality: Allows the user’s phone camera to see what products would look like in real life in the user’s surroundings
Stand out Imagery: Knowing the type of visual(s) that will resonate with social media users and your specific target audience
Why is it important for businesses big and small to build a brand?
Some of the smartest and most successful e-commerce brands have figured out how to use technology to create a better customer experience. According to BigCommerce, the statistics speak for themselves, as there are 1.47 billion daily active users on Facebook alone. They also stated that 60% of Instagram users say they find new products on Instagram. So why not engage users through the social media platforms that they are already using every day?
Dollar Shave Club has a Pinterest board dedicated to sharing positive customer feedback while Sephora features a personalized “Fragrance IQ” quiz that recommends products based on the results. These are just a couple of examples of how companies are using social commerce to their advantage and finding unique ways to engage with their audience. At the end of the day, when a customer is satisfied with your business and their experience, social media makes it easy for them to not only share your brand but also recommend it to others. After all, social media is the place where content goes viral; therefore social commerce plays a significant role in word-of-mouth marketing. (Speaking of Pinterest, be sure to check out Pinterest for Business.)
While building a brand is important, you want to ensure that in doing so you don’t turn your social media pages into a storefront. Authenticity is key when it comes to engaging with your customers and telling the story of your brand--be clear on what you stand for and what you want to be recognized for. You want your customers to ultimately shop with you and make a purchase, but first, you want them to fall in love with YOU and YOUR brand. When your audience does that, they will be able to connect in a deeper way, which will ultimately create brand loyalty.
“When you say it, it’s marketing. When your customer says it, it’s social proof.”
--Andy Crestodina, Co-Founder/Strategic Director Orbit Media Studios