What Is Social Commerce & How to Create a Successful Social Commerce Strategy?

What Is Social Commerce & How to Create a Successful Social Commerce Strategy?

A successful social commerce strategy solves many business problems.

Social media provides numerous opportunities for a business to engage with their target audience. With the introduction of social commerce, it also makes it easy for these audience to find and purchase products.

As of April 2020, 37% of those aged 18-34 years in the US said they purchased something using social media and 11% said that they use it regularly for making purchases.

Today, a business needs a successful social commerce strategy that complements their online ecommerce store and boosts revenue.

Below is a complete guide on how to create a successful social commerce strategy.

Social commerce refers to the process of buying and selling directly on social media platforms. Buyers complete their entire buying process, from discovery and research to checkout, without leaving their preferred social channels. The buyer spots an item, hits "shop now" or "buy," completes their purchase, and continues checking out their social feed.

How does that differ from ecommerce?

Social Commerce vs. Ecommerce

Ecommerce refers to the general process of buying and selling goods online. The seller provides photos and product descriptions on their online store or ecommerce marketplace and when a customer completes an online purchase, the seller ships the products.

Social commerce, on the other hand, integrates the whole shopping experience and brings it to the social platforms. The buyer views products on the social platform and proceeds to checkout right from the social media platform.

The key difference is the platform on which the sale is happening. Ecommerce covers everything that falls under online shopping, while social commerce refers only to shopping on social media platforms.

Let’s look at some social commerce success stories.

Examples of Successful Social Commerce Strategies

Few social media platforms currently fully support social commerce. However, this could change soon as more social platforms continue adding features to support social commerce.

Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat are some of the platforms that are most commonly used for social commerce.

Let's look at how to use these platforms to create a successful social commerce strategy and examples of brands succeeding on each.

Instagram

To create a successful social commerce strategy, Instagram is the first place to start.

Instagram stats

With an Instagram Shop, buyers can shop products from Instagram stories and posts.

Shops can be a profitable Instagram ecommerce business model. Leverage features like:

  • Allowing buyers to purchase on the app.
  • Curating products.
  • Using tags to provide more information on products.
  • Adding relevant details about products.

Instagram shop

Example:

Warby Parker is an example of a brand with a successful Instagram social commerce strategy.

The brand has an Instagram Shop where buyers can choose from collections and purchase products directly on the platform.

Warby parker

Facebook

Facebook offers the option to create a customized Shop and choose featured products.

Buyers can then browse collections, save products they like, and order directly on the app when checkout is enabled.

Facebook shop

Buyers can also message the business through Messenger, Instagram direct, or WhatsApp to get support, ask questions, or track their deliveries.

Facebook messages

Example:

A brand with a successful Facebook social commerce strategy is Ink Meets Paper.

They make shopping easy with a button that directs buyers to their Facebook Shop. Once in the shop, buyers can view different collections and checkout directly from the app.

Ink meets paper

Snapchat

On Snapchat, businesses can create shoppable product catalogs, add augmented reality filters, and let customers order products without leaving the app. Customers who visit a page can use the “Lens” feature to try on products in the catalog and make a purchase.

Example:

Nike has a successful Snapchat social commerce strategy. A prime example of this is the launch of their Air Jordan III Tinker sneakers.

Interested buyers scanned exclusive snap codes to open the app, make a purchase, and get the sneakers delivered on the same day. The shoes sold out quickly.

Snapchat shop

7 Steps to Creating a Successful Social Commerce Strategy

Here are some of the best tactics for creating a successful social commerce strategy.

1. Optimize Your Social Media Content

Considering the high level of competition on social platforms, it's crucial that a business’s content stands out.

Create social media content that increases reach, drives engagement, and boosts conversions.

To optimize content for a successful social commerce strategy, use these tactics:

  • Optimize for search. Conduct keyword research to find relevant keywords and use these across social media profiles and content.
  • Be consistent. Have a consistent publishing schedule across platforms and use various types of posts, including videos, text, images, etc.
  • Use high-quality visuals. Post high-quality visuals and ensure they conform to each platform's guidelines.
  • Write short descriptions. Keep product titles, captions, and descriptions short.
  • Include video captions. Increase accessibility for users who watch without the volume turned on by including captions.
  • Add your branding. Include the brand’s logo and place it in a visible position. Choose colors and fonts that match those of the brand.
  • Location. Include location tags, if possible, to attract a targeted audience. 

2. Avoid Overwhelming the Buyers

For a successful social commerce strategy, avoid overwhelming buyers.

Don’t add all the business’s products to its social commerce shops.

Instead, showcase the best-selling or newly launched products on social media shops. If the business is running any special offers, promote those products as well.

Also, determine the frequency of posting on each platform and create a schedule.

Research when the target audience visits various platforms and post product promotions when they are most active.

3. Work with Influencers

According to research, 87% of consumers make a purchase decision based on influencer recommendations. The same study found that consumers have no reservations about purchasing from a link or an image that an influencer shares.

Here are a few tips for working with influencers to create a successful social commerce strategy:

  • Find influencers in the business’s niche with engaged followers, reach, and engagement.
  • Give unique discount codes to influencers that they can share with their followers.
  • Ask influencers to host live sessions where they can promote and sell products.
  • Hire influencers to create sponsored posts and stories promoting the business’s products.
  • Have influencers promote ongoing offers or limited-time sales promotions.
  • Run affiliate programs and pay the influencer a commission on products sold.
  • Feature influencers in ads and ask them to show the products in use or explain benefits. 

4. Leverage Social Proof

When buyers shop in a store, they can touch the product, try it, hold it, etc. But when shopping online, they depend on photos and descriptions.

Incorporating social proof increases the chances of having a successful social commerce strategy. Use the voice of people who've tried the product and had good experiences with it.

One report shows that 89% of shoppers check online reviews before buying.

In another study, 79% said content created by other consumers greatly influences their purchase decision.

Leverage social proof

Using social proof can offer the third-party validation shoppers need to make a purchase.

To integrate social proof in a social commerce strategy, start by asking customers to refer the brand to their friends and provide reviews or ratings online.

Request reviews from those who complete a purchase by using a quick pop-up or by sending an email.

To use social proof:

  • Share customer testimonials, including a photo of the customer, on social media channels.
  • Record and share short video testimonials.
  • Share short videos of experts in the niche talking about your product’s benefits.
  • Repost positive mentions of the brand to show potential customers what others think.
  • Take screenshots of product reviews on third-party sites and post them on your social accounts.
  • Repost user-generated content that shows the brand in a positive light. 

5. Use Social Media Ads

Social media ads can help a business reach specific target audiences beyond those who already follow them.

Here are a few tips on how to use ads to boost social commerce:

  • Use engaging Instagram or Facebook stories ads to attract buyers’ attention and use “Swipe Up” or other CTAs to allow them to purchase directly.
  • Add product tags in the business’s social media feed ads that users can click to buy the products featured.
  • Use compelling CTAs in all ads and place them strategically to get more clicks.
  • Include social proof to convince target buyers to purchase. These can include testimonials from experts or influencer content.
  • Always use attractive, high-quality product images in ads to entice prospective customers. 

6. Leverage Social Media Analytics

To evaluate the success of your social commerce strategy, leverage social media tools that help you monitor interactions across platforms and provide you with in-depth analytics.

Additionally, set up conversion tracking to track the ROI for each dollar spent on social ads.

Use analytics to learn which tactics work, what content drives the most conversions, and which areas need improvement.

Analytics can also help track endorsements from influencers and affiliates. Track each partner’s performance and work only with the best ones.

7. Provide Real-Time Support

One of the biggest drivers of social commerce is customer support. Focus on providing real-time support to customers and potential customers on social media platforms.

Consider incorporating live chat on the business’s social media accounts to answer your customers’ questions in real-time. Potential customers can reach out to the support team and get answers to their questions. This, in turn, can push them to become customers.

To take this to the next level, incorporate chatbots on platforms like Messenger. This allows for instant communication with customers and reduces reply time.

Chatbots also take the load off the support team so that they can solve more complicated issues.

Does Social Commerce Work?

Creating a successful social commerce strategy is worth the investment of time and resources.

Studies show that roughly 45% of the population uses social media to find information on products or services they want to buy.

Does social commerce work

It's also projected that social commerce sales will grow to $84.2 billion and account for 7.8% of online retail sales by 2024.

Consumers not only use social media to discover and research products, but also to purchase.

Social platforms continue rolling out features that make it easy for people to buy and sell online. Joining the bandwagon early can lead to an advantage over competitors.

Should You Invest in Selling on Social Media and the Future of Ecommerce?

Yes, you should.

Approximately 4.20 billion active social media users use these platforms for more than entertainment. Leveraging social media channels builds brand awareness and increases conversions.

A successful social commerce strategy leads to increased conversions. It places your products in front of an audience seeking information on products and provides them with a seamless buying experience. They can research, discover, shop, and pay right from their social feeds.

Your competitors use social commerce, and if you don't join the bandwagon, you will lose customers.

Ready to Create a Successful Social Commerce Strategy?

The tactics above will help you design a successful social commerce strategy.

Showcase and promote products the right way to win new customers and encourage repeat purchases.