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Social Commerce - What is it and why should you care?

People are increasingly using social media as a platform to research products and engage with brands more interactively, so it’s a no brainer for brands to use social media to sell.

Social commerce is the practice of using social media sites as a vehicle to sell your products or services (Social Media Today). This works well because users can purchase the items they see more quickly and without being redirected, which satisfies the ‘I want it now’ consumer mentality.

Doing it for the ‘gram…

Personally, I think Instagram is the perfect social commerce platform due to its aesthetics-led concept.

And, plenty of brands are taking advantage and seeing results, as research shows engagement with brands on Instagram is 10 times higher than Facebook and 84 times higher than Twitter (Brand Watch).

Online fashion brand, Pretty Little Thing, has a great social media presence and weaves social commerce into its strategy seamlessly. It enables users to tap the shopping icon on selected images to shop featured products and see more items from the brand.

However, the key to the brand’s social success is it doesn’t just push products but bolsters social commerce with varied content such as competitions, IGTV and highlights, and directly engages with customer queries and feedback.

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Or for Facebook

Whilst not solely focused on aesthetics, Facebook is the next best platform for social commerce because of its usage, as the platform has 2.38 billion monthly active users, compared to Instagram’s one billion.

And, Facebook remains popular because it has different features and is largely informational. Users can find out things about a company through its Facebook Page whether it’s business hours, an address or upcoming events.

(Sprout Social)

Makeup brand Benefit has a good Facebook strategy because, like Pretty Little Thing, it mixes attractive imagery, video tutorials and live streaming with social commerce posts. Facebook’s functionality means it also has store locations, opening times and a ‘Book an Appointment’ feature.

No matter the social media site, the statistics demonstrate the huge potential for all brands to guide users from their feed to checkout.

  • U.S. retailers adopting social commerce nearly doubled from 2017 to 2018
  • 58% of people say social media influences their purchasing decisions
  • 23% of shoppers are influenced by recommendations they read on social media (Social Media Today)
  • 60% of Instagram users say they find new products on Instagram (Big Commerce)
  • Social referral to retail ecommerce sites has grown 110% in two years, outpacing all other referral channels (eMarketer)

 What you can do

 To leverage a successful social commerce strategy, you only need two things.

  • A product that genuinely helps people solve a problem
  • A streamlined purchase journey

Everything that follows, such as creating and monitoring a separate support account, will establish customer trust and increase transactions through social media sites.

Remember that although the aim of social commerce is to sell your products or offering, social media platforms aren’t designed for hard selling and your followers will switch off if that’s all you post.

Like the above examples, you should create a strategy where the majority of your posts are fun and engaging with the odd commerce post worked in.

To find out more about social commerce and using social media effectively, email hello@origingrowth.co.uk or call 01926422002 to chat with a member of our social media and content team.

Topics: inbound marketing, social media

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Lucy Barratt

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