Social commerce has seen a big change over the last few months and it can seem complicated to brands when deciding which channel to use.
Launching a new product
You can prepare your channels by streamlining and optimising everything against your objective. Want to promote the launch of a new product or range? You can build an onramp towards them by showing behind the scenes footage of development and production, previews and similar. Or maybe you can produce cultural content that highlights why consumers need your new product.
Selling a service rather than a product?
Lean in on UGC and stories of customers, provide social proof that people can relate to. The chances are with a longer funnel you’ll need followers to see more content over a longer period of time to get them sold in, or indeed to reduce churn with people who already are customers and follow you. It’s important to build a content strategy that delivers against the business objectives the individual channels have been aligned to.
Our social commerce cheat sheet should help you narrow down the platforms and find the best one for your brand.
Facebook is fairly straight forward. You can display and sell products on Facebook, allowing people to browse and you can even customise your shop. An added feature is you can send people to your website from the Facebook shop to help them complete their purchase.
Facebook has published an easy guide here to give you more details.
Instagram requires that an account first gets approved. Once that’s taken care of, you can feature products in posts and stories. This is a massive improvement over the “See link in profile” method, where brands use their profile link to link to a catalog of sorts.
That method is, however, the perfect way to make that link work for you.
We’d still recommend using a tool like Linktree or Shorby to create a customizable landing page. We love Shorby as it allows marketers to add their Facebook pixel to this landing page, which means they can create a custom audience they can later retarget.
If you have more than 10,000 subscribers, your YouTube channel may be eligible for a merch shelf – which is an area where you can showcase up to 12 items under your videos. This is customisable per video, but you are limited in the number of items you can stock.
Snapchat stepped up dynamic product adverts just when the Instagram market had crowded out and the CPM was starting to creep up and hurt return-on-investment.
Some direct-to-consumer businesses and brands have started to shuffle spend over towards Snapchat due to lower costs, yet with a similar click-through rate.
Snapchat says that its users are 60% more likely to make an impulse purchase on the platform, so the app has tremendous potential for brands.
Brands can add links in your stories to go through to product pages or other landing sites too, so you can build something very similar to those product ads to use as regular content.
For more guidance on Snapchat marketing, download our recent platform guide here
Twitch is surprisingly one of the easiest platforms to use for social shopping.
Twitch lets you drag and drop widgets that appear beneath your broadcast – while with Facebook and Instagram you have to have a product catalogue and pixel integration to your site, which can take time and energy to set up.
There’s plenty of solutions on Twitch which take a lot less time.
Off the top of my head I can think of half a dozen products from providers like Streamlabs, Teespring, Teepublic, Redbubble and DBH who enable you to build custom stores to display products and have their own integrations right into the platform.
As Twitch is owned by Amazon, it also has direct integration into Amazon’s API, which means you don’t even need your own website with a shopping solution as you can sell directly from Amazon.
Of course, the issue here is you need to broadcast live for prolonged periods of time and this will be beyond a lot of brands.
Pinterest is the Empress of social selling, the platform is set up to surprise, delight and inspire purchasing and behavioral change.
It’s easy for brands to sign up, claim their domains and then start pinning to boards.
You can even plug your RSS feed into the platform so it automatically pulls in new products, blog posts and similar and creates pins for them.
The life of a pin is comparatively much longer than an Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat post too, so over time you could build a funnel that directs a healthy amount of traffic to your site, which of course you can cookie and then retarget with product specific dynamic ads.
TikTok is a wonderful platform, but most brands are currently stuck directing or hoping viewers click through to their profile and click again on the link to their website.
It’s a wonderful place to tell stories about your products, but it’s not realistically a place many brands are looking to drive purchase traffic from currently.
However, in 2020, TikTok’s opened advertising in twenty or so markets and direct response content is performing really well. The original trials in the US had outrageous numbers.
Getting a similar response with organic content is unlikely for a good while, however, because while TikTok has brilliant session length numbers – as people consume loads of content in a sitting – I’m not sure they have any desire to send mid-feed traffic off of the app for free.
There are so many options out there for brands right now that it can feel overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be. Take the time to have a comprehensive look at the social selling options out there right now.
Consider the potential that these apps and sites have for your brand, and the likelihood of your customers (or potential new customers) shopping on them. Once you’re sure which option suits your brand it becomes much easier to develop a social selling strategy that delivers results.