social commerce

Social commerce: what curious marketers can do now

Many of you reached out after reading Director of Strategy Michael Baggs’s recent blog post on the state of social shopping and wanted to learn more. Here are a few more pointers on where to start.

Pick a platform:

I’ve previously blogged about how to identify which platform is right for your brand and its customers. 

In short, most social platforms allow for social shopping one way or another, but each has limitations. Keeping your goals in mind, take a look at what each platform has to offer, what your audience expects, and see which one is best for you.

  • Facebook and Instagram are straight forward and have created easy onboarding guides.
  • YouTube allows you to showcase products on what they call a “merch shelf”, but only if you have upwards of 10,000 followers. 
  • Snapchat boasts in their literature that their users are 60% more likely to make an impulse purchase on the platform, so it’s a great place for brands that can support that – we’re thinking B2C brands, for example. 
  • Twitch is one of the easiest platforms to use for social shopping, as the whole process uses widgets, which you can drag and drop. 
  • Pinterest’s pins have a much longer shelf-life than most social content, so it tends to generate a very long term sales funnel. The platform also makes it extremely easy for brands to sign up, claim their domains and then start pinning to boards.
  • TikTok is a wonderful place to tell stories about your products, but it’s not a place many brands are looking to drive purchase traffic from at the moment. 

Dive deep into your audience’s behaviour 

Once you know which platforms you plan on using (because they match where your audience is and allow you to sell what you want in a way that makes them want to make purchases) it’s best to do a deep dig into understanding:

  • Who your audience is on each platform
  • Why they’re using it
  • How they consume content on it
  • Who are great examples of brands and content creators in your niche who are already winning 

Identify a gap in the market 

Analyse what your competitors are doing and see if you can offer something different or do something better. Also, keep in mind that your audience (or the audience you want to attract) may want different things from what competitors have on offer.

Maybe your rivals are producing beautiful lifestyle and comedic content, but if your audience is more interested in long-form documentaries and behind the scenes content, this is what you could focus your efforts on, rather than trying to compete in an area that your customers won’t find engaging.

Look for ways to engage your audience. If you see people asking lots of questions on the posts of other brands, why not run Q&As and turn those conversations into further content? 

Remember that there’s often a lot more to the average sale than just pushing a product and a price. Social media will also help you create and share content that builds long-term relationships with people – building up their confidence in the brand and encouraging them to come back and browse again. 

Remember that we don’t just discover content on our social feeds. Many people will navigate to your profile or home page on whatever app they’re using. Is it set up to take people on a sales journey?

Long-term thinking is the key to simple maintenance

Maintenance varies from brand to brand and platform to platform, but there are some key things to keep in mind for many apps and networks:

  1. Don’t advertise things people will not be able to buy in the future. If products sell out or are discontinued, you need someone to archive the posts. There is nothing worse than falling in love with something you can’t have.
  2. Keep the content and product teams close, so any changes to product features, pricing or similar can be updated asap. 
  3. Ensure that content production includes assets optimised for social selling, too. For example, make sure that additional shots are taken with simple backgrounds that have less noise, so anything your social team writes over the top is legible.

It’s best to go into social commerce with a long-term plan in mind.

You may not be flooded with sales overnight. You may need to build up consumer confidence with engaging and inspiring content for some time before people start to buy. 

However, if you invest time in the planning phase of social shopping, there’s no reason why it can’t be a successful endeavour.

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