Who would have ever predicted how the start of 2020 would have gone. Economies are at a standstill because of the  Corona Virus. Big corporations have stumbled however it’s the small businesses, especially that have ended up suffering the most. But in all of this, businesses have found some ways to still operate especially on social media. This is why we will focus on, Social Commerce: No it’s not the same as Social Marketing. 

What is Social Commerce?

To plainly put it Social commerce is selling products directly from your social media platform. Be it Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest being the main ones. 

PLEASE understand one vital thing Smart Insights states that with social commerce. The customer’s whole experience or interaction occurs all on social media. In other words, the customer never leaves Instagram to initiate the purchase. Hence we are stating, Social Commerce: No it’s not the same as Social Marketing in our article title.

Big Commerce states that It differs from social media marketing because you’re not redirecting users to an online store. Instead, you are offering them the ability to checkout directly within the network they’re using at that moment.

Some media experts also state that purchases can be conducted partly or wholly within the social app or website. As a result, this means that there can still be redirection however these are just some views out there.

Common Social Commerce Features

Chartered Marketer Gavin Llewellyn laid out some features that Social Commerce thrives on and these are:

  • Buy buttons within social media posts
  • Shoppable posts and stories
  • Peer-to-peer buying and selling
  • Social commerce plugins and apps

How does social commerce work?

We are going to use Big Commerces example to illustrate this point below.

Social Commerce: No Its Not The Same As Social Marketing.

The above chart illustrates a traditional Website funnel yielding one purchase after all that sifting, therefore, it’s not as effective. The new chatbot funnel which Social Commerce is premised on, yields 35 purchases, as a result, it’s favoured more. These figures may be hypothetical however in today’s market and economy they are more closer. 

In my opinion, Social Commerce is advantageous because our needs and perspectives are changing.  I have personally noticed one thing when I have bought something through social media. That is, I don’t want to leave a social environment for an external site to complete a search or purchase. I have noticed that when this happens I may lose interest.

Big Commerce backs my action. They state “ There is now an expectation for a more seamless, frictionless buying experience. This is where brands can develop a true social commerce experience. Making it easy for users to complete their purchase by reducing the potential for confusion and the risk of abandonment. Rather than sending users away. Consider how you can capitalize on their purchase intent when their enthusiasm for your product is at its highest.”

The process of social commerce

Social Commerce works wonders if a business commits to a strategy that enables ease of transaction.

Usually, a business will focus on the following to achieve this effectively:

  • Focusing on building their presence on social networks
  • Connecting and engaging  with their audience on the platform
  • Communicating and having two-way conversations with potential customers and existing customers (Customer service is very important), You can gain and lose customers here so be aware.  
  • Convert those potential customers by driving them to the sign-up or check out.

The landscape of Social Commerce on Social Media 

We will discuss Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest as those are the main drivers.

Instagram

62% of people say they have become more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in Instagram Stories. Now that is a positive sign.

Instagram is the go-to site for that powerful connection and conversion effect for businesses partly because of its pure visual form. Remember we humans are visual beasts and Instagram has exploited and taken advantage of that. 

We personally love Instagram because that is where we have managed to capture new clients. 

Instagram has brought so much to the Social Commerce aspect for example:

  • Instagram business accounts,
  • IGTV for those longer video presentations
  • Shop Now buttons
  • Product tags 
  • Instagram Shopping 
  • Instagram Checkout

Facebook business also states that 70% of shoppers look to Instagram for product discovery. This illustrates the pull Instagram has in terms of social commerce. If you’re a business you can take advantage of this. 

Instagram with its business account is well-positioned to enable a small business to garner sales. If you’re a big business you have more options such as Instagram checkout which is so impressive its like Amazon. Businesses everywhere drool for this feature because basically if you see a product you like in your feed you can just complete the purchase without being redirected anywhere else. This is the epitome of Social Commerce. 

Let’s look at some examples of businesses illustrating social commerce at play. 

Social Commerce: No Its Not The Same As Social Marketing.

 

 

Instagram shopping has certainly played a big part in getting conversions for businesses and it continues to do so. Instagram provides a platform to engage with your customers through live video. This ultimately creates trust leading to conversions. People want to know who is behind the brand and Instagram does that effectively. 

So, here’s how to get Social Commerce ready for your brand on Instagram ready right now.

  • Make sure your Instagram app on your phone is updated.
  • Check and make sure your product catalogue is synced with Facebook Shop.
  • Click the options tab on your Instagram business profile, scroll down to products and click.
  • Authenticate your Instagram business account via your Facebook account.
  • Upload your product photo.
  • Tag your products.
  • Hit share and your post with your shoppable tagged products

Important stats for Social Commerce as stated by Instagram Business

  • 1 billion people use Instagram every month
  • 500 million people use Instagram Stories every day
  • 200 million Instagram users visit at least one business profile daily
  • 62% of people say they have become more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in Stories
  • 11% of U.S. social media users shop on Instagram
  • 130 million Instagram users tap on shopping posts every month
  • More than 50% of Instagram accounts use Explore every month

Facebook

Facebook started the whole Social Commerce movement. It is the founder platform where connections and communication first occurred. Now its where businesses harness that connection to yield sales. 

Facebook has brought a lot to the social commerce world. The added fact that they bought Instagram and converted Instagram into a worldwide selling machine makes Facebook the giant. 

It has brought:

  • Facebook marketplace
  • Facebooks buy button
  • Facebook’s shoppable pages

Facebook is naturally the default position if you want to start Social Commerce.

So, here’s how to get Social Commerce ready for your brand on Facebook ready right now.

  • You use a well-known e-commerce platform like Shopify or BigCommerce
  • Make sure your Facebook page has the Shopping template selected.
  • Click the Shop tab on your Page
  • Click Go to Commerce Manager.
  • Complete the sign-up prompts or steps
  • Upload your product catalogue to your Facebook shop.
  • Once you’ve uploaded products to your store, tag products in posts and videos, enabling users to click through to your store to make a purchase.

This seamless process makes Facebook very desirable and easy to implement.

When you set up this Facebook Shop you can then:

  • Sell directly from your page
  • Add new products and update product information
  • Run Facebook ads to promote these products.
  • Manage orders and shipping, and

This is why Facebook is royalty in the social Commerce World. 

Important stats for Social Commerce as stated by Facebook Business

Pinterest

Pinterest holds up well when it comes to social commerce especially its business accounts. Having Pinterest in your Social Commerce strategy can give you a more diverse platform. Pinterest has more women on its platform meaning you need to have a strategy that appeals to women. 

Pinterest has brought:

  • buyable pins
  • Shop the Look
  • Catalogues

Pinterest is very social commerce aware because shop the Look feature allows businesses to highlight the items in a photo that is available for purchase. Catalogues, on the other hand, allows businesses to upload an entire product catalogue to feature on Pinterest. These features including the buyable pins enable Pinterest to be very important in the social commerce game.

So, here’s how to get Social Commerce ready for your brand on Pinterest ready right now.

  •  create a business account and link it with your product catalogue
  • You can then display images of products along with the price and stock level
  • A CTA will appear below the image that allows interested users to click through to your site.

Important stats for Social Commerce for Pinterest

Social Commerce Tactics You Can Use Right Now

Run promotions, giveaways and competitions

This is an effective strategy that a lot of businesses use on Instagram. Statista states that 50% of online shoppers say they follow shops on social media for discounts. You need to take advantage of this. You will get more eyeballs on your site, so try and harness this discount power to convert more sales. 

Partner with influencers and your Community to amplify your voice.

We recommend you use a micro-influencer with a loyal audience to promote your business. I believe that you will create more buzz for your product from people that are qualified buyers.  When I mean qualified buyers, I’m talking about people that can immediately purchase your product without any issues. Your community also gets involved by showing off your product in their feed. Instagram loves this type of engagement. Its like wildfire to its algorithm. So take care of your community.

Check out the average engagement an Influencer has.

Image:statista

Create shoppable content

Use social media platforms that make it easy for you to make a feed that potential customers can buy form. Be it shopping tabs on Instagram or buy buttons on Facebook. Just make it easy for people to get engaged and shop.

Use the right tools to make Social Commerce work for you.

ManyChat, is a messaging tool. How can it help you? It allows you to combine Facebook Messenger and SMS campaigns. ManyChat is built for sales and marketing which makes it especially critical for your business.

It also aids in selling products, booking appointments, nurturing leads, capturing contact info, and building relationships. These are all ingredients that you need to make social commerce successful.

However, keep in mind that Consumers want to interact with your brand 24 hours a day without having to wait for a response. Conversational commerce and automated social commerce chatbots are the only real method to implement this successfully right now.

Keep in mind the following issues connected with Chatbots, below is an example.

Social Commerce: No Its Not The Same As Social Marketing.

Jumper.ai was recommended to us by a client. This tool is a must-have because it is very Social Commerce friendly. It was created especially to aid consumers on social media and businesses as well. What essentially it is, is its a pre-built automated checkout chatbot. You can integrate it straight into Instagram to create a social commerce experience as above all push sales. Get on this tool immediately people!!

You need to understand that as the world keeps evolving so does tech in respect of AI and 3rd Party tools or plugins in respect to social commerce. I, therefore, implore you to check out any tools that can help your business and your customers. 

Create more video content

Video is king on Instagram because it accounts for most of the purchases on this platform. Remember people are visual. We are likely to act on a visual product. It’s more appealing and easier to make a decision when video content is a 10-second video explaining why we need this product. Instagram is so effective at this. 

Use User-Generated Content to your advantage.

This is very powerful and Instagram once again does this perfectly.

You’re reposting a picture from the original site. If you’re a customer and you do this, it helps the business tremendously because consumers trust what other consumers have to say more than the brand itself. It’s authentic advertising. 

Use all three social media platforms in my opinion.

Namely Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram. Why? Simply because some customers don’t like shopping on e-commerce stores. They prefer sticking to their social media apps especially Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. Social commerce enables retailers to reach them via their preferred outlet.

Have a Social Media Strategy

Social Commerce and a good social media strategy will yield positive results because the two are linked. Social commerce that’s built on a foundation of engaged, active users is much more likely to be successful. Think about how you engage with people on these channels and especially the content you put out.

Low-cost products sell better.

Take a look at this example below

Social Commerce: No Its Not The Same As Social Marketing.

If you check most social commerce shopping campaigns, you’ll notice how the products are generally lower priced.

Continually test new features

Test, all shopping-related features, including Facebook Messenger advertising, Instagram story tags, “Shop the Look” Pins. Anything that advances or makes you sell easier or makes it easy for your customers, use it because it leads to more sales. Use them all people, try them out especially all three Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

Create compelling content

Content must be helpful and above all insightful. It must be linked to your product or industry. Good content always helps everyone.

Use a Social Media Manager

A good social media manager will increase your brand’s presence and sales. Check out our article on What To Look For In A Social Media Manager.

Conclusion 

Social Commerce is here to stay especially in these times. As social media continues to grow and evolve, social commerce will follow. You need to make sure your business is prepared because that is where new growth is. The above examples are just small steps you can integrate. Get your social commerce campaign started today. I hope you grasped what is Social Commerce: No it’s not the same as Social Marketing. 

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown

Emily Brown, lead content producer at Heropost. USC Alumni. Family, friends, dogs and sunshine with a bit of surfing in between.