What Is Social Commerce and How Do I Use It?

Since Pinterest unveiled Buyable Pins in 2015, the social media industry has been moving toward a more shoppable future. Instagram Checkout and Facebook Shops thrust brands further down the path as consumers got more familiar with purchasing via social media.

Social commerce sales in the United States are expected to rise to $36.09 billion this year, a yearly increase of 34.8%. By 2025, sales will approach $80 billion.

TikTok Shopping is the newest kid on the block, announcing a partnership with Shopify to launch their own product tagging and in-app shopping capabilities. These features point to a day where social commerce is not only accepted, but necessary in a full-funnel marketing strategy.


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What Is Social Commerce?

Social commerce is the ability to promote and sell products on social networking sites, like Facebook and Instagram. It’s different from paid advertising because it allows for a purchase within the native social media experience, rather than clicking through to your website or Amazon store.

42% of brands plan to sell directly through social media sites in 2021 compared to 30% in 2020.

A native experience is key because it can cut down on page load times and provide a more seamless experience for the consumer. Rather than feeling like an interruption to their scrolling, the user can buy your product and jump right back into watching that one friend from high school do a cool trampoline flip.

How Do I Leverage Social Commerce?

You already know that you should be reaching customers where they are. Social commerce features introduce additional touchpoints with your customers. If you’re not there already, your competitors have the upper hand. There are distinct strategies you should be using to reach new users via social commerce on all platforms.

52% of socially engaged shoppers have made a purchase through a social platform.

Facebook

You have the opportunity to craft an experience, so don’t you dare upload your entire inventory to your Facebook Shop and call the task complete. Think about your audience, what they’re looking for, and what they’re doing right before they click into your Shop. Feature your latest collection or model, trial new products by releasing them exclusively to Facebook first, or focus on your best sellers. Leverage the customizability of Facebook Shops to create a unique-to-Facebook experience.

18.3% of users who completed a purchase on a social media platform came from Facebook.

Instagram

Instagram is visual in nature, which can serve as a digital catalog for you. But it’s not available to everyone, so carefully review Instagram’s eligibility requirements.

Enable Instagram Checkout and tag your products in organic posts and Stories to show users the value propositions of your products.

TikTok

Already the newest player on the scene, TikTok is catching up fast. With the release of TikTok Shopping and Product Tags, more and more brands will be able to sell on the platform. If you have a Shopify catalog and advertise on TikTok, reach out to your platform representative to start leveraging Shopping.

Pinterest

Pinterest hasn’t made too many changes to adapt to social commerce yet. Their visual discovery engine Lens pairs with Buyable Pins to provide a semi-shoppable experience, but users still have to navigate to your brand’s site to checkout.

To encourage users to purchase your products through Pinterest, your imagery should be colorful and eye-catching and your site experience should be fast and easy to navigate.

Next Steps

Social commerce is steadily becoming an integral part of any social media marketing strategy. As with anything in marketing, if you’re not ahead, you’re behind. Make sure you’re the leader of the pack.

Not sure where to start? We can help with that. Our proven digital experts are ready to help you exceed your social media marketing goals. Reach out to us anytime so we can uncover untapped growth opportunities for your brand.

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