By Kaitlyn Ivancic, SHOP.COM
There are a number of e-commerce trends fueling sales growth in 2018 with social commerce among the hottest. For example, several studies show approximately 25 percent of business owners are selling through Facebook and 40 percent are using social media as a whole to generate sales.
The potential reach of customers on social media coupled with the influence social media can make on customers through recommendations make for a powerful e-commerce community. Approximately 30 percent of online shoppers say they would more than likely make a purchase from a social media network like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat. Social media has changed many aspects of our lives, and it comes as no surprise that this has impacted the world of shopping.
Social shopping is advantageous for shoppers, but what about for brands and marketers? There are four areas we as a company consider crucial in the era of social shopping — let’s take a look.
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In March 2018, Instagram launched its new shopping feature. The feature allows brands to establish a store on their Facebook page and link it to their Instagram account. You can then tag up to five products in a single post. If a user clicks the tags on the photo, they can see additional information about the product, prices, and, most importantly, are given a direct link to the company’s website where they can make a purchase.
We have implemented this tool on our @motivescosmetics Instagram and have already seen a boost in revenue. This in-platform, free tool has opened up a completely new way to market to shoppers on social media. With a base of over two million followers, we can leverage this audience and give them a way to buy our products in a space they already know and love which, up until about three months ago, did not provide a linkable purchase option from the content we were putting on our account. This has revolutionized the way we think about Instagram. It is no longer strictly a conversational space where we debut the use of products, but rather one of the strongest social selling tools that we have to date.
Running Social Ads
The joke around the office is 2018 is the year of “The Changing Social Media Algorithm.” If you aren’t putting a budget behind your posts, then they are most likely falling short. As social media platforms’ algorithms continue to update, branded, organic content is constantly exposed to your audience. Whether it’s an Instagram ad or sponsored Facebook content, these platforms can provide targeted ads to help get you in front of the right audience. We are already aware people are ready to buy on social media, so getting the appropriate content in front of them is key.
Leveraging Engaging UGC & Influencers
Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest have a large community of social media influencers who are driving the conversation. These influencers have exclusive access to a group of followers who are paying very close attention to what they do. We’re not just talking about celebrities with a naturally large social presence, we’re talking about online personalities that have specifically made a name for themselves on social media with a following of anywhere from 10,000 (micro-influencers) to millions of followers; blogging, posting, and talking about things like yoga, diets, home-improvement projects, their dogs, and so forth.
Referring again to our @motivescosmetics Instagram account, you will see we leverage the follower base of many makeup and beauty influencers in a partnership that is mutually beneficial, creating user-generated content. These are people that are really using our products. We are either giving away product, or paying per-post for these influential beauty personalities who dominate the makeup world with their own set of followers who may not be familiar with Motives® cosmetics. If their followers see them using our Fiber Lush Mascara, they are much more likely to try it themselves, because they believe in the real-life use of the product and the influencer’s review.
You may have noticed that customer service is trending towards being handled via social media as well. This is because social media is instantaneous. Most customers expect a brand to respond to their comment on social media within a 12-hour window, rather than the 24 to 72 hours it may take a customer service representative to reply via phone or email. Due to this demand, another emerging social media/e-commerce strategy is the use of chatbots. Thought of as helpful, virtual assistants, many companies have incorporated these AI-powered chatbots to communicate with customers. The bots guide users through an interactive, automated customer service experience to answer questions, provide information, and satisfy requests.
It is critical your marketing strategy stay on track with social media in order to leverage its selling power. As a company, we are constantly looking at our social media strategy to adapt and compete in a world where the consumer is dictating what they want to see in a company’s marketing efforts. Social media is the way of the e-commerce future, and it is in a company or brand’s best interest to face it head on.
About The Author
Kaitlyn Ivancic is the Director of Consumer Marketing at SHOP.COM. She oversees the social media strategy for SHOP.COM and all consumer brands within the Market America | SHOP.COM family of products.