Selling on TikTok or looking to sell on Instagram? Follow these top tips for success in social commerce.
Underestimate the growth of social media at your peril. We all know that the likes of TikTok, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest are popular. In fact, 4.48 billion of the world’s population are on at least one social media platform and the average user accesses 6.6 different social media sites once a month.
Until recently though, aside from improving brand awareness, social commerce didn’t really exist. In fact, it’s still in its infancy. But that’s all the more reason for getting ahead of rivals and selling via social media. Here are 5 top tips for success on social commerce. Before we get into that though, let’s answer the big question… what is social commerce?
- What is social commerce?
- Which sites are involved in social commerce?
- 5 Top Tips for Success in Social Commerce
- Improve your social commerce product data feeds
What is social commerce?
Social commerce is e-commerce that takes place entirely within social media platforms. The consumer never visits the seller’s website, instead being taken through the checkout process without ever leaving the social media platform that they are on. This breaks down obstacles to checkout such as having to make an account or find card details. Because it is growing year on year, and more people than ever before are using social media, it is important to have a social commerce strategy in place.
Read more about the growth in social commerce.
Which sites are involved in social commerce?
Take your pick! Every big social media platform is getting in on social commerce. Some are definitely better for social commerce than others, primarily because they are a visual platform. Selling on Instagram, TikTok and Pinterest are all excellent ideas for brands and retailers. Pinterest is perhaps the only form of social media that could be all ads and none of the users would mind as it wouldn’t change how they use the site.
Some are further ahead than others in their social commerce offering and some are currently easier to use than other. For instance, Snapchat is offering augmented reality (giving the users the opportunity to try on lipstick or shoes for instance). This can be tricky to implement if you only have a small team. As with anything though, it’s best to start selling on a few platforms and see what works. With marketplaces growing day by day, you need to be selling on all digital channels to find your buyers.
5 top tips for success in social commerce
It can be difficult to find success in social commerce immediately. These things take time. Even so, here are 5 tips to help you get started.
1. Develop a strong content strategy
As Field of Dreams once said, “If you build it, they will come.” By developing (and sticking to!) a strong content strategy, you will be further ahead than most. Don’t simply post on your company accounts as and when you feel like it. Put thought behind each post and ideally, plan a few weeks in advance. This allows you to pivot if necessary and it means you won’t be stuck for ideas on what to post! Hint: holidays are brilliant to mention if you’re stuck.
In addition to your planned strategy, you can post along to trending topics as well. Although you can’t make something go viral, you can join the crowd. Whether that means recording to the latest viral song or following along to whatever news is currently being read, there’s always an opportunity to stand out. Don’t force it though; only follow along if it is relevant to your brand. It’s great for brand awareness and a straightforward way to gain more followers and interaction on your posts.
2. Build authenticity and trust
Although social commerce is growing, some would argue that it hasn’t grown as fast as predicted. For instance, Meta cut its live commerce push on Facebook while TikTok delayed their launch of TikTok Shop in the US. A lot of this is perceived to be due to a lack of trust of social media networks. We’ve all seen the articles about the misuse of data and government regulation!
Alongside this, people can be nervous about buying directly through social media because they may be buying from a company they haven’t heard about before. If your brand falls into this category, it is best to start small. Only sell a few select products from your catalogue and gain reviews. In this way, you can build up authenticity and trust while improving your standing on the likes of Facebook, TikTok, etc.
3. Simplify refunds and returns
Another way to build authenticity and trust is to offer easy refunds and returns. When buying from a typical ecommerce website, there is an easy way to see the delivery process. As such, it’s easy to see what happens if the item isn’t quite right when it turns up. It isn’t quite the same with social commerce meaning that brands must work harder to make a sale.
One of these ways is to make it easy for people to return their item and receive a refund if necessary. One effective way to do this is to mention it in some of your ads. Not only does an ad campaign improve awareness but it’s also an opportunity to promote your USPs unique selling points (USPs) to potential customers.
4. Play the long game
History is littered with stories about people and companies who gave up too early or who were too resistant to change. Kodak and digital photography. Blockbuster and the rise of on-demand video streaming. The secret to doing well with social commerce is to play the long game. You don’t have to be an overnight success and carving out a niche will, over time, reward you. For example, many are advertising on Instagram and TikTok, but how many are using YouTube Shorts Ads in ecommerce?
Harking back to trust and authenticity above (we’ll stop mentioning it soon – promise!), many customers don’t trust social media. They may say something like they don’t use Facebook but do have WhatsApp. As these are both owned by Meta, it goes to show how hard it is to avoid social media in the modern world. Although people may not like social media, it’s simply a case of playing the long game. Give it time and social commerce will grow. And you’ll be there to enjoy the results!
5. Take advantage of social search
Although many Internet users use Google (and maybe Bing) for their search needs, this is changing. The likes of Generation Z use TikTok and other social media platforms for their search queries. In fact, nearly 40% of Gen Z said that they use TikTok and Instagram rather than Google for search. They might not be using TikTok for queries related to purchases just yet but as TikTok Shop becomes more popular, this may change.
So how to make the most of this approach to search? The answer is in improving your SEO on social media. Away from websites, SEO is often something that companies ignore but it will be vital to your growth within social commerce. By optimising your profiles and posts (use alt text!), the algorithms can see your content rise to the top. This improves brand awareness and hopefully, purchases from new customers! By geotagging your posts, you can also benefit from those looking for items locally.
Read more about improving social media SEO for social commerce
Improve your social commerce product data feeds
To maintain control over your sales channels, it is important to use a product feed manager. Many will take product feeds and optimise them when doing onboarding but there is no one-size-fits-all solution. What works on Facebook doesn’t work for selling on Google Shopping, for example. By using Intelligent Reach to manage product feeds, it’s possible to instantly grow your sales - and find success in social commerce.
How? Well, Intelligent Reach is a modular platform that can be tailored to its users. Not only do we practice data feed hygiene (making sure every field is filled correctly), but we also optimise for each specific channel on which you operate. From your own website through to marketplaces and social commerce sites, that’s a lot of optimising that would be impossible for you to do on your own!
But that isn’t all. From our easy-to-use dynamic custom label manager through to content experimentation – where you can A/B or MVT test any data attribute – it’s a powerful platform used by the biggest brands. Fitbit, Adidas, Nike, Argos and many more are benefiting from the Intelligent Reach platform and you could join them.
Intrigued to find out why Intelligent Reach recently won a SaaS Award for Best SaaS Product for Product Analytics? Book a demo today.
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