Just how many hours a week do you spend scrolling through social media? If you’re anything like the average person worldwide, you’re probably spending more than 15 hours a week!
All this time on social media allows us to do many things, from keeping in touch with friends to staying up to date with the news, to sharing updates with followers. However, social is increasingly also where we’re shopping. Raking nearly $90 billion worldwide in 2020, social media shopping is a force to be reckoned with.
The biggest players in the social selling sphere are Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and China’s WeChat, a pioneer of the social selling space. Brands and small businesses love how social shopping turns the entire customer shopping journey into a quick, seamless experience that takes place almost entirely on social media, from discovery to research to purchase.
So if you’re a brand looking to reach more customers and drive sales now encourage purchases from all over the world in a matter of minutes. Even if you’ve never heard of social shopping before, it might just be exactly what your brand needs in 2021!
The Benefits for your Brand
Whether you’re a small business looking to drive online sales, a boutique hoping to increase in-store sales, a local business wanting to raise brand awareness about your services, or an online retailer wanting to generate leads, the power of social selling can turn any of these dreams into reality.
With social selling, followers turn to their friends about purchases, show off their hauls, comment on their friend’s cool wall art, browse comments from other sports enthusiasts, and interact directly with the kid’s brands they love.
It’s clear that social commerce is a powerful tool, but did you know that 36% of Instagrammers surveyed in the US say they love to shop and consider it a hobby? Or that 80% of shoppers research products on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest? So instead of spending weeks hunting for prospective customers, one of the benefits is that social selling can bring the customers to you!
Unlike traditional e-commerce which requires leads move from your ad to your website to the check-out cart, and before finally inputting their credit card info, social commerce is as easy as see, click, and buy. By taking the friction out of the consumer journey, social shopping makes it easier than ever for your fans to go from discovery to purchase – and helps mitigate challenges like cart abandonment or lack of product information.
How to Get Started with Social Media Shopping
If your brand is using social media but isn’t yet set up for social shopping there’s no need to fear! Getting started with social commerce is as easy as changing your company’s Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest account into a business account.
Once you have a social business account set up, you’ll be able to manage standard business processes by making a shop on that platform. With a shop, you can do everything from managing your catalog to adding in your products to creating groups of featured products to customizing how your shop looks. Then when you’re ready to start selling you can publish your shop, spread the word, and start building excitement among your fans and followers.
To build excitement and engagement you’ll want to share your story and create content that drives awareness, grows your customer base, and makes it as easy as possible for customers to talk to you via social media.
Another benefit of social selling is being able to set auto-responses to common questions on most social platforms. Whether customers have a question about shipping, product size, or a general inquiry, being able to quickly respond to their comments, mentions, and direct messages can convert even the most skeptical shoppers into some of your biggest fans.
Grow Your Brand with Great User Engagement
Once your social shop is up and running, you’ll want to do more than just post, you’ll also need to focus on creating great content and getting users to engage with your brand.
This means using social media post templates to make visually appealing — and visually consistent– branded content that delivers value for your audience. Make your logo prominent and be consistent with your brand fonts and colors to deliver a clearly branded and memorable social experience, like in this Pinterest pin from beauty brand IT Cosmetics. Be sure to include and use hashtags with your company name, product categories and specific keywords.
With social media, your goal is to ultimately create two-way conversations and genuine engagement, not simply to broadcast about your brand. So if you’re a shoe company, posting stylish pictures of your latest design will only help so much. Instead, be sure to address your followers needs and pain points. Are they confused about your company’s return policy or uncertain how your shoes perform in wet weather?
Create great content that addresses these questions by using fun social videos or eye-catching images! If you’re unsure what content works for your audience, don’t be afraid to experiment. You’ll eventually see the patterns of what’s resonating with your audience and then can create and share more similar content. Ultimately, you want your post content to give your audience something useful, like offering tips for how to style different kinds of shoes for summer. And getting your followers to share their own summer shoe stylings is one step better.
How User Generated Content (UGC) Can Grow Trust – And Sales
When your fans post pics of your products or leave comments mentioning how much they loved your services, this is user-generated content (UGC). These images, videos, and text that your users share about your brand is an essential part of your engagement strategy and helps to build trust. It also boosts sales among your followers as they see your products being used (and loved!) by people just like them. Consider the power of Starbucks’ annual #RedCupContest with their seasonal holiday cups, or how Adobe’s #Adobe_Perspective lets creators showcase and share content they created with Adobe software.
So if you’re looking to encourage more UGC, you’ll want to make social sharing as easy and fun as possible for your fans. When your customer’s purchase arrives, consider including a thank you card or sending a follow-up email to encourage them to show of the goods with your brand’s #hashtag. Keep the UGC coming and the conversation going with your fans by getting creative with your posts. Try asking questions and creating polls, creating a contest or offering some kind of reward, using videos and animated GIFs, and highlighting shared customer stories.
Turn Social Media Shopping into a Gold-Mine for your Brand
Social selling has been booming in recent years – but it was the shift to more online shopping during the pandemic that really caused social selling to reach new heights. No matter if your brand wants to drive sales or attract more customers in 2021, with social selling brands both big and small are now making quick sales with new fans from all across the globe.
Though encouraging your customers to show off and share their latest hauls on social media to being able to provide quick customer support and seamless shopping, social shopping has reinvented shopping in an exciting new way — and is here to stay.