As social media matures, its capability grows as well. Now, businesses aren’t just using social media to connect with customers and drive traffic to their sites. Instead, they are building deeply impactful social relationships on the networks with their community. And that relationship, combined with the resulting user-generated content is translating into a powerful impact on revenue.
Many know this concept as social commerce. Social commerce is defined as “an online marketing model that brings ecommerce functionality directly into established social networks to drive sales.”
Businesses that are leveraging social commerce are effectively reaching their customers where they hang out. In 2019, nearly half of internet users between 18-49 purchased a product after discovering it on social media.
As more businesses turn to social media to generate sales, let’s take a look at why social commerce is an effective strategy to deploy this year.
1. Consumers are searching for Customer Reviews.
There’s no denying it: customer reviews increase sales. And customers are actively seeking them, too!
Sure, you can host them on your website in a nicely-crafted review section, but why not leverage your customers’ positive reviews across all other marketing channels too?
Brands like Morphe use customer reviews across product pages and even on their homepage to show the community angle of their products.
This content is a form of social proof that reassures shoppers who might be considering the product. By discovering a review or testimonial in their preferred channel, customers will be influenced to visit the company’s site and make a purchase.
2. Social Media is Just as Valuable as Search Engines
It should be no surprise that Google is the most visited site in the world. However, did you know that YouTube is the second most visited site?
Marketers focus heavily on SEO with an emphasis on their Google rankings, but they often forget that YouTube can be thought of as a search engine in some ways, too.
Aaron Haynes, CEO of Loganix, said, “SEO is not just about ranking on Google. Instead, a comprehensive SEO strategy focuses on high-performing content that can be easily found on a variety of search engines.”
YouTube is one of the channels that small businesses aren’t capitalizing on. Marketers should focus on creating customer-focused long-form video content hosted on YouTube and optimized for discovery on the channel.
YouTube unboxing videos have become extremely popular as an authentic way to show your product in action with real customers.
One of the best ways to launch effective video content is through influencers and UGC. YouTube and other video channels like TikTok can be very impactful for sourcing and featuring UGC in your marketing communications, in addition to your own accounts.
3. Influencer Marketing is Becoming more Cost-Efficient than Facebook ads
With Facebook ad costs increasing 90% year-over-year, this is a cause for concern for many marketers.
Low-cost marketing tactics that convert sales and have a high return on investment are the ones businesses need to capitalize on. Naturally, businesses are shifting their focus to influencers to create and promote authentic user-generated content that features their products.
Influencer marketing goes way beyond social – the top-performing content can then be used across your website, emails, digital displays, and even social ads, to improve your ROI on those ads.
4. Integrations between Social Platforms and Digital Storefronts are becoming Seamless
Social media and online storefronts go hand-in-hand. As social networks become more sophisticated, new shopping capabilities are being built natively into the platforms, making it easier for customers to buy.
Shopify recently partnered with Facebook so its users could create branded Facebook shops. In fact, Shopify partners with a whole network of apps that make it easy to integrate social, UGC, and influencer marketing with ecommerce.
Even beyond Shopify and Facebook, there are plenty of ways social networks are integrating new features that link shopping capabilities for some of the mainstream hosting sites most businesses use. TikTok is even testing social commerce URLs that creators can add to their posts.
A popular TikTok account called Huxley the Panda Puppy added a direct link to Amazon on their videos so viewers could go to Amazon and buy their pet costumes in one click.
With more built-in features and integrations, social media sites will transform from content hubs to more efficient commerce channels. Brands who can serve the right social content at the right time, through the right channel will see the best results with these new integrations.
Social Commerce Success
The rules of social media are changing, and marketers need to view their online communities as places for two-way conversations where consumers can influence brand decisions. Rather than being brand-led, social commerce is built on the premise that the social aspect of commerce is a powerful and compelling driver of sales.
Passionate customers aren’t new, but social commerce helps marketers master the art of amplifying those customers to represent the brand.
Over the last 10+ years, Anna has developed SEO and content strategies for major brands like Brother, Marriott, IHG, Hearst Magazine, PMI, Mailboat Records, Dollar Thrifty Rental, to name a few. Anna is the Assistant Editor at Search Engine Journal. She enjoys burritos and puppies (in that order).