To create a buzz about their brands, it’s safe to say that every ecommerce player is heavily invested in creating content for and engaging with users social media platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.
With the right approach, social networks can simplify product presentation, purchase processes, and interaction with potential buyers. Social media and eCommerce mix in a special “cocktail” to become the most effective advertising field and the best assistant in promoting goods and services.
Read this article to gain some insights on how to best keep up with and take advantage of this trend.
Social Media in eCommerce: A Quick Intro
Before undertaking a journey to success in social media, let’s take a look at some important statistics.
Businesses today understand the tremendous benefits of social media marketing. In the United States alone, in companies with more than 100 employees, 91.9 percent of marketers leverage social networks in 2021.
Blending with the audience becomes the first step for modern entrepreneurs to successfully develop their businesses. This is quite understandable since no Internet resource can compare with social media popularity.
Below we’ll go over ten ways how you can use social media to the benefit of your online retail business.
1. Make Use of Shoppable Tags
Shoppable tags allow users to start their shopping experience right from the click on the social media posts. There are three major platforms that allow jumping straight to shopping. They are Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. Let’s look at the Pinterest pin feature as an example.
According to Pinterest internal data, statistics showed a 70% increase in requests for “setting up a home office”. People need ideas for setting up a workplace at home in self-isolation, as well as a four-time increase in requests for ideas of gifts.
97% of these queries are unrelated to a brand, which means people need inspiration, not a specific product. This also increases the opportunity for small businesses to compare to big names among the myriad of pictures. Last year, Pinterest announced the ability to shop directly on pins, on boards, in search, and through recommendations.
Now in the search on the board, there is a tab “Store” or “Shop”, which shows products relevant to your request. You just need to write general keyword phrases such as “lamps living room”, “coats for women” or “teddy bear theme party”. Filters also help to differentiate goods according to prices or sellers.
Pinterest went further in social media eCommerce and added interior design selecting in popular styles such as “Scandinavian”, “Mid-century”, “Farmhouse”, and so on, allowing you to create a room to your liking as if you were consulting a designer. After you click on the picture, the pins enable you to buy similar products that are in stock.
Further Reading: Seven Best Practices for How to Use Pinterest for Marketing in 2021
2. Employ Instagram Reels and TikTok
Since the introduction of this feature in 2020, Instagram has made Reels marketing a new trend in the eCommerce business and encourages more and more sellers to utilize it. Instagram Reels is about creating videos to entertain and engage your audience. This is similar to TikTok, where short videos (15 to 30 seconds long) can be honed with music effects and filters to gain more attention from the followers.
On the screenshot, you may see an example of how a luxury fashion house, Balmain, plays with Instagram Reels and its products to create captivating ads.
How Can a Company Turn Reels and TikTok to Its Advantage?
a) Small Tips and How-tos
With short videos, companies can create non-intrusive training videos. They engage and entertain customers who are interested in how the product can be used. Imagine that you sell jewelry, you can show which of them can be used in a casual style and which are suitable for an evening look. For example, in this way, a Canadian beauty brand, MAC Cosmetics, successfully uses Reels, showing tips on applying makeup.
b) Link to a Full Video
IGTV videos provide an opportunity to expand on your brand and services as they can last up to one hour. Reels may then be used for a short introduction to your IGTV video to hook users and get them to go to the full video form and lead to a purchase.
c) Showing Behind-the-Scenes
Utilize Reels and TikTok to show life on the other side of the screen. Add more transparency to your Instagram by creating a sense of belonging. Show what makes your product unique, what you make it from, or what inspires you.
A French beauty brand, Sephora, created a sneak peek into the arrangement of their press day providing users to become a part of the release of their new products and enhancing social media for eCommerce.
Further Reading: Ten E-Commerce Brands Using Instagram Stories Effectively
3. Consider Live-Streaming
The approach in which the business became interested in selling through live streams was called live commerce. Thus, live commerce is online sales of goods through live broadcasting by an expert or influencer (blogger or show business star) to the audience of end consumers. Moreover, at this stage, the younger generation is the most receptive to streams, absorbing all the new trends.
Live streaming is popular for connecting with your subscribers as it creates a sense of presence. At the same time, you don’t need to spend money on equipment, rent a studio, or pay a film crew. All you have to do is press a button and go live. Ecommerce companies use streaming to showcase products, conduct interviews with stakeholders, and humanize the brand to increase exposure and also sales.
The ability to broadcast on Facebook, introduced in 2016, continues to evolve to this day. For example, this platform plans to allow users to make purchases right on the air by creating a new sales channel.
Cosmetics maker Benefit is hosting a Facebook Live series, as shown in the screenshot. They invite brand ambassadors to share makeup tips while answering viewers’ questions at the same time. The number of views is in the hundreds and even thousands, which thereby creates a loyal fan base.
4. Repost UGC
In marketing, the main benefit of user-generated content for social media eCommerce is that companies don’t need to waste energy and resources on advertising campaigns: users will happily provide their photos for you to mention on your official pages. User photos and videos are a source of social proof that your brand is trusted and lovable.
The cookie company, Oreo, regularly puts enticing users’ content front and center on Instagram, as you can see on the screenshot below.
Last year they launched an entire cross-platform campaign using the Viral Vault UGC catalog. The campaign was dubbed “#stayhomestayplayful” and generated over 7 million views on YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter. The campaign, which is renowned for its playfulness and positivity, reminded users that you can find advantages in everything, the main thing is creativity.
5. Provide Non-Stop Support with Messenger Chatbots
Conversational AI and chatbots are transforming the future of social media and eCommerce, and companies are eager to undertake them. Chatbots never call in sick and work day and night providing services at the highest rate so that the customers have the shopping experience they could only dream about.
It is expected that by 2023, using chatbots will be such a profitable solution that it will save up to $11 billion a year for retail, banking, and healthcare.
Facebook offers such AI technology in its Messenger feature to engage with customers via messaging, text, or speech. As the screenshot below illustrates, an online retailer for new moms, Kindred Bravely, that sells clothes and accessories for nursing women implements its chatbot on Facebook.
The bot enables users to ask a question, find a community, and helps to determine bra size. If there’s an uncommon use case, it suggests leaving a question and directing it to a live support specialist who will address the problem.
Further Reading: The 11 Facebook Messenger Management Tools You Should Know
6. Tell About Your Brand and Values
We are innately curious about telling stories to each other as the primal act of human nature. In the conditions of information overload where we constantly soak up five-times more information daily than our counterparts did back in 1986, it is crucial for brands to stand out and grip the audience’s attention.
What are the ways to tune users in employing social media for eCommerce? The answer is to make the most of brand storytelling so that the potential customers connect to your brand on an emotional level.
One of the greatest examples of the brand that prioritizes not just its products but the original idea is TOMS Shoes. It all started with the founder Blake Mycoskie who took the hardships of children in Argentina to heart. The thing is, they live in such a state of poverty that they don’t even have shoes. And he decided to make a responsible contribution to address the problem.
He launched a program called One for One® and it implied that for each purchase of shoes, the needy child also received a pair of shoes. The company team highlights their values and publishes reports on their Instagram account going already far beyond only this issue.
Further Reading: Your Guide to Leveraging Instagram Ecommerce for Business
7. Engage with Influencers
Influencer Marketing is understood as a way to promote products and services through influencers. Influencers enjoy trust from a broad audience for certain issues and can be represented by a person, group, brand, company, or even a hobby club.
The secret weapon of recommendation marketing is that it doesn’t look like a straight advertisement. Influencers are valuable to businesses because they already have an audience that listens to them. Thanks to this, they talk about a brand and unobtrusively advertise products and services.
Perhaps that’s the reason why 89% of marketers say that influencer marketing achieves an ROI at least as good as other methods.
Here is an example of Levi’s clothing company on the screen capture below. They involve influencers for social media eCommerce as well as promote their values. Emma Chamberlain, an American YouTube blogger made her appearance on Levi’s newsfeed to show off in their jeans and emphasize the importance of thrift shopping and giving things a second life through second-hand stores.
Further Reading: 7 Benefits of Giving Free Products to Influencers
8. Harness Post Schedulers
They say that content is king in the world of marketing. Moreover, active posting on social media is considered an important trust metric. However, you may not always be online during the peak hours of your subscribers’ activity. In this case, smart SMM specialists use post schedulers. There are various tools developed with machine learning that help you schedule social media posting.
After creating the best content for your target audience, they allow you to automate the publishing process and stay up and running for the users. You can also configure your posts to come out after working hours or on weekends. In this case, continuous traffic on social networks is provided.
Post schedulers can:
- Save your time. Setting aside a few hours at the beginning or end of the week, you can create a few posts in a row and match them with your visuals;
- Improve your aesthetics. With scheduled posts, you can check the harmony of the feed even before publishing the posts;
- Pop up on the users’ screens just at the right time.
There are a plethora of time-saving tools that perform the functions of an ultimate content calendar and content management platforms. Check out this complete list of social media management tools.
9. Give a Playground for Reviews
Reviews in social media eCommerce can become a determining factor for buying a product or staying away from the purchase.
It was calculated that 92% of consumers pay special attention to reviews before purchasing and 94% say that a negative review leads to product rejection. In addition to being able to leave and read other people’s reviews, 53% of consumers insist that businesses need to respond to negative reviews within a week.
When searching for the desired product, most buyers use search engines such as Google, Bing, and even Facebook. These websites index content in their own way, but they all agree on the importance of customer reviews as a source of positive content. They give higher rankings by viewing the page as authoritative, increasing its reach. So, it’s no surprise that businesses are using testimonials to boost their marketing effectiveness.
The screenshot below shows an example of how the cosmetics brand Lush responded to a negative review in the Instagram comments because the shampoo didn’t match the customer’s needs. The company expresses its regrets and offers personal advice so it doesn’t lose the customer and gets her back in the sales funnel.
10. Take Advantage of Social Media Targeting
Social media collect information about their users in terms of geography, gender, age, interests which can be used by brands. Targeting allows companies to show ads to those users who need this product the most.
This saves money and delivers the most relevant ads. Besides, based on the success of the campaign, businesses can conclude to what extent this or that type of targeting brings results and whether it’s worth continuing to target advertising to a certain category of buyers.
The engagement and activity of the audience on Instagram, as well as the visual component of the content, makes it possible to successfully utilize targeting in this social network for eCommerce. To set up targeting on Instagram, you need to:
- Have Instagram and Facebook business accounts linked;
- Use Facebook Ads Manager to tweak and connect the Instagram platform;
- Create an ad with successful Calls-to-Action.
Conclusion on Social Media in eCommerce
Digital technologies have become an integral part of business growth. They are now and here, providing great opportunities for eCommerce to build marketing techniques. There are many crucial factors for a brand’s online success such as the products, pricing, website speed, user experience, and exquisite UX/UI. That’s why eCommerce companies consider different ways to make their name, optimize websites, provide customers with up-to-date solutions, and invest in Progressive Web Apps.
As one of the most important digital technologies, social media is a powerful tool in the hands of witty eCommerce marketers to nurture leads and bring revenue. It is a great source of additional traffic and connection with the audience for online retail companies. While some of the tips aren’t considered as direct sales channels (like Instagram Reels or brand storytelling), they all serve for uniting people and creating such a strong community in which consumers would like to put down roots for as long as possible.
Guest Post Author Bio
This guest post was written by Alex Hsar. Alex is a CTO at Onilab with 8+ years of experience in Magento development and Salesforce. He graduated from Czech Technical University and obtained a bachelor’s degree in Computer Software Engineering. Alex’s expertise includes both full-stack dev skills and a strong ability to provide project-critical guidance to the whole team.
Photo by dole777 on Unsplash