4 Min Read
Thus far 2020 has been saturated with the breathless reports of different media outlets, each trying to capitalize on predictions in marketing and sales trends. One prediction stands out as a clear frontrunner.
You can’t go five minutes on the Forbes-friendly side of the internet without stumbling over a dozen different analyses trying to decipher just how much social commerce is expected to take off in the next year or two.
These aren’t really “predictions” anymore than saying the sun will rise tomorrow is a prediction. We’ve seen the steady climb of social commerce for awhile now, and it’s certainly showing no signs of slowing. So if you’re ready for your business to adopt a strong social commerce leg to stand on as the new decade gets underway, then buckle up and let’s dig into just what social commerce is and why you should be paying attention to it.
What is social commerce?
Social commerce is just what it sounds like, eCommerce conducted via social media platforms. Facebook is by far the most well-known social commerce opportunity, but Instagram, Pinterest and many other sites aren’t far behind.
Social commerce is not to be confused with simply advertising on social media, either via paid ads or through organic content creation. Social media marketing is a different animal entirely, although it and social commerce do go hand in hand.
Marketing on social media platforms has been a big part of sales strategies for awhile now, but direct purchases through social media platforms are the new rising star. E-commerce in general has been swallowing up more and more of the market for decades while social media platforms have risen in ubiquity alongside it. It only makes sense that the two would begin to intertwine.
Why embrace social commerce?
No one wants their company to be left behind. It’s important to welcome new changes to the sales landscape to stay relevant. Of course this doesn’t mean abandoning all but the latest trends in eCommerce, but it pays to be on top of the digital sales front.
People like convenience. And there’s nothing much more convenient than shopping right at your fingertips. Social media platforms have a major advantage over websites in the handheld market. Making a purchase via a web browser on a mobile phone is typically way more trouble than it’s worth to most customers. Social media platforms allow companies to sell on mobile without having to design their own app.
Social commerce makes communication with customers easy. Through the use of chatbots or the built-in messengers in apps like Facebook, customers can begin a more straightforward dialog with sales representatives. Over half the mobile-using market thinks direct messages over social media are the easiest way to contact a business, and that number is only projected to go up.
First steps to mastering social commerce
It’s important not to jump recklessly into a new sales platform. Putting all your eggs into one basket is dangerous at the best of times and social commerce is better suited to some products than others. Here are the first two steps of a successful social media sales strategy.
- Start with high quality, low price inventory
Most people who make purchases on social media don’t typically set out with that intention in mind. Your products are more likely to be “stumbled upon” (with some assistance from the omnipresent algorithms) than to be outright searched for. This means your potential customers are those looking for a quick, fun purchase, not a major investment that they’ll need to think about.
You’ve probably also noticed that certain types of products seem to see more success on social platforms. Things like accessories, health and beauty products and cosmetics are all right at home on a Pinterest page.
- Embrace social marketing
It’s not enough to just list your products on Facebook and call it a day. Take advantage of the unique marketing tools social media has to offer. Consider partnering with an influencer if you can, and focus on building a community around your social media pages.
Fad or future?
In the digital age, things change quickly. Our society is evolving at a pace unmatched in previous generations. The current social commerce model is bound to morph and evolve as the years go on. What’s for certain is that people are growing more connected, and those points of connectivity are becoming more versatile.
Whatever the Facebook of the future will look like, you can be sure people will be shopping on it.