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Driven by Gen Z and millennials, social commerce is predicted to grow three times faster than traditional eCommerce, to a projected $1.2 trillion by 2025.
This is no surprise to experts. The viral hashtag and phenomenon #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt has 28.6 billion views, including ads, influencer content and reviews. This engagement has skyrocketed brands like CeraVe, The Pink Stuff, and e.l.f. Cosmetics and created complete sellouts of items like the Revlon one-step hair dryer and the Lululemon belt bag.
Brands have scrambled to get in front of new social platforms like BeReal, “a photo-sharing app that allows users to post one photo per day to show their followers what they are doing in real-time,” primarily used by Gen Z. For example, Chipotle has experimented by sharing coupon codes, and e.l.f. Cosmetics used BeReal to show their offices’ “inside” look.
In short, social commerce is no longer a suggestion but a critical element of eCommerce sales planning. An excellent social program can make or break a brand’s image or engagement; there’s a difference between doing it and doing it right.
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Here are three best practices for your social commerce strategy.
Know your audience and engage
Use the power of data to figure out who your audience is. By knowing your audience (gender, age, location, preferences), you can create content that will not only catch their eye but drive sales.
You may know your audience, but your work isn’t done yet. You must keep your eye on the trends, influencers and popular culture. For example, the social media rebrand of singer Harry Styles’ beauty company Pleasing has gained attention because it targets Gen Z consumers and pivoted to more “genuine” and trend-based content. Users suspect that viral TikTok influencer (and friend of Meghan Trainor) Chris Olsen is running the brand’s page, further driving more engagement.
This example explains the importance of not only knowing your audience, but properly engaging with them to continue driving loyalty and awareness. Messaging tools allow a brand to engage with consumer concerns, feedback and reviews.
Quick, clever, humorous, or exciting replies show the consumer that the business is present and focused on the customer experience. Additionally, social media can be an excellent way to provide customer service for concerns or issues. Being quick to respond to resolve can bring a customer back to your brand.
Stay current with new features
Social media constantly updates and releases new features to adapt to user behaviors and desires. Instagram updated to focus on more video content with Reels. Facebook adjusted shopping functionality. TikTok has changed video length to allow for long-form content and took over YouTube’s sponsorship of VidCon this year. This is how these apps stay popular. So, your social presence and commerce should follow suit by embracing change.
Shop-the-look and visual discovery are good examples of new technologies that can drive customers to your website. With visual discovery, customers can see new ideas, which complements Instagram’s 2022 swipe-up feature for brands to inspire and convert sales. Testing which features work best for your brand can drive customers to your eCommerce site and increase your brand’s presence.
Offer quality content
The secret sauce to the perfect content can be surprising. On paper, it sounds easy — good product, high-resolution shoot and voila! Realistically, it’s the content that needs to provide value to the customer and encourage a clickthrough to your site or product.
Successful content varies for different brands. For example, the language learning app Duolingo has increased brand awareness by including its mascot in short-form trending videos and collaborating with other famous (and surprising) brands like Scrub Daddy.
They brought the follower count from 500,000 to 2 million in less than six months. Other brands focus on storytelling and connecting with customers emotionally. Ulta openly supports social issues like trans rights, proudly sponsoring influencer Dylan Mulvaney. This led to an outpouring of brand loyalty, where users have declared that they will exclusively be shopping at Ulta this past holiday season.
Social commerce is also an excellent way to create quality content that shows your customers how to use, style or experience your products. A 2021 Nielsen study stated that people find advertising on TikTok more fun, real, honest, trustworthy and authentic. The study also discovered that 60% of users feel a sense of community on TikTok.
By partnering with influencers, you can make content feel more genuine and foster interest in clicking through. Social commerce is an indispensable addition to any marketing strategy. It can increase sales, drive traffic, improve brand image and increase customer engagement. Opening your brand to current and new audiences and trends can help to completely transform your business.
Zohar Gilad is cofounder and CEO of Fast Simon.
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