When social media first came onto the scene, it was designed for people to connect with one another. But as platforms developed and user bases grew, businesses saw an opportunity to reach their customers in innovative ways. Nowadays, it seems unimaginable for a new business to launch without any social media presence.
One of those new opportunities is social commerce, or the ability to promote and sell products on social media. With millions of people logging onto social media apps each and every day, it presented the ideal outlet for growing a business.
Throughout this article, we’re going to touch more on what social media ecommerce is, benefits of using this ecommerce channel and how your brand can create its own social media ecommerce strategy.
Let’s get started.
Table of Contents
What is social media ecommerce?
Social media ecommerce is the practice of marketing an ecommerce business using social media through generating brand awareness, increasing online recognition, growing a customer base and even increasing sales.
We mentioned social commerce, which is a facet of social ecommerce — the act of selling products on social media. There’s another facet called mobile commerce, which is the act of selling products on mobile devices (think: dedicated apps, mobile browser transactions, etc.).
Social media ecommerce comes into play often as 99% of all social media users access the apps from their mobile devices.
Benefits of social ecommerce
For direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands that exist solely online and retailers shifting to an online-first presence, you need all the tools in your arsenal to push sales on your website. You can’t rely on foot traffic so social media replaces this tactic.
Social media ecommerce brings in new customers and provides you with a ready-made online platform — but those aren’t the only benefits.
Expand your reach and generate brand awareness
There are nearly 5 billion social media users worldwide. And while not every single one of those 5 billion will be your target customer, social media gives a massive opportunity for those who are to discover your business. When you post on your social profiles, you’re giving users a chance to find your brand, follow your accounts and potentially share your products with others they know.
Engage your target audience
Through both organic and paid social means, you can create content directly for your target audience to reach and engage those most interested in what you’re selling. Create social media posts that elicit some kind of response from your audience, such as a comment, message, like or share. Always interact with comments in order to facilitate conversations amongst your target customers.
Drive additional traffic and revenue to your business
And finally, drive traffic to your website—and even better, drive sales. Promote your products. Showcase how they can be used and what pain points they solve. Make your audience want to purchase your product—then make it easy for them to do so.
3 Examples of social media ecommerce
Curious what social media ecommerce looks like in action? Let’s take a look at three of the top B2C social media platforms—Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.
1. Solo Stove
Solo Stove sells portable, smokeless fire pits, and it uses social media to help promote its products, mostly through video.
Here’s an example of one of these videos.
The lowest price ever on fire pits starts today for #BlackFIREday.Unlock a free Cinder, Torch, or Titan when you spend $200 on holiday gifts. Just use these codes at check out:? Sticks and Tools – code: FREETOOLS? Cinder – code: FREECINDER? Mesa Torch – code: FREETORCH
Posted by Solo Stove on Friday, November 24, 2023
What makes this video stand out is the fact that it’s promoting a major sale. Both text overlay on the video and the video’s caption share details about a promotion: customers can get bonus items after spending at least $200 (more or less the price of a new Solo Stove, anyway).
Videos like this do a great job of drumming up new business and leading interested parties to your website. Solo Stove could even have taken this a step further and set up its Facebook Shop so viewers could immediately make a purchase directly from the social media platform.
WallyGrow is a company that sells wall-hanging planters online and on social media. It uses Instagram as a place to promote its products—and even has an Instagram Shop set up for social commerce.
However, one great tactic the brand uses on its Instagram is a plethora of giveaways. Not only does WallyGrow share stunning photos of its products in action, but they’re always giving away planters as well, like we see below.
As an up-and-coming brand, regularly hosting giveaways is a great way to let potential customers test out your product. If they love it, they’re likely to buy more as well as tell their friends and family about it.
Spikeball is a company with a fun, easy-to-play outdoor game. And it has a great presence on TikTok to promote its game. It also has its own TikTok Shop set up—though the brand doesn’t always tag its products in its video content.
One of its recent videos promotes a fun idea for playing its game—at night with glow gear on.
Because Spikeball is an active game, using video to promote the product is a smart tactic. Showcasing people having fun while playing is the perfect way to inspire potential customers to want in on the action.
How to create a social media ecommerce strategy
Curious how to start promoting your own business and products on social media? Let’s walk you through our six-step strategy.
1. Set up social ecommerce channels
Shopping within a network is easier than ever on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. Use these platforms’ features to make shopping and product discoverability on social media a seamless experience for your customers.
Instagram and Facebook share the same backend operation for shopping, called the Meta Commerce Manager. After loading in your product catalog or linking your website’s ecommerce platform (such as Shopify and WooCommerce), you’ll be able to start tagging products on your posts.
When products are shown on Instagram posts, they can be tagged, allowing customers to view purchase details with a tap. Clicking on the tagged product will lead you to the product’s website page for you to purchase. The browser pops up within Instagram so when you close out or finish your purchase, you can go right back to browsing.
TikTok also allows you to create your own shop and is a great place to promote your products. And while Pinterest removed its in-app shopping features, it remains a place where people research products, so your ecommerce store will also want to have a presence there.
2. Find your authentic voice & be unique
Five years ago, DTC brands in the furniture retail segment were few and far between. Now, there are dozens of mid-century furniture manufacturers alone vying for your social attention. The same story has been repeated with DTC brands specializing in dozens of different market segments. How do you set yourself apart when the field is so crowded?
One way to do this is to find a brand voice that is authentic to your company. Paired with brand visuals, this is one of the first steps to getting noticed. Next, identify what makes you unique and different from others in your field. It could be your company’s story, a specialization or even your customer service.
Research has found that 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience. If all of your products are similar to your competitors’, then providing excellent social customer service can set you apart from the pack.
3. Use organic and paid strategies
On social media, a combination of organic and paid strategies is usually the preferred way to go. Paid social media can help you reach an even wider audience—but your organic content is what’s going to keep them coming back.
Here are a few tactics your ecommerce business can use to combine these two powerful strategies.
Organic social media strategies for ecommerce
- Presence of and use of product reviews on your social media accounts
- Adding relevant hashtags to increase the discoverability of your brand
- Personalized interaction with customers on your accounts and theirs
- Providing excellent social customer care
- Using user-generated content to further your social proof
- Use social listening to improve your product and discover new customers
Paid social media strategies for ecommerce
- Paid advertisements and post boosts
- Using lookalike audiences and website visitors to supplement your advertising
- Running influencer marketing campaigns
- Creating a brand ambassador program
- Forming brand partnerships
- Creating a referral or affiliate program
- Running advertisements and boosts of any of the organic strategies mentioned above
4. Use social proof
Word-of-mouth and reviews are still tried-and-true tactics for encouraging purchases, and are great examples of social proof. Social proof is a concept in psychology that declares consumers are more likely to buy from companies they see other happy consumers using.
So things like customer reviews, user-generated content and influencer marketing helps in gathering social proof to share with your audience.
For networks like Facebook that allow reviews as a feature, it makes business sense to allow your customers to leave reviews. Ask for more reviews from your customers on a continuing basis and you’ll be supplemented with social proof. Reviews are even better when they’re managed and responded to from the brand.
Another way of boosting your social proof is to use an influencer marketing strategy. Pair Eyewear does a great job of influencer marketing all over TikTok, and using those influencer videos for both paid and organic content (shoutout to our last point here).
5. Use social listening
Social listening can benefit all departments of your company. But for sales specifically, you can use social listening to identify gaps in your competitor’s strategy and see what your industry’s customers are talking about. These discussions can lead to new products, strategies and better customer service.
For an online-only company, social listening is imperative because you rely more on interactions and online activity to guide your strategies. Which leads us to setting yourself apart from others in an increasingly crowded social space.
6. Use analytics to guide your ecommerce sales
We mentioned social listening before but there are additional analytics you can take advantage of when approaching social selling. Using social media data to inform your sales plans on an ongoing basis will only help your ROI.
From social media analytics, you can find a multitude of ecommerce-related data:
- Website clicks
- Profile visits
- Social shares from your website
- Mentions from customers
- Ad offers and click throughs
- Mentions of new products or campaigns
Some analytics, like Instagram impressions from the Explore page, are part of an organic ecommerce social strategy. Others, like website clicks or social-only offers, are more specific analytics that can help define your social ROI.
Create your social media ecommerce strategy today
There are many tactics an ecommerce or DTC company can use on social media. But what most would agree with is that a social media presence is necessary to elevate your marketing. Social media helps your customers discover your brand, look at reviews, receive referrals from trusted sources and shop.
To make sure you have all the right tools in your arsenal, give Sprout Social a test drive. Access tools that can help you monitor your online presence, market to the right audience and keep an eye on your social media analytics.