Social Commerce Is Doing a Roaring Trade Online

Leading global stats portal, Statista published an in-depth report detailing the importance of social media in e-commerce. The fusion of these two disciplines is known as social commerce, and it's driving online sales like never before. Effective use of social media to promote, buy and sell products and services is having an outsized impact on global commercial activity. Digital technology in the form of top-tier social media platforms and e-commerce sites provides near unlimited coverage for companies.

The fusion of social media and e-commerce has given rise to a veritable juggernaut of online commercial activity. This is particularly notable with popular social media sites Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn. Businesses are seeking to engage customers on their terms, on social media platforms where 24/7 communication is the order of the day. Effective social sharing has proven to be the ultimate marketing strategy, eclipsing conventional tactics and strategies, and relegating them to the annals of history. The world's leading companies, including McDonald's, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Comcast, Tesla, Microsoft, and others have taken their message to the people, and won the hearts of billions of faithful followers the world over.

A survey into social commerce was conducted in May 2018, and it found that 58% of respondents in the US felt ‘somewhat influenced by social media’ with respect to purchasing products and services. However, there remains a degree of reluctance among shoppers to buy products and services via social media sites, due to the credibility factor. That's where e-commerce platforms can leverage the best of their branding efforts with highly effective marketing strategies for maximum traction in the social media arena.

How to Pick the Right Social Media Platform for E-Commerce?

Social commerce is ubiquitous. It's everywhere we look when we shop online. Consider YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram feeds – they each feature ‘buy buttons’ for hordes of eager shoppers. Now, more than ever before, e-commerce is burning red hot, and folks are turning to trusted social media platforms to look for the latest and greatest products and services to buy. Facebook has always been a market leader in social commerce, and remains one of the most trusted and effective ways to drive up sales for companies.

Twitter is a microblogging platform that provides soundbites to tens of millions of people all over the world. Advertising on Twitter kicked off in 2009, and gradually expanded over the years. It comes as no surprise that consumers really prefer interactive content, particularly video over static images, emails, and marketing messages. That's why social media platforms like YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook remain popular with the mass market. From 2017 to 2022, Internet video traffic is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 33%. Instagram partnered with Shopify in 2017, and Amazon created a social media platform in the same year.

The ‘right’ social media platform is a misnomer. It should be renamed the ‘right mix’ of social media platforms. Since customers tend to diversify between multiple social media sites – Facebook for friends and family, LinkedIn for professional contacts, YouTube for fun videos and hosting channels, Twitter for news, politics, and sports, and Pinterest as the ultimate visual search engine. It's an eclectic approach that businesses must adopt when they are targeting customers on social media. There is no one size fits all strategy – it depends on the target market.

Some businesses follow the money and tend to focus on Facebook with most of their marketing and advertising budget, others are more adventurous and deploy additional resources to expand the proverbial tent to cover niche social media platforms like Pinterest which are skewed heavily in favor of female users (70% – 80%, many of whom earn $50,000 + per annum (50% of users), and a large minority of Pinterest users (10%) generate over $125,000 earnings per annum. You can read more information to learn how to use Pinterest to drive traffic to your store.

Digital Growth Trends with Social Media and E-Commerce

It's all about video in social commerce. No form of marketing is more effective, engaging, and converting than customized video marketing. These videos gain the most traction on social media, not on company websites alone. The correlations are important, insofar as the company connects with its target market in the most authentic, organic, and credible ways possible. More and more, we are seeing younger people shaping the direction of consumer markets. Millennials and Generation Z share similar ideologies in terms of politics, planet preservation, personal freedoms, and buying preferences. Theirs are the generations driving the future of e-commerce. Old systems are being dismantled, and dynamic replacements are being created.

Consider that the typical person spends a total of 5 years on social media, accounting for some 43,800 hours of their lifetime. With all the focus on Facebook, Skype, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and other social media platforms, it's no wonder that e-commerce is tapping into this rich vein. Retailers across the world see an opportunity in social media, and they are pouncing on it. The numbers remain in their infancy, with just 18% of online customers in the US making purchases through social media (May 2018) according to Sumo Heavy: Local Search Association© Statista 2018. The low percentage is rapidly growing, and that's a guarantee.

  • Pinterest is a fantastic social media platform that uses Shopping Ads and Product Pins. The focus is on high-quality images to do the selling. Businesses can post their CTAs (buttons to buy) below the product images to entice audiences to visit the e-commerce platform and make a purchase.
  • Facebook offers users Facebook Stores, and by including popular e-commerce platforms like BigCommerce or Shopify, it's entirely possible to set up an online store.
  • Instagram is another visual platform that allows businesses to add ‘Tags’ that lead to calls to action for making a purchase on an e-commerce platform.

It's really important to incorporate social commerce features into an e-commerce store, for maximum yield. This can be done by way of third-party app integrations, staying abreast of the latest social trends, tactics, and strategies, and engaging audiences on topics of interest to them. Businesses that embrace social commerce will certainly stay relevant in the future economy.

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