Social shopping is changing the way people shop online. As social media platforms are getting more popular every day, this trend will continue to grow throughout 2022 and beyond.
Let’s discuss how social shopping works, who should use it and how brands can get involved in social shopping trends.
What is social shopping?
Shopping used to be an event where you would go with friends or family, browse around, and buy what caught your eye. Now, social media has created a whole new experience for shoppers. Brands engage with their potential customers through their pages on Instagram, TikTok, and other platforms. They are offering customers not only purchase opportunities but engage with them through comments, UGC, competitions, etc. This new level of communication between brands and shoppers via social media is called social shopping or social commerce.
Simply put, social shopping is a crossroads between social media and e-commerce. This is a process by which consumers research products online and purchase them from an e-commerce site or directly from social media apps.
Social shopping is here to stay
The trend for social media shopping accelerated in 2019 when Instagram launched shoppable posts. At the same time, Snapchat gave select top-tier influencers a “shop” button. And even TikTok has tapped the social commerce market — announcing its partnership with Shopify in November 2020.
According to Statista data, global sales through social media were estimated at 560 billion U.S dollars in 2020. And this number is growing rapidly. Forecasts suggest that the value of social commerce will reach around 2.9 trillion US Dollars by 2026. That means that social shopping is not going anywhere. And brands need to pay attention to this trend because social media has become even more important in the purchase process.
Social shopping is all about your customers
Social shopping is becoming more and more popular, as online shoppers are looking for a more personal experience. It also provides a fun and engaging experience that can be tailored to individual preferences. You can interact with your customers and create an authentic relationship with them. Through this type of interactive commerce, brands can better understand consumer needs or even create new product lines that cater to these niche groups. For example, Volkswagen is running an interactive, in-car experience on Pinterest. It is a part of an ad campaign for their new Volkswagen ID.4 electric SUV. The interactive ad unit can be activated from its Promoted Pin. Users need to tap on the ‘See More’ prompt at the bottom of the Pin to be taken to a 360, interactive view, enabling you to look around inside the car as it drives. This virtual test drive ad experience is an amazing option for auto brands on the platform.
How brands can get involved in social shopping?
Since we’ve agreed on the fact that social commerce is here to stay and brands should use it actively, here are a few ideas on how you can do it:
- Create branded hashtags. A popular way to market through social media is through hashtags. Create your own hashtags with descriptive keywords or phrases and use them actively in your social media posts.
- Experiment with different social media platforms to see which works best for you. Different social media let you showcase your products to a wider audience and see what ad formats work better for them. For example, on Instagram, you can incorporate the hashtag #TapToShop, signaling that featured products can be bought directly within the app.
Many brands use this feature actively. Here is an example from Mitzi Lighting Instagram:
On Facebook, you can run AR ads where users can interact with objects in their environments using virtual images imposed on a real-world view through a smartphone camera. Read more about AR Facebook ads here.
- Look for what people say about your brand on social media. You can do this by going to a site like Twitter and searching for #YourBrand. Once you’ve discovered how you’re being mentioned, you can see what people like and don’t like about your products and think of how to make them better for your customers.
- Provide social media support. One of the best and easiest ways to get involved in customer conversations is to provide support via social media. The most obvious ways to do that are live chats on Facebook and Instagram. By responding to customer inquiries and complaints in a timely manner, you can show your followers that you’re attentive to their needs and care about providing quality customer service.
- Put the focus on your customers. Have you ever seen a brand showcase its customers using its products? It’s called User Generated Content (UGC) and it works incredibly well. UGC is 50% more trustworthy than any other media. Many brands even save all UGC in highlights, like The Three Spirit Drinks, the brand of alcohol-free botanical elixirs. This is a great way to build a brand community.
By putting the focus on your customers, you can create a lasting relationship with them that will result in more sales and referrals.
- Provide your customers with a frictionless checkout experience within ad units. Shoppable posts on Instagram and Facebook shoppable ads will not bring you many customers if your checkout process is complicated. See how you can set a fast in ad checkout with Shopala.
Social shopping is a growing trend that brands will need to get on board with sooner rather than later. If you’re still not sure about social shopping, we hope this post has given you some insight into why it’s important and how your brand can take advantage of the opportunity. We’ll be back soon with more information about how to make social media work for your business!