Wait a sec…isn’t all commerce social? You’d think that by its nature it is, but definitions have changed as technology advances. We know what commerce is, and we know what social media is. Put them together and you have social commerce. Which is when businesses make use of social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and of course now TikTok, to market and sell. The whole shopping experience happens on the social media website. I don’t think I need to explain too much, but we do want to look at some strategies to help you in 2021.
Why Social Commerce?
Before we dive in, let’s look at a couple reasons why you should care about social commerce. The first one is that it allows you to reach consumers where it matters. Social media is no longer, and hasn’t been, a place for just socializing with friends and family. It’s where most brands and businesses advertise, market, and engage with their consumer base. Users are able to interact with their brands and dm (direct message) their friends for opinions, and then shop right there on the platform. Also, e-commerce is booming, particularly this year with the whole covid-19 pandemic. A large portion, if not the vast majority, of consumers are getting used to shopping online. This gives marketers and businesses an opportunity to diversify their purchasing channels. You better jump on the bandwagon before it’s too late.
The Trends to Look Out For
As you probably already know, all of the major social media platforms like FB, IG, Pinterest, and even TikTok have developed e-commerce capabilities in order to enable online sales. But, what are the trends or ins and outs you should be looking out for?
User-Generated Content and Low-Budget Products
With how competitive the world of shopping is becoming, it’s important that you create the best experience possible for your customers. Sometimes this means making this not just affordable, but being approachable. How? You ask. By focusing on using user-generated content (UGC). This makes things feel natural and real. People want to know that what they’re purchasing is used and reviewed by real people.
Another thing that every business cares about is keeping the budget as low as possible. The way to do this in the world of social commerce is to reach out to influencers to leverage the trust and following that they’ve built up on their respective platforms. This works by you reaching out and convincing them to help promote your product, usually in exchange for your promotion of them via our own social media channels, or sometimes just payment. Another option to look into here is live streaming. The influencers you partner with can do live streamed videos to promote and even sell live, rather than just making posts about it.
Artificial intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and Chatbots
Shopping online doesn’t mean that your customers won’t have questions or comments about the products and services you’re providing. It can be expensive to hire people just to respond. I mean, it’s a happy problem to have that you have so many customers communicating with you that you need to hire someone, but there are ways to make it easier. Through the use of AI, you can have chatbots speak to users, at least for a part of the conversation. You can have specific sets of queries to funnel your consumers through. Side note, don’t hide the fact that they’re talking to a robot. Some people might be satisfied with getting the information that way, but others might want more or just want to talk to an actual human. That’s just the way it is.
Other than just chatbots, Ai can help manage the posts and comments that get sent to PR teams. This helps with filtering the ones that they might need to respond to, which are usually the negative ones. With AI and ML, you’ll be able to learn through the analysis of data and patterns of consumer online shopping behavior, what you can do to improve.
So what’s the conclusion on social commerce?
I’m not here saying that you should focus on just social commerce in 2021. But, it should be a major part of your strategy for years, if not decades, to come. It’s a field that will continue to evolve as with everything else in this world. Technology comes, goes, comes back, and goes again. The best thing you can do is to try to stay informed and as ahead of the game as you can.