Whether you’re a business owner, freelancer, or you’re just starting out in the creative industry, it might be time to rethink how you view social media. You might already have at least one business account on a particular platform, but you might not be capitalizing on it the way you should.
Nowadays, social media for business isn’t just about posting great content and engaging with your audience. Don’t be confused — those things are still crucial. However, if you already have a stellar social media marketing strategy in place, it’s time to take advantage of it by creating a shoppable experience for your audience.
Let’s explore what that looks like. Whether you’re selling goods or services, turning your social media into a shoppable experience is easier than you might think, and you don’t have to be a marketing expert to start seeing sales quickly.
How social media is driving sales
Consumer shopping habits are starting to change as more people are looking online to make purchases. Gen Zers and Millennials are driving sales due to their tech experience. They are more comfortable with and trusting of social media platforms. While this demographic might not buy from you if you’re trying to promote products on a personal social media page, there’s a good chance they’ll look at what you have to offer if you’ve already taken the time to set up a shopping page directly from your business.
Around 33% of 18 to 24-year-olds want to purchase items directly from Facebook, with Instagram following closely behind. The sudden rise in social media shopping popularity isn’t surprising. Simply put, people are spending most of their time on those platforms. The average person spends over two hours on social media platforms each day.
Building relationships with your social media audience is important, so don’t forgo real engagement to solely push your products. However, there are now shopping capabilities on most platforms, so you should take advantage of and highlight the products or services you have to offer.
You can use the trust you’ve built to highlight your best products and ensure your audience that they’ll find value in what you’re selling. Since most people already trust platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, they’ll also feel secure making a purchase from those sites instead of through a third party or even your personal company website.
Utilizing “Shop” features for each platform
As social media shopping continues to rise in popularity, more platforms are creating their own features to make things easier for consumers. Unfortunately, that can be a bit confusing for businesses since the features are slightly different for each platform. Taking the time to learn those features can make a big difference in your brand’s “shopability.”
For example, if your biggest social channel is Facebook, you should look into setting up your account with Facebook Shops. It’s a virtual storefront that allows you to create a unique shopping experience for people who like your page and those who are just discovering it. Some of the benefits of Facebook Shops include:
- Products are discoverable from your main page;
- You can customize design elements to fit your brand;
- Your shop automatically links to Instagram and WhatsApp;
- There’s no fee to set up your shop.
The best part is that you can set up a Facebook shop even if you don’t have an existing e-commerce store or website. It’s a fantastic way to start selling your products without having to build a digital store of your own.
Other shopping features on platforms like TikTok have relied on an interface similar to Instagram — clean, simple, and easy to purchase products with the push of a button. One of the best things you can do to promote your shopping capabilities on both TikTok and Instagram is to work with influencers that make sense for your brand or ask for honest video reviews from your actual customers.
Another option worth looking into, especially on Instagram and TikTok, is livestream shopping. When an influencer, celebrity, or even someone from your business promotes and sells products during a Livestream, it can be a fantastic way to get attention and create a “FOMO” experience for your audience. It’s reminiscent of home shopping channels that influence people to call in immediately for their chance to get a specific product. This is a fun, modern, social version of that same exclusivity practice.
No matter which platform you use, make sure to cater your posts to fit what people expect. For example, if you’re advertising on Instagram, you should be publishing clear, high-quality photos or videos of each product. Using multiple photos to let your audience see a single product can make a big difference. When they’re able to look at every detail and see something from every angle, it will improve their confidence in buying it.
It’s also essential to make yourself available on every platform. Engaging with your audience and prioritizing customer service is important everywhere but especially when they’re shopping through your social pages. When a customer has a question about a product and posts it on one of your platforms, answering it quickly, clearly, and concisely will show other people in your audience that they can feel good about purchasing something from you. With that in mind, make sure you have someone at the helm of your social media communication who either understands every detail of your products or is able to quickly access information about each one.
Jump on current trends
There are many ways to promote your goods and services using social media shopping platforms. If you’re not sure how to get started or what the best practices are for putting your products out there, consider looking at the latest trends and the predicted future of social media marketing.
Staying on top of shopping trends starts with understanding where social media is going in the future. Influencer marketing will continue to be a big deal but, because of its popularity, it’s also important to make sure you work with the right influencer(s) for your brand. Consider the following factors when it comes to working with a social media influencer:
- Your audience vs. their audience;
- Engagement rate;
- Frequency of posting;
It’s often best to work with a niche influencer that garners the trust of their following in your industry. Instead of going for the influencer with the highest follower count, you’re tailoring your influencer marketing efforts to an audience that will actually care about your products. Plus, micro-influencers typically charge less for their services.
If you’re not ready to work with an influencer, consider turning toward AI to help improve your customer shopping experience. Integrating AI with your social media accounts can help you tailor certain products to your audience. Personalized product recommendations will improve the relationship between you and your audience and will make it more likely for people to pay attention to product/shopping tags on your posts.
Finally, don’t hesitate to dive into analytics.
Whenever you run a social media marketing campaign, you should pay attention to what worked and what didn’t. What triggered the most engagement and what gave you the biggest ROI? Turning your social media platforms into a shoppable experience should be no different. Take a look at what’s selling and which items are the most popular. If you’re utilizing shopping tags and personalization techniques, which ones have been the most effective?
Social media shopping is still new for a lot of people, and it can still feel a bit like foreign territory for businesses and freelancers. Analyzing your data will help you hone in on the customer experience and consistently improve your sales.
Whether you’re new to social media shopping or not, use these practices to improve your sales and your customer engagement. As people continue to grow more comfortable with shopping through social media platforms, your business can capitalize and continue to grow.