Understanding Your Social Commerce Options

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In 2022, over 2.71 billion people bought something through a social media site like Facebook, Instagram or TikTok. That’s a lot of perfume, sweaters, and kitchen gadgets!

If you sell physical products online, leveraging social commerce is a great way to drive sales and revenue to your business. Users are used to the native purchasing experience and prefer to to quickly make a purchase right on the social media app. Additionally, people are spending more time on social media than ever before — about 147 minutes, or two hours and twenty-seven minutes, every day.

That’s why it’s important for you to be on one of the top sites, like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and TikTok. Let’s go over each of these platforms.

Instagram

Between its checkout capabilities and shoppable posts tool, Instagram is undeniably one of the most popular platforms for social commerce. Many Instagram users are already using it as an opportunity to discover and purchase new products. For

instance, almost half (49%) of Gen Z consumers prefer to discover new products via Instagram Stories, 80% of users use Instagram to decide whether to purchase a product or service, and 90% of Instagram users follow at least one business. On top of that, Gen Z ranks Instagram as their favorite social media app. Since these users are already prepared to find and purchase new products, it’s critical that they’re given the option to buy them in-app. Instagram offers a few options for social commerce.

1. Instagram Shop: This is your social storefront, where you can share your brand story and customers can view your products.

Instagram

2. Collections: On your Instagram Shop, you can curate collections of certain products into themes, such as new arrivals, gifts, seasonal trends, and more.

Instagram

3. Product Tags: You can highlight items from your Shop by using Product Tags directly in your images and videos — including in Feed, Reels, Stories and product mentions in your profile bio or feed copy. When people tap on a tag, they can easily learn more. You can also add these tags to your ads.

4. Product Launches: Currently only available in the US, businesses who have Instagram checkout can announce an upcoming exclusive drop, so people can preview details and set reminders to buy as soon as it’s available.

5. Checkout: Instead of sending people to your website, you can use Instagram Checkout to give customers the ability to make purchases directly in-app. Checkout is currently available to eligible U.S. business and creator accounts.

Note: You may have seen live shopping capabilities on Instagram, but in March 2023, Meta closed that program. Instagram’s shopping features might be useful to your brand if you already have a presence on Instagram, target the Gen Z or millennial audiences, and have engaging or intriguing photo or video assets to market your product, brand, or service.

If you already have a Facebook Shop and want to expand your social media ecommerce strategy to Instagram, it’s also scalable and easy. Because Instagram Shops are carbon copies of pre-created Facebook shops, you only need to take a few steps to place a Shops button on your Instagram Business Page. But, if you don’t have interest in a Facebook account, you can still leverage Instagram Live Shopping, Shopping Posts, and highlight your products in the Instagram Shopping tab.

Facebook

With over 2.9 billion active users, Facebook is one of the most popular social platforms in the world, making it a good place for social commerce.

There are three ways you can take advantage of social commerce on Facebook.

First, if you have a Facebook Business Page, you can set up a Facebook Shop to sell your products and services directly within the social platform. This shop is the same across both Facebook and Instagram. It’s worth noting that you can sync a platform, such as BigCommerce or Shopify, with Facebook and upload your product catalog to share photos, availability, and prices with Facebook users.

Facebook notes, “While any business can have a Shop, this feature best serves merchants, retail, and ecommerce advertisers. We recommend it for businesses selling apparel, accessories (including bags and luggage), home furnishings, and baby or kids’ products.”

Over 562 million people use Facebook Marketplace to sell products and services. It has a bit more of a flea market feel, but the power of directly reaching a local, geo targeted audience can’t be denied. Facebook Marketplace allows businesses to create and manage listings for no additional fee or cost and easily communicate with customers.

facebook

Nowadays, shoppers demand more options when it comes to payment methods. In fact, 9% of shoppers will abandon their online shopping cart if their preferred payment method isn’t available. One of your options is to enable Meta Pay for your Facebook and Instagram sales.

This payment gateway stores your customer’s credit card information and allows you to monetize customer support requests through Messenger. Plus, your customers can conveniently pay for their new purchases without having to switch apps.

Pinterest

People often turn to Pinterest for fashion, home decor, or beauty inspiration, so it makes sense that Pinterest would be a viable platform for social commerce. In fact, 89% of active Pinterest users said they use Pinterest for purchase inspiration, and 50% said they’ve made a purchase after seeing a promoted Pin.

Content on Pinterest is personalized, rather than presented in chronological order. This means that when people search for something to try, buy, or do, your content will appear right when they need it. Pinterest users are more interested in discovering new ideas and taking action, rather than simply liking or browsing through the latest news or other people’s posts. Catalogs are the heart of your brand’s social commerce efforts on Pinterest. You upload your products to Pinterest which gives you a Shop tab on your profile. Pinterest says that merchants who upload their products to Pinterest Catalogs see 5x more impressions than those who haven’t added their products.

You can upload your products by:

  • 1. Connecting Shopify or WooCommerce.
  • 2. Uploading directly to Pinterest Catalogs with a .csv, .tsv or .xml file.
  • 3. Using the Shopping API. This is the best solution for brands with larger inventory

or who need to make daily pricing and availability adjustments. Most merchants set up their shops, then to purchase, the user is directed to the merchant’s site. However, Pinterest is looking to add more options for merchants to enable payment directly on the Pinterest site.

For best results, you’ll want to consider putting some budget toward advertising on Pinterest as advertisers who use both Catalogs and shopping ads see a 15% increase in their return on ad spend. There are specific ad formats for shopping and Collections which can help boost product visibility.

TikTok

TikTok is the fastest growing social platform in the world, available in over 150 countries, to more than 1.2 billion users. Data.ai’s State of Mobile 2023 Report reports that TikTok is the top app for consumer spending in 2022. TikTok refers to its platform as a place where consumers are looking for shoppable entertainment — or as they like to call it, “shoppertainment” as the platform is 40% more likely to be considered entertaining than traditional social platforms. That means you need to be thinking about content a little differently on the channel including working more often with creators, then boosting those videos through advertising.

TikTok’s social commerce options tend to run more specifically toward advertising, although the company is moving toward offering more shop-based features as you can see here.

This is a sponsored ad, but you can shop directly from the video. When you click through, you’re taken to Merit’s TikTok store. Live shopping is big business for TikTok in many countries, and TikTok recently opened up live shopping through an ad feature. If you’re using TikTok Shopping, you can take advantage of LIVE Shopping Ads to help people on TikTok discover your videos and browse and buy your products.

Social Commerce Options

Ultimately, social commerce has the ability to eliminate friction in a user’s online shopping experience, and catch users at moments when their excitement over your products is highest. And also keep in mind it’s critical to do market research to ensure you’re using the right social commerce platforms or apps to reach your audience in the social spaces they frequent the most.

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