A mark of a business stuck in the past is its lack of presence on social media. Social media is no longer just a platform that users use to communicate with their friends and family, it’s a powerful tool for businesses to engage with their target audience. Over the last few years, more and more businesses have been taking advantage of social commerce. Social commerce uses social media as a selling tool – whether that’s selling directly or indirectly driving interactions that lead to sales. The rise of social commerce can be attributed to the tech-savvy generational group of millennials who have an affinity for social media. Social commerce manifests itself in numerous forms:
Social proof is an indirect form of social commerce. You won’t necessarily see immediate results, but having positive social interactions on social media will benefit your business in the long run. Excellent customer service produces happy, repeat consumers who refer business to you; consumers are 4x more likely to buy when referred. Social interactions (online posts, forums, reviews, and recommendations) are key motivators to buy: 90% of customers admit their buying decisions are influenced by online reviews.
This also means that negative interactions can be amplified as well. On social media, it’s easy for a tweet, post, or review to do some serious damage to your brand so businesses must take care to deal with negative responses in a manner that aims to turn the experience into a good one because there’s more than one pair of eyes on the conversation. Building a strong social presence and cultivating a community provides businesses with slow-burn benefits like better brand awareness which will, in turn, increase traffic and sales.
While organic reach is great, sometimes you need a little help. Enter sponsored ads. Social platforms like Facebook and Twitter allow you to target specific audiences to reach your ideal customers and have the maximum impact. Facebook ads can help bridge the gap between digital and physical: 58% of consumers engage with Facebook ads at least once a week before buying from small businesses in-store.
Recently, the big players in social media – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest – began implementing direct commerce integrations in the form of “buy” buttons. These buttons roll up into the bigger picture of providing an omni-channel experience for consumers. It’s frictionless paying: consumers pay with a simple tap. It’s seamless: consumers can purchase items without having to leave the social media network. Millennials are major drivers of the social commerce boom, with 38% likely to use a “buy” button on Facebook and 24% likely to use them on Twitter.
Facebook is the top site for social commerce, attributing to 64% of total social revenue and driving more than two-thirds of mobile eCommerce traffic. Facebook was one of the first social networks to integrate a “Buy” button. They first started by testing buy buttons in promoted ads on the newsfeed and now it has moved onto tools that let merchants sell directly on their Facebook Pages through online storefronts.
Twitter’s version of the button allows business to add a CTA to their tweets, such as “Buy”, “Learn More”, or “Sign Up”. Consumers can click the button right from their Twitter stream and purchase while staying in the app rather than having to leave the app to visit the retailer’s website. Businesses can also display additional information like pricing right on the tweet.
The most visual of the social networks is Pinterest. The virtual pinboards are ideal for buy buttons because many of the users already have the intent to buy. Pinterest integrates its pins right into the feed, next to the standard “Pin It” button. 63% of Pinterest users find it easy to make a purchase through the site.
Instagram is another social platform ripe for buy buttons because the app specifically made for mobile users, and mobile users crave convenience and ease. Like Twitter, Instagram’s buttons are more action-orientated (buy a product, install an app, sign up for a service, etc.), appear below the images, and open a browser within the app.
While widespread adoption of these social buy buttons has yet to occur, reports suggest that it is only a matter of time; one of the biggest barriers is a lack of consumer knowledge.
Consumers are always looking for easier and smarter ways to shop and interact with brands, and businesses are looking to take advantage of the popularity of social media. Social commerce has the ability to help you reduce friction in the payment process, improve brand awareness, and reach your target audience.