Some estimate social commerce to grow to 1.3 trillion by 2025. To put that into context, the size of the e-commerce market is approximately 5.5 trillion this year – social commerce will take a big chunk of the total online sales in the future.
Many people define social commerce as Facebook Shops and shoppable posts on various social media platforms, and despite the market growth, you might think it’s not something for your business.
But social commerce is so much more than that, and you might already be doing it. Social commerce starts from social proof on your website - reviews, testimonials, and UGC helping customers to compare products and make purchase decisions. Also, your team might tag products on social ads. Some of the most forward-thinking marketing teams are experimenting with live shopping.
Even if you would not be ready for live shopping events on Facebook, there’s something in social commerce for every business. In this blog post, we will show you five ways your company can leverage social commerce.
Social commerce examples and tools for your business to try
Social commerce takes place both on your website and social media channels. It might seem new but in a way it's not so revolutionary – shopping has always been a social experience shared with friends and like-minded people, and social media channels help you provide the same experience at scale and beyond geographical boundaries.
Here are five social commerce examples for your inspiration:
- Reviews and testimonials
- User-generated content campaigns
- Organic shoppable posts and shoppable ads
- Influencer marketing campaigns
- Live shopping
1. Reviews and testimonials
When you last purchased something online, did you read any product reviews?
Most people do check them out. Reviews from others often mention small details that the seller or the manufacturer might not have considered. Also, reviews build trust – according to Nielsen, 83% of customers trust peer reviews more than brand content.
For inspiration, check 11 customer testimonial examples that build trust and help drive sales for your business.
In addition to your website, you might encourage customers to leave a review on Google. The easiest way to get reviews is to promote the Google Reviews link on your website, emails, social media, and text messages.
Other well-known review sites include Yelp, Tripadvisor, and Trustpilot.
2. User-generated content campaigns
Another fantastic example of social commerce is user-generated content campaigns, which help you increase brand awareness on social media channels. Also, you can embed social media feeds and UGC on your website, helping visitors see your products in real life.
A hashtag campaign is one of your business's most cost-effective marketing tools. First, add a branded hashtag to your website and other marketing channels and gather images and videos from happy customers. Then, curate the best ones and embed them on any website and digital service with tools like Flockler.
Vivadogs, a monthly subscription service for pet owners, is a perfect example for you to follow. The #vivadogs hashtag feed shows social testimonials from happy customers on their homepage.
If you have a webshop, you might want to tag your products on social media posts too. For example, Sohome, a home furniture and design webshop, has a 'Shop the look' element on the homepage with curated user-generated content. When customers click any of the posts in the shoppable UGC gallery, they get direct access to related products.
3. Organic shoppable posts and shoppable ads
Some people say social media channels should be called social commerce companies. Facebook launched Ads way back in 2007, and today, the major social media channels have moved to provide a shopping experience within their websites and apps. Here’s an overview of what the best social media platforms for e-commerce provide:
Facebook Shops allow you to showcase your latest products in collections. For the Facebook user, it feels like a webshop that they can visit without leaving the Facebook app. You can manage it all via Facebook’s Commerce Manager, where you can also get insights on your sales performance and your products' popularity.
If your webshop is built on one of the Facebook partners like Shopify or BigCommerce, you can easily keep your products up-to-date without much manual work.
Instagram shoppable posts
So far, Instagram has been the most successful social shopping platform. In addition to ads, they allow you to tag products on your branded posts and create an Instagram shop quite similar to Facebook. In the U.S., Instagram has been testing an entire checkout process, allowing users to purchase the product without leaving the app.
TikTok Shops are one of the latest entrants in the social commerce space. TikTok allows companies to link products to both in-feed videos and live streams, forming a product showcase tab for your account page.
Also, TikTok has started building a creator community which re-sells brand products. After adding your products to TikTok, you can collaborate with TikTok influencers through TikTok’s affiliate program.
In addition to those channels, shopping on Pinterest is an excellent option for webshops with visual products. Also, Snap, Twitter and YouTube are experimenting with shoppable posts and e-commerce integrations, and we can expect all of these channels to keep innovating their offering in the coming years.
4. Influencer marketing campaigns
Does your company do influencer marketing?
Many companies sponsor athletes or sports clubs, and they typically get visibility in return. For example, your company logo might be stitched onto a shirt and appear on TV and press.
On social media, however, influencer marketing has created a direct path from endorsement to purchase. On Instagram and TikTok, influencers might recommend your products and even link back to product pages. Many influencers are not known outside of the social media channel and have a following around a specific topic. Influencers have access to targeted audiences that brands can’t reach so easily, which makes them a compelling partner for businesses.
And even without access to the actual product catalogue and shop on the app, influencers can tag your brand within images.
Another fascinating example of influencer marketing is the GoPro Awards campaign. On their website, GoPro asks influencers and customers to post images and videos shot with GoPro cameras. Then, from all entries, they pick the most compelling ones and post them on their Instagram channel. Finally, they embed the Instagram feed on their website and reward the best entries with cash, discount coupons, and gear.
5. Live shopping
Live shopping is definitely the most advanced example of social commerce in this blog post. It requires a critical mass of customers who actively engage with you on social media and would be interested in joining a live broadcast. New product launches and influencer interviews are some of the most typical live shopping events. To build interest and awareness for your event, Instagram live shopping allows you set reminders and countdowns to your content in the weeks and days leading to your event.
Lately, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok have all been launching tools for brands to broadcast live videos and tag products on the stream, and some of the world’s leading brands have built something similar for their sites. Nike’s social commerce app is an excellent example of brands trying to replicate some of the social elements in their shopping experience.