What Is Social Commerce And Why Your Business Should Start Investing In It⟵ Back to all articles
What is the number one pastime of a bored digital consumer? It’s scrolling endlessly through their feed looking for something to spike their dopamine — and chances are these are the best times that a consumer is willing to spontaneously spend money. However, finding brands to shop for through broad search engines is time-consuming — it’s an extra step consumers are becoming less reluctant to take. Many brands are making it easier to be discovered by their audiences, and have started incorporating ads and shoppable posts straight into their social media feeds. Whereas social media advertising encourages your audience to reroute their journey to another website, social commerce integrates the whole purchasing journey right on the social media platform. This ease of shopping is a game-changer for retailers, which we can see in the huge shift towards social commerce.
Social media - you love it, hate it, or are scared of it taking over our lives (you might not be wrong there!). Either way, we can’t deny the fact that it is here to stay. Social media has morphed from a purely networking platform to a “whole life” platform and as such, buying and selling are prominent aspects. It’s now easier than ever to present your brand in front of audiences that are willing to listen. Converting users into customers in a matter of seconds is possible with the right content. Now that social media is an integral part of a user’s shopping experience, companies need to think about creating a social content strategy to keep up with the demands of their customers.
The above image from SproutSocial summarizes the top 6 ways that users can discover new brands through social commerce, the number one being in-feed ads (or shoppable posts on IG). Also called native ads, the main reason why these types of ads are so effective is that they seamlessly integrate into your home feed, making it feel more authentic than a glaringly obvious “BUY ME!” ad. Once you grab their attention - beware, it might be a matter of seconds - the next step is to keep the consumer’s attention with quality-crafted content that is genuine, lighthearted, informational, and relevant that’ll pique their curiosity enough to learn more about your brand.
It’s a two-way street
Aside from brand discovery, what users are looking for from brands in terms of social media is the ease of communication to obtain customer support. A contact us page on your website with options for customer service could be seen as inconvenient (a 2-hour hold on the phone or waiting 3 business days for an email reply . . . no thanks!). The key to social media success is the two-way seamless and instantaneous interaction between you and your user. This is an integral part of the shopping experience. From discovery to research to purchase to feedback, your social media must be present at every stage. Be ready to answer questions quickly, respond to reviews, and take accountability for any issues arising. Engaging with your audience via social media could go a long way for your brand reputation; it will make you stand out as a brand that truly cares about the voice of its customers.
What comes after Y?
Z. Generation Z, that is. Why are we talking about the alphabet and why does this one letter matter? Generation Z is a demographic cohort of those who were born from the late 1990s to the early 2010s. An article from eMarketer found that the influential buying power of Gen Z-ers has climbed to $150 billion, even though most of them have not entered the full-time workforce. This market segment is way more likely to engage in social commerce than other generations, most likely due to their status as digital natives who grew up in a world saturated with technology and connectivity.
Two platforms stand out as being the most persuasive for Gen Z-ers. Instagram and — you guessed it — Tiktok, a platform that is more than dancing memes and funny videos, it’s where culture creation is happening at a breathtaking scale. A 2022 report from GWI mentioned that 46% of Gen Z-ers are using Tiktok to discover new brands, and 69% of them leverage Instagram. To appeal to this mass market, allow your social presence to be available at all steps of their purchase journey. Make it easy for Gen Z-ers to research, review, inquire, provide feedback, and return products. They are also more drawn to brands that show authenticity and stand for a social cause close to their hearts.
It’s crucial to capture your audience at the source of where they spend most of their time — social media and, more specifically, the platforms that are right for your target audience. It may be wise to start investing in your social media presence especially if your target demographic is millennials and Gen Z-ers (the meme culture is too powerful to stay away from).
Offer your audience a quick, seamless shopping experience on social media. Studies have shown that most brand discoveries happen through social media, and brands that are more authentic and responsive have a higher chance to convert a casual browser into a dedicated consumer. Read more about creating a brand value that will resonate with your audiences here and here. Once you achieve this, then you’ll have created a customer for life. And, once in a while, try on some Gen-Z lingo — maybe you’ll move a step closer to relating to them authentically. No cap.