How Brands Can Thrive in the Age of Social Commerce

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EmplifiEmpathy, amplified.

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Social media marketing has never been better funded or more professional than it is now. So why is it harder than ever for brands to monetize their audiences on social media?

Article 5 Minutes
How Brands Can Thrive in the Age of Social Commerce

In a word, competition. More creators and publishers are contending for audiences than ever before, posting vast amounts of new content every day. In this environment, brands only have so many chances to convert their target users into customers—and they need to capitalize on those opportunities if they want to thrive.

Social commerce offers a solution, as more and more shoppers are finding, exploring, and buying products through social platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat. By integrating shopping into the in-app social experiences they provide, online retailers gain a direct, efficient way of generating sales and ROI—not just followers, clicks, and page views.

Are you ready to plunge into social commerce? Here are some tips to help your brand compete.

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Ensure seamless journeys for social shoppers

Social commerce involves more than just building visibility, engaging audiences, or driving traffic to your ecommerce website. Instead, a successful strategy brings the entire customer journey into social media, providing seamless interactions between shoppers and your brand.

Ask yourself how your brand can provide a complete, satisfying shopping experience within your chosen platform or platforms. Consider the different routes shoppers take to purchasing your products—and then craft content and experiences to support every step in their paths, so they can explore and shop without ever leaving their social media app.

In practice, this means developing engaging experiences that enable shoppers to discover your products (for example, by interacting with shoppable content). It means building out ways for them to learn more about products—for instance, by browsing your in-app shop. Finally, it means enabling fast, convenient purchases through features such as direct checkout. As you expand your efforts across social media platforms, you’ll also need the ability to manage inventory and customer service across multiple social shops at the same time.

Provide experiences for every kind of customer

Is your brand catering to just one type of shopper? That could be a mistake. To maximize sales, consider the various needs, desires, and shopping styles your customers bring to social media.

Many sales on social media, for example, come from impulse buyers who see a product and buy it right away. Retailers can encourage these spur-of-the-moment decisions by removing as much friction as possible from the shopping experience. Many social platforms enable direct checkout, so shoppers can buy without leaving the app. Likewise, competitive pricing, discounts, and free trials can all inspire spontaneous purchases.

By contrast, other shoppers make more careful decisions and take more steps before the purchase. For example, many people want to ask questions and receive personalized help while buying a product. To satisfy such customers, it’s vital to provide channels for timely, convenient assistance through your platform’s in-app messaging features. This task becomes far easier with an advanced AI-powered shopping assistant chatbot available as part of the Emplifi Social Commerce Cloud.

In short, set out to delight every customer, no matter who they are or how they like to shop, and seek tools that can make such experiences possible.

Share more sales-oriented, shoppable content

Above all, social media is a tool for building relationships. Your brand’s content should mainly aim to grow and engage your audience, not just push a sales pitch. But if you want to make money with social commerce, it’s a smart move to add some more sales-oriented content to your schedule.

High-quality video, in particular, lets you show off your products without turning customers off. Testimonials, how-to videos, unboxing videos, and reviews can all provide an attractive package for a sales message. Likewise, user-generated content can help you promote your wares. That could involve anything from resharing positive comments to publishing self-made user videos featuring your products.

By making content shoppable, you can make buying easier and increase sales. Facebook and Instagram, for instance, allow you to tag products in photos and videos so users can view details, access product listings, and go directly to purchase. At the same time, your target buyers should also find high-quality content waiting for them when they click on a shoppable link—so make sure your shop contains images, descriptions, and curated collections that will make them want to buy.

Through livestream video, you can take interactive shopping to the next level with events that enable viewers to ask questions, chat with others, and buy featured products. That’s a great way to tap the growth of live commerce, which McKinsey predicts could drive up to 10-20 percent of all ecommerce by 2026.

Work with influencers to generate social commerce sales

Influencer marketing can be a powerful tool when paired with social commerce. To make this strategy work, you don’t need to pay a fortune for endorsements from Cristiano Ronaldo or Ariana Grande, with their hundreds of millions of Instagram followers.

On the contrary, you may reap better results (and spare your budget) by working with micro-influencers. Such people may have only a few thousand followers, but speak as authorities in your product’s niche and inspire high levels of trust.

For social commerce campaigns, the challenge is to use influencer relationships not just to increase reach and engagement, but to generate sales within social media platforms. At a minimum, you may want an influencer’s branded content to display a direct link to your in-app store and product listings. More interactive content formats may further help you tap the power of influencers: for example, an influencer could host a shoppable livestream event featuring one of your products.

Stay focused on the big picture

Ultimately, social commerce isn’t just about making a quick sale. It’s about delivering experiences that combine everything your customers love most about both social media and shopping. When you make decisions with that goal in mind, you increase your chances of winning over shoppers and making them loyal to your brand.

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Emplifi is the leading unified CX platform built to bring marketing, care and commerce together to help businesses close the customer experience gap. Emplifi is a global company with over 20 years of industry expertise helping more than 7,000 brands, such as Delta Air Lines, Samsung, and Ford Motor Company, provide their customers with outstanding experiences at every touchpoint on their customer journey.

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