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How Social Commerce Can Change the Future of eCommerce Industry

Opinions always matter when one is about to spend money on a product or service. According to the Google Data, mobile searches for “product review” has grown around 35% in past two years.  Here buyers want to understand what people are saying about a brand before purchasing it online. This is very similar when we ask for help from our family and friends on social media before purchasing a product. This is one example of Social Commerce where a brand is directly benefited from their existing buyers sharing reviews with their friends and families!

Mobile product review“The world is a global village” is a phrase that is commonly used when referring to the advancement of technology. Things have become easier in a way you can access services from the internet from the comfort of your house just by using your phone or laptop. But when it comes to eCommerce, most of the merchant are still not using social media to improve customer confidence. By displaying a reviews of their friends or families, merchant can increase conversion rate of their eCommerce website. Social commerce trend is growing rapidly and will change the future of eCommerce industry if incorporated properly with an eCommerce brand.

The new form of trade involves buying and selling of products and services by use of social media websites as trading platforms. They give consumers and producers a chance to interact conclusively on their brands. This concept can also be defined as the process of using shopping tools to enhance social commerce sales. The concept is mainly to give clients a blueprint of the product or service they wish to buy. These tools also advise clients on the product they wish to acquire. By connecting people from different parts of the globe, it is right to say that E-commerce brought forth social commerce.

Breaking the Norm

Since products are easily accessible once you have the internet, it is easier to know what is trending and at what price. Consequently, a huge demand for the products online is created. While browsing the internet, creatively managed dynamic re-marketing display ads also create a thirst for owning certain products.

Social commerce also has a great advantage of targeting right audiences at the right time. Lets for example, if your product is mainly targeting female audiences, you should be at Pinterest. Out of all adults who use social media in US, 38% of women are using Pinterest as compare to 15% of Men. Here you can plan a precise data driven social media marketing strategy to increase sales from social media websites.

Here is the list of popular social media websites based on their market shares. One can choose the platform by considering macro metrics of their target audiences to convert them into customers:

Source: Statista (January 2018 data)

Endowed with social media marketing tools

This form of doing business is socially driven as it has to use social media sites to further it. It is evident on sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter which are largely used for commercial purposes. Social Commerce also involves the use of platforms under which users have one on one conversation with other users and can sell their products to them. Statistics show that many customers buy products due to recommendations given by their friends. It also has a peer recommendation where the user can use recommendations of other users before making a purchase. Some also have social shopping where the user is allowed to interact with friends and other users on their opinion of a product.

With the help of social media marketing tools, you can improve the way you use social media to promote your products online.

Well-defined prospects on various Social media sites

Social media and social commerce have a mother and child relationship as they coexist. Different sites have features that make the involvement of social commerce unforgettable. Facebook, for example, has the dynamic ads as a feature for social commerce. The feature connects merchant with consumers from advertisements on the site or from the mobile application. The feature has seen more retailers use Facebook and increase their sales as it connects retailers with millions of consumers on a daily basis.

ASOS has increased their orders 3 times and their return on ad spend by 2.5 times with the help of Facebook Dynamic Ads. Checkout this ASOS case study to learn more about this opportunity:

Facebook has also launched Marketplace where anyone can sell their products like classified websites. This has allowed clients to enjoy social media as they buy products. Pinterest also offers great feature for ecommerce via Buyable pins that allows the client to purchase an item once shared on the platform. The item often comes with reviews and images that allow the customers to make informed decisions about the product.

Instagram is also testing shopping feature since long and hopefully they will launch for all business very soon. You can always run a paid marketing campaign to promote your product using Instagram ads. Once the user clicks on the button, she will redirect to the same product page on your mobile app / website and a transaction can be made easily from that. The feature is easy to use and has encouraged consumers to purchase items as a variety of products are displayed for the picking.

Instagram ad example

Unlimited benefits

Social commerce does provide opportunities to buyers and sellers as it provides a link to both. It gives both an upper hand of interacting with tons of people from all over the globe. The platform favors everyone in the supply-demand chain. Social commerce has become more social in that the purchase of a product is not only done by the buyer himself but by other parties. Traders have a social circle in which they consult one another on different deals that are about to be made.

A buyer may for example post on Facebook for advice or reviews on a product they are willing to purchase. Family and friends often give out their opinion and help the buyer in decision making. Social circles of traders have also been created as this lets them meet on the social platforms where they can easily carry out their deals. Buyers get to know from other buyers on who has high-quality products at affordable prices. Brands also have online platforms where they allow customers to post their reviews and ratings on the brands they have purchased. This gives the buyer a sense of belonging without going all out to experience this.

Some online shops have also given their clients the chance to be more confident as it allows them to fully express their experience with the brand. They are able to post their personal experience using the product on the respective platform. This shows other potential customers why they should use the product and what experience they should expect. For example, GoPro is regularly sharing their customer’s videos and experiences on their official Facebook page. Have a look at one of such video:

https://www.facebook.com/GoProIndia/videos/2015533948701456/

It is all about shopping without limits and therefore making your shopping experience memorable. It also gives brands a more global outlook. This allows traders who are buyers and sellers to connect from anywhere in the globe.

Social media is a source of money as with just a simple click millions of people are exposed to your brand. With the good reviews and exposure, your product could be sold out to millions in a short period. During the NBA championship, the Warriors were able to sell shirts worth $125,000 via Twitter. This has become possible with the presence of different social media sites.

Final Words

Finally, while engaging in social commerce, research is vital as the merchant needs to know whether they are targeting the right channel or not. Being there when your prospect needs you can increase the chance you make a sale. Effective utilization of social commerce can give you an edge over your competitors and to always satisfy your customers. It is a new dawn of commerce.  Adapting to the new technological advancements would favor your business as manufacturers and service providers so as to improve customer experience.

6 Data Driven Social Media Marketing Strategy to Promote Your Business Online

Out of billions of people who make resolutions at the beginning of every year, approximately 9 percent achieve their goals. Most people set goals that they unconsciously believe are unattainable. Some of the Social media marketing agencies fall in the same category because their marketing strategies are too broad and impractical. You should implement proper social media plan driven by data to make crucial decisions if you want to succeed in social media marketing.

It is not a rocket science! If you focus on these six simple points, you can instantly improve the performance of your social media campaign and achieve results beyond what you have expected.

1. Set SMART goals

The funds spend on social media are expected to double from 2014’s $7.52 billion to $17.34 billion in 2019. The only way you can make a mark on the social media marketing industry is by creating measurable and time-sensitive goals. By doing this, you will not only have more traffic to your website, but you will also track your business growth. As a social media manager, you stand a lower chance of fulfilling your clients’ expectations if you do not make data-driven social media goals. The following is an outlined procedure on setting clear attainable and measurable social media goals in just four steps:

Smart GoalSource: https://blog.weekdone.com/smart-goals/

  • Create specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time sensitive goals (SMART): For the goals to be specific, they must be clear and straight to the point. A measurable goal is one that has metrics which can be analyzed. The realistic element of a goal shows whether the goal is achievable in the set time and available resources or not. Lastly, for any goal to produce relevant results, it must have a time-frame. Other strategies for creating goals include vision-based and growth-based techniques that can be customized to produce desired results.
  • Identify your goal metrics: Several social media metrics are very effective depending on your goals such as the intriguing metric method. This method involves measuring the high, low traffic and conversion to find the biggest opportunities for growth.
  • Audit your social media profiles: To be able to track your growth and if your strategy is working, you need to know in what state you were. By doing this, you make it easier to analyze the current metrics.
  • Review your efforts towards goal vs targeting: This is a very crucial step if you want to succeed in social media marketing which most businesses ignore. Receiving and reviewing feedback gives you the assurance of achieving the set goals on time.

2. Which social media platform is best for you?

Once your brand or product is up and running, you will need to put in more effort to get the word out there. Unfortunately, it is a cumbersome task to accomplish because it requires making well-informed decisions based on dynamic data trends of social media platforms. Over 69 percent of Americans are using at least one social media platform to share information, learn or for entertainment. This begs the question, which platform is best for marketing your business?

popular social mediaSource: PewInternet.org

Here I recommend selecting social media platform by considering various factors listed below:

  • Type of Business (B2B or B2C) – If your business is only targeting B2B audiences, Linkedin is the best platform to connect with fellow business owner. For B2C, other social media platform can give better result as compare to Linkedin.
  • Target Demographic – You should start with the social media platform where you can find your prospect easily. Lets for example, if your product is for women only, you should start with Pinterest. The reason is very obvious, out of all adults who use social media in US, 38% of women are using Pinterest as compare to 15% of Men.
  • Target Location – You should choose social media platform by considering the popularity in specific location. Lets for example, If your target location is Chine, non of those popular social media platform will work for you as in China, WeChat is the most popular social media platform and you should start with it.

Apart from this, you can also consider the type of content (text, visual, data), micro data like interest, age, revenue, job profile etc to choose the most suitable social media platform to start with. Here is the data associated with each social media platform that will help you to choose the one for your brand.

#1. Facebook has the largest number of users with close to 2 billion as of the beginning of 2017. It has 1.28 billion daily active users logging in. If you plan on marketing your product and services to the age group between 18-29 years, Facebook is the right platform with 88 percent of them. Also, Facebook has the highest number of users over 60 years. Many insurance companies and pension funds take advantage of it.

Suitable content: Visual content with detailed text post will perform best at Facebook

#2. Twitter is very popular social media platform with over 317 Millions active users. If you are targeting US audiences, 21% of total social media users based there are on Twitter. If your product or brand is targeting both male & female audiences, Twitter can be the best platform for you.

Suitable content: Small and catchy tagline along with image / gif / video can perform best at Twitter. You can use twitter to connect with you industry influencer who may advocate your brand or services.

#3. Pinterest is dominated by brands that market female-oriented products and services. These may include fashion, food, books and home decor. Out of all women visiting social media sites, 42 percent are Pinterest users, therefore, making it easier for brands in these niches to market themselves.

L’Oreal Paris is the best example of how brands are using Pinterest:

pinterest

Instagram has half a billion users and is the most targeted platform for creating a brand awareness campaign by posting beautiful photos and videos. However, bear in mind that you cannot include links to a website along with your posts, hence it is a challenge to use this platform for marketing. Instagram is the best platform for branding and visual content can do the magic. Nowadays, various eCommerce brands are effectively utilizing this platform to generate sales though various methods discussed here.

Based on these social media statistics, you can choose the best platform for your business depending on your target market and growth rate.

social media active usersSource: smartinsights.com

3. Get content production right

There are several creative Ad types in the market each for a specific audience. Communicating accurate information to the right audience is what makes an Ad campaign successful. For example, a brand awareness campaign is most effective when the content not only entices the users to click on it but also provides more information about the brand.  The content must be remarkable and compelling to attract the user’s attention. Many businesses are globally recognized because of an effective brand awareness campaign such as the App engagement ads on Facebook shown below.

EyeSight Challenge

On the other hand, App installs involve showcasing the app’s primary purpose and vision to get new users to sign up. I have tested the App install ad for one of our in house application and here is the result:

App Install ads result
You can see that the cost per install is just $30 and we received around 41 downloads withing small time frame. The number can be increase by considering your target countries and the type of app.

If you are new to content production for social media, the best method is to study your competitor’s campaign and review engagement. This will give you best idea on which content is performing better and test the same with your audiences. Other options include Offer Claim ads, website conversions, Clicks to website and event ads which you can take advantage of depending on the content and your target audience.

Don’t hesitate to take help of tools available online, they will provide you best insight about popular social media content and will do your job easier. Looks like BuzzSumo analyzes content which works well in the industry, therefore, giving an insight into the social footprint of the business. You can search content by category and study its social shares which gives you great input on planning your next content strategy.

4. Timing. Timing, Timing

Every social media platform has low, medium and high peak hours where you can publish content. Despite the 1.28 billion daily active users on Facebook, getting your desired organic reach needs a tactful approach. Wednesday through Sunday are the most recommended days to post, Thursday being the best. It is now wise to post your content during the wee hours because they are the least optimal posting times. According to the statistics, ensure you keep the posts short and clear. Videos are far more useful with or without sound on Facebook.

Best time to post on facebookSource: SproutSocial

Twitter is a leading giant which businesses use to communicate with their customers. Therefore, the best days to post are Monday through Thursday between noon and 3 pm. Always follow some of the key leaders in your industry and avoid posting in the wee hours.

Best time to post on TwitterSource: SproutSocial

Having the highest per-follower interaction rate of 2 percent, Instagram has the most number of users joining daily. Here, the more enticing you make your post with colors, emojis, etc., the more clicks you get. Monday through Friday are the best days to publish content with Monday leading in stats. 2 am, 8 am and 5 pm are the most optimal times to post.

Others like LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+ follow similar patterns to Facebook and Twitter.

Fortunately, you don’t have to keep tracking the times to post because there are a variety of tools used to schedule posts. You can choose the one according to your requirement that helps manage all your social media profiles at a go and schedule posts.

5. Be feedback friendly to track the right metrics

Tracking the right metrics helps monitor the progress of your social media marketing strategy. The following metrics are tracked:

  • Growth of followers
  • Posting schedule – Comparison between posts published on different time of the day & different day of the week.
  • Likes, reactions to post, comments & replies
  • Tags
  • Audience demographics
  • Organic reach
  • How much content is shared
  • Use Google analytics to obtain referral traffic data
  • Examine click rates

Keep your eye on these metrics and consider them while working on next content strategy for your social media campaign. Over a time, you will see the huge improvement in performance that can result in better ROI. If you serve the right content to the right audience, you will definitely see the improvement in these data. Here you need to focus on who is your target audience and accordingly serve the ads for better engagement.

6. Don’t get lazy. Be consistent

Consistency is an essential element for a successful social media campaign. However, you need to take care of self-promotion on the platform. Using the scheduling tools mentioned above, the promotional messages on your profile should not be too many too often. At what ratios are you posting and how consistent are you in keeping optimal times? If done right, these two elements of a post can have a very high number of engagements. Post engagement works like an immediate word of mouth and brings in more likes.

Conclusion

More business owners and entrepreneurs are getting familiar with the concept of social media marketing as the years go by. Therefore, it is important to gather as much information as you can that will make your business thrive in the industry.

Finally, conducting in-depth research on social media strategies for other companies in your industry will ease the transition. The success of your business depends solely on getting the word out there about your products. Implement these strategies for your business and experience an increased ROI.

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