Insta-Shopping, Facebooking & Pinning: Why Social Commerce is Here to Stay

Social media has been on the rise for more than a decade, and it’s successfully bridged the gap between online and offline life. Now, it’s evolved into much more than a collection of sites for peer-to-peer updates; today’s social channels offer a range of features for e-tailers and consumers alike. In fact, there are sites that have adopted purchasing features, so you can shop as you scroll without ever leaving the app. This is just one of the many ways that ecommerce and social media have become intertwined and certainly isn’t the last.

The user bases for today’s leading social channels continue to grow every year, and so do their social commerce capabilities. There are some similarities between Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest specifically, but social savvy e-tailers would be wise to leverage a mix of channels to fully optimize their social commerce strategies.

If you’re still new to the concept of using social media to sell online, let us convince you to start. Here’s why social commerce is here to stay.

Instagram Has Become a Shopping Hub

Even though it’s a newer player in the social commerce space, Instagram is perhaps the face of social commerce. It’s at the front of the pack when it comes to engagement and growth, and it’s the top social media app for actual transactions (thanks to last year’s major ecommerce updates). In the early days of Insta-shopping, a few select users could add shoppable tags to their posts. The feature was later rolled out to all business accounts, allowing all Instagram users can easily tap to shop and make a purchase without being taken to an off-app website.

Shoppable Stories are a brand new feature that has only added to Instagram’s powerful ecommerce arsenal. It used to be that traffic-driving Stories were only available to accounts with more than ten thousand followers—think the “Swipe Up!” call to action—but now the shopping stickers have opened a whole new traffic source for e-tailers. And so, social commerce has continued to evolve.

Facebook Is the New Catalog

Facebook is another popular tool with social commerce capabilities, but it’s one that many online retailers overlook in favor of newer, shinier social networks. Yes, Facebook has undergone many trials lately, but the network still boasts more than 2.2 billion active users, 74% of which visit the site or use the app daily. It’s also a major source for product discoveries, according to 78% of surveyed American consumers.

In many ways, an online store’s Facebook page is the modern-day catalog. Your business page details information like your headquarters and direct contact, and the integrated shop showcases your products. Shoppers can then be directed to subscribe to your emails, visit your website or take other action. (Bonus: Facebook also has a retargeting pixel, so you can market directly to users who have already shown interest in your business page and/or website and track their interactions all the way to conversions.)

There are three main ways to set-up your Facebook shop: through Facebook’s native Shop tab, through a third-party app or through your preferred shopping cart’s designated Facebook app. Your shop is only a few clicks away.

Pinterest Users Have Purchase Intent

Pinterest is another way to reach and sell to prospective customers using social commerce, as its function is primarily discovery and inspiration. As users browse, they can “pin” images to “boards” to reference later, and the platform has slowly evolved into a planning tool for anything from weddings to winter wardrobes. Therefore, they’re already primed to buy, and the numbers tell the whole story.

Each pin you upload to Pinterest will generate an average of $0.78 in sales, and the average order value of Pinterest users is $123.50. On the advertising side, marketers see a $4.30 return on every ad dollar spent on the platform. Clearly Pinterest is a solid investment.

Leverage Your Social Presence

Consumers are spending $2,000 annually via social media sites every year, and your online store can easily grab a slice of the pie. By leveraging your social channels, you can maximize reach and stay front-of-mind with a presence on all the same networks as your target demographic. Keep in mind, though, that there are a few good practices to follow so you don’t commit a social faux pas and alienate any prospective customers.

First, remember to source high-quality content. You can build a strong and engaged following with downloaded stock photos or created using a tool like Canva, both of which are free options. Second, spread out your content across social channels, so your followers will have a reason to follow all of them. And, finally, develop a posting frequency that doesn’t exceed each channel’s standard. It’s easy to get caught in the loop of constant posting, but it’s the most referenced reason for unfollowing.

Social media has immense power, especially for online retailers who utilize the platforms to sell their products. Now that it has become such a popular way to shop online, it’s hard to argue that it’s not a necessity. Whether you like it or not, social commerce is here to stay.

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