When you think about social commerce trends, what comes to mind? As a consumer, you probably think about the convenience of being able to buy directly from your favorite social media app. But when it comes to your own business, the concept can be intimidating.
So, we talk ourselves out of it. We convince ourselves that social commerce is just a trend—even though we know how much we enjoy it first-hand as consumers. We tell ourselves it will be too expensive to implement—even if we haven’t done any research on the cost. We say it’s too complicated, that our business is either too small and lacks the resources or is too big and couldn’t handle the logistics—despite the fact that we see companies of all sizes that have done it successfully on a regular basis.
These are self-limiting beliefs. It’s fully possible for you to have a smart social commerce strategy without spending all of your Q1 earnings or hiring a team of round-the-clock developers. The possibilities and opportunities are limitless. Your beliefs should be too.
Why social commerce is a valuable strategy
There’s a large roster of companies that have set out to make you believe creating a delightful social commerce experience is an expensive, burdensome process. That myth is where they make their money.
Or maybe you believe social commerce is just a fad. Even if it is, 98% of consumers plan on making a social shopping purchase in 2022. That’s the kind of opportunity your business can’t afford to miss out on.
Maybe you’ve invested a lot into brick and mortar stores and aren’t ready to give those up. Social commerce doesn’t mean throwing out your in-person experiences. It gives you the opportunity to holistically enhance your customer experience—whether they want to shop in person, online or a combination of both.
The question isn’t whether it’s too complicated to implement social commerce or whether social commerce trends are here to stay in your industry. The question is, how does the cost and discomfort of trying something new compare to the cost and discomfort of doing nothing?
Whether or not you move forward with social commerce, that decision will have implications on your brand reputation, customer retention, revenue and competitive threats. You need to weigh out whether or not your business can afford not to get into social commerce. Simply establishing whether your beliefs are true for your business or not is a win.
Craft a social strategy that works for you
Social commerce isn’t going away. More than two-thirds (68%) of consumers purchased through social in 2021. Whether you’ve established that you need to start building out your social commerce strategy yesterday or you need more time to wait and see, the opportunity is there and growing.
If you’re not ready, that’s fine. Social commerce is still going to keep moving and you might feel more ready in a few years’ time. But if you are ready, here are concrete steps you can take to get started.
Start looking for inspiration from other brands pursuing social commerce. Maybe it’s a brand you’ve bought from. Maybe it’s a competitor. What are they doing well? What could be a little more seamless?
Learning from others is a key piece of creating any new strategy and there are plenty of businesses to learn from: 86% of executives report that social commerce is a large part of their marketing-driven revenue plan. Take notes on what others in your industry are doing and brainstorm ways to build on their strategies.
Tap into your team
Ask yourself who you know with expertise in this world. Chances are, there’s a social commerce evangelist somewhere in your organization who is dying to share what they know.
Identifying people who have an appetite for social commerce and giving them the tools and permission to execute their vision is an excellent way to fast-track your social commerce plans. If you don’t have anyone in-house, reach out to your network, executive communities or even professional associations.
In fact, @Salesforce predicts commerce platforms will increase 30% in 2022.
— Rob Garf (@RetailRobGarf) March 22, 2022
Define your audience
Different audiences gather in different places. Your customers will buy on the platforms where they feel most comfortable and you need to meet them where they are. The tactics you use will differ based on which platforms you invest in. With social commerce, it’s better to invest in the channels your audience uses—and the way they use them—than to cast a wide net.
Once you know who is buying, you can start to map out their purchase journey to create a truly frictionless experience. Does your audience want extreme personalization? Where are they finding your products? What do you want them to do after you buy? Defining this journey early will help you shape a successful strategy that taps into evolving social commerce trends.
Assess and adjust
Setting clear goals and expectations is crucial for any type of initiative, but it’s essential for emerging trends like social commerce. First, you have to recognize the difference between social marketing and social commerce. Social marketing drives eyes to what you want them to see—whether that’s a product page or more information about your product or service. Social commerce prompts the customer to buy directly from their favorite social platform. Social marketing is informational, while social commerce is a direct revenue stream.
With that in mind, you have to be sure to measure each strategies with the metrics that matter—even if the same team handles both. Once you’ve started testing and learning, you can adjust your tools, processes and team resources to make sure your business is positioned to win.
Going beyond our limits
Moving past your self-imposed limits can be scary. But in this fast-paced e-commerce environment, we don’t have the luxury of self-doubt. Even if you determine that social commerce isn’t right for your business right now, you owe it to yourself to push past your initial apprehension.
If you’re ready to engage with social commerce, this interview guide can help you and your team collaborate on a sound strategy.
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