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What is Social Commerce? How You Can Use Social Media to Boost Shopify Sales

Imagine this: You’re a regular person scrolling through Facebook and you spot one of those trendy items such as a Kleen Kanteen tumbler from a video and now you badly want to buy one. You’d have to close Facebook, switch to another app such as Amazon, search the product, scroll through the listings, order, and then pay. It is honestly a lot of steps. However, social commerce makes this easier by reducing these steps and making it easier for you to purchase.


GIF from Shopify


So what is social commerce? It is when consumers can purchase items directly from content on a social media platform such as TikTok or Instagram. This is where the consumer’s entire shopping experience takes place right on the social media platform. Today, it is estimated to be an $89.4 billion market in the US and a $103.3 billion market in China, where it originally first exploded.


This is also the reason why the recent partnership between social media platform TikTok and eCommerce platform Shopify is such a big deal. 


TikTok x Shopify


Tiktok is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms available today. It has over 100 million users in the US alone. While Shopify is one of the leading eCommerce platforms with 1 million merchants where 957, 000 are from the US.


Because of this partnership, Shopify’s 1 million Shopify merchants will be able to reach and target TikTok’s young audience to drive sales. TikTok’s young audience mainly composed of Gen Z and Millenials (ages 4 to 40) have a combined purchasing power of $350 billion in the US.


The agreement lets Shopify merchants create, run, and optimize TikTok campaigns from the Shopify dashboard by using a TikTok app from the Shopify App Store.


From there, merchants will be able to create native ads that are relatable for TikTok’s audience. Shopify merchants can target audiences, rack the campaign’s performance, and set an amount within their budget.


The partnership also introduces the TikTok pixel, which will allow merchants to track conversions driven by TikTok ad campaigns.


How Does Social Commerce Help Businesses?


  • It has less friction
  • As mentioned earlier, the usual online shopping experience has a lot of touchpoints thereby creating friction for the consumer. With every click that the customer has to make, the higher the chances are that they will change their mind. Clicking your ad is one friction point, loading your website is another, then there’s still adding to cart, adding in their information, and finally, their credit card details. There are lots of opportunities for them to lose interest and leave their carts.


    Social media lets consumers see the products in use, click it, and buy it. It removes all the unnecessary steps and makes going from discovery to purchase easy for the consumer which leads to better sales for you.




  • It’s interactive

  • Shopping via social media apps makes the experience interactive which is a key aspect among this demographic. Millennials and Gen Z audiences love getting involved in trends and have even started a lot of them. Plus, if they love the brand, there is a high chance of creating user-generated content. So if your products are eyeing this market, social commerce may help your business.


    Because everything is on social media, consumers can easily show off their purchases, share recommendations, tag brands, and leave comments on their friend’s purchases as well. As a brand, this can get you more “authentic” visibility. Seeing real people such as their friends or influencers they look up to, use, and talk about your brand allows them to relate and connect with your product.


  • There is money in social media

  • We’ve seen it with the rise of influencers, then with the rise of eCommerce websites, and thanks to the pandemic, online shopping has grown exponentially. Social commerce is skyrocketing in China thanks to apps like WeChat, Pindoudou, and Xiaohongsu and has made it a  $103.3 billion market and the US is soon to follow.



    Levi’s was one of the first retailers to partner with TikTok to create an ad product. The denim brand partnered with TikTok influencers where they created custom denim using Levis technology and posted videos of it on TikTok. Users who viewed the influencer’s videos which appeared on TikTok as in-feed ads, could then click to buy the same design on Levi.com. The brand reported that their product views to Levi.com’s “Future Finish” page more than doubled for every product showing the social media platform’s huge potential.


    How You Can use Social Media to Boost Shopify Sales


    Assuming you are targeting Gen Z and Millennials, social media is where your target market is hanging out and spending hours of their time. Putting in marketing efforts to amplify your brand can certainly help your store’s performance improve.


    Encourage user-generated content (UGC)



    User-generated content has become one of the most effective ways to increase engagement and customer reach. According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers trust organic, user-generated content more than they trust traditional advertising. A big part of this is due to the unbiased nature of users as brands don’t pay for UGC which makes other potential customers see it as authentic and honest.


    Allbirds uses the #weareallbirds hashtag


    Hashtags still work and you can use this to encourage your buyers to post about their purchases. This can also create a desire in their followers and friends to buy your products or, you can share their content (with permission of course!) on your feed to create trust and engagement with your own followers. Place hashtags on your posts, your packaging, and on your website to make it stick.


    Hyper-target your audience


    Your business could do really well by hyper-targeting your audience to make sure that the product is seen by the right consumer. Social media apps like Instagram and TikTok let you market directly to someone who is interested in what you have to offer. With the right targeting, you can get better conversions and higher sales. 



    Because products are directly linked to content posted on an influencer or a brand account with people already following it, or shown directly as an in-feed ad (such as in TikTok) or a Story ad (such as in Instagram) it allows your products to be shown to a specific audience who would love them and immediately purchase.


    Partner with the right influencers


    Influencers started out as people who have built credibility and expertise on certain topics and are able to “influence” other people to use a certain product or service. It really took off with Instagram and in the beginning, it was purely organic. It clicked with a lot of consumers because as compared to advertising, it seemed more authentic. These “influencers” were seen as real people, unlike celebrities who may be out of reach and unrelatable.


    Savannah Labrant promoting Fail Fix dolls


    However, influencer marketing has grown into a category of its own and some influencers are now celebrities in their own right with some breaking into mainstream media because of their reach. In the past few years, influencers have shown their power to influence their audience’s purchasing decisions. They also have their own niches from fitness, fashion, beauty, and tech among other things so your brand will be able to find one it can relate to.


    Dixie D’Amelio and other influencers for Taco Bell


    Keep in mind to check influencers who create high-quality content that matches your brand (has well-lit videos, informative, engaging, or entertaining spiels, actually uses the product, etc), and has a good engagement with their audience. Though it used to be all about follower counts, it’s not enough anymore, and some influencers with millions of followers charge too big without giving you ROI. Even micro-influencers (those with 1,000-10,000 followers) can help out your brand as they have a higher engagement due to their smaller audience.


    Create engaging, relatable, and well-made content

    Any content you create in partnership with influencers or brand ambassadors should be relevant, straightforward, attractive yet easy to recall so you can get better engagement and boost brand affinity. The most popular elements are live streaming and short videos.


    Chipotle using a beloved figure among millennials, Bill Nye, the science guy


    Good content must be attractive and relevant to customers as it plays a critical role in creating a strong connection between consumers and brands to increase sales conversion.



    From Elf Cosmetics’s other TikTok account, ElfYeah in collaboration with skincare influencer, Hyram


    In China, luxury buyers were shown to receive more information about brands from social media as compared to other channels mostly from KOLs (key opinion leaders). KOLs are influencers and brands target them to share brand content on their social platforms as well as on the brand’s social media accounts. To better engage and build up trust with followers, the KOLs regularly share their experience in using different products such as providing styling tips.


    Final Words


    Social commerce gives you an opportunity to connect your brand with a highly engaged audience. If you are selling products that are trendy, visually appealing, marketed towards a younger audience, there is a lot to learn from social commerce. Social media platforms can strengthen your marketing campaign by providing the features that let you create engaging content such as a seamless shopping experience where customers can do in-app checkouts and purchase the same items that influencers are using or have purchased. 


    We hope you learned something from this article, and if you are looking for help in marketing, designing, or building your Shopify website, contact your Shopify experts at Webinopoly here.


    Want to learn more about social media marketing for Shopify? Check out How to Use Facebook to Boost Shopify Sales and Quick Tips to Make Your First Shopify Sales


    Who is Webinopoly and what can we do for you?

    • Webinopoly houses a team of Shopify experts in web design and development and can customize a design for you to match your vision and brand;
    • Webinopoly's developers are experts in providing the most efficient solutions to your customer’s problems
    • We specialize in e-commerce marketing and advanced eCommerce Analytics for eCommerce and Conversion Rate Optimization services

     

     Contact your Shopify experts at Webinopoly here.

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