Building a social commerce strategy
These tips, tools, and insights will help you design an effective and engaging social commerce strategy for your business.
Building a social commerce strategy
Selling on social platforms can help your business connect with a wide market of consumers spanning age demographics and purchasing power.
The following tips, tools, and best practices will help you build an engaging and effective social commerce strategy.
Find your customers
Identifying where your target customers spend time helps ensure you’re using the right platforms to connect with them.
Identify where your target customers spend time.
Determining which social platforms best suit your business, the products you sell, and the customers you want to reach can help ensure that you use the right social platforms to connect with your target audience.
Each of the top social commerce platforms are unique in the type of content that’s most effective and the customer that shops there, so research is a smart first step in designing your social commerce strategy.
Use data provided by social media companies to determine the user demographics on each platform and whether they align or have the potential to align with your business strategy. Since the average consumer has multiple social media accounts, using more than one platform for social commerce will expand your reach. But if you’re just getting up and running, it’s smart to concentrate on one or two platforms.
Take into consideration the type of products you sell and how they’ll be presented on social channels. For example, visually-based content can work well on Instagram and Pinterest, while tutorial-based content may be best demonstrated through videos on TikTok, Facebook, or YouTube.
Finally, research your competitors and other businesses in your industry to see which social platforms they use. Understanding how they engage and connect with users can help inform what your strategy looks like.
Source: The 2022 Square Future of Retail report
Create engaging content
Providing high-quality, relevant content that users engage with can equate to higher sales. Data revealed that consumers will increase their spending with a brand if they feel connected.
Provide content that shoppers engage with.
High-quality, relevant content that users engage with can equate to higher sales. Sprout Social data revealed that 57% of consumers will increase their spending with a brand if they feel connected. There are plenty of ways to create unique content that allows shoppers to feel more connected with your business, but here are a few starting points.
Behind-the-scenes content: If you’re a new business, you’re launching a new product, or you’re trying to generate brand awareness, a behind-the-scenes look at your business and what it offers can create a connection with your followers, can tell your brand’s story, and can offer helpful advice that keeps consumers coming back for more. Share what makes your business unique, or give shoppers insights they wouldn’t usually see from a brand like yours.
User-generated content: Recommendations from others can be a more powerful driver of purchases than traditional marketing, especially for Gen Z. This is what makes user-generated content so powerful on social media. These unpaid, unsponsored social posts come from people creating their own positive content related to your business, and can be used to market your brand organically.
Influencer content: Influencer marketing comes from individuals with a notable social media following and expertise in a certain area who endorse or mention your products. Endorsements from a high-profile influencer can rapidly expand your brand awareness and reach. If you don’t have the budget or resources for influencer marketing, micro-influencer campaigns can be extremely effective, especially for local businesses.
Livestream selling: There’s no way to get in front of potential customers quite like livestream selling on social media. Livestream selling is a great way to connect with shoppers, to talk about your brand, to demonstrate and discuss the products you sell, and to interact with comments in real time. Livestream selling is also an opportunity for shoppers to make purchases directly on the social platform as the livestream is happening.
Make purchasing simple
Certain tools make the checkout experience more seamless for shoppers, which can help you increase sales.
Once customers are ready to make a purchase, offering multiple ways to pay makes the process easier and more flexible for them.
Credit and debit cards are still the most popular payment method among U.S. shoppers, but digital wallet and buy-now, pay-later options are gaining popularity, especially with younger shoppers accustomed to making social and mobile purchases.
Pro Tip: With Square Online, you can create a simple checkout page to direct customers from social platforms. You can also accept credit and debit card payments, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Cash App, and installments with Afterpay.
Offer tools that make checkout easier.
Shopping on social media platforms is meant to feel organic, so you want to provide shoppers with a seamless experience and eliminate friction that can result in a shopper abandoning their purchase. Make sure that all products are tagged in your social posts and that users have a clear way to navigate to checkout.
If you send customers to an online checkout page, make sure it’s simple, streamlined, and only asks for necessary information to speed up the process and to lessen the chances of abandoned cart items.
Using clickable shopping tabs or payment links across your social posts is a clear way for shoppers to navigate to your online checkout page to buy the products they want quickly.
Connect, learn, and support
Taking opportunities to connect with customers and to learn from their feedback on social media platforms will only benefit your business and sales.
Use social platforms to connect, learn, and provide customer support.
When it comes to social commerce, authentic connection is key. Taking opportunities to connect with customers directly and to learn from their feedback on social media platforms will only benefit your business and sales.
If your customers engage with your business and buy your products on social channels, providing customer support on the same social media channels is intuitive. In fact, many customers expect it: According to Facebook data, over 70% of people expect to message businesses more in the future with customer service questions.
Actively monitoring messages within social platforms and responding to customer inquiries, questions, and complaints will help build trust with customers. In some cases it can even create an opportunity to upsell by pointing customers toward certain products.
Valuable feedback also comes from customers on social platforms through comments, DMs, and product reviews, which can give you insight into what customers like, what doesn’t work, and what they want more of. Be sure to respond to customer feedback to let your followers know that your business is listening and engaging across social channels.
Pro Tip: Consumers said that returns, refunds, and exchanges are an area for improvement in social commerce, according to Accenture.
Stay top of mind
Give shoppers a reason to keep purchasing from you with certain incentives.
Stay top of mind with customer incentives.
While showing up in followers’ feeds regularly will help your business stay top of mind, offering incentives for shoppers to engage and purchase from your business on social platforms can help drive loyalty and sales.
According to research by Valassis, 61% of consumers say that coupons or discounts can inspire them to try a new brand, and 60% indicated that coupons or discounts speed up their decision to make a purchase.
Offering custom, limited-time digital coupon codes across social platforms can help entice shoppers to make a first purchase with you, and they can help you generate leads for future marketing efforts.
Once customers have made a purchase, offer them a chance to join your loyalty program. Loyalty programs can further customer connections by offering insider deals, discounts, and special incentives for being a repeat customer.
Accenture reported that 63% of social buyers said they are more likely to buy from the same seller again, and the Square Future of Retail report found that customers enrolled in a Square Loyalty program were twice as likely to be repeat customers and spent 37% more than customers who weren’t in a loyalty program.
Pro Tip: Generate unique and trackable coupon codes to share on social media and build a customer loyalty program straight from your Square Online website.
Encourage customer reviews
Positive product reviews can be the difference between whether a shopper decides to make a purchase or not.
Encourage your customers to leave reviews.
Customers seek out reviews and testimonials from others before they make a purchase, and social commerce is no different. Trusted influencers, user-generated content, and positive product reviews on your social posts and product shops can be the difference between whether a shopper decides to make a purchase or not.
Different social platforms offer various ways for customers to leave reviews, but establishing a method to encourage customer reviews is important. If you’re a small business, you can start by directly messaging customers on the social platform they purchased from and asking them to leave a review. Be friendly and let them know you’re trying to build up positive reviews from satisfied customers.
If you have an email marketing system in place, create an automated email asking customers to leave a review when they’ve made a purchase, with a link or a QR code that points them to where they can leave their review. You can even use incentives, such as coupon codes or limited-time discounts, to encourage customers to take the time to write a review.
Once you have reviews, make sure to respond to them — especially if they are negative — to incorporate the feedback, and use your best reviews as marketing content across social channels.
Social media metrics give you deeper insight into your social commerce strategy.
Take advantage of social media analytics.
Pro Tip: If social media shoppers make their final purchase on your online store, leverage that valuable data in your marketing and loyalty programs to drive repeat business.
If you use a social media channel that provides analytics, take advantage of those insights in your social commerce strategy. Analytics can help you measure user engagement, can show you the performance of your posts, and can give you a breakdown of your audience.
Some platforms will show you deeper social commerce insights, such as the number of times a user tapped on a product tag and the number of people who visited your product page from a post.
How in-depth you get with your social analytics may depend on your business size and marketing
capabilities, but some analytics are easy to turn into actionable insights.
Figure out what your top-performing posts are and duplicate them with similar content. Take a look at the posts that didn’t perform well and make small changes to future posts to explore how you can drive more engagement.
Enhance your social commerce strategy with Square.
With Square social commerce tools, you can manage all of your social selling in one place. Sync your Square Online store to Instagram and Facebook to create a storefront and shoppable posts, or drive users from TikTok, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube back to your online store with a simple payment link.
No matter whether you sell in-store, online, or from mobile or social platforms, Square helps you accept and manage orders, facilitate purchases, and sync all sides of your business in one place.