How To Perfect Social Media eCommerce for Your Brand in 2021

As people spend increasing amounts of time using social media and joining new platforms, social media becomes ever more essential for eCommerce brands.

Social media networks have also been busy introducing innovative eCommerce features, like shoppable posts and social storefronts. As a result, social media eCommerce has become a critical driver of online sales growth in 2021.

Why is social media eCommerce so important for brands in 2021?

Thanks to the rising number of digital channels, the way consumers discover, research and buy products has completely changed. As a result, marketers have turned their attention to search engines, review sites and social media platforms.

Social media is a particularly important part of the modern consumer journey because it offers access to a huge audience and a unique level of engagement. Over 50% of the world’s population actively uses social media and almost half of these users regularly research products.

The number of purchases made through social media is increasing too. Forecasts suggest that social media eCommerce sales will increase by 35% this year alone.

These statistics are great news for brands of every size. But for those with hefty advertising budgets, social media is essential thanks to the precise targeting and healthy ROI offered by most networks.

Combining social media and eCommerce can boost visibility, awareness and traffic. But it is also a powerful way to generate leads and conversions. This makes it a vital channel for eCommerce brands, particularly those that rely on a D2C business model.

What are the best social media networks for brands to boost eCommerce sales?

Whether you want to drive traffic to your website or process sales directly through social media, here are the best social media networks to help your brand increase eCommerce conversions.

1. Facebook

With over 2.8 billion active users, you’re sure to find members of your target audience on Facebook. This massive user base makes Facebook an obvious choice for eCommerce social media marketing. But the platform’s sophisticated ad targeting and eCommerce features are hugely beneficial too.

Brands can add a storefront to their page or facilitate sales through Facebook Messenger. According to a 2020 survey, 18.3% of Facebook users have made a purchase through the platform. This was significantly higher than any other social media network.

2. Instagram

Conversions on Instagram have grown ever since the launch of its in-app checkout. Just over 11% of Instagram users have bought something through the platform.

Brands can drive sales with shoppable stories, posts, ads and livestreams. Last year, Instagram also introduced a shopping section to its homepage. This presents curated content to users who want to discover new products.

Instagram’s image-centric format and influencer-driven culture means it’s the ideal eCommerce social media for beauty, clothing and home brands.

3. TikTok

TikTok is currently the fastest growing social network around. To date, it has just under 700 million users worldwide. Most of them are under the age of 30, which is huge when you consider that younger audiences are more likely to research and buy products on social media. 

TikTok is leading the way in shoppable video too. Users simply need to click on a product pin to add something to their shopping cart.

TikTok also offers marketers a self-service ad platform and a creator marketplace that will help them recruit influencers.

4. Pinterest

For its 450 million active users, Pinterest often plays a key role in product research. Although just 2.9% of users have made a purchase directly on the site, it is still a platform worth investing in due to the amount of time its users spend researching products to inform a future purchasing decision.

In addition, Pinterest says that 40% of its users have an annual household income of $100,000. Statistics also suggest that sales driven through Pinterest have a hefty Average Order Value of around $50.

Pinterest is continually introducing features to help brands increase sales, such as Promoted Pins, Rich Pins and ‘Shop the Look’ Pins. All this means that Pinterest is a great way to boost profits, particularly for the likes of furniture, fashion or food brands.

5. Twitter

Twitter isn’t exactly a social eCommerce platform. In fact, it recently removed the Buy button feature that supported on-site purchases. However, with 330 million active users, it is still one of the biggest social media sites. This means brands can use its in-stream ads to generate clicks and leads.

Twitter is also working on shoppable tweets and follower-only perks that will allow eCommerce brands to build communities on the platform.

Tips for eCommerce social media marketing success

Because each social media channel has different demographics, features and content requirements, marketing activities always vary from platform to platform. But there are some tips that apply across all social networks.

1. Define your goals

Brands should always start their brainstorm by defining their social media goals. 

Looking at your company’s eCommerce KPIs can help you choose specific goals that will contribute to the overall health of your business. It will also help team members understand what to prioritize when planning activities and distributing budgets.

A startup that wants to build brand awareness may set targets for post reach and page likes on Facebook. An established brand might prioritize conversions, reviews or Messenger response times instead.

Setting clear targets allows marketing teams to measure their progress and figure out what strategies work best.

 2. Drive personalised conversation at scale

Chatbots are a hot topic right now in the world of eCommerce, and they are revolutionizing the consumer experience. Fashion brands arguably have the most to gain from the rise of chatbots and some huge names have gotten on board in recent months.

Brands like Tommy Hilfiger have looked to boost their sales force by a more elastic means – enhancing their social media presence with chatbots that can talk to thousands of consumers at once.

tommy hilfiger's social media chatbot
An example of a conversation with Tommy Hilfiger’s chatbot

For example, Tommy Hilfiger’s bot gave the user three options to orientate the conversation: get fashion advice, browse the full collection or take a look behind the scene of the latest fashion show. If you want to shop the look, just choose your size and the bot will add it to your cart and the conversion is done.

As artificial intelligence becomes more and more advanced, chatbots will become the staple in the future for customer satisfaction. Chatbots will allow brands to stand out from competitors and personalise customer experiences. They will be able to offer customers what they really want, exactly when they want it.

3. Decide whether or not to sell products directly through social media

Your strategy, content and goals will change depending on whether you want customers to go to your website or check out directly on social media.

For example, many luxury and fashion brands are still questioning how to bridge the ‘digital divide’. It is a very delicate path to tread for high-end brands, given what’s at stake – their exclusive brand reputation. 

The trouble for luxury brands is that a lot of what makes them luxury occurs offline, such as exclusive showrooms, personalised service and so on. However, if luxury brands don’t embrace digital they risk falling behind.

Although many high-end brands still remain cautious, more and more are adopting a digital-first approach. One such brand that stands out is ‘Burberry’. With thanks to its full use of technology and partnering with the likes of Instagram and Snapchat, it allows shoppers a full shopping experience both online and offline. Burberry has become the master of storytelling and social media – evident by its 42 million followers. These products require careful consideration and shoppers are more likely to use social media to conduct research.

For brands that rely on impulse purchases, the convenience of social eCommerce could increase sales. CPG brands that retarget customers with replenishment reminders could also benefit.

4. Create a well defined social media strategy

Creating a clear social media strategy which sets out goals, budgets and social channels will allow you to craft effective campaigns. 

To put in place an achievable and realistic strategy, you should take into account resources, in-house skills, audience behaviour and current channel performance.

You should also determine which tools, content types and social media features you want to use. Will you need scheduling software? Who will be in charge of it? Will your brand use messenger marketing and livestream content?

Marketers that work from a detailed strategy are more likely to see success in their eCommerce social media marketing. For example, Louis Vuitton’s core brand values “to deliver excellence, creativity and innovation” are reflected in every post, status and engagement online. When placed on the Louis Vuitton site, you are immersed into a digital library of sorts, moving through stories about how the iconic brand came to be.

louis vuitton social media ecommerce
Louis Vuitton’s core values are reflected in every part of their digital presence

5. Recognise the power of social selling

Social media grew from connecting friends on Facebook to uniting brands and communities across platforms. 

However, today, social media plays a critical role in the evolution of online shopping, with 9 out of 10 consumers turning to social media for help with buying decisions and 75% buying because of something they saw online.

In addition, there has been an increasing trend of buying products straight from social media channels. Instagram’s buy button features, tagging products in photos, is allowing users to go straight to the retailer’s website to purchase.

Brands can also add a where to buy solution to any of their content and make any social media post instantly shoppable, gaining deleted consumer journey insights in the process. Check out the video below to see it in action!

6. Take advantage of social proof

In the world of eCommerce social media marketing, brands need to build trust before they can increase sales. And social proof is the best way to do this.

So make sure your Facebook Business reviews are up-to-scratch and monitor social media for customer complaints. Respond politely to negative comments and try to address the problems that caused them. But when you receive positive feedback, make sure to share it in Instagram stories and Facebook posts.

User-generated content also drives social proof, so run competitions to encourage customers to share their product images. If you have a large following, the promise of exposure may be enough to get shoppers using your hashtag. Brands like Starbucks, Motel Rocks and Vivadog do this to great effect.

Keeping on top of your products’ ratings and reviews is critical to maximizing online sales and protecting your brand. Find out how ChannelSight’s ratings and reviews solutions help you to manage this with ease.

7. Consider influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is proving to be an extremely effective form of advertising. To put the power of influencer marketing into perspective, brands are reportedly set to spend approximately $15 billion on influencer marketing in 2022.

Influencers can be the most powerful assets in a brands toolkit, provided that they match the brand’s values. Influencers can provide engagement and help to bridge a gap between the product and the customer, with their storytelling allowing endorsements in an authentic way.

8. Master paid advertising

Posting organic content can be effective, but powerful eCommerce social media marketing requires the use of paid advertising too.

Luckily, social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter make it easy to target specific audiences and retarget warm leads. Whatever social media platform your brand is using, you should be able to achieve a decent ROI once you learn the ins-and-outs of its advertising tools.

9. Listen and Learn

Carefully monitoring and analysing conversations about your brand allows for deeper insights into your customers. What do they like? What do they dislike? Where do they live? Why do they care about you? Also, you can identify trending topics and be alerted to unusual activity.

With the rich data insights and trends social media monitoring can offer, it has been found that luxury brands who listened and improved their online experience grew their traffic by 52% while brands that ignored their web properties saw growth at only 8%.

Top examples of brands using social media

Lots of businesses use social media to increase product sales, but here are two brands that consistently get it right.

Ted Baker

Again and again, Ted Baker has used storytelling and video technology to create unique social media content.

A few years ago, the brand released a fully shoppable movie called ‘Mission Impeccable’ and it has continued to experiment with shoppable videos ever since.

For its ‘Keeping up with the Bakers’ campaign, the brand created eight soap-opera style Instagram stories. They were released one-by-one to maximise engagement. Some 360-degree videos were also made for users with VR headsets.

Now, while shoppers are on lockdown, Ted Baker is hosting influencer-led live shopping events to enhance the customer experience.

Ted Baker Instagram
Ted Baker is an example of a brand that executes highly effective Instagram campaigns. [Source]

Fenty Beauty

Fenty’s videos consistently rank among the most-watched content on TikTok. This is thanks to its user-generated content, influencer marketing and the make-up tutorials created by founder Rihanna.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, Fenty even set up a ‘TikTok House’ where influencers could test products and create content.

Each video features Fenty products and, sometimes, a CTA. But production is low-cost so even brands with limited budgets can try to recreate Fenty’s social eCommerce magic.

Fenty Beauty Social Media eCommerce example
Fenty Beauty has a large, highly engaged TikTok audience thanks to their excellent use of the platform.

Final thoughts

For brands that sell their products online, social media and ecommerce go hand-in-hand. Not only can it increase sales, but it also provides a way to connect with customers, build a community and gather feedback. This means that brands that have a social media eCommerce strategy can benefit from growth now and in the future.

If you want to better understand your conversion strategy and improve your ROI, get in touch today to see how ChannelSight can help your brand.

ways brands can maximize eCommerce conversions