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Everything You Need to Know About Social Media Shopping, From Product Tagging to TikTok Storefronts

Michael Waters
August 12, 2022
eCommerce shoppers spent $27 billion on products they first discovered on social media. Learn how to sell your products on social media to drive revenue.

Last year (2021), eCommerce shoppers spent $27 billion on products they first discovered on social media, and that number is projected to double in the next two years. The question is: Is your brand ready to capture the opportunity?

Below we’ll cover:

The most popular social commerce platforms

Social platforms have expanded beyond product discovery and social interaction - they've also turned into shopping mediums. One-third of all social commerce sales are on Facebook, making it the most popular platform for social commerce. This can be attributed to online shopping features like:

As for other platforms that rank:

A Free Guide on How to Launch Ads on TikTok

Get to know two kinds of social commerce shoppers: In-app Buyers and Browsers

In-App Buyers

In-app buyers are shoppers who make a purchase directly in-app — and they make up 38.5% of social commerce buyers. Unlike a browser, in-app buyers check out on a social media platform without needing to visit your website. 

Instagram and Facebook are the two social media platforms that let customers make a direct purchase on social media through their twin Checkout features. To set up Checkout, you can either go through Instagram’s Commerce Manager or simply add the Instagram integration to your existing Shopify or BigCommerce stores.  

3 Strategies for Converting In-app Shoppers 

Since in-app shoppers may not visit your website before purchasing, it’s important to make information on your website also accessible from your social network profile. This can include: your brand story, return policy, FAQs, social commitments (i.e. sustainability), and more.

Having this information on social allows shoppers to understand your brand without needing to leave Instagram. The three tactics below will help establish trust and get consumers to convert.

Place your FAQs on social media

Using the tool ‘Stories Highlights’ on Instagram and Facebook, you can create Stories pinned to the top of your profile. 

The furniture brand Article does this well. They created a FAQs section at the top of its Instagram page using Stories Highlights. Visitors can click through and get popular product questions answered without needing to leave the social platform.

Article instagram profile
(via Article)

And for Instagram shopping, you can even creatively use Reels to demonstrate how your products are used. You can also make some of them shoppable, giving Instagram users easier access to your products.  

Respond to product questions in-app

When customers are interested in your product(s), but have questions, they’ll often ask on the social platform itself — like in the comments section. To convert these customers, make sure someone is moderating your social comments and responding in a timely manner. 

For example, say you sell clothing and just posted your latest spring collection. Someone scrolling through their feed sees your post and spots an item they love; they want to know if you have it in a specific color or size. They’ll probably ask in the comments section of your post or DM you directly (i.e. via Facebook Messenger). That’s your opportunity to convert that customer. 

And if you don’t have the time to moderate all your social comments, Chatdesk can help. Our team of Experts — who are already fans of your brand — will address their questions and concerns. Schedule a demo with us today.

Get influencers to tag your products — and make sure they point to a checkout page

Also known as direct product tagging, social media users can tag products the same way they tag friends in posts and using this tactic streamlines the path to checkout.

Influencer marketing is a powerful tool you can integrate into your marketing strategy. Influencer messaging resonates with specific demographics — like Gen Z and Millennials — that closely follow them.

Businesses are making an ROI of $5.78 for every $1 they spend on this social media marketing tactic.

Browsers

Browsers make up the majority of social shoppers — they don't buy products directly on social media platforms. Instead, they discover your product through social media, but go to your eCommerce website to learn more and checkout.

Strategies to Reach Social Commerce Browsers

Browsers can discover your product by coincidence, like through their friend’s post, but these shoppers can also be intentional. That’s where your hashtag strategy comes in.

How can I court social media shoppers?

Set up your social media storefronts

One of the simplest ways to increase social media conversions is to load your product catalog into your social platforms. With social storefronts, anyone who stumbles on your profile can easily toggle through your products' prices, descriptions, and images.

If you use Shopify, you can automatically load your inventory into Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and TikTok by adding them to your Shopify dashboards. Click here to install the TikTok app for Shopify.

On TikTok, adding a storefront creates a separate “Shop” tab on your profile. You can see what this looks like on the profile of the haircare brand Prose.

Prose Hair social storefront
Example of Prose Hair social storefront.

Run targeted ads

In a study with Sprout Social, 49% of respondents who bought products off of social media said they made the purchase after seeing a targeted ad. That was higher than any other tactic. Comparatively, 40% of social media shoppers bought a product based on an organic post from a brand, and only 34% bought a product after seeing a friend’s post about it.

When you run ads, make sure your ads match the creative aesthetic and tone of voice on each platform. Instagram prioritizes clean, colorful photos and videos, for instance, whereas the most popular TikToks have a feeling of being spontaneous and unpolished.

TikTok ad tip: Because viewers swipe between videos on TikTok, make sure your ad has the same low production value and sense of humor as the average TikTok video. If it looks too highly produced, viewers will clock it as an ad immediately. A great example of what to strive for is this ad from the dating app Lox Club.

Also, try to incorporate shoppable posts into your advertising strategy. This added functionality can streamline how users can access products that are the focal points of your marketing campaign.

To get your ad strategy right from the beginning, consider hiring a social media agency like Hawke Media. They specialize in delivering high ROI on social campaigns by helping brands launch targeted advertising, influencer partnerships, and organic social posts. For example, they’ve helped the houseplant brand The Sill increase their ROI on Facebook Ads by 2.7x.

Add product reviews on Instagram and Facebook

According to Deloitte, 67% of all social commerce shoppers said they use product reviews to make their final purchase decisions. If you need more reviews, you can use tools like BazaarVoice and Yotpo; both encourage real buyers of your products to post content and reviews online.

These tools can also help you syndicate reviews, meaning they can migrate reviews that appear on one website onto other shopping sites, including Instagram and Facebook. Most consumers say that they want to see at least 40 reviews before they trust a star rating.

Know which products work best on social media

Products that sell best on social platforms are ones that allow strong visual demonstration. If you’re a beauty brand, for example, your new shade of lipstick bodes well for an eye-catching makeup tutorial — which you can also show on shoppable livestreams. Or if you’re a cleaning brand, pick a product where you can see the before & after effect immediately.

“Social media shoppers” are a diverse category, and at the end of the day, the last thing you want to do is to treat all of them as if they’re the same. Your social shopping strategy should change depending on the platform you use and your target customer. A good TikTok ad, for instance, should look a lot less produced than a good Instagram ad.

To maximize your social selling strategy, it helps to partner with a performance marketing agency like Hawke Media and to work with a social moderation company like Chatdesk. Brands who work with Chatdesk see their conversions on social increase by 15%+ — schedule a free demo to see how we can help you.

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