Last updated on October 2023
Social commerce falls under the large eCommerce umbrella. It refers to the use of social media platforms to promote your products and services and boost sales right in social channels. Some of the marketing tactics that involve social commerce you might know are celebrity endorsements, offering giveaways on social media, or encouraging customer-submitted photos.
Nordstrom, which pins a "popular on Pinterest" label on store items that are trending online. (Source: Pinterest)
The Role of Social Commerce Across BFCM
In spite of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, eCommerce is still on the rise. No doubt that online shopping is one of the most popular online activities worldwide with global e-retail sales reaching nearly $6.4 trillion in 2024.
Also, as social media continues to grow, social commerce gives consumers more ways to browse and buy things within different channels. Global sales through social media platforms were estimated at approximately $89.4 billion in 2020. Moreover, forecasts suggest that the size of the social commerce market could grow to around $604.5 billion by 2027.
In 2020, eCommerce crushed Black Friday/Cyber Monday (BFCM) sales in spite of sudden lockdowns and economic hardship. The online competition was greater than it had ever been before. Shopify store owners collectively made a whopping $5.1 billion in sales between Black Friday and Cyber Monday globally, an increase of 76% from last year.
Independent businesses on Shopify made 2020 the most successful BFCM to date. Experts predict that digital sales revenue for BFCM will grow by at least 20-50% more than the previous years. Also, SMB brands should prepare by building a dynamic shopping experience that sets them apart from the game. (Source: Shopify)
Consumers are increasingly clicking on the deals they find on social media. As a result, the revenue generated from social channels is growing. Take a look at these statistics to see how consumer behaviors have changed during BFCMs:
- Black Friday 2020’s conversion via social media is bigger than 2019. It witnessed a YoY rise of 175% in total messages about Black Friday.
- 20% of online consumers had bought a product following a recommendation by social influencers.
- Finding deals on Instagram and Pinterest increased by 73% and 45%, respectively.
It is clear that social commerce is shaping the eCommerce industry, including sale events like BFCM. That’s why you can no longer ignore social commerce as combining it into your marketing strategy is indisputable to success.
How to Prep Your Social Commerce Strategies to Win BFCM 2021
From a consumer's perspective, social commerce could fill a void when people go online without the knowledge of what they're looking for or even the intent to buy things. Before we jump into tips to harness social commerce, there are some things you should know.
Firstly, for your success, defining your target market is a must before executing any tactics. To save you time, money, and importantly, to achieve success, you need to identify who are ideal customers based on their location, beliefs, their online behaviors, how much they earn, which devices they use, and so on. The more you understand your consumers, the better you earn from them. Also, take a look at the social commerce market. According to Insider Intelligence, social commerce sales will account for 4.3% of retail eCommerce sales. Apart from fashion categories, home decor, electronics, and brands selling newly differentiated products are key players.
From these insights, you will know how much you should invest in social commerce. If you are ready, let's see how you can conduct your online business on social media!
Choose The Right Platforms
It is not a smart choice to take all channels into your plan. Instead, why don’t you analyze which ones your audience uses the most and have a big impact on them? Still confused? We have some statistics to inform your strategy.
(Source: Practical eCommerce)
(Source: Practical eCommerce)
It is evident that Instagram and Snapchat are popular among a younger demographic, with Snapchat offering a balanced male-to-female ratio. Meanwhile, Pinterest is used mostly by females between ages 18 to 64. Twitter, by contrast, has mostly male users. Facebook users include all ages, both male and female.
Not only the reach and engagement, as a store owner, you definitely care about how these platforms can help you convert sales, right? Accessing the total potential eCommerce revenue from social-media traffic requires a comprehensive view of each platform. Overall, Facebook has the highest conversion rate (5%) and revenue potential ($1,398), followed by Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat.
(Source: Practical eCommerce)
It would be amiss without mentioning TikTok - the newest name in social networking sites with over 100 million users. Also, TikTok has already taken steps into the eCommerce industry via integrations with Shopify and Walmart. To facilitate more eCommerce opportunities, the platform briefed advertisers on 3 new updates coming soon:
- A tool that allows the most followed users to share product links and earn commission on any sales automatically.
- The ability for brands to display product catalogs on the platform.
- ‘Livestreamed’ shopping - a mobile phone version of TV shopping channels where users can buy things showcased by TikTok stars with a few taps.
All of these tools have been in testing, or live development, for some time - though not all in the US market.
Develop A Visual Social Storefront
With over 50% of consumers discovering products on social media, now is the time to rebuild your profile experience. Plus, social media users say that if they got inspired by something they saw on their feed, they would take action to find and purchase it right away, according to Instagram.
In 2020, Facebook introduced Facebook Shops - the first mobile shopping experience where businesses are able to create an online store on both Facebook and Instagram for free. Shops let you choose your items to feature, merchandise with product collections, and tell your brand story with customizable fonts and colors.
No doubt that this is a great opportunity for you to visually stand out in potential customers’ feeds as well as enable shoppers to instantly see more product details and how to buy. (Source: Facebook)
Instagram helps online merchants customize storefronts where you can display specific product collections and ranges. (Source: Facebook)
Facebook partnered with leading eCommerce companies including Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, and CedCommerce that provide powerful tools and support to help you start and run your business online.
Not lagging behind its competitor, Twitter is testing The Shop Module, a dedicated space at the top of a profile where businesses can showcase their products. When people visit a profile with the Shop Module enabled, they can scroll through the carousel of products and tap through on a single product to learn more and purchase - seamlessly in an in-app browser, without having to leave Twitter.
Leverage User-Generated Content
User-Generated Content (UGC) is considered the most authentic and influential content that e-merchants and marketers could use to convert online shoppers. Text, videos, images, reviews, or anything created by people featuring your brand will boost your credibility in the process.
UGC is the most influential factor when customers decide whether they buy your products or not. (Souce: SocialMediaToday)
56% of consumers reported that the types of content they like to see from brands are customer-created photos. Also, if you want to reduce the pressure of making compelling visuals for daily posts, why don't you create a UGC feed on your social pages to engage more customers and humanize your sales content?
Farmacy Beauty features many review videos by consumers on their Instagram that would help them engage potential shoppers as well as boost their confidence when choosing Farmacy products. (Source: Farmacy Beauty)
Product reviews, photos, unboxing videos - unfiltered ways that show your products in use - will bring consumers an authentic and engaging shopping experience. They would look to real shoppers to answer their questions about your products and share personal insights about purchases.
Apart from sharing UGC in the feed as normal, brands now can turn customer reviews into shoppable content via Stories as the image illustrates. Your followers learn about featured items easily without leaving the app.
Team Up with Micro-Influencers
Social media has changed the relationship between customers and brands by enabling peer recommendations, reviews, or social proof to play a much greater role in buying decisions. Along with this trend, brands have been leveraging influencers to boost awareness, engagement, and sales. Did you know that businesses are making a strong return from influencer marketing, generating $6.50 in revenue for each $1 spent?
However, the influencer landscape has become oversaturated and those who spent a big budget on celebrities or blog influencers do not see the same conversion results. To solve this problem, micro-influencers would be a wise choice as they care about quality over quantity. A micro-influencer has a smaller, and highly engaged audience, ranging between 10,000 and 50,000 followers.
Thanks to micro-influencers, promotion content should feel organic, be in their own voice, and style. As a result, it will reach a wider range of potential customers to increase your social commerce abilities. (Source: Red Dress)
According to Hubspot, 82% of online shoppers are more likely to buy a product or service recommended by a micro-influencer. The reason why micro-influencers can get higher engagement and greater trust is that the way they interact with followers is conversational. Plus, they specialize in specific verticals that make their social posts niche and focused. As a result, micro-influencers can give your business a bigger punch for a BFCM campaign.
Experiment With Chat Commerce to Improve Personalization
A study has shown that 44% of online consumers will likely become loyal customers if you provide a tailored and highly personalized shopping experience. This might be challenging within social media platforms as store owners have less control over the channel's infrastructure.
Fortunately, chatbots can help you out as they will answer simple and common questions immediately so that you make sure that no one falls through the cracks in your inboxes. In fact, 40% of customers expect a reply from brands and businesses within an hour after putting their queries on social media platforms. Moreover, 79% expect a reply from businesses and brands within 24 hours.
Now you might be asking what kinds of questions should you set up in the social media chatbots, right? Half of the consumers look to address customer care-related issues including questions about products/services or complaints via social media. Let’s see how LEGO routes the questions efficiently while still offering a personal service of in-store shopping.
With thousands of toys for customers to choose from, LEGO has created Ralph, a bot for Messenger to help guests find the perfect gift. (Source: Facebook)
Through a series of questions including location, age, price range, and interests, Ralph quickly makes personalized recommendations for the products that are best suited for the guest.
Preparing social care teams to respond quickly and efficiently on social media is vital to not just consumer gratification, but also to future revenue and word-of-mouth brand awareness for a business. Since launching Ralph, LEGO has seen 3.4X higher return on ad spend for ads that click to the Messenger experience, compared to ads that are linked to their website.
Apart from giving customers immediate replies to free up your human agents, you can sell products and services using Messenger’s webview as well as send shopper post-purchase updates of receipts, shipping info, and other follow-up details to a confirmed transaction.
How to Measure Your Social Commerce Success
Once your experience is up and running, it is time to test performance and see how your social commerce is impacting your business. When testing, you must ensure that you measure everything based on your success metrics in your strategy. Once you gather insights on what is working best, and what needs improving, you can then optimize accordingly to maximize profits. When it comes to social commerce, there are several metrics that e-merchants should consider here:
- Engagement essentially boils down to how many audience accounts are interacting with your account and how often. You should look at:
- Likes, comments, retweets, and so on.
- Engagement rate: The number of engagements divided by impressions or reach.
- Account mentions or organic mentions indicate good brand awareness.
- Share of voice: It indicates how much of the online sphere your brand is taking part in. For example, if you are a florist in Toronto, it would look at how many people are talking about your brand online as compared to your competitors. Social listening tools such as Hootsuite, Brandwatch, or BuzzSumo would be a great choice.
- Referrals & Conversions: social referral traffic and conversions are tied to both sales and marketing goals, and ultimately major business goals. To track the performance, you might need the help of UTM tracking and Google Analytics.
- Referrals: are how a user lands on your website. In web analytics, you will see them broken down into sources. “Social” is usually the source/medium you will be monitoring, and then it’s broken down by network.
- Conversions: A social conversion means they visited via a social media channel and then purchased something in that same visit.
Ready to Win This BFCM with Social Commerce?
The biggest shopping season is coming to town! Preparation, planning, and starting early is always the key to a successful Black Friday Cyber Monday campaign. Remember that online shoppers value overall customer experience and social commerce is an important part of that.
If this year is your first BFCM, don't worry. Set realistic expectations, stay motivated, and follow us to get all resources to power through the craziest time of the year.