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  • Writer's pictureDenis Sinelnikov

FORBES Feature: The Rise Of Social Commerce — And How To Tap Into It

The social media landscape is ever-evolving, and we've seen some remarkable changes over the last year or so. Perhaps the most significant has been the growth of social commerce—the selling of products and services directly through social media platforms. The way consumers engage with brands on social media is changing, and if you haven't stepped up already, 2024 is the year to do so.

What's Driving Social Commerce?

According to recent data, three of the top four social media platforms worldwide are Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. What sets these platforms apart is not only their popularity but also the staggering size of their user bases, which significantly outshine those of platforms that rank lower in the hierarchy. Facebook leads the pack with a colossal monthly active user base of 3 billion, followed closely by YouTube with 2.49 billion and Instagram with an impressive 2 billion. This dominance underscores the unparalleled reach and influence these platforms have on the global social media landscape.

Also relevant is that a staggering 92% of internet users worldwide access the web through mobile devices.

So, why are these statistics so significant? Because the reach of social media is wide, and users on these platforms are doing more than browsing videos and photos. These statistics show us what's driving the rise of social commerce.

How Does Social Commerce Work?

While most companies are probably familiar with the simple action of putting a "Shop Now" button on their Facebook page that leads to their website, social commerce takes a more direct route. Through social commerce, every aspect of the online shopping experience happens on the social media platform.

For example, I'm scrolling through TikTok, watching videos, and notice the "Shop" tab. So, I click on it, scroll and notice some storage bowls on sale. I can use those for my lunches, so I click and add them to my cart, check out, and then click on "For You" again to continue scrolling through videos.

As I continue to scroll, I run into an ad for a product that sponsors one of my favorite shows on YouTube. I decide why not and click the button to get started. I go through, pay and click the X at the top of the screen, and I'm back on my "For You" page once more.

In both of these situations, I'm able to make a purchase on the platform with little interruption of the thing I'm actually on the platform to do—scroll through videos when I should be asleep. This is by design, as social media platforms want to keep users on their sites while making them valuable to advertisers and business partners.

TikTok is not alone. Instagram, Facebook and YouTube have also integrated e-commerce into their platforms successfully, with a steady rise in adoption among users. Considering this and the statistics we discussed before, it's clear that social commerce has huge potential for companies.

Tapping Into Social Commerce

Social commerce is, by design, easy on the consumer end. Setting it up on the company side takes more work and time, but it is well worth the effort you put into it. However, it's important to approach this endeavor correctly. As with all marketing efforts, you need a strong plan.

  • Choose the correct platform for your brand and products. If you're a home decor or beauty brand, you're more likely to succeed on Instagram than a business-focused platform like LinkedIn. Meanwhile, Facebook has a broad enough user base for most industries to find success.

  • Establish a strong social media presence on the platform(s) you choose. Begin posting, and then use the platform's analytics to refine your posting schedule so that you post at peak times. Boost your organic posting with paid promotions to increase traffic and engagement.

  • Ensure your website is optimized for mobile use, and audit your Google Business Profile. While your focus is on social media, you do not want to ignore the rest of your online presence and reputation management.

  • Develop a social commerce strategy that takes into account your sales goals, target market, social media content and key performance indicators.

  • Take advantage of all the tools your chosen platforms offer to make engaging with your products as seamless as possible for users. Remember, the goal is for a consumer to purchase from you without feeling like they have been interrupted in their social media browsing

  • Create appealing and engaging product listings and supporting social media posts. Use high-quality images and include all the information that a consumer will need to make the decision to buy.

  • Stay on top of new social commerce trends and changes. Pay attention to what others are doing with their stores, and watch for platform changes and new technology. Implement positive changes and make sure you're prepared if a site decides to drop a feature or alter its terms.

While we have seen changes in social media over the past year, including new platforms coming online, social media itself continues to dominate how we use the internet. The brands that engage in social commerce on these platforms will see growth. The numbers don't lie.


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