We spend a lot of our time on social media showing off what we just bought or asking friends for recommendations. So, if you’re in B2C commerce, why not sell directly on these same channels? Plenty of brands are already doing it—and here’s what you can learn from the best of them. As you start building your social media commerce strategy, be sure to read our ebooks on working with social media influencers to expand your reach and on activating internal brand spokespeople and turn them into social trendsetters.
Now more than a decade after the launch of Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook, social media has become central to the customer shopping experience online—from discovery all the way to purchase.
It’s no surprise that commerce brands of all types have ridden the tailwinds of these ever-growing platforms.
Social media marketing can help you build engaged audiences where consumers spend the majority of their time, generate new sources of traffic that continually bring in interested shoppers, and grow your business exponentially through the power of online communities.
But as brands know all too well, starting from scratch can be a daunting task. Especially in 2020 when social networks are more crowded than ever. That’s why we put together a short, but effective, guide to kicking off your social media commerce strategy in 2020.
Focus Your Efforts on Strategic Platforms
The quickest way to average results on social media is by spreading yourself too thin.
Effective social media marketing requires a ton of experimentation and learning from your mistakes. It’s nearly impossible (without getting lucky) to incrementally improve your results over a long period of time without knowing which inputs are causing the greatest outputs. This requires focus.
Start with one or two social media channels to start based on your ideal customer—more on that below. Instagram and Facebook are obvious choices for their ubiquity, but your brand might find more niche channels work best.
The commerce sensation Purple Mattress, for example, decided early on that they would focus on creating content for YouTube. After a few experiments and a ton of learnings their flagship video (seen above) has generated more than 184 million views on YouTube and countless customers.
Map Out Your Customer Journey
Believe it or not, potential customers want to purchase your products. They just don’t know it yet.
Successful social media marketing starts with an understanding of your brand’s ideal customer and their journey to purchasing your product. In other words, when a customer comes across your product on social media—whether organically or via advertisement—what do they do next?
Does the journey from discovery to purchase flow naturally, or are you inadvertently creating extra work for your customers to purchase your product? Creating unnecessary complexity happens more than you think!
Take some time to speak with customers and map out all of the different ways they discover, research, and purchase your products.
Every customer-facing or customer-targeting department in your company can benefit from a customer journey map. Specifically, your marketing team, who are likely creating resources to help move customers along their journey and down the purchase funnel.
Most importantly, don’t assume that all customers journeys are linear. Research shows that nearly 71% of companies say that the time between first customer engagement and purchase takes a month or longer. Cut down on that time by seeing your product through the eyes of your consumers.
Cultivate Your Brand’s Story
You’ve heard this before: Brands must create beautiful, awe-inspiring social content to be successful with social media marketing.
But what does that really mean?
At the heart of great content is the story you’re trying to tell about your brand. Unsure what that story is? Ask yourself these questions:
- What makes your brand unique?
- What makes your product unique?
- What makes your customers unique?
- Why should people care?
- Why would people buy your products with all of the choices they have?
- What are we really good at that no one else is?
Like the uber-talented creators and writers at Pixar once said, “Great stories are universal.”
One way to find out if your brand’s story is easy to follow and compelling is to tell it to a friend or family member who has never heard it before. Watch their faces as you read it and try to see where they pause and what questions they might have.
Simplify until you’ve struck gold.
Kickoff Your Social Media Commerce Strategy in 2020
A commerce brand’s primary focus right now should be getting positive returns on the time, money, and effort that they spend on social media. That requires intention behind every action.
Write down your 2020 social media strategy, but be willing to let it change and evolve as the year brings on new challenges and opportunities. Top commerce brands keep their finger on the pulse of the internet, without getting distracted by every new shiny platform or channel.
Last but not least, the fastest-growing commerce brands in 2020 know their customers in and out, have a unique story to tell that they’ve cultivated over many iterations, and are always looking to improve their craft.
As you craft your social commerce strategy, be sure to read our ebooks on working with social media influencers to expand your reach and on activating internal brand spokespeople to personify your message as thought leaders and trendsetters on social.