[Social commerce] What it is, pros and cons for eCommerce

Online stores are booming and more and more customers are buying from them. How can you improve your sales with the help of social media sites? The answer is social commerce. This article will give you the best tips you can use to get better results.

The digital world is gaining territory in the personal lives of consumers. Therefore, every brand needs to have a relevant position on the Internet and a good reputation.

If we think about the time that we spend on social media we will realize how important they are for a business. Thus, your business’s presence on them is fundamental for achieving your sales goals.

Let’s see how social commerce fits into this picture

What is social commerce?

Social commerce is a strategy designed for an e-commerce or online store to achieve better results thanks to the activity that the brand develops in social media and in different digital media.

When analyzing this definition, it is easy to realize that in a social commerce strategy, social media become another channel for sales.

The most recognized example is Instagram, the social media that is best at integrating with e-commerce stores for B2C businesses. We will talk about Instagram and the others a little later.

We would also like to tell you that in order to be able to act on all the advice we are going to give you in this article, you need to work with company pages, not with personal profiles.
This is not only because it is a requirement of the networks, but also because (most importantly) you will be able to measure the results you achieve with social commerce.

3 Fundamentals for a good social commerce strategy

Studies, like those from IAB Spain or We are Social with Hootsuite, show that the Internet and social media are where people spend the most time every day.

If we take into account that in order to sell you have to meet your buyer, then it is obvious that a seller needs to be on social media. But not in just any way. It needs to be through social commerce.

What does a social commerce strategy need, and how should it look?

Choose the social media platforms where you will have a presence wisely.

This is the first characteristic that every social media strategy needs, including social commerce.

You do not need to be on every social network but only on those where your potential customer is receptive of your publications and products. Choose well.
Also, not every platform has the tools that you need for an optimal social commerce strategy. (We will analyze this a few paragraphs below.)

Content marketing

It is fundamental that your publications talk about the solutions that your products provide to your customers, not the features they have.

For example, a potential customer is not going to look at the price or color of a pair of sneakers if he is not sure that they have an air chamber. The priority is to meet the customer’s needs. Later, they can choose the color.

Humanize your brand

When we say “humanize your brand” in a social selling strategy, we mean to give it human characteristics. What does it look like, how do you define it?:

  • Is it nice?
  • Is it young?
  • Is it disruptive?
  • Is it approachable?

When you think of a person, you give them adjectives. Do the same with your brand and when you publish on social media, show that humanity.

👉 Pros and cons of integrating social commerce into your strategy

First off, a disclaimer.

When we say you should turn your social media into another sales channel, we’re not saying it should be your only sales channel.

Social media sales don’t replace your e‑commerce website.

For a start, because Facebook’s the only platform – as of now – offering on-site purchases (with the rest, purchases still need to be completed through the seller’s website).

But the main reason is that the true potential of social commerce lies in using it as part of an omnichannel strategy.

Let’s take this one step at a time.

Advantages of using a social commerce strategy in your online store

When we talk about turning a social networking into a sales channel, we don’t mean making it your only sales channel.

Don’t think that by selling on social media you can do without your e-commerce website. The real potential of social commerce comes when you use it as part of an omnichannel strategy.  In fact, it is important to include these other actions that you can have on your website and that we will explain in this article.

So, what are the advantages of using a social commerce strategy in your e-commerce business or online store?

1. You reach a large number of potential customers

Social media move masses.

Just Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, the three most-used (without counting WhatsApp), make up a volume of more than 6 billion users.

This, together with a good strategy, will allow you to reach a huge number of people interested in buying your products.

Not only that, but social media are also a great tool for reinforcing your branding and creating a loyal community around your brand.

Also…

2. You will attract more traffic to your website

Because, as we were saying, today most social media still force the user to finish their purchase on your website. The United States is the most advanced country in getting rid of this requirement.

This is where the omnichannel comes into play.

The idea is to use the platforms to attract users, show them your products and provoke their desire to purchase them and, when they are ready to buy you refer them to your e-commerce website and close the deal.

There is another advantage, and it is that when you get more traffic, Google awards you by positioning you better in the search results.

3. They are good customer service channels

If social media are good at one thing it is facilitating conversation between brands and consumers. Conversation has always been word that defines them best. This also helps the humanization of the brand, of which we talked about earlier.

Without a doubt, this is fundamental when it comes to social commerce.

For example, imagine that you sell clothing and a customer wants to know if the latest tennis shoes you’ve uploaded comes in fuchsia.

If they have seen the product on your social media, the only thing they have to do is click the “send private message” button. Or even easier, go to the comments and write the question right there.

The simpler the process, the more likely they are to buy.

4. Increase confidence (and conversion rates)

Users are most active on social media.

They comment, they respond to each other…and they also are more likely to leave reviews about the product they have purchased.

Those reviews are invaluable, because up to 90% of consumers are guided by the opinions of other buyers when making a purchase decision. Actually, if you think about it, you probably do this too when you go to an e-commerce website.

That’s why social commerce is such a powerful tool to build trust among your leads and increase conversion rates and sell more.

Disadvantages

It’s never a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket, and social media is no exception. Let’s see why.

1. Users get sidetracked

Buying on social media has become quite common.

However, in reality, when users log in, they don’t typically have a purchase intention. Plus, they’re also exposed to many different stimuli (tag notifications, live streaming by people they follow, a new story uploaded by some of their contacts, etc.).

With so much around, the chances of users abandoning a purchase halfway through is quite high.

2. Limited configuration options

Social media is putting a lot of effort into trying to look like online stores… but they’re not stores.

This means you can’t:

  • Suggest complementary products to promote cross-selling.
  • Show pop-ups or push notifications to advertise promotions.
  • Add a smart search engine to streamline searches on your website (and increase sales).

In fact, as we said earlier, most platforms don’t even have a payment gateway.

So, although this functionality is likely to be implemented in due time, there’s still a way to go.

3. Your sales depend on an algorithm

Remember the change to Facebook’s algorithm that limited organic reach?

In its aftermath, many stores that had strived to get clients through fan pages saw their sales plummet.

All they could do was invest in Facebook Ads to get their reach back to where it was.

This could happen at any time, and it could force you to give your sales strategy a U-turn.

That’s why social commerce should always be one of your online store’s columns (alongside organic traffic directed through your website and your email subscribers list), but not your only option.

How to use the most important social media in a social commerce strategy?

Social media are always a great channel for talking to your customers and potential customers. Conversation is the best way to humanize your brand, attract new customers, and build customer loyalty.

This is the premise of every digital marketing strategy.

Now, let’s pretend that you have an e-commerce online store. We also have a shaker in which we are going to add the ingredients that we have already mentioned:

  • Choose the social media where your brand has a presence wisely
  • Do content marketing
  • Humanize your brand
  • Talk to users (customers and potential customers)
  • Have a good digital reputation
  • Have good customer service on social media

Shake it up well, with care (baby your e-commerce website) and you will have a social commerce strategy. How are you going to use it? Let’s take a look.

How to use Facebook for social commerce?

Facebook was the pioneer in introducing the “store” concept. Nowadays, it can even be used to sell services.

Facebook offers you a storefront where you can showcase your products, with the price, features…in short, with all of the information your customer needs to make a purchase.


social commerce ejemplo

In very few countries (the United States) can you make a purchase directly within it, therefore, for each item that you list on it you must link to it’s twin in your online store.
That is, the purchase is completed on your website.

To put it another way, it would be as if you put the tennis shoes up for sale at a sidewalk sale, but the customer makes the purchase in your store, with your payment gateway.
You get a lot of visibility and you bring it to your website.

Strategic recommendation

Due to the type of users that this social network has, our recommendation is to show the products from two points of view (you decide which one interests you more):

  1. Show what’s new
    Turn your Facebook store into a place where your customers get the first chance to view your new products.
  2. Make an outlet store
    Your Facebook page can be a place where you liquidate your obsolete products or those that are out of season.

How to use Instagram for social commerce?

Mark Zuckerberg, creator of Facebook, and Meta have followed in the wake of the social media platform that has acted like a big sister: Facebook. And they have launched a great space on Instagram in which to build your social commerce strategy.

As of today, Instagram is probably the best social media to implement social commerce, as long as your potential customer uses this platform in a way that your brand needs (remember what we said about choosing a platform wisely, one in which it is convenient for your brand to have a presence).

que es social commerce

Social commerce in the Instagram Feed:

The system is the same as that of Facebook, your posts must be linked to the products in your e-commerce store. If the product is not in your online store, you cannot link to it on Instagram, although you can post it without the possibility of it being purchased.

The user will know if the product if for sale because a shopping basket will appear in the corner of the image that you post.

Tip: be original and do not only post the product, but integrate it into a lifestyle.

Social commerce in Instagram Stories:

To be able to put links (the basis of social commerce) in Instagram Stories you have to have more than 10 thousand followers. If you do not have that many, don’t buy any because your engagement will drop and the algorithm will give you less visibility in any subsequent posts you make.

Social commerce on IGTV Reels:

This is video section of Instagram, so here you can take advantage of making videos with product demonstrations. By the way, this is what we will do on YouTube.

How to use Pinterest for social commerce?

Pinterest is a very visual social media which serves as inspiration for many people. It does not have its own store per se, but you can link to a specific webpage in every pin that you make.

In other words, in the product pins that you publish to Pinterest, you can link to product pages in your e-commerce store. This means that you are placing the user just a click away from a purchasing the product.

This is a very interesting way to increase your sales because if these users are attracted to the product, there is a high probability that the click they make will be to buy.

If your customer is on Pinterest, don’t hesitate to develop your presence on this social media.

How to use YouTube and TikTok for social commerce?

We can link the social commerce strategy of YouTube and TikTok with that of Reels or IGTV; they are very visual and serve as inspiration for many people.

We can talk about them in practically the same way: videos that will help you to demo your products and strengthen your reputation.

This means that you could be creating very similar content for 4 similar social networking spaces.
If you have the financial and human resources for it, go for it!
If you don’t have those resources, decide which of these social networks fits best with your business.

NOTE:
LinkedIn and Twitter are not well-equipped for a good social commerce strategy. This means that, if your customer is on those platforms, you can follow the usual business social media marketing plan.

Social commerce practices that can complement social networking

The definition of social commerce talks not only about strategic moves on social media platforms, but also includes other social media.

We detail those here and explain what to do with them:

Remarks on e-commerce product pages

Throughout this post we have already shown you that social commerce implies a conversation with your customer. One of the places where you have the opportunity to do this is product pages.

You will gain a lot of trust when you allow your users to add comments on your website, right below the product. Let them have their say and don’t be afraid of their opinions. If you are confident in what you are selling, positive feedback will help.

Implement social rating

Within social commerce, social rating is a simple action with a big impact.
It’s the quintessential stars that customers give to products.

Google really likes them and they help your position in the search engine results because it is a really simple way to indicate that the product is HOT and well-liked.

Be sure to include this in your online store.

Allow your products to be shared on social media

We already know that consumers (ourselves included) like to say if we have or have not liked a product. We want to recommend it. So for this reason, social commerce includes the act of sharing the product page from your website.

It is very easy to do when you design your e-commerce store. Ask your developer to include it and let your customers be your megaphone.

Make Google Reviews more powerful

Want to appear on the first page of Google?
User reviews of your brand and your products help enormously.

For everything to be optimized, you need to perfect your Google My Business page. Regularly post on it and invite your customers to leave their opinion.

Work with influencers

First of all we want you to know that an Influencer does not need to be famous or charge money to give you exposure. Choose them based on engagement with their social networking profiles and not only the number of followers they have. This is misleading.

Of course, if you find someone with a great reputation among your potential customers, it will help you a lot to get the most out of your social commerce strategy.

Conclusions

As you have seen in this article, there are many initiatives you can develop to get the most out of your e-commerce website. The key is that all of them are grouped and defined to work together in the same digital strategy.

Today we have given you the key to how to make social networks work so that they are conducive to this strategy which we have called social commerce.

Now that you know what to do and how to do it, don’t wait to implement a social commerce strategy for your online store.