Social commerce: your ecommerce bridge
You set your foundation in part 1, now let’s build on it. For most of us, shopping is a social experience and eCommerce…well, ‘it’s not so social by nature’. We need to bridge the on- and offline shopping experiences: enter social commerce.
What is social commerce? I can tell you what it is not, defined. Some confine it to the ability to buy within social media platforms. Others take a more liberal view and include using the channel as a conduit to drive ecommerce traffic in their definition.
Being confined is…well it’s confining. And if the concept of social commerce is in its infancy, the last thing we should do is confine it. Therefore, we will allow it to include any activity that uses social media as a channel to drive eCommerce, either directly or indirectly.
Why should you implement a social commerce strategy?
No one really knows if Google’s algorithm considers social media when ranking your page. We know that there is definitely an indirect connection: your social media presence and engagement drives users to your site.
Their overall on-site and in-page time pushes your authority upwards which will help your pages compete more effectively for the keywords you’re competing for which will help carry your pages and domain higher in the SERPs, so on and so forth.
The same is true for conversions. It may be different in Southeast Asia and may change for more developed economies as social commerce matures, but social media is not a direct conversion source…indirectly?
According to one study, 78% of respondents reported that companies’ social media posts influence their purchase decisions. Sharing is not just caring, it’s selling. Translation: if you’re not using social media, you’re losing sales.
But SERPs and conversions are obvious. The nuanced, subtle reason that you should be implementing a social commerce strategy is that you have control over your message in both content and frequency. Simple.
What to get right with your social commerce strategy
Many would have you believe that the success of the social media channel depends on the application of hard-to-grasp principles. It’s not complicated: understand the format, be consistent and engage.
According to comScore’s 2016 “Global Digital Future in Focus”, users are primarily consuming social media through their mobile devices. Obvious…yeah. The not-so-obvious? The feeds.
They’re vertical and encourage one thing: scrolling. That is partially why posts with images and videos have the highest engagement rates; our brains process visual information almost instantaneously.
While not every social media post you make needs to include a visual component, every substantive piece, such as “evergreen content” [discussed in Pt. 3] needs be coupled with a striking image.
But most importantly? Be consistent and engage. Post consistently and you create opportunities for engagement. Every increment of engagement decreases your degrees of separation from potential customers.
Solicit engagement through questions, surveys, contests (even it just provides a small reward). Include social media buttons in your product listings, theme your products and post them on a weekly basis and…encourage conversations.
Use an RSS feed or similar service, and repost/comment on industry trends. Take a position and state it unapologetically: Be different.
Build your bridge tall and wide
This is what will set you apart from other brands that are afraid of being too different. Use discretion, but don’t base your communication strategy in fear…state your position and give your brand personality.
Customers are buying what your brand conveys as much as the products. Put your brand’s personality front-and-center and you will earn their loyalty. Don’t believe me?
Look at how Amazon stands behind their insane work culture in the name of getting your order to you with near-impossible speed.
The perfect channel for this is social media. Build the bridge now while others are taking the obvious route. How do you build it? Consistently. One stone at a time. And with the help of your customers.
Your social commerce homework…and what’s up next
You’ve made it past part 2. Congrats. Your homework is simple: research the demographics of social media platforms you are currently using or are interested in. It’s likely that you already have an idea of what your brand stands for.
Go a little deeper and think about your brand voice, its style of speech, how it sounds. When you’re posting and commenting, verbalize what you are saying to understand how others will ‘hear’ as they read to themselves.
We’re looking for authenticity and consistency: this will go a long way, especially when we go into content in part 3. Lastly, create a posting schedule, STICK to it and engage your customers…today.