Is social media just another shiny object that everyone will get tired of as time goes by?
The boom of social media started last 2012. Most people thought that it wouldn’t last.
But then, fast forward to three years later and it’s the year 2015.
Facebook drives 26% of referral traffic to businesses.
74% of consumers turn to social media networks to help them guide their purchases.
The leading 500 social media marketers located in US and Canada improved their social commerce sales from $2.62 billion to $3.30 billion – a 26% increase!
And then the Ecommerce industry gave birth to the term “social commerce”.
What is Social Commerce?
“Social commerce” (also known as s-commerce) can be used to describe the marketing strategies and the online business models that incorporate social media platforms or peer-to-peer interactions to improve the shopping experience and boost revenue during the process.
Social commerce is a partnership between social media and shopping to give rise to significant sales.
How is Social Commerce Relevant to Your Online Store’s Sales?
Like any other principle in business, social commerce is also focused on finding and giving a solution to the needs of your audience.
Social commerce can help you connect with your clients so you can really get to know their needs and the emotional drivers that motivate them to do business with you.
Aside from this, you can also find out the link between social sharing and sales in your business:
77% of B2C companies and 43% of B2B companies acquired their customers via Facebook. If you don’t have a dedicated social media marketing department now, it’s better to get started creating one today.
60% of Facebook fans and 79% of Twitter followers are more likely to recommend those brands since becoming a Facebook fan or a Twitter follower.
Additionally, 51% of Facebook fans and 67% of Twitter followers are more likely to buy the brands they follow or are a fan of.
Indeed, online store merchants who are falling behind the social commerce curve are only slowly killing their business.
Social commerce can either make or break your online business. You need to master the art and science of using social commerce to bring more sales to your store.
Here are five principles – based on Robert Cialdini’s principles of influence – to help you get started:
How You Can Apply Social Commerce In Your Store
1. Social Proof
Your buyers are more likely to buy something with more feedback or higher review ratings.
When it comes to making purchase decisions, some people tend to follow the crowd.
If your target audience sees that you are a popular and likeable business to connect with, they’d feel more comfortable purchasing from you.
Display social proof in your social media platforms by encouraging your customers to review your product/service.
- Think of a reasonable incentive to encourage your customers to leave honest feedback on your products or services. It can be a 10% discount or a “buy-one-take-one” offer for every honest review they post.
- Positive product reviews online can increase a product’s price by 9.5%! Prominently display the reviews and comments of your customers. You want your products to be perceived as more valuable, don’t you?
- Practice transparency. In social commerce, it’s your job to listen first, respond after.
- Customers love feeling that you care about what they have to say. To inspire action, a simple response to a tweet can encourage them to recommend you more to their personal network.
- Feature your best-selling items or the most popular products that your customers frequently leave feedback on social media.
Nordstrom takes it to the next level by integrating online social feedback and offline retail displays. If you own a purely online store, you can easily do this by dedicating a specific page for your most loved items.
Your buyers are more likely to purchase your product if it’s recommended by an expert, a professional reviewer or a top authority in your industry.
Another principle of social commerce is authority. Based on the name itself, the concept behind authority is that people tend to trust the judgment of someone who they think is knowledgeable, well-known and credible in the field that they’re interested in.
If you get more experts to recommend your product or your service, your target audience is more likely to purchase from you.
Want more customers to love your brand? Look for the top vbloggers/bloggers in your industry and ask them to participate in your campaign – just like what Sephora did.
- Identify the industry that you want to penetrate. Find your niche first, before anything else. For example, if you’re selling clothes, specify the target market that your clothes are promoting to.
- Once you’re clear with the niche that you’re focusing on, pinpoint at least 10 authority figures that you want to reach out to: these figures can be bloggers, top reviewers, or renowned critics involved in your niche.
- Don’t contact them directly yet. Find their social network accounts first and interact with them in a friendly manner, such as leaving comments on their posts, linking to their work and mentioning their names, promoting their content and retweeting.
- Once you’ve made a connection with them, you can now invite them as guest bloggers for your company’s website. If this seems inconvenient for them, you can offer to give them a sample of one of your products and ask if they can leave an honest feedback of it.
- You can also get the relationship going by featuring them in your social media platforms. This hits two birds with one stone: you promote an authority figure and you promote your product at the same time. Since 85% of orders from social media sites comes from Facebook, start with this platform.
Here’s how Shellys London did it: promote an authority figure by mentioning them in your post and promote your product at the same time.
Your buyers are more likely to do business with you if your products are endorsed by prominent celebrities they like or adore.
Case in point: Victoria’s Secret makes use of the “Liking” principle by having public figures endorse their products for them.
It’s an aspect of human nature that people tend to follow other people they like, admire or share similar interests with. This is why companies make use of celebrity endorsements – but what if your online store doesn’t have enough budget yet to hire a celebrity?
- You make your own business like-able by engaging with your customers, connecting with them by emphasizing your shared interests and by being a “friend” who your target market can relate with.
Clothing brand Aerie is a like-able brand by going the opposite way: they use “real” women (non-professional models) who don’t get retouched by Photoshop.
- Encourage your customers to identify with your brand by featuring models who they can relate with.
- Be a “friend” simply by listening and responding appropriately. If someone mentions you in their Tweet or posts in your company’s Wall, give a response! How simple is this?
- Friends care about what their other friends think, so use social media as a platform to ask your customers about their product preferences. You forge relationships and you collect data at the same time.
To bring more sales to your store, you have to know exactly what your customers want – you can know this by asking them a favor as a friend: to vote on new product offerings.
Your buyers are more likely to buy something from you if they’ve felt that you’ve already helped them before – some view this as “returning the favor”.
People are reciprocal by nature. If you do something bad to them, they’ll take revenge.
On the other hand, if you do something good to them, they’d remember this gesture and would want to repay the kindness or the benefit that you’ve given them.
- Almost half of online customers expect companies to provide customer on Facebook, so why don’t you use this opportunity to let your helpfulness shine?
- Offer coupons for one-time free consultations: this way, your prospects can ask you something without the fear of being obligated to purchase from you first.
- Make sure that you don’t instantly offer your products/services as a solution right off the bat. Find out what their problem really is and recommend something that will genuinely meet their needs.
- Before you provide any free samples, make sure that the customers who will be receiving it fit your requirements. For example, if you’re into pain relief, it’s better to target those who frequently experiences pain.
First Aid Shot Therapy gives free samples to those who fit their requirements. And they make sure to respond to their mentions, too!
Your buyers are more likely to view your products are more valuable – and therefore more likely to buy them – if they’re time-limited or exclusive.
Because of “fear of missing out”, people have this sense of urgency to purchase your products if they are perceived as “hard-to-get” items. The more exclusive it is, the more people want to buy it.
- Make your discount codes exclusive only to your social network fans. Since 33% of online shoppers have experienced acting on a promotion on a brand’s social media page before, the likelihood of your market acting on your limited offer is pretty decent.
Only Twitter followers of Dorothy Perkins can avail of this limited discount.
- You can also limit the access to your product’s discount by making it available for only a certain period of time.
Now that you’ve reached the end of the article, which among these action plans are you going to implement in your online store – starting today?
With social commerce revenue predicted to hit $30 billion this 2015, it’s a fair assumption to say that social commerce isn’t going anywhere.
The only question is – will you still be there? Or will you just be another shiny object that everyone will eventually get tired of?
What do you think? Share your answers in the comments below.