There are over 3.03 billion active social media users around the world, social media is more than just a platform to connect with friends or to share pictures of your breakfast. Big platforms are trying to develop new ways of engaging potential customers into buying products via their channels.
Here is a breakdown of how some of the biggest companies are innovating their platforms to drive sales for retailers.
Channels like Facebook offer a seamless integrated approach to online shopping, allowing users to purchase directly through their channel rather than getting sent to an external site. Over 20% of business owners are selling through Facebook and 40% are using social media to generate sales. The figures seem to show that customers are ready for the social shopping experience. Facebook has recently cracked down on advertisers and publishers by updating their news feed algorithm to prioritize users’ post shared from a user’s connections, this makes it more expensive and challenging for brands to get in front of potential customers. This forces retailers to think smarter about their marketing techniques.
Instagram is very different, their ‘Shoppable Post’ feature takes the user to an external site via the click of a button. This maybe more aligned with how the typical user behaves, the challenging factor seems to be bridging the gap between someone liking a product via social media, to buying the product through the same channel. Instagram has tried to overcome the barrier by sending the user externally anyway. Instagram is at the forefront of the influencer culture providing strong partnerships to be built between brands and some of the most popular figures within the platform.
Pinterest is the pioneer of visual mediums on a social media platform, the platform has built their brand on being the go-to social media channel for discovering products. The company has recently expanded their advert programs and is integrating ads into their product boards, hoping to make the customer conversion funnel a more unified experience for the customers.
YouTube is a subsidiary of Google and it is very well known that it is a great place to drive sales however, a lot of the sales funnel within YouTube starts with adverts on content, this is the easiest way for retailers to promote products, video is a rising medium for marketers as it is engaging and can easily be split and segregated into specific target audiences.
YouTube is not all about adverts, sponsorship deals are a great way for retailers to get in front of viewers. Paying an influencer to test out one of your products and review it can lead to an amazing boost in sales. Recent studies project up to 80 percent of traffic will come from video sources by 2021.
While there are many critics of the new ‘social commerce’ boom, there is no doubt that social media platforms are becoming sales platforms. Although we are in the early stages, social media channels could soon become our go-to place to purchase products. Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest have started to add new features, there is a lot to learn, however, with time spent developing new ideas, amazing user experience, seamless payment systems, buying could become another form of social behaviour. This increase in sales on social media platforms is making search marketing agencies adapt their entire marketing process as social was previously looked at as a lead generation channel but now is increasingly becoming an active ecommerce channel.