3 Tips for Brands to Start Their Social Commerce Journey
Social commerce has exploded in popularity over the last few years, thanks in part to a more sophisticated social media landscape and a rise in consumer demand for direct-to-consumer (D-to-C) products. As a result, social media now accounts for more than 80 percent of users' purchasing decisions. There has been a concerted effort as of late to integrate commerce functionality into social apps, something we’ve seen in developed Asian markets such as China and Japan for quite some time.
With this in mind, we still see many brands struggling to continually engage and retain social media users. In an effort to solve this, here are three best practices marketers can use to ensure their campaigns achieve the best possible conversion and return on ad spend.
1. Understand your demographic and identify trends.
Stagnating e-commerce platforms fail to address the needs of Gen Z, including where and how they interact with content and, in turn, make purchasing decisions. For example, Douyin (China’s version of TikTok) is one of the leading social platforms and a huge revenue driver for businesses reaching out to a younger Chinese audience. As expected, a similar trend happened in the U.S. this year with TikTok. eMarketer estimates that close to a fifth of the U.S. population uses TikTok. The difference between TikTok and other U.S. social platforms is the range of social commerce options that are available to brands. TikTok's partnership with Shopify allows brands on the platform to make it easier to drive sales amongst their audiences, and reach out to them in new, creative ways. TikTok allows brands to become their own media channels, and take on established digital monoliths in unique ways.
U.S. marketers and brands that adopt social commerce and video advertising through platforms like TikTok could grow loyal, youthful consumer bases right now, allowing them to adapt to new app trends and diversify their ad spend in a post-COVID world. With a perfected presence on TikTok, brands could be rewarded with higher virality, engagement, and sales than other companies on U.S. social networks.
2. Utilize micro-influencers.
Typically, a micro-influencer is someone who has between 1,000 to 100,000 followers (this varies from platform to platform) on social media. Normally, they tend to be more focused on a niche area, and they usually have stronger relationships with followers than bigger influencers who can cover many different subjects and products.
Running campaigns with micro-influencers can be more cost efficient and generate higher engagement rates due to the very loyal audiences they attract. So for the right campaign, a well-targeted group of micro-influencers can be the best strategy. Additionally, with popular influencers demanding ever-higher fees for access to their audience, working with micro-influencers represents lower risk.
3. Build two-way communication between your brand and your audience.
The best-performing brands are constantly looking towards customer retention and activation. Social apps such as TikTok and Instagram offer a great way to build a close-knit community of fans who can act as product evangelists if utilized correctly. Understanding social media trends such as brand awareness through hashtag challenges offers a way to engage users and imitate your advertising and build brand awareness. Organic or native-style communication will encourage word-of-mouth which, amongst Gen Z, is paramount to the success of your brand.
As a brand, starting your social commerce journey is a crucial way to reach campaign goals. Whether you choose to start with audience demographics and identifying trends, micro-influencers, or building the communication between your brand and audience, you'll quickly notice how each of these pieces fits together to build strong social commerce.
Irene Yang is the managing director of Nativex, an app marketing agency dedicated to ROI and growth.