Social Media for Ecommerce: The Ultimate Guide

Social media for ecommerce

Social media for ecommerce has become a key part of growing retail sales. With 4.2 billion active social media users, this guide will show you how to tap into this audience and utilise social channels to grow your ecommerce business.

Benefits of social media for ecommerce

Using social channels for ecommerce enables retailers to reach new customers, understand their target market, engage with consumers and encourage impulse purchases. Benefits of using social for ecommerce include:

Global reach

Social media is an effective marketing tool for ecommerce businesses as it provides a global audience, meaning sales can be made in any chosen country with the right strategy in place.

Free marketing

A major benefit of social content is that it can be managed in-house for free, making it suitable for those with any budget. Platforms including Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok are completely free to set up and can be incredibly successful, even with minimal time investment.

Growing brand awareness

Social platforms create the opportunity to share your message far and wide, using tried-and-tested techniques to grow reach. As well as making potential customers familiar with your ecommerce store, this also builds trust and enhances the likelihood of online conversions.

To highlight the growing importance of brand awareness, 85% of Gen Z prefers to buy from a familiar brand, rather than one they have not heard of. Even when it comes to SEO, 82% of searchers click on the first familiar brand name that they know in the search results.

Social listening

Social platforms can be a fantastic source of inspiration. It doesn’t take long to see the demographic of people that follow your main competitors, or to take a look at the types of content that your target market interacts most with. Social listening can be an invaluable source of inspiration and help you to tailor your social media marketing strategy without having to make the same mistakes that other businesses do.

Engaging your target audience

Internet users worldwide spend an average of 147 minutes per day on social media. If you are able to create the right types of content to interest your target market, there is no reason that you can’t capture their attention.

Encouraging sharing

While it can take time to build up a following, social content can grow your reach exponentially through sharing. By creating content that encourages interaction, you are able to reach a potentially unlimited number of individuals.

Humanising your brand

One of the greatest challenges for ecommerce businesses is that it can be hard to grow loyalty. Using social content to humanise your brand can be a great way to make customers feel comfortable, as well as helping them to remember you.

By designing a consistent brand tone of voice across all channels, including your website, social channels and customer service platforms, you are able to build trust with customers, giving them confidence that there is a person happy to help with every purchase that they make.

Networking

It isn’t only customers that you can attract through social media for ecommerce, but also potential business partners. From suppliers and manufacturers, to other retail businesses and publications, there are countless opportunities out there for retailers that market themselves well on their social channels.

Showcasing products

Another challenge that ecommerce businesses typically face is that consumers cannot touch and interact with products in the same way that they would in a shop. Social platforms create an opportunity for ecommerce businesses to show off their products in ways that customers want to see. This can be through product reviews, influencer marketing, video content, infographics or branded photoshoots.

How to take social media pictures

How to create an ecommerce social media strategy in 7 steps

1. Understand your target market

Begin by researching your target audience, as this will give you factual information that you can use as the base of your ecommerce social media strategy. Making assumptions can be a risky approach, so collect as many facts as you can before planning your social content.

There are various methods of understanding your target market:

  • Market research
  • Social listening
  • Viewing close competitors’ social channels
  • Using social media analytics platforms

2. Determine goals and KPIs

Once you have an understanding of your target audience’s preferred types of content, it is time to set your goals and KPIs.

Start by understanding your priorities and outlining what you are hoping to achieve, for example, increasing your audience. You should then introduce KPIs that can be measured, to track the effectiveness of your ecommerce social strategy, for example, growing your number of followers to 1,000.

Make sure you set SMART social media goals, meaning your objectives and KPIs should be:

  • Specific: Make sure your goals are clear, so you have an obvious objective to aim towards. 
  • Measurable: You must be able to quantify your progress, so you should include numbers, percentages, milestones and measurable goals.
  • Attainable: Every goal or KPI should be realistic and achievable, regardless of how ambitious you are.
  • Relevant: Every goal should align with your business’ overall objectives.
  • Timely: Set timelines for reaching each objective, allowing you to determine whether or not you have succeeded in achieving every goal.

We will now list some of the most common goals and KPIs for social media for ecommerce.

Increased brand awareness

Increased brand awareness means promoting your brand to a larger number of people. To create a memorable and lasting impression, you should make sure your content showcases your brand’s messaging and helps browsers to understand why you stand out from your competitors.

Brand awareness can be difficult to measure precisely, however, engagement, impressions and reach can be reliable guides of how many people are viewing your content. 

Higher engagement rates

Engagement is more likely to translate into conversions as you are not only being seen by potential customers, but you have encouraged them to interact with your brand. As well as leaving lasting impressions on potential customers, this also helps to make brands look more reputable to any new consumers that find their social content, particularly if it includes comments with positive feedback, for example.

Common types of engagement that can be measured include shares and retweets, comments and likes.

More website traffic

It is no secret that website traffic growth is essential for ecommerce sales. By capturing the attention of your target market on social channels and then encouraging them to visit your website, you can boost sales significantly.

To understand the role of your social content, you can track the number of people visiting your website from your various channels.

Lead generation and sales

Social content can be a fantastic method of lead generation and growing ecommerce sales. By having the ability to follow consumers’ paths to purchase through tracking and analytics, this can enable you to spot trends and tailor content accordingly.

Measuring conversions and click-throughs is the best way to track social media lead generation. Social commerce also creates the opportunity for sales to be made directly on social channels.

Growing your audience

Follower count is another easily trackable KPI that can play a significant role in consumers’ willingness to make a purchase. It’s important to have a sizeable audience, with every follower then being more likely to regularly view and interact with your social content.

Tracking your number of followers at regular intervals is the best way to measure success if you set this as a KPI.

3. Find inspiration

The best way to come up with creative social media ideas is to search for inspiration. Given the enormous amount of social posts that go live every day, it’s almost impossible to come up with completely original ideas. There is, however, nothing wrong with looking for ideas and taking successful concepts that you can tweak to be unique and fit your own brand.

You can find social media inspiration from:

  • Your favourite accounts
  • Competitors’ channels
  • Industry news channels

These can be great places to find inspiration, ranging from different post formats to relevant topics and trends that you can tap into.

Social listening

Social listening is the process of analysing conversations and mentions surrounding a chosen topic. This can be a great method of identifying topics that are most relevant, as well as the types of content that generate the greatest interaction and receive the best feedback.

Some businesses may look to carry out social listening on a broad topic, such as retail, while others may want to do this in a more targeted way, looking at a particular competitor’s content, or following a more niche category, such as sustainable retail.

How social listening works

  1. Look for any feedback you have been given on your own content, as this can be utilised. Don’t be afraid to ask your audience what they’d like to see more of, but make sure you deliver on any feasible requests.
  2. Find the topics or accounts that you wish to analyse, based on your target market’s interests. This can be a competitor’s channel, a specific hashtag, or a chosen subject.
  3. See the types of content that are already being posted, making a note of the content that generates the most engagement and that people like. It is also worth noting anything that you do not think is a good idea.
  4. Analyse your findings to determine the most successful content.
  5. Find unique ways to create your own version of this content, making sure it meets your target market’s interests and aligns with your brand.

Benefits of social listening

The pros of social listening include:

  • Allowing you to remain up to date on industry trends
  • Spotting new ideas that could be beneficial for your business
  • Understanding the success of a range of content without having to trial it yourself

4. Create accounts and optimise profiles

If you haven’t already, it’s time to create your social accounts. Whether you’re looking to create an Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or TikTok account for your business, there are a few simple things you need to get started.

Create a social media account

What you need to set up a business social media account

There are a few things that you need to get started:

  • Your logo
  • A bio
  • Imagery (Profile photo and header image)

Considerations when creating business social accounts

  1. Think about your username
    Your username, or handle, is how your audience will identify you, meaning it plays a key role in brand recognition. Choose a username that is available on all social platforms, as well as one that makes sense for your brand.
  2. Keep it consistent
    Social content is most effective when you use it as an extension of your website, brand, or ecommerce presence. Make sure branding, imagery, usernames and tone of voice are kept consistent across all channels to create the best customer experience.
  1. Know your objectives
    Having a goal in mind makes it easier to create content that will benefit your brand. Setting out mission statements for each channel is a great way to define the purpose of each channel.

    For example, “Twitter will be used for customer service and to encourage website click-throughs.”

    Another example could be: “Instagram will be used to give visual demonstrations of products and promote the benefits of each item, encouraging ecommerce conversions.”

5. Create a social media content calendar

Creating a social media content calendar for your business is key to maximising efficiency and keeping engagement high. 

Know key dates and events

When planning social content for ecommerce, it’s vital to know key dates and events that your audience is likely to be interested in. This can include retail events such as Black Friday, holidays such as Christmas, or initiatives such as Global Recycling Day.

By knowing the dates that your brand should post about, you can come up with creative social campaigns to reach your target audience.

Click here to view our month-by-month social media calendar.

Determine your posting schedule

Decide how often you would like to post on each social platform, as well as the times that you would like to do this. Base your posting schedule on the times that your target market is online and most likely to interact.

To keep your followers engaged, create a wide range of posts, including link sharing, imagery, re-shares, blog posts, videos and spontaneous content.

Schedule content

You can schedule posts ahead of time, allowing you to ensure you have regular content going out to your followers without having to physically post every day. This also frees up time for spontaneous posts, engaging with comments and customer service.

There are plenty of tools available to help you to schedule posts ahead of time, including Hootsuite, PromoRepublic and Buffer. Available tools are explained in more detail, later in this guide.

6. Create engaging social posts

A large part of making the most of social media for ecommerce relies on identifying your objectives and creating content that will enable you to achieve them.

We will now look at some of the ways that you can create content that stands out from the crowd.

Imagery and video content

Imagery can have an impressive impact on social engagement. In fact, tweets with photos have a 35% higher retweet rate, as well as Facebook posts with photos receiving an average engagement increase of 37%.

Video content also increases engagement significantly. Tweets with a video get 2.5 times more replies, 2.8 times more retweets, 1.9 times more likes and 10 times more engagement than those without video.

Phones are now sophisticated enough to take high-quality imagery and videos, as well as allowing you to download editing apps, add filters and much more. This means that it is possible to create professional imagery and video content on your own channels without outsourcing it.

Calls to action

Whatever your message, social media for ecommerce requires conversions. This means that you should clearly explain how and why consumers should act on your content.

As an example, as well as creating an eye-catching promotional video for a new product, your post should explain why customers should buy it and how they can do this.

Know your purpose

Earlier in this guide, we spoke about the importance of setting mission statements for each individual channel. By doing this, you can be aware of your purpose and ensure your content links back to this on a regular basis:

  • Position your business as an industry leader
  • Show off your expertise
  • Humanise your brand
  • Offer customer support

Offer value

Ultimately, engagement comes down to the value that you offer your followers. By knowing your customers’ preferences and pain points, you are able to tailor your social strategy to benefit them.

This can involve sharing your industry knowledge, highlighting great products, sharing promotions, or anything else that could be of value to your target market.

7. Track performance and adjust

It is essential to track the performance of your social channels and adjust your content accordingly. By taking the time to understand analytics, you can continue to post more of your most successful content and make amendments to those that are not bringing as many benefits to your brand.

Things to monitor include:

  • The best times to post
  • The most successful content formats
  • Trends that you can utilise moving forward

Choosing a social platform for ecommerce marketing

The best social media strategy for ecommerce will utilise a range of different channels. We will now look at each platform in more detail, outlining their pros and cons.

Facebook

Facebook, which is now referred to as Meta, has 1.62 billion active users every day and is the perfect channel for targeting a specific audience with ecommerce messaging. Facebook dynamic ads make it simple for brands to display relevant products to specific demographics, targeting broad audiences, or even display advertising as a method of remarketing to those already familiar with your content.

Facebook shops work as digital storefronts for brands to showcase their products, enabling customers to make purchases on the retailer’s website, or in the app, depending on location.

Pros of Facebook for ecommerce businesses:

  • Large potential audience
  • In-depth analytics
  • Targeted advertising
  • Great for customer support

Cons of Facebook for ecommerce businesses:

  • Requires consistent engagement
  • Can be time-consuming to manage
  • Ads can be expensive

Facebook statistics

  • 36.8% of the world’s population use Facebook monthly – Meta
  • Over 1 billion stories are posted daily across Facebook apps – Hootsuite
  • 56% of Facebook users are male – Statista
  • Facebook is the most popular social platform for those aged 35-44 – Hootsuite
  • 75% of online users with an income over £57,000 use Facebook – The Rainmaker
  • Users spend an average of 19.6 hours per month on Facebook – Hootsuite
  • 81.8% of users only access Facebook on a mobile device – Hootsuite

Instagram

Instagram, which is also part of Meta, has 500 million active users every day, encouraging engagement through visual content and stories.

Instagram shopping also works as a digital storefront for brands to showcase their products, enabling customers to make purchases on the retailer’s website, or in the app, depending on location.

Pros of Instagram for ecommerce businesses:

  • Visually appealing content
  • Optimised for mobile
  • Showcases products
  • Option for live shopping
  • Business accounts bring additional features such as in-depth analytics

Cons of Instagram for ecommerce businesses:

  • Requires regular uploads for significant growth
  • Can be time-consuming
  • Business accounts can feel less personal

Instagram statistics

  • 51% of Instagram users are female – Statista
  • The average user spends 28 minutes on Instagram per day – eMarketer
  • 63% of Instagram users log in on a daily basis – Pew Research
  • 21% of Instagram users check in at least once a week – Pew Research
  • 81% use Instagram to research products or services – Facebook
  • Over 50% of accounts use the Explore tab every month – Facebook Earnings Report
  • 87% have taken action after seeing product information on Instagram – Facebook
Instagram for retail sales

Click here to read more about Instagram for retailers.

Twitter

Twitter has 217 million active users every day, making it a great platform to raise brand awareness and encourage conversions for ecommerce businesses. It works particularly well for those that are patient and want to build a dedicated following.

Pros of Twitter for ecommerce businesses:

  • Ads are cheaper than on most other platforms
  • Tweets can be quick to create
  • Your posts always appear on followers’ timelines
  • Global reach

Cons of Twitter for ecommerce businesses:

  • Content is limited to 280 characters per tweet
  • People typically follow large numbers of people, meaning content may not always be seen
  • Twitter has a significant amount of spam on it
  • It takes time to build a following

Twitter statistics

  • 70% of Twitter users are male – Statista
  • 85% of Twitter users earn over £23,000 and 34% earn over £57,000 – Pew Research
  • 54% of Twitter’s audience are more likely to purchase new products – Twitter
  • 15% of internet users aged 16-64 use Twitter for brand research – Hootsuite
  • The average person spends 6 minutes per day on Twitter in 2022 – eMarketer
Twitter app on phone to grow business and sales

LinkedIn

LinkedIn has nearly 740 million members in 200 countries and regions worldwide. Setting up a LinkedIn account can enable businesses to share thought leadership content, network and grow their reputation within the industry, which can be beneficial for ecommerce retailers.

Pros of LinkedIn for ecommerce businesses:

  • Accessible globally and available in 25 languages
  • Wide range of users including decision-makers
  • Great for networking
  • Quick to request connections

Cons of LinkedIn for ecommerce businesses:

  • Relatively high number of spam connections
  • Can be time-consuming to create valuable content

LinkedIn statistics

  • There are more than 1 billion LinkedIn interactions every month – Kinsta
  • 57% of LinkedIn traffic is on mobile devices – Oberlo
  • 44% of LinkedIn users take home more than £57,000 per year – Kinsta
  • Millennials make up more than 60% of LinkedIn’s users – Statista
  • 40% of LinkedIn accounts access the platform daily – Kinsta
  • 57% of users are male – Oberlo

TikTok

TikTok has more than 1 billion active users every month. Available in more than 150 countries, it has become one of the newest ways for brands to showcase innovative and creative content that attracts their target audience.

With the ability for consumers to make in-app purchases on sponsored TikTok videos, there is enormous potential for ecommerce retailers.

Pros of TikTok for ecommerce businesses:

  • Ability for in-app purchases
  • Easy to tap into trends
  • High engagement rates
  • Can be a great way to relate with the target market

Cons of TikTok for ecommerce businesses:

  • Can take a reasonable amount of time per post
  • Audience is typically younger than on other social channels

TikTok statistics

  • The average TikTok user spends an average of 52 minutes per day on the app – Business of Apps
  • 90% of TikTok users access the app more than once per day – Forbes
  • TikTok is available in 155 markets and 75 languages – TikTok
  • As of January 2021, TikTok had 689 million monthly active users globally – Data Reportal
  • 43% of TikTok users are aged 18-24 – Omnicore
  • 32% of TikTok users are aged 25-34 – Omnicore

Click here to read more about TikTok for ecommerce.

Tiktok for ecommerce

Snapchat 

Despite being thought of as less popular than other social channels, Snapchat has 319 million daily active users. While it may not lend itself naturally to many types of business, we will take a look at the pros and cons of using Snapchat for business.

Pros of Snapchat for ecommerce businesses:

  • Personalisable content with geofilters, text, stickers and more
  • Snapchat has demonstrated significant growth throughout 2021 and the start of 2022

Cons of Snapchat for ecommerce businesses:

  • Appeals mainly to a younger demographic
  • Lack of in-depth analytics

Snapchat statistics

  • 4 billion snaps are shared per day- Omnicore
  • Almost 90% of Snapchat users also use Instagram – Hootsuite
  • The average user spends more than 30 minutes on Snapchat per day – eMarketer
  • There are 18 billion video views per day on Snapchat – Wallaroo Media

Best social media campaigns for ecommerce

This section takes a look at some of the ways that retailers have tapped into social media ecommerce trends.

On-brand and topical

Innocent Drinks has established its brand as one that doesn’t take itself too seriously, making on-brand and topical jokes that grow brand awareness on their channels.

Social media for ecommerce example

Challenges

Coming up with creative challenges for followers is a great way to create an engaged community and encourage interaction.

social media ecommerce strategy

Behind the scenes content

Grow rapport with your target audience by giving them behind the scenes content. This is a brilliant way to build customer loyalty while showing a more personable side to the business.

Best social media content for retailers

Themed events

With so many events happening throughout the year, it’s a great idea to show your support for relevant campaigns. Retail Star, Colour Celebrations has done a fantastic job of sharing their Founder’s story and building support for their incredible messaging.

Themed events

User generated content

ASOS launched the #AsSeenOnMe campaign, encouraging customers to share images of them in products they purchased from the brand, working as a form of social proof. This campaign was so successful that it ran for many years, building brand loyalty while using customers in the same way as you would influencers. The use of their hashtag helped other users to discover new ASOS products, using #AsSeenOnMe to link all content that people posted.

Social media for ecommerce - Instagram example

Visual content

We all love an interesting post, so why not create visual content that aligns with your brand? Dollar Shave Club has run polls, shared research results, created tutorials to show customers how to use their products and so much more.

Visual content on social media

Shareable posts

Gymshark is an excellent example of an ecommerce brand that encourages viral posts. Creating engaging posts as well as encouraging followers to tag their friends, these posts are great ways of growing brand reach, as well as generating interaction on social channels.

Story Q&As

Stories are a great way to communicate with your target market, so why not answer their questions? This is an example of how you can use Instagram Story ‘questions stickers’ to encourage interaction and share answers, bringing followers closer to your brand.

Instagram stories for retailers - Q&As

Click here to view some of the most successful social campaigns in more detail.

Top tips for growing a social media following in retail

Post valuable content regularly

It’s important to post regular content, however, it should also bring value to your followers’ lives. Make sure there is a purpose, benefit or objective behind every post to make it worthwhile for your brand and your audience.

Engage with your audience

Utilise social channels for two-way communication. Answer questions, reply to comments and think of content ideas that will spark conversation.

Encourage customer content

When somebody has made a purchase, why not encourage them to share a picture online and tag you in it? With 83% saying they trust the recommendations of friends and family, this type of word of mouth can be very powerful.

Provide customer service

It is likely that customers will reach out on social with questions and issues. Responding quickly and being helpful on social channels can grow your following whilst improving customer experience and brand reputation.

Follow relevant accounts

By following relevant brands in the retail industry, you can find meaningful content to share, as well as having the potential to grow brand visibility and be seen by audiences that are interested in similar types of content.

Collaborate

Collaborations are a great way to reach new audiences, whether this is with accounts that share the same values as you, or with influencers. This can be through sharing each others’ posts, or even creating content together.

Keep reading to find out more about influencer marketing.

Cross-promote

Make sure your followers know about all of your social channels, using cross-promotion to drive traffic from one platform to another.

Be creative

People get tired of following accounts that post the same content all the time. Instead, get creative with the types of content that you post, showcasing products in innovative ways and mixing up the formats.

Retail social media promotion

There are two types of social content; paid and organic. Both are most successful when they are used to promote high-quality content that fits the needs of your target market. Key differences set the two apart.

Benefits of paid social promotions

There are a number of reasons that ecommerce retailers choose to pay for social promotions. Advantages of paid-for social content include:

  • Immediate reach regardless of following
  • Reach a larger audience
  • Can promote to a selected target market
  • Boosts leads and conversions
  • Quick to reach business goals such as conversions

Cons of paid social promotion

The disadvantages of social promotion include:

  • Cost of promoted posts
  • Risk of investment
  • Short-term benefits
  • Must be regularly monitored

Benefits of organic social content

While organic social content can take time to develop and grow, advantages of organic social media content include:

  • Boosting brand awareness
  • Growing meaningful relationships with potential customers
  • Enabling interaction and customer service
  • Having engagement and audience feedback
  • Building long-term brand loyalty

Cons of organic social content

There are also drawbacks when you grow your audience yourself. Disadvantages of organic social content include:

  • Can be time consuming
  • No reach is guaranteed
  • Can be challenging to reach specific demographics

Influencer marketing for ecommerce

What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is the process of creating content with well-known social media users to boost brand awareness and reach business objectives. You can choose to work with either microinfluencers, or macroinfluencers, each of which has its own unique benefits.

What are microinfluencers?

A microinfluencer is an individual or account on social media that has a closely engaged following. They typically have between 3,000-100,000 followers. With 82% being ‘highly likely’ to trust a recommendation made by a micro-influencer, engaging content with microinfluencers can provide an impressive return on investment.

Benefits of working with microinfluencers include:

  • Higher engagement rates
  • More targeted or niche audiences
  • Greater authenticity than accounts with mass followings
  • Often more flexibility in terms of campaign ideas
  • Cheaper to work with

What are macroinfluencers?

A macroinfluencer is a person or account with more than 100,000 followers. They often have a wider range of demographics, so are well-suited to mass awareness campaigns.

Benefits of working with macroinfluencers include: 

  • Large reach
  • Familiar with paid promotions and influencer marketing
  • Audiences are used to seeing promotions

How to choose the best influencers for ecommerce and retail

  1. Know your goals

Begin by determining whether you are looking for mass reach, or a niche audience. If you are looking to grow mass brand awareness, macroinfluencers are the best option, however microinfluencers can help you to boost conversions and build brand loyalty with a more targeted, smaller audience.

  1. Consider relevance

You need to understand your target audience’s interests and consider how relevant potential influencers are for your ecommerce brand. You should also look for an influencer that can do your products justice.

For example, if you sell sportswear, collaborating with a fitness influencer would be a relevant fit. 

  1. Know their audience

You should also take time to determine the demographics that follow influencers. If they have a huge reach but their followers are not your target market, it is highly unlikely that you will get a positive return on investment. Analytics can reveal demographic splits on many platforms, giving you an insight into the types of people that follow them. After all, while a large reach sounds great, if your target market won’t see the content and there is no ROI, it’s a waste of money.

  1. Check engagement rates

Before committing to work with an influencer, you should always find out their engagement rates, making sure they have an audience that is likely to act on the messaging that they see. The influencer can provide insights that show this, however, you can also scroll through their previous campaigns to see the reception they received.

  1. Spot any potential issues

Make sure you do your research to spot any potential red flags before working with an influencer. This could include any negative PR they have received, any sponsored content that is not disclosed, or any other issues that could negatively impact your brand in the future.

  1. Discuss a concept

Once you have a preferred influencer that you would like to work with, it is time to work out the type of content that you are looking to create. Content formats could include imagery, video content, adverts, product reviews or podcasts. These could be published across a wide range of social media channels.

Think about a content angle that would fit your brand’s objectives as well as the content that the influencer typically posts, using this as a starting point to understand the types of campaign you could create. Take these ideas to the influencer to see whether or not your concepts are possible.

  1. Take time to finalise your content

When deciding your content, make sure it captivates your target market and encourages action. Keep your objectives in mind throughout the entire planning process, making sure you will be happy with the outcome of your influencer marketing.

Influencer marketing for ecommerce statistics – Influencer Marketing Hub

  • 79% of people searched for more information after viewing influencer marketing
  • 65% have visited a brand’s website or app as a result of influencer marketing
  • 46% have been tempted by influencer marketing to make a purchase
  • 31% have recently followed a brand due to an influencer

In-house social media marketing vs. outsourced

What is in-house social media?

In-house means it is managed by yourself or somebody within your direct team. There are many advantages and disadvantages of in-house social media marketing, which we will now explore in more detail.

Pros of in-house social management

  • Gives you full creative freedom
  • Allows you to try and test new ideas
  • You can create content that you believe your audience will love
  • Cost-effective
  • Allows you to communicate directly with followers and customers
  • Great for customer service

Cons of in-house social management

  • Time-consuming
  • Can result in trial and error
  • Requires continuous learning and research

What is outsourced social media?

Outsourced social content requires you to hand this side of the business over to a third party. There are many advantages and disadvantages of outsourced social media for ecommerce marketing, which we will now explore in more detail.

Pros of outsourced social management

  • You don’t have to spend time creating content
  • Experts know industry-leading tricks

Cons of outsourced social management

  • Can take time to find the right outsourced partner
  • Can be expensive
  • Less freedom with what you post
  • Can stop you from engaging directly with followers and customers
  • Customer service can become complicated

Social commerce

What is social commerce?

Social commerce involves selling directly on social platforms, allowing consumers to discover, research and purchase a product without having to leave a social network.

Social commerce allows ecommerce retailers to create frictionless shopping experiences, keeping customers on the channels that they like to interact on. With 60% of people discovering new products on Instagram alone, having the ability to realise impulse purchases can boost conversions significantly.

Benefits of social commerce

  • It reduces friction points by allowing consumers to stay on the app they are already on and that they trust
  • It creates the opportunity for retailers to sell without needing a large team or ecommerce infrastructure
  • Makes purchases quick for consumers
  • Allows retailers to showcase products, promote and sell them in one place

What types of social commerce are available?

We will now look at the various types of social commerce in more detail.

Facebook Shops and Instagram Shops

Both falling under the company of Meta, Facebook Shops and Instagram Shops give consumers the option to make a purchase from within the Facebook group of apps, or on the business’ website if they prefer. Having a dedicated ‘shopping’ section on these social media apps creates a place for those looking for inspiration to browse, benefiting consumers and brands alike.

Instagram live shopping

Within the ‘Shop Tab’ on Instagram, there is now live shopping, which sees brands livestream shopping events. These often highlight products to viewers, as well as providing a great opportunity for influencer marketing, which can help brands to engage with potential customers in real-time. These purchases can then be made within the app.

TikTok shoppable ads

TikTok partnered with Shopify to launch shoppable video ads. While this is yet to roll out globally, the trials have been incredibly successful in The UK, US and Canada. Types of TikTok social commerce include Dynamic Showcase Ads, as well as viewers being able to discover new products through livestreams, video content ad the Showcase section of the app.

Snapchat Shopping

Snapchat Shopping enables customers to place orders through shoppable product catalogues and AR filters, placing orders directly through the Snapchat app. Their ‘Lenses’ enable those browsing to virtually try on products using the power of AR, before making a purchase. 

The future of social commerce

Not all social media platforms have the ability to facilitate social commerce, with some countries still not having the ability to do this. However, given the early popularity of in-app purchases, it looks likely that all popular social media channels will look to roll out this feature in the not too distant future.

Social media for ecommerce tools

The best social tools can improve efficiency and organisation, helping businesses to create professional content in a cost-effective way. Some of these tools are free, while others have free trials and paid-for plans.

We will now take a look at some of the best social media marketing tools.

Scheduling and management

Hootsuite has a range of plans available, enabling businesses to monitor personalised streams of chosen content in one place, schedule posts in advance, view analytics and much more.

PromoRepublic allows users to schedule and post content, as well as having the ability to design visual posts on PromoRepublic without the need for any separate graphics software.

The range of tools within Buffer allows you to schedule posts on chosen channels, analyse posts and manage multiple accounts in one location.

Later has free and paid plans, which create the ability to plan and schedule Instagram, Twitter, facebook and Pinterest posts. Later also makes it simple to track analytics, view upcoming content and create shoppable Instagram posts.

Feedly can be beneficial as part of social media for ecommerce, as it helps you to keep track of your favourite influencers and content creators in one place, having their latest updates arrive in your own feed.

This is the tool that allows you to manage Facebook and Instagram business accounts, giving detailed insights about trends, content and your audience.

By vising Twitter Analytics, you can see a breakdown of your audience demographic for free, as well as finding out which of your posts perform best.

Graphic design

Create and customise branded graphics including imagery and videos on Canva. This tool has an app or can be accessed on a desktop computer, with templates for a wide range of social media platforms, making it quick and simple to master graphic design.

Free imagery

There are many websites that offer a huge library of free professional photos that can be used in social content or any other formats. These free imagery sites for retailers include:

Analytics

This free tool helps you to identify trending topics online, as well as making it possible to monitor keywords to see how popular they are and use this to guide social content.

This social analytics tool can be used to guide social media strategies, creating professional reports in just a couple of clicks.

UberSuggest has free tools and free trials, as well as paid plans. It is particularly useful to identify keyword ideas that can guide your ecommerce social media marketing strategy.

Social media for ecommerce statistics

These social media for ecommerce statistics can be used to highlight the importance of utilising available platforms:

  • 87% say that social posts help them decide what to buy – Social Media Today
  • 52% of global customers say social content influences their purchase decisions – Fashion Discounts UK
  • 63% of social shoppers made impulse purchases on social channels in 2021 – Statista
  • Customers that click through to an online store from Instagram have an average order of $65 – Findstack
  • 11% with social accounts make an online purchase immediately after discovering a product, while 44% make the purchase later on – Statista
  • 13% with social channels say a ‘buy’ button is a key driver to encourage purchases – GWI
  • 70% of shopping enthusiasts open Instagram with the aim to discover new products – Facebook
  • Online stores with a social presence have 32% more sales on average – BigCommerce
  • By 2028, social commerce revenue is expected to exceed $3.4 billion – Statista
  • Half of social users have visited a brand’s website to make a purchase after seeing it in a story – Instagram

Social media for ecommerce FAQs

Which social media is best for ecommerce?

The answer to this depends on your business and goals. Find out which platforms your target audience uses most and find ways to make these work to promote your products.

How is social media used in ecommerce?

Social media platforms can be used to either grow ecommerce sales by encouraging click-throughs to retailers’ websites, or purchases can even be made directly on social channels. As part of an ecommerce social media strategy, this works to reach new consumers, grow brand awareness and showcase products to encourage purchases. This can be through unique content marketing ideas, branded videos, infographics, product imagery, collaborations and much more.

What should I post on social media for ecommerce?

The best types of social content are those that are varied, creating captivating content that aligns with ecommerce business’ goals.

What is social media marketing in ecommerce?

Social marketing in ecommerce is the process of utilising social networks to capture the attention of consumers and ultimately boost traffic and conversions. It involves utilising social media marketing strategies for ecommerce.

When should you post on social media?

The answer to this depends on your target market. That said, evenings are typically a successful time to post, as this is when most people log in online, browse and relax, with many choosing to make online purchases. Another time to post on social media for ecommerce is at lunchtimes, as this is another time that people scroll for ideas and inspiration.

How can social media be used for sales?

By reaching a larger audience, building trust and rapport and promoting products effectively, you can increase online sales and grow your ecommerce business.

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