Most small businesses today are on social media — but if social media is only for marketing, you may be missing out. Today, many social platforms allow companies to sell directly online, allowing users to shop without ever leaving the network. Fewer steps for shoppers could mean more sales for businesses — but how do small businesses get into social commerce?
Social commerce is selling on social media networks — not social media marketing, but starting and completing a sale on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. This creates a shorter process for buyers, which means your small business may be less likely to lose interested customers before they click that checkout button.
Social commerce should be kept simple — the whole idea isn’t to give small business owners something else to do, but to make the checkout process faster and easier for customers. With many platforms, users can autofill their details for even faster checkouts. The perks to social commerce shouldn’t stop there — offering exclusive discounts on social media is another way to encourage sales through social media platforms.
When working with social commerce, images are important — users are more likely to interact with a photograph or video over plain text. And a great image will generate more interest than a mediocre one. Prioritise great images with good light that show off your products. Remember, most social media users are on a mobile device, so making the products stand-out on smaller screens is essential.
As the platform with the most users, Facebook is a major player for social commerce. To sell on Facebook, you need to set up a Facebook Shop, which is done through a Facebook business page. Once set up, you can add and organise products, along with using tools to see your sales.
Facebook may be have the most users, but Pinterest is a social platform where many users are actually going there to look for new products in the first place, not to connect with friends. Product Pins are different from typical pins because they keep the current price and stock information intact, along with other features. From buyable Pins, users can easily go to your website to finish the transaction. To work with Product Pins, you’ll need a business account — not a personal one. Pinterest explains how to add them here.
Instagram is a relative newcomer to social commerce, but an important one. Instagram allows users to shop using product tags in posts, or from product stickers in Stories. To sell on Instagram, you’ll need to get your account approved for shopping — follow the instructions here.
While social commerce can be a great boon to your business, it’s important to note that e-commerce is typically still the preferred method of shopping online. That doesn’t mean social commerce is a bad idea — but it means social sales should complement your existing web presence, not replace it.