In the modern e-commerce landscape, it’s increasingly necessary to build your brand so that you build an attachment to your customers. This is not only a task for bigger companies. It’s something you should do right from the start to help you perform better, differentiate yourself from your competitors and build a loyal following.
Social media allows your business to communicate with customers directly, building long-term relationships with them. With the expansion of social commerce, you can interact with your target audience to ensure you know what they want and build win-win relationships from an early stage. Social commerce has the power to turn your clients’ wants into transactions because your messages don’t come across to them as strictly commercial.
The modern marketplace is evolving. In traditional marketplace sites, the larger brands often assert their dominance and control. Some customers understand this and have become disillusioned and more open to opportunities with brands that are willing to be responsive and help them find what they need. This gives smaller brands an opportunity to engage with them.
How did social commerce become so popular?
Social commerce is the practice of engaging with customers more effectively using social media and other tools — I find many brands are learning from those doing it successfully in Asia, Africa and South America. Brands in these countries often focus on mobile devices, interacting with people in a variety of locations and activities. This assumes a much shorter delay between seeing and buying and faster feedback between the brand and the customer for a more organic relationship.
Social commerce is all about using the tools available in social media to build your brand and the relationship with your customers while also learning from them. Your business grows and profits based on two things:
1. Understanding customer needs as they grow and change.
2. Creating customer loyalty.
Because the brand and the customer are directly communicating, opportunities to find and source new products can be identified quickly and brought to market. And because these products are reaching them in their social media flow, instead of waiting to be found or being filtered out as paid ads, the brand’s turnover becomes faster and bigger because the stock doesn’t sit in the warehouse for long, freeing up liquidity regularly.
What does social commerce mean for your business?
Because it’s inherently about engaging people when they’re not “shopping,” social commerce increases your reach to people who wouldn’t normally buy from you or might get distracted in a marketplace and sent to another seller. It helps to forge a relationship between them and you directly, as customer and brand. This increases your return on investment (ROI) because return business to you improves the lifetime value (LTV) overall.
Your LTV and ROI are deliberately limited on a marketplace to ensure that you still need the marketplace and to maximize its relationship with the customer over yours. Your communication with your customers is also limited within the marketplace’s system. Customers buy from the marketplace — not from you — because the algorithm controls and manages which sellers’ listings return in the search results for each customer.
In addition, your access to data about the customers and their searches is more limited in a marketplace. Once you start dealing with the customers more directly and via third parties like social networks and search engines, your access to data is much more complete, giving you a better understanding of what customers are looking for and enabling you to increase their return sales and basket size.
This data and the less formal attachments over social media can also encourage you to experiment with your product and brand promotion: competitions, using reviews for social “credit” with customers, videos, etc. The methods and form of promotion should be aligned with social use — you should target different users and use different types of content on TikTok, Instagram and Facebook.
TikTok: Post short videos that are more fun and informal: quick facts, demos, user testimonials reshared with links, time-based discounts or promos.
Instagram: Post images or videos of the product, in a more polished way than on TikTok, and use more text: albums of images from customers, video testimonial reshares, demos and use cases arranged and shot by your team, competitions and giveaways, livestreams (InstaTV).
Facebook: Gear posts to a slightly older user base. Brands can use the platform’s built-in shop and chat functions for sales and customer service. Livestream demos and announcements, share testimonials from customers, etc.
No matter what social platform you are using (and we haven’t covered all of them), it’s important to remember:
• Social commerce is all about responsiveness. Posting about your products or sharing a post will have a rapid response in the form of reactions (likes), comments or shares. This is all valuable to monitor. Learn what tools are available to track this information and be prepared to respond to comments quickly.
• Use the platform’s data about users and the reach and engagement of your posts to plan future posts to get more shares or better reactions from target markets that haven’t responded well in the past.
• Some social platforms have their own store functionality, but if you’d prefer, you can still point people to your own commerce site to retain control. Look at the costs and consider how it affects the customer journey and their likelihood to buy. Also, you may need the specialized functionality of plug-ins for your shopping cart or platform.
With the data and relationships social commerce provides, your business can be more responsive and agile. You can gain loyal customers to build a strong brand and still have many options for growth and improvement. In addition, your customers may become brand ambassadors — not because you’re paying them, but because they genuinely like your products, customer service and engagement.
Original article: Forbes