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The Importance of Social Commerce as Part of a Holistic Marketing Strategy

It's no secret that users on social media are scrolling through their feeds for much more extended periods. In 2022, social commerce sales in the United States are expected to reach $45.74 billion, with more than half of the nation's adults purchasing directly on the social media platform of their choice. 

With such robust behavior data, brands must have an omnipresent presence across social media platforms to take advantage of these trends. Recent studies indicate that the majority of significant brands plan on increasing their social commerce investments in 2022.

Get a quick look into emerging social commerce trends for 2022 and how they can help you grow your brand's sales, marketing, and profits. Continue reading and discover key trends that have shaped social business over the past few years and what you should do in 2022. 

What Is Social Commerce?

Social commerce is a part of e-commerce and refers to consumers' shopping experience on a social network. In other words, social commerce is selling products through social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.

Social buying is a growing trend within the US and is becoming more popular worldwide. It's estimated that social commerce will grow to $79.64 billion by 2025 in the US. Although that may be a very healthy number for the market overall, marketers still have a long way ahead of them if they want to succeed on the individual brand level.

Brands can utilize various techniques in this space to take advantage of impulse purchase decisions and consumer FOMO. The major players in social media like TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat have optimized the buying experience by reducing friction throughout the buyers' journey within the platform.

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Social Commerce Trends

One of the most inherent benefits of social media marketing is how quickly it can change and adapt to new consumer trends. Text-based updates have been replaced by more visual, transient content on social media platforms in the last two decades. Companies can draw on their strengths historically to determine how they approach social commerce now. Think of it as an opportunity to present the same brand messaging that has worked before in a new medium, like taking the headline of a billboard and turning it into a PPC ad. This transition from organic social media to social commerce ought to work much in the same way. 

For example, Instagram Shopping, Facebook Shops, and Pinterest Buyable Pins have all been updated in response to consumers’ want for quicker, easier purchase experiences. Snapchat is another platform taking steps to introduce social shopping trends to its 229 million users. Snapchat’s recent introduction of “lenses” allows users to read product descriptions, reviews, and specs.

Verbiage within the content (whether in video, audio, or written form) is often purchase-driven on social media now as well. Common phrases such as "swipe-up to purchase" or "click the link in the bio" make it easy for social media users to purchase the advertised items and services. Users have come to expect these captions or comments within brand messaging, as they reinforce the CTA (call to action) in another way and make the user’s most simple next step very clear.

A Shift in Marketing Strategies For Brands

Just like any other channel, the social shopping experience for each industry can vary quite a bit. Social commerce ads that promote athleisure clothing is very different from ads that promote electronics, for example. Take the time to do thorough competitive research for your social commerce strategy, just as you would for any other new medium.

With so much content available to consume, users are unlikely to engage with or pay attention to brand-generated content. Because of this, more brands are starting to understand the value of user-generated content, live stream shopping, chatbots and influencer marketing. This content is both user-friendly and approachable–the key being that UGC is humanizing your brand and building authenticity, much like a low-key testimonial. With such a shift in traditional content engagement, these organic opportunities should not be overlooked. They will play an important supporting role in your social commerce strategy.

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Social Commerce & the Importance of User Experience

E-commerce purchases are affected by the interaction a shopper has with the website. Merchants who run online stores have ultimate control and can often view direct actions when all purchases are taking place on site. Social commerce diversifies that shopping experience. The benefit of course is that this can increase the amount of revenue and number of sales overall, as a step is removed from the users’ conversion journey. The downside is that you may not have as much data or control as an advertiser that you would have on your own site or e-commerce shopping cart.

Keep in mind that the objective is digital convenience whenever looking at important decisions within the social commerce space. Brands that still use outdated business models with a long buyer journey and complicated purchase models will frustrate customers. The faster and more seamless the path is to checkout, the better your chance to capture more revenue. 

Another factor to consider is the fact that users' attention spans have fallen dramatically. This makes it even more critical for brands to optimize their user experience to gain more confidence and increase sales with as little work from the consumer as possible. Consider diversifying your purchase integrations to optimize this process fully. Plugins from tools like Shopify Pay, PayPal, Apple Pay, and more will yet again remove a step from users’ finishing their checkout.

Social Commerce Market Stats And Outlook

It's been fascinating watching how social trends have driven innovation in social networking beyond just communicating with friends or family. Over the last several years, legacy direct-to-consumer brands (DTC) have invested billions in paid social advertising to drive new revenue. Their success caused a flood of more unique, independent brands to follow suit…which made the competition for advertising slots that much more aggressive. This led to higher costs for advertisers and increased ad fatigue for social media users. Global advertising spend on social networks was 26% higher in the third quarter of 2021 than in 2020. In 2022, Insider Intelligence forecasts that US retail and social commerce sales will rise by 24.9% to $45.74 billion. Fashion categories, such as apparel and accessories remain the largest market for social commerce. However, other lifestyle brands wanting to market electronics or home decor are also doing incredibly well with social commerce campaigns. Brands that offer new and differentiated goods are best suited to social commerce. But if the patterned growth is any indication of the value still to come for advertisers…we recommend testing it out, regardless of what kind of DTC product you’re selling.

In Conclusion

Social commerce enables brands to develop frictionless shopping experiences and reach consumers in the most critical places. As social media continues to evolve in 2022 and beyond, brands will have more options to create social commerce experiences with potentially explosive growth. Brands with a proactive approach to moving to the next level should shift their marketing efforts and build trust with customers through social commerce implementation.

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