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3 Keys to a Winning Social Commerce Strategy

Shoppable content lets customers turn social scrolls into buying sprees, all on the same platform. Here’s how you can increase conversions while telling your brand’s story.

Social commerce is a boon for brands all over the world. With more than half the global population on social media, channels like TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook represent a huge opportunity for ecommerce growth — and a huge pool of potential customers.

For businesses, navigating the ever-changing world of social commerce requires a clear vision, a strong connection to values, and a plan for responding to feedback. Once you have that strategy in place, you can create shoppable content that differentiates your brand, connects with customers, and, best of all, converts. Here’s how to do it.

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What is a social commerce strategy?

A social commerce strategy is an approach used by businesses to buy and sell products and services through social media. A successful strategy involves finding the right social channels for your audience, building connections with customers, and showcasing your values. This will help you create impactful experiences that turn shoppers into lifetime customers.

What is shoppable content and how does it work?

Thanks to social media marketing, customers can discover products as they scroll through their social feeds. Closing the deal is much easier, though, if they never have to leave their social media platform.

Enter shoppable content: digital assets, such as social media posts, images, videos, or ads, that shoppers can click to make a direct purchase — without interrupting their scroll session. Shoppable content pairs marketing and social commerce strategies to turn a browsing moment into a purchase. Here are three tips to get your shoppable content to convert.

1. Lead with your values

Cat videos. Memes. DIY home renovation stories. Photos from your cousin’s tropical vacation. Social media is a noisy place, so how do you create shoppable content that gains the honor of a deeper look?

To stand out, it’s critical to know what motivates your shoppers. Now more than ever, customers make decisions based on their values. In fact, 66% of customers have stopped buying from a company whose values didn’t align with theirs — up from 62% in 2020.

Where’s the connection between your brand and your customer? The answer is found in your “why.” Whether you’re creating an image, video, or ad, focus on your values to drive awareness, sales, and loyalty. For example:

  • Do you donate a percentage of profits to a specific cause? Show shoppers how they can be part of your initiatives with their purchase. 
  • Is your brand focused on sustainability? Tell shoppers how a highlighted product is a part of your efforts. 
  • Does your brand showcase diversity and inclusion? Let your shoppers know that all are welcome.

Take a look at how Timberland leads with its values by showcasing its sustainable materials in imagery and captions:

A vast majority of customers (88%) expect companies to clearly state their values, but only 50% say they do. That’s a big opportunity to build trust, and shoppable content is a great place to start.

2. Use social listening

Social listening is the process of identifying and assessing what’s being said about your company, product, or service on social media. One way to do that is to ask for reviews.

Nearly all customers (97%) say that reviews factor into their buying decisions. And 92% of consumers hesitate to make a purchase when there are no customer reviews. Social media reviews are the linchpin of a strong feedback loop, and an invaluable part of your social commerce strategy. (Yes, even negative reviews.)

And they benefit more than just your customers. Whenever you post shoppable content, reviews help you gauge interest, guide product development, and improve the customer experience.

Philipp Plein, a global luxury fashion and lifestyle brand, uses social listening to get a deeper understanding of its audience to drive growth. Here’s how founder Philipp Plein sees it: “Some brands just want to set trends, but we listen to what people are saying and try to gauge what our customers want to wear. For example, sports luxe has gone from being nowhere to everywhere. We tweaked the design of our sneakers in line with feedback on social media, and now 30% of sales come from our sporty couture range.”

Monitoring and responding to customer reviews in a timely manner is key to a successful social commerce strategy. For small companies, the business owner might want to handle this task. Other companies might delegate review responses to a social media manager, customer service agents, or sales reps. For larger companies, this can be a job in itself.

No matter what, you’ll want someone at the helm who understands your brand mission, vision, and values — and can communicate them well in written form. The better your feedback loop, the better your shoppable content will be.

3. Stay relevant, but stay on brand

Relevancy is crucial to any social media presence. The content that resonates this month might not work the next. That’s the nature of social media: The landscape changes quickly and trends seem momentary. Keeping up with it can be a full-time job (literally).

What’s the key to creating relevant, shoppable content that feels authentic? Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Stay on top of trends, but keep in mind that not every trend will lend itself to your brand’s message. Find and create moments that blend your brand’s purpose with trending topics and formats.

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Here are a few ways to help you stay on top of your game:

  • Scroll, scroll, scroll. Immerse yourself in social media trends daily. For instance, the For You and Explore pages on TikTok and Instagram, respectively, are great places to start if you want to quickly discover what content is trending. 
  • Follow industry influencers. What big names affect buying decisions in your market? Find those accounts and give them a like, comment, or follow. Engagement is a two-way street. 
  • Ask your customers. Want to know what content resonates most with your customers? Go straight to the source. Customer expectations change rapidly, so poll shoppers regularly to keep a pulse on their preferences. 
  • Keep an eye on the competition. Find out what’s working for your key competitors, and then implement your own version of their moves. (As they say, imitation is the highest form of flattery.) 
  • Delegate social commerce tasks. Decide who’s responsible for carrying out your social commerce strategy. Make sure your teams know who’s in charge of everything from developing your overall strategy to smaller tasks like social listening, responding to comments, and writing captions. 
  • Let data lead the way. By using generative AI, your social, merchandising, and marketing teams can work smarter, not harder.

Creating shoppable moments that resonate is more important than ever. That’s especially true for TikTok, which launched its game-changing Shop feature — a “Buy Now” button that lets you purchase directly in the app — in March. Today, social commerce makes up more than half (56%) of retail sales in the U.S. By 2025, that number is expected to jump to 80%. Relevant shoppable content with a unique brand view will help differentiate your business, and turn social scrolls into shopping sprees.

Ready to create shoppable content that converts?

To find social commerce success and create shoppable content that resonates, you need an authentic edge. It all comes down to telling your story and differentiating your brand with values-driven, relevant messaging and listening to your customers to create an optimal experience. Your relationship with your customers is a two-way street, and social commerce offers a great way to connect, listen, and add value to the conversation.

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Lauren Wallace

Lauren Wallace is an editorial lead for Commerce Cloud. She’s written for B2C and B2B companies in many different industries — most recently cybersecurity and healthcare. When she’s not writing about commerce, you can typically find her outside running or biking around San Diego.

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