Social shopping is bigger than ever. When social media first came around its sole purpose was to help people connect and communicate with friends and family. Nowadays, it has developed into one of the most important ways for companies to connect, communicate and sell directly to their target audience.
Social media gives brands new opportunities to reach their customers and some brands now launch with their entire eCommerce model formed around social shopping.
What is Social Shopping?
Social shopping, also referred to as social commerce, is where consumers can view a product photo, description, price and buy it directly on the app, or as a link to click through and buy on the company website. This is currently available in image or video sharing apps like Instagram where brands can tag products in images and user-generated content.
Social shopping shortens the buying journey and appeals to the habit for impulse buying. In fact, one in four online purchases are now made as a result of a social media interaction.
How to Use Social Shopping for Your Brand
Not every social media network offers social shopping and each one is different. So, here we break it down for you.
Instagram offers the most options for in-app purchasing and earlier this year even launched Instagram Checkout (currently only in the US) which allows users to pay in the app using debit/credit cards and Paypal.
To Set Up Instagram Social Shopping, You Must:
1. Have an Instagram Business Account
On Instagram click the three lines in the top right of your profile – click ‘Settings’ – ‘Account’ – at the bottom select ‘Switch to Business Account’
2. Get Approved for Instagram Social Shopping
No ordinary Tom, Dick or Harry can simply set up shop and sell on Facebook or Instagram, you have to jump through some hoops first. In order to protect customers, companies have to go through an approval process to sell.
3. Connect to a Facebook Profile
In order to list products on Instagram you need to do it on Facebook Shop first and sync it with Instagram Shopping. This can be managed using Facebook Business Manager.
4. Turn on Social Shopping
Tap the three lines in the top right corner of your Instagram profile – click ‘Settings’ – ‘Business’ – ‘Shopping’ – select a product catalogue then click ‘Done’
So, you’re all set up. How can you use it?
Once you’re approved and have chosen your product catalogue, you can start posting shoppable content. There’s a few different ways to do this:
Feed Posts – after uploading your image you can tag products in the same way that you tag friends. Best thing about these is that shoppable feed posts now show up in the user’s personalised Explore page, helping you reach new audiences who might not currently follow you.
Stories – tag products in Stories by adding a product sticker from the sticker tray where you find your location tags and gifs. Extremely helpful for businesses with less than 10,000 followers who don’t have the ‘swipe up’ link option to sell via Stories.
Live streams (US only) – this year the amount of brands turning to live streaming went through the roof, especially for product launches to replace in-person events. This new feature lets brands add products to the bottom of a live stream and customers can click ‘Add to Bag’ during the stream, enabling brands to sell in real-time. QVC, anyone?
IGTV – tag products the same way as a feed post but instead of clicking on the video, users will have to click the ‘Browse’ button to find out more.
Reels – Instagram’s new TikTok rival has taken centre-stage in the last few months. It was only a matter of time before they added shopping capabilities to this new content form. Similar to IGTV, you can add product tags which will show viewers a ‘View Product’ prompt next to the caption to learn more or purchase.
As you can already see from Instagram’s shopping capabilities, Facebook are establishing their apps as an integral part of the online shopping experience. Earlier this year Facebook announced that helping small businesses sell on social was next on the agenda. Tada! Enter Facebook Shops.
Facebook Shops allows small businesses to build online shops and sell their products across Facebook’s suite of networks, linking to all the aforementioned Instagram features.
The setup process is the same as on Instagram and you can use it on feed images, videos and Stories in the same capacity.
Where it differs from the others is that you can customise the product catalog to match your branding and you can set up purchases in Messenger, or use Messenger like a website chatbot to help your users with their shopping.
With so many new shopping features this year, it can be difficult to decide where to place your efforts. Put data behind your decisions. Track and measure your campaigns in real-time using Mediatool’s Facebook and Instagram integrations.
TikTok has skyrocketed this year with 33 million downloads in a quarter. With a largely Gen Z user base and an algorithm that favours quality content over follower count, you shouldn’t leave it out of your social media strategy.
In October, TikTok announced a partnership with Shopify which will allow brands to sell products using shoppable video ads. While brands can run ad campaigns on TikTok, this is their move towards social shopping on the network.
How to set it up:
- Download the TikTok app from the Shopify App Store
- Create a TikTok for Business account – make sure to connect your payments to Shopify in the Shopify TikTok app
- Setup TikTok pixel – similar to Facebook Pixel, this is a piece of code that you add to your Shopify website. More information on installing that here.
- TikTok Pixel gives you helpful performance analytics.
What’s Next for Social Shopping?
Given that most of these features came to social media in 2020, who knows what 2021 will bring. We predict that TikTok will develop their own in-app shopping experience like Facebook/Instagram and maybe even LinkedIn will allow users to purchase services via their app.
One thing that’s for sure is that this year has been monumental for social shopping and we don’t see that stopping anytime soon. This means that marketers have a lot more plates to spin when it comes to planning content and measuring results. And that they need better tools to inform social strategies.
With Mediatool, marketers can plan campaigns faster and access real-time results to find what is really working when it comes to social media shopping campaigns.
Do you want to improve your brand’s shopping experience on social media but not sure where to spend your time and money? Book a free Mediatool demo to help gain clarity on your campaigns.