Whether you’re selling post-modern furniture, custom novelty cards, or imported exotic salt, building your small business is one of the most rewarding - and challenging - things you can do. That’s why we’re always on the lookout for creative ideas to help you succeed. And, these days, one of the hottest trends to help you take your business to the next level is social commerce.
It’s no surprise that people spend a lot of time on social media. From Facebook and Instagram to Twitter and Tiktok, these platforms make it increasingly easy to do just about everything, including shopping. That’s where social commerce comes in.
Social commerce (also known as social shopping) can be a key part of your business growth strategy. If you’re a business owner, you can use social commerce to reach new customers, engage with your audience, and most importantly, sell your products.
What is social commerce exactly?
According to Hootsuite, social commerce is a fast-growing trend of selling products or services directly through social media 1. Through different types of social commerce, the entire shopping experience can take place on our favourite digital platforms.
Its growing importance for entrepreneurs
Accenture predicts that the social commerce industry will nearly triple, reaching about $1.2 trillion, by 2025 2. As a business owner, that’s not an opportunity to miss. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram found that 81% of people say they use the apps to research products or services 3. So, it’s no wonder that traditional e-commerce tools have already been integrated into social media, like brand marketing, advertising, customer service and of course, shopping. This way, you can meet customers where they are.
What’s especially exciting about social commerce is that it can provide a free or low-cost way for small and medium-sized businesses to compete with big businesses.
Rather than spending a bucket of money on a brick and mortar store in an expensive location, business owners can simply make accounts on social media to promote their products and services and connect to their online stores.
Accenture notes that about 59% of shoppers say they’re more likely to buy from small businesses when shopping through social commerce than on websites 4. And we love to hear it! Supporting local businesses is one of our key values at TD so we’re thrilled that social commerce is opening new income streams for individuals and small businesses — not just the big guys.
Exciting new ways to market your brand
Don’t rush the first step: Carefully consider your target audience when selecting which platforms you choose to be active on. Which social media are your customers most likely to use?
Here’s some general tips and stats from SproutSocial that you could consider when choosing a social commerce platform.
So, which platforms seem right for your audience? If you’re in the B2B industry, business platforms like LinkedIn could be an obvious choice. Or if you specialise in vegan hand-dipped candles, your audience may be drawn to aesthetic pics of your product on Instagram. Consider making a note of which platforms seem right for your audience now so you can begin crafting your social commerce strategy. There’s no time like now to get started!
But remember, doing social commerce right takes time and effort. Think about how much time you’re willing or able to invest in social commerce and be sure not to spread yourself too thin over multiple channels. It’s better to manage one or two accounts well than to be on all platforms but unable to keep up. So, it could be a good idea to start small and build from there.
Once you choose which platforms to use, link your website to your account to make your pages shoppable and attract customers with a convenient, seamless experience.
Communicate with your audience and gain customers
Social commerce is great for sharing content and engaging with your audience. Beyond simple posts, try out in-app features like Stories, Reels, Live Video and Polls to get more eyes on your brand.
You can also take advantage of in-app advertising, targeting tools and hashtags to help reach your intended audiences. Depending on your brand and strategy, you may want to partner with influencers to help increase your reach, gain credibility and spread word of mouth.
Improve your customer service
Through your social commerce pages, customers can reach out with questions and comments 24/7. Check your inbox and comments to engage with your audience and answer their inquiries. These conversations can help add the important human element that some shoppers could miss from shopping in a mall, so be sure to let your personality and professionalism shine through.
Another thing to keep in mind is social monitoring like tracking keywords, hashtags, competitors, or your brand name to keep a pulse on — and consider joining — relevant conversations.
Get a reliable support system with TD Merchant Solutions
Rather than allowing your customers to shop directly through social commerce platforms, consider using the platforms to drive them to your website instead. This way, you can save on any fees that the platforms may charge you and process payments with TD Merchant Solutions instead.
Because social commerce means your customers are buying online, you want to make sure everything is secure. If you need help facilitating secure, online payments, get in touch with TD Merchant Solutions by filling out this form or calling 1-800-363-1163.
1McLachlan, Stacey. “What Is Social Commerce and Why Should Your Brand Care?” Social Media Marketing & Management Dashboard, April 18, 2022.
2Murdoch, Robin, Oliver Wright, Karen Fang Grant, Kevin Collins, and Laura McCracken. “See Why Shopping Is Set for a Social Revolution.” Accenture, January 2, 2022.
3“How Instagram Boosts Brands and Drives Sales.” Facebook IQ, February 6, 2019.
4Barnhart, Brent. “Social Media Demographics to Inform Your Brand's Strategy in 2022.” Sprout Social, March 2, 2022.
This content discusses current topics of interest in a general and informational manner only and may not be appropriate in all circumstances. Please ensure that you seek advice personalized for your situation from the appropriate professional, consultant, or subject matter expert on the topic of interest to you.