Online shopping has seen a huge increase in the past year. And it’s no surprise that social commerce has become increasingly important for online retailers. Social commerce is ideal for connecting with a consumer base on a more personal level. This makes for more leads and better conversions.
Luckily, most social media apps have jumped on this trend by providing tons of awesome tools for online brands. Of course, social commerce is a quickly changing game, so it’s best to stay on top of the trends. In this article, I’ll go over key social commerce trends to look out for in the new year.
1. Authentic Content is the Way to Go
I’m sure you’ve heard people throw around the term “authentic content,” but what does it really mean? Put simply, authentic content looks like a regular person created it, rather than a business. In other words, it’s content that is user-generated or at least looks user-generated.
While traditional advertisements may have worked in the past, today’s consumer is attracted to brands who can really connect with their audience. To get a better idea of how to create effective content, it’s smart to have an understanding of influencer marketing strategy, or how you can become an influencer. The good news is, this type of authentic content is typically low-budget. Simple, visually attractive content is the best approach for authentic social media content.
2. Instagram Shopping Has Seriously Improved
When it comes to social commerce, Instagram is heading the pack. In May of 2020, the popular social media app introduced Instagram Shops. The interface was re-configured so that an area of the app is entirely dedicated to online shopping. Much like IGTV and Reels, Shops are given their own tab on your profile, where your followers can browse your products and services.
In the past, users would have to leave the app in order to complete a purchase. With this new update, your customers can make purchases directly in the app, which makes for a way better conversion rate. I highly recommend you jump on this new update to improve your social commerce strategy.
3. AI is Taking Over Customer Service
When it comes to social commerce, your customers expect to have fairly immediate and direct communication with the brands they love. The best brands jump to the challenge with highly responsive comments and direct messaging. That said, managing this type of customer service can be extremely demanding and time-consuming.
For this reason, social media brands are turning to chatbots and AI to lighten the load. Chatbots have come a long way– they’re able to carry on conversations and provide solutions extremely effectively. Of course, you’ll need a real human to oversee the whole operation, just to ensure everything is running smoothly. Still, this trend can make for an improved customer support system overall.
4. TikTok Video Content is Driving Sales
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure aware of the incredibly popular social media app, TikTok. TikTok is a video-based app in which users create super short videos– just 15-30 seconds max. The result is a highly entertaining experience that has garnered a massive user base. With all that scrolling, it’s only natural that social commerce brands jump in on this trend.
Video content is perfect for showcasing products and services in a captivating and engaging fashion. And while this type of fast-paced content has a steep learning curve, it’s well worth the effort. Better yet, you can launch an ad campaign on TikTok for just $50. The TikTok business platform is super streamlined and easy to use– even for beginners.
5. Influencer Collaborations are Key
Influencer marketing continues to play an important role in reaching younger audiences. The reason behind this is that people are more likely to trust their favorite influencer over a brand. Working with influencers who are relevant to your niche can help you reach a wider audience and boost your conversions. In fact, nearly half of consumers look to influencer recommendations when making a purchase.
When choosing influencers to work with, make sure their audience resonates with what your brand offers. That means looking for influencers who are in a similar niche as your brand. Another thing to consider is how “influential” the influencer is. Remember, follower count isn’t everything. Working with micro-influencers with a high follower engagement rate can be very effective.
6. eCommerce Websites Are Still Important
Even with the improvements made on apps like Instagram, users still seem to prefer purchasing through a retail website. That means it’s important to keep your eCommerce website optimized and running smoothly.
Only about 18% of consumers are making their final purchase directly on a social media app. So, with that in mind, it’s in your best interest to use social media in tandem with a traditional retail website.
There’s no doubt about it– social commerce is poised to do big things this year. Remember, social media users are looking for authentic content above all else. Ditch the heavily curated, traditional ads and aim for more natural content. Working with micro-influencers is a great way to improve your credibility and build trust. Take advantage of all the new social commerce tools on major social media apps, but don’t neglect your retail site. Stay on top of these social commerce trends, and you’ll be one step ahead of the game.