15 Tips For Businesses Looking To Ramp Up Social Commerce Efforts

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Social media originally started as a platform to connect with others — now, it’s so much more than that. Social media sites have evolved into integral marketing channels and marketplaces where businesses can sell their products directly to consumers.

Forbes Agency Council

Because “social commerce” is still relatively new, many brands are still learning how to optimize their Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok and other accounts for selling. Here, 15 members of Forbes Agency Council share their No. 1 tips for businesses looking to get into social commerce, describing the most effective ways they’ve seen entrepreneurs enter the social media marketplace.

1. Have A Holistic Strategy For Testing

Social commerce is in its early stages, but it will inevitably be huge. TikTok is investing big in social commerce and will be the dominating social media platform for this decade. Brands looking to enter this space need to have a holistic strategy to test what might work for them before doubling down. Investing in user-generated content, working with creators and refining processes are key at this stage. – Faique Moqeet, Hamster Garage

2. Publish High-Quality Content

Always remember that content is king! Regardless of how many or which social channels are used as a marketing vehicle to deliver a message to current and potential audiences, you have to make sure you stay on-brand, publish high-quality content and actively engage with your audience. Quality content always makes a difference and gathers attention. – Peter Belbita, Noble House Media

3. Choose The Right Platforms First

Start with the right strategy. Which platforms are you active on for which audience, and what content/messaging is right for them? Then comes the right content strategy. The audience has only a short attention span, so content is key. From there on you can tap into social commerce. It’s always on. – Maddie Raedts, Media.Monks

4. Identify Your Target Audience

Ask yourself which platforms your customers use and what type of content they like. By focusing on the proper channels and understanding your audience’s preferences, you’ll have a higher chance of succeeding. And of course, for branding, showcase your aesthetics. It’s crucial to build up your brand personality and to interact with your audience on a personal level. – Dmitrii Kustov, Regex SEO

5. See How It Works For Competitors

Most brands don’t need to be on all of the social media/commerce platforms. Resist the temptation. Don’t spend countless hours and budget getting started. Wait a little longer. Watch competitors burn budget. Pay attention to who stays on a platform for six months, 12 months and 24 months. Go there. In the meantime, focus on your current customers/clients. – Michael McFadden, eAccountable

6. Be Authentic

Represent yourself authentically through the platform. It’s easy to jump on the bandwagon and replicate what you see other top-followed brands do. As a Cincinnati-based company, we had a unique opportunity to show people who we are with the Super Bowl last month. Sometimes, it can be funny; sometimes, it can be embarrassing, but it has to always be authentic. Check out the Ickey Shuffle! – Lori Paikin, NaviStone®

7. Actively Engage With Audiences

Social commerce relies on the social part of the equation. Start by building a brand presence on the relevant platforms, and encourage and develop community by actively engaging with audiences. Another option is to partner with creators on the platform who have built up credibility and influence among their followers. Either way, focus on the personal connections that will ultimately drive sales. – Danielle Wiley, Sway Group

8. Don’t Rely Too Heavily On One Platform

Social commerce is still in its relative infancy, and platform algorithms award newer features and products. It is best to test on every platform and not rely too heavily on just one. By utilizing artificial intelligence technology to find and partner with creators and platforms who can best promote their products, brands can generate authentic collaborations driven by consent that truly inspire audiences to purchase. – Ricky Ray Butler, BEN

9. Dedicate Resources To One Audience

When creating a new social commerce campaign, it’s critical to streamline to an initial audience. Dedicate your resources to one specific group and create a great campaign, instead of spreading yourself thin. Do research initially on your prime customer demographic and then follow up that research once the campaigns begin, particularly with A/B testing to see which campaigns are strongest. – Peter Boyd, PaperStreet Web Design

10. Know Where Your Audience Is Already Spending Time

Know what social platforms your preferred audience is spending time on. These demographics have been shifting, so don’t assume. Look at the data. Next, brands need to consider ad infrastructure. Which platforms are already set up to drive social commerce with minimal friction? The more steps there are between your content (or ad) and the purchase, the harder the conversion is going to be. – Bernard May, National Positions

11. Be Sure You’re Ready To Handle It

Social commerce can bring new opportunities for revenue, but verify that it’s something you can actually handle. An effective social media strategy involves high-quality content (that represents your unique brand) and consistent engagement with followers. If you already run a successful e-commerce operation, can you stretch your current resources into also managing the social media side of things? – Marc Hardgrove, The HOTH

12. Ensure It’s The Right Fit For Your Brand

Before you launch on any platform, ask yourself: “Is this environment right for our brand?” In the same way having a stall at the local flea market may not be right for your brand, so too may social commerce be an ill fit. Do not erode your brand’s perceived quality through a mismatch. – Hamish Anderson, Three Piece Marketing

13. Understand Each Platform’s Unique Nature

Understand the unique nature of different platforms. It’s important to understand how e-commerce works on different social media platforms, and that they all operate differently in terms of audience delivery, metrics, typical consumer response and so forth. This includes having different media to push out on each platform. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

14. Be Ready To ‘Pay To Play’

Make sure that you are ready to “pay to play.” One of the largest trends in 2021 was the reduction in organic social media success and engagement across the board. So in 2022, if you are looking to throw your hat in the social commerce ring, per se, you need to have a nice advertising budget secured and set aside. A killer post is not going to make you millions. – Christopher Tompkins, The Go! Agency

15. Do Your Homework

Before your brand jumps onto these platforms, do your homework. Make sure you can provide the type of content that resonates on social media and that your prospects are actually on these platforms. Look at your website and brand. If you start using social media to drive traffic to your website, and there’s a disconnect between your brand and brand messaging, it’s a waste of money. Don’t sell — infotain. – Megan Devine, d.trio marketing group

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