The Roles of Social Media in Ecommerce

Posted by David Watson . on October 4, 2018

Social media has long been a hub for marketing in ecommerce. Its primary purpose used to be driving traffic to an ecommerce website in the hopes people would subsequently make a purchase. But ecommerce is moving toward integration as people seek increasingly frictionless experiences with the fewest hurdles to clear between them and the finish line. Social media platforms and ecommerce platforms are no longer totally distinct entities.

So, what are the roles of social media in modern ecommerce? Let’s take a closer look at how online retailers can harness the power of social media to communicate with customers, drive revenue and shape brand perceptions.

Helping Consumers Discover Products

According to reporting by Adweek,80 percent of brands and retailers say, “Visual content increases the discoverability of products.” Social media provides a prime opportunity to get eyeballs on your products without requiring people to visit your website. This is a great way to pique interest in people who previously had never heard of your brand—or heard about your store in passing, but hadn’t yet had an opportunity to check out your products for themselves.

Written content is important, but visuals will really set you apart on social media. This means it’s advisable to invest in high-definition photography, as these images will reflect directly on your store. Video as a form of content is also playing an ever-expanding role in the online experience, so consider creating content in this medium to engage your audience.

Facilitating Purchases

The rise of social commerce means shoppers can make purchases without leaving their favorite social media platforms. Integrating your cloud ecommerce store with social media platforms means shoppers can make purchases from within the native social media experience rather than having to make a separate visit to your website. Less friction means a better chance of earning conversions, especially from mobile users seeking convenience.

Facebook store is one example of social commerce as outlined by ConversionXL, allowing you to:

  • Upload product and product information
  • Customize the product catalog for your stores
  • Sell conveniently from your Facebook page
  • Manage the logistics of orders
  • Launch promotional ads
  • Keep an eye on important insights

Pro tip: Make sure your ecommerce platform is capable of integrating with Facebook store and other native marketplaces as part of a comprehensive social media strategy.

Providing Responsive Customer Service

The fact of the matter is 63 percent of customers expect companies to provide customer service through their social media channels. It’s no surprise to learn most people have used social media to communicate with a business at least once.

In order to meet the rising demand of responsive customer service via social media, merchants must make an effort to address public and private messages in a timely manner. Yes, your website has a landing page addressing frequently asked questions—but you can still expect an influx of customer inquiries, ranging from general asks to highly specific queries. Furthermore, customers will leave comments, compliments and critiques in private and public channels, all of which require responses.

Make sure you have a social media expert or customer service representative monitoring your social channels during business hours, prepared to give a response that’s helpful and on-point for your brand personality. For private messages, you may choose to employ a chatbot powered by artificial intelligence at times when human employees are off-duty.

Launching Paid Advertising Campaigns

Social media ads are the most customizable they’ve ever been, capable of drilling down to online users’ demographics, location, online habits and more. Merchants can take advantage of dynamic ads to reach the right audiences with personalized messaging across platforms.

Social media plays many roles in ecommerce, each an important component of an overall strategy.

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