Social Media for Ecommerce: How to Stand Out From the Competition

Kunal Arora

January 8, 20248 min read

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Businesses in the digital age are embracing social media as a game-changing strategy to reach customers and enhance their online presence. Using social media for e-commerce is not just a passing trend; it's a transformative force that is reshaping the future of online retail. To stay ahead in the ever-evolving digital landscape, businesses must recognize the profound influence of social media on e-commerce. Understanding this influence is crucial for sustained growth and success. 

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll be covering the different facets of how you can make the most of social media for e-commerce and other important details that you need to know. 

Table of Contents

What is social media e-commerce? 

Social media e-commerce involves utilizing social media platforms, like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, etc., to promote products and facilitate online sales using online stores.  

In 2023-24, this practice has gained remarkable traction, making social media an essential hub for e-commerce activities. 

Let's take a glance at some intriguing e-commerce social media statistics to highlight the importance of this topic: 

  • 80% of users make purchases on online platforms 

  • Sales via social media platforms are estimated to hit $1.298 billion in 2023 

  • Almost 28% of users aged between 16 and 64 said their main reason for using social media was to find inspiration for things to buy or do 

  • Over 70% of users use social media to recommend brands they purchase from  

A dollar-wise comparison of the average order value of customers on various popular social media channels.

Source

Why is using social media for e-commerce important in 2023-24?  

To understand the significance of the types of social media channels for e-commerce, let's consider a simple example: Picture your organization as a leading manufacturer of industrial machinery. Without a strong social media presence, your customer base will be limited to those who proactively seek out your machinery through conventional channels.  

However, by integrating social media into your business model, you can significantly extend your reach, considering the baffling number of its users.  Here are a few ways social media can benefit your organization: 

  • Brand visibility and awareness: Reach a broader audience beyond traditional marketing channels, and educate potential buyers about your machinery's capabilities and applications by posting product demos, success stories and industry insights on social media 

  • Customer engagement and relationship building: by engaging with customers through comments, polls or surveys, you can not only foster more meaningful relationships and address their queries or concerns in real time but also gather valuable feedback, which can be used for product improvement or innovation 

Pro Tip: Deliver contextual experiences, no matter the channel with Sprinklr AI. With the same models processing data across channels and formats, Sprinklr provides a unified customer interaction history, allowing your team to switch channels while retaining customer context.  

  • Lead generation and sales conversion: target specific demographics, industries or job titles, reaching potential buyers who are more likely to be interested in your offerings, and drive traffic to your e-commerce platform by running targeted campaigns or promotions 

  • Thought leadership: sharing expertise, industry trends and insights positions you as an authority in the field, attracting attention from potential partners or clients seeking credible solutions 

Learn More: Impact of social media marketing on businesses  

Social media e-commerce vs. Social commerce  

To give you a better idea about how social media e-commerce is distinguished, let’s look at some key differences between social media e-commerce and social commerce

Aspect 

Social media e-commerce 

Social commerce 

Purpose 

Promoting and selling products on social media platforms to attract customers to e-commerce sites 

Facilitating sales directly within a social media platform 

Conversion 

 
Drives traffic to 
e-commerce sites 

 
Allows transactions within the social media platform 

Examples 

 
Using Instagram to showcase and link products to an e-commerce site 

 
Facebook Marketplace, where users can buy and sell products directly 

Approach 

Social media acts as a marketing channel to attract potential customers 

 
The entire shopping process, from discovery to purchase, happens within the social media platform 

Interesting Read: Social Media Insights: How to drive value from Social Data  

7 key strategies when using social media for e-commerce 

Here are seven fool-proof strategies to optimize your social media for sales.

1. Optimize your social profiles

Optimize your e-commerce brand's social media profiles to resonate with your audience by following these tips: 

  • Choose engaging profile pictures: Select a profile picture that represents your brand, such as your logo or a professional image. Make sure it's clear and recognizable, even in smaller thumbnails. 

  • Write an informative bio: Your bio is a brief and impactful opportunity to showcase your brand. Keep it concise, yet meaningful, and use relevant keywords to enhance discoverability. Etsy’s Instagram bio is spot-on. 

    Etsy's Instagram bio is crisp and instantly conveys its essence and purpose to the reader.

  • Utilize pinned posts: Platforms like Twitter and Facebook allow you to pin posts to the top of your social media profile. Use this feature to highlight important content, such as a current promotion or a video that introduces your brand. 

 Learn More: 9 Ways to boost your brand's share of voice on social media  

2. Leverage influencer marketing 

Influencer marketing can be a goldmine for e-commerce businesses when executed thoughtfully. To make the most of this strategy: 

  • Choose the right influencers: Collaborate with influencers whose audience aligns with your target market. Analyze their content and engagement to ensure they're a good fit. 

  • Set clear expectations: Establish a partnership agreement outlining the type of content, posting schedule and any key messages you want the influencer to convey. 

  • Measure the impact: Use tracking links or unique promo codes to measure the influence of the campaign. This data will provide insights into the effectiveness of your influencer partnerships. 

Find Out: Influencer marketing strategies to improve engagement 

3. Run targeted social media ads  

Social media advertising is a trusted method to reach your ideal audience. Here's how to do it effectively: 

  • Know your target audience: Identify your customer personas to understand who your ads should target. This includes social media demographics, interests and online behaviors. 

  • Adapt to platform variations: Each social media platform has its own set of ad formats and targeting options. Customize your ads for each platform to maximize engagement. 

  • Monitor and adjust: Regularly analyze your ad performance. If you find that a particular ad isn't performing as expected, don't hesitate to adjust or replace it. 

Related Read: Organic vs paid social media: Choose the right channel  

4. Create shoppable posts 

Shoppable posts are the bridge between discovery and purchase. Consider these social e-commerce tips: 

  • Feature multiple products: Ensure that each product is properly featured so that users can easily find and purchase them. 

  • Invest in high-quality visuals: Shoppable posts depend on compelling visuals. Showcase your products in high-resolution images that capture the user's attention. 

  • Use call to actions (CTAs): Use relevant and clear CTAs, like "Shop Now" or "Learn More," to increase the conversion rate. 

    A shoppable Instagram post  with a prominent "Shop Now" call-to-action at the bottom.

5. Gather user-generated content (UGC)  

Leveraging UGC can build trust and authenticity around your brand. To do this effectively: 

  • Create UGC campaigns: Launch campaigns or challenges that encourage users to create content related to your products. Share the best submissions on your profile. 

  • Engage actively: When customers tag your brand or share content related to your products, acknowledge and engage with them.  

  • Request permissions: Always seek permission from the content creators if you plan to use the UGC for advertising. 

    A comparison showing the distinct advantages of user-generated content (UGC) over influencer-generated content

    Also Read: How to leverage user-generated content to drive engagement & conversions on social media  

6. Use hashtags strategically 

Hashtags help amplify the reach of your post. More importantly, they ensure that the post is seen by the audience it’s intended for. Here are some tips that’ll help you make the most of them: 

  • Research trending hashtags: Keep an eye out for trending and relevant hashtags in your niche. Using these can help you reach a wider audience. 

  • Create branded hashtags: Create branded hashtags and encourage customers to use them when sharing their experiences on social media. This not only helps build a successful brand community but also provides a platform for others to discover your products. 

  • Limit the number of hashtags: Overloading your posts with hashtags can make them look spammy. Stick to a few highly relevant tags for better results. 

7. Analyze data and improve strategies 

To effectively adapt and optimize your social media content for e-commerce, follow these steps: 

  • Track metrics: Metrics like engagement rate, click-through rate (CTR), conversion rate and return on ad spend (ROAS) should be tracked and analyzed regularly. They will help you understand what’s working and what can be optimized. 

  • A/B testing: Experiment with different types of content, ad copy and visuals. A/B testing allows you to compare the performance between two variations to see which one gives better results. 

  • Adapt to emerging trends: Stay informed about the evolving landscape of social media. New features and social media trends frequently emerge, and adapting to these can keep your strategy fresh and relevant. 

Tools like Sprinklr Social Publishing & Engagement simplify the process of publishing, managing and measuring brand content on over 30 social media channels. With such a tool, you can gain full control over your social media content and access valuable data insights to adapt your strategies in real time. 

Deep Dive: 8 best practices to ace your social media marketing  

Top 10 social media e-commerce platforms for 2023-2024 

1. Instagram Shops  

Instagram has revolutionized e-commerce with its shopping features. Businesses can effortlessly turn their visual stories into shopping experiences using shoppable posts and shopping tags. The Instagram shop provides a dedicated space for users to explore, engage and make purchases. This makes Instagram the perfect platform for  

  • Fashion brands 

  • Retailers 

  • Product-centric businesses 

With over 1 billion active users, Instagram is an excellent opportunity to connect with potential customers and boost sales. 

Learn More: The complete guide to Instagram advertising for the holidays  

2. Facebook Marketplace  

Facebook Marketplace is a highly popular platform for e-commerce businesses. With almost 3 billion monthly active users, the platform provides a significant advantage. It allows both individuals and businesses to list their products and services for sale. This makes it a great option for smaller businesses, entrepreneurs and niche markets, as it enables you to target potential customers in your local community.  

Facebook Marketplace should be your go-to platform to effortlessly list a wide array of items for sale, catering to diverse needs and interests

Read More: Facebook group marketing: How to build a community  

3. Pinterest for shopping  

Pinterest is a visual discovery and bookmarking platform that has gained popularity in the e-commerce space. It's particularly beneficial for businesses in the fashion, home decor and lifestyle niches. The platform offers product Pins, enabling users to purchase products directly from the pins they discover. Catalogs and Pinterest shopping ads are powerful tools that e-commerce brands can use to create visually appealing ads and target users searching for inspirational and shoppable content. 

A pinned shirtdress on Everlane's Pinterest account.

Source 

Deep Dive: Optimizing Pinterest Ad Campaigns via Goals and Targeting 

4. TikTok Shop 

TikTok, known for its short-form videos, has become a thriving e-commerce platform. Brands are utilizing its engaging video content to reach younger audiences and promote their products. TikTok's shoppable features, including in-feed ads and branded hashtags, offer businesses a dynamic way to drive product discovery. With its growing user base, TikTok provides an opportunity to create captivating content that appeals to users seeking visually stimulating e-commerce experiences. 

A preview of TikTok Shop where brands and creators can sell directly on TikTok through features like live shopping

Source

Read More: 7 key trends to power your TikTok marketing campaigns 

5. Snapchat's shoppable AR 

Snapchat is a leader in augmented reality (AR) advertising, offering many e-commerce opportunities. AR Lenses allow users to try products virtually before buying them, creating an immersive experience. This is particularly valuable for businesses in cosmetics, fashion and consumer electronics. Through partnerships with brands, Snapchat has developed creative and interactive AR campaigns. By using these AR tools, businesses can showcase products and provide users with engaging shopping experiences. 

6. YouTube for shopping 

YouTube is evolving into an e-commerce hub, allowing businesses to integrate shopping features into their videos. Shoppable ads and the YouTube Merch Shelf integration enable viewers to easily explore and buy products directly from the video content. In-stream ads also provide an opportunity to engage potential customers and enhance the shopping experience. With YouTube's wide reach and the effectiveness of video marketing, businesses should leverage this platform to drive sales in the near future. 

A YouTuber promoting a variety of cargo pants that can be bought via YouTube

 Source

Learn More: 50+ important social media video statistics to know  

7. X’s Twitter Shops 

Twitter Shops enhances e-commerce on the platform. It allows brands to display up to five products at the top of their profiles, providing users with quick access to product information and the option to make purchases without leaving the app. This seamless integration is especially beneficial for businesses aiming to reach audiences with limited shopping interruptions.

Various African food products showcased by the All I Do Is Cook handle on Twitter Shops

Source 

Related Read: What is Twitter Spaces: How should brands use it? 

8. LinkedIn for B2B e-commerce 

LinkedIn, primarily known as a professional networking platform, has been diversifying its offerings for B2B e-commerce brands. Features like Showcase Pages enable businesses to display their products and services to a business-oriented audience. These specialized pages can be a valuable tool for B2B companies looking to connect with other businesses, highlight their offerings and network within the LinkedIn community. The platform's focus on professional relationships makes it a unique space for B2B e-commerce. 

Deep Dive: 7 Ways to increase LinkedIn ad spend ROAS 

9. Shopify 

Shopify, a renowned e-commerce platform, provides features for seamlessly integrating your online store with social media. You can set up a Facebook Shop, simplifying the process of connecting your products with Facebook and Instagram for cohesive shopping experiences. This integration makes it convenient for businesses to reach potential customers and drive sales through these popular social media platforms. 

10. WeChat stores 

WeChat, the dominant platform in China, has evolved into a comprehensive e-commerce platform. It's a must for businesses aiming to tap into the vast Chinese market. WeChat shops allow businesses to showcase their products and reach millions of potential customers in China. With the integration of WeChat Pay, users can make purchases directly through the platform.

WeChat being used as a billing system to check-out via a one-click payment

Source 

Interesting Read: 3 key takeaways: how to use social commerce to drive retail sales 

Final thoughts 

As businesses struggle with fierce competition and constantly evolving consumer behaviors, embracing social media for e-commerce has become a necessity. Social media platforms offer an expansive reach, enabling businesses to connect with a wide audience. By using effective strategies and top social media e-commerce platforms, you can stay ahead of the competition, engage potential customers more effectively and boost sales. 

As such, you should consider using tools like Sprinklr Social for the real-time tracking of your content and to gain valuable data insights to optimize your e-commerce strategies. It’s a unified social media management platform that empowers you to refine your e-commerce strategies and adapt to new ones.

Book a demo today to take your social media e-commerce efforts to a whole new level.

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