5 social commerce best practices you shouldn't forget as a brand

Social commerce has been sweeping the land for a while. Here are some trends and best practices that stand out and can shape a promising future for social commerce

Updated: Apr 13, 2022 10:58:21 AM UTC
Social commerce is allowing brands to leverage all parts of the purchase funnel, right from product discovery to influencing consideration by retargeted advertising, referrals, and so on. Image: Shutterstock

In a rapidly digitising India, ecommerce brands have been banking on the power of social media to tap into audiences beyond top metros. Social media platforms have redefined how we engage with other people and brands online. In fact, 50 percent of online shoppers in India actively turn to social media for information about brands, products, or services.

Ecommerce companies have been optimising these conversations on social media channels to reach out to customers (existing and potential), foster relationships, and make their path to purchase more engaging.

This has been made possible by social commerce: the use of social media to seamlessly link customers with the ecommerce experience. Brands (small, medium and large) have been doing it and exploring newer ways to engage with their audience. But some trends and best practices stand out and will shape a promising future for social commerce.

1) Engage customers meaningfully with localised, relevant content
Social media is the hotspot of conversational activity. On Twitter alone, there have been 14 million conversations around online shopping in India between June 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021 (Source: Brandwatch). Brands can participate in these conversations and engage with consumers in more one-on-one, personalised ways.

Consumers prefer topical content and conversations tailored to their needs, and conversational social channels let brands meet the consumer mid-way by addressing and resolving queries in real-time. It’s not a one-way street, though. By creatively encouraging the audience to engage in conversations, brands such as Flipkart, Myntra, Sugar, Meesho, and many others, have leveraged user-generated content and turned audiences into their advocates.

Additionally, with audiences increasingly leaning towards content in their language of choice, brands have the opportunity to engage them more meaningfully through localised, culturally relevant content.

2) Use voice, other new-age technology to create seamless, immersive experiences

New-age innovations such as augmented and virtual reality and 3D technology have presented ways to make the online shopping experience increasingly real and close to in-store shopping. For instance, experiential digital destinations created by brands such as Toyota India and Mercedes-Benz India, among others, that project a natural-world view, allow audiences to engage with the brand more intimately, bringing customers closer to the brands’ ethos and offerings.

Voice technology presents the opportunity to effectively engage with today’s fast-moving digital shoppers. Brands are now able to generate awareness and help shoppers evaluate their products or services and new offerings through online reviews and announcements—making it easier for them to shop. The fatigue of always interacting through a screen has also prompted an inclination towards voice conversations through podcasts and other engaging platforms. Brands like Amazon India have leaned into the potential of social audio to connect with customers through interactive experiences.

3) The power of influencers, creators, and communities

Conversations and communities on social media are often powered by popular voices, influencers or content creators. These highly-regarded new-age celebrities tie their credibility to a brand, making it appear more reliable and relatable, and also enable discovery by amplifying the brand’s reach to their community of highly leaned-in followers. Brands can tap into this earned influence to drive authenticity and relatability.

Coupling influencer power with the power of live video is another form of shoppertainment. It will help brands unlock the potential of social commerce by letting audiences engage with the influencers and the brand in an interactive digital experience—even encouraging them to shop for products featured in-app.

Since influencers enjoy a considerable share of voice in regional conversations, their credibility can be increasingly leveraged by small businesses and local retailers to reach audiences and convert them into customers.

4) NFTs: A new product on the block 

When talking of digital commerce and transactions, it’s difficult to not think of NFTs (non-fungible tokens). While NFTs are fairly new to the social commerce market, they are becoming more mainstream by the day (as mainstream as profile pictures) and multiple brands are adding these to their ecommerce portals. NFTs are meant to empower creators, collectors, and small businesses, and have the potential of becoming one of the many products offered by brands in this evolving digital economy. Brands can use NFTs for customer engagement (as they have in-built exclusive offerings/ perks), Customer Relationship Management, and even serve as a new continuous stream of revenue. The possibilities are endless and we have just scratched the surface.

5) Integrating networks with purchase points to drive conversions 

Tying together the massive networking potential of social media with ecommerce websites, such that communities of followers or connections on a social platform can together navigate their shopping options, is sure to boost the expansion of social commerce. Social commerce is allowing brands to leverage all parts of the purchase funnel, right from product discovery to influencing consideration by retargeted advertising, referrals, and so on. Also reaching the bottom of the funnel by offering time-bound deals to help close the journey and convert into an actual sale. This space would create a personalised experience reminiscent of shopping with friends. The amalgamation of low-cost, fast-delivery services and digitised payment options—with interactivity among consumers—will further bolster the growing social commerce market in India.

The writer is a Business Head – West and South at Twitter India.

The thoughts and opinions shared here are of the author.

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