Your competition is no longer other stores or retail locations; it’s anyone with an internet connection who might also have your product to offer. It doesn’t matter how quaint or small your shop may be — social commerce makes all shops equal on digital platforms.
What is social commerce?
In the last few decades, technology has largely advanced and revolutionized how we live, work and interact in the world. The latest boom in internet driven commerce is known as “Social Commerce,” meaning that it takes place online with social media platforms as a backbone. This new form of business has its benefits and drawbacks for businesses. Namely, you don’t need to be a store to play this game anymore.
Social commerce is growing at a rapid pace with many avenues to tap into. Where once we were limited to Facebook for e-commerce content, now we have TikTok, Instagram and LinkedIn. The opportunities to connect with consumers through digital media are plentiful. We’ve compiled some lessons from successful social commerce strategies that show how it matters even for small business owners!
Factors in which social commerce affect all businesses:
1. Low-overhead business model
Social commerce allows small and medium-sized business (SMB’s) to offer goods and services at low prices. Online marketplaces are a hotbed for budding entrepreneurs with stunning designs, featured products, stellar ratings and more.
Similarly, social media is also trending toward a profitable business model. A business owner can start their own social media page or hire a virtual assistant to accomplish repetitive tasks related to their targeted niche. Virtual assistants allow a personal touch without spending thousands of dollars on upfront marketing costs.
It’s mandatory to have an online presence. This is not only true for e-commerce but also brick and mortar stores too. The more social the business is, the higher the engagement rate goes with customers. Customer engagement can lead to direct sales, but it can also help a business obtain exposure to potential new customers. Making a good first impression with your audience is vital in retail especially where it is important to differentiate from other businesses in the same category or area.
Social commerce has found its hold within technology, specifically on sites like Amazon and eBay. Based on our research over 50% of all online sales happen on both platforms with Amazon significantly leading the pack. This is due to them having a technological advantage over eBay in the form of Amazon 1-Click purchasing and the Amazon Prime membership. The more technologically advanced a company can be, the easier it will be for them to make sales. For example, when you’re doing Google searches, there are specific spots (shopping results) that are sponsored. This is essentially advertising space with a cost per click.
4. Web Design
The design of an online store is all about how visitors perceive the brand in addition to how well they can buy products from it. Most e-commerce sites have an online store on their profiles like Instagram or Facebook where customers can learn more about a brand before they purchase their product(s). The design of an online store is important in social commerce because this is how customers are able to understand a business’s overview and details about it. People can be scared into buying from a brand knowing that they have positive feedback online, or they might not purchase from them if they don’t have a good online reputation. Web design doesn’t necessarily correlate to the success of a business, but it is one factor that does affect it.
5. Public Relations
Social commerce is not-so-secretly coexisting with the traditional form of PR which is press releases and other traditional media sources like print media and TV news. Although social media is not considered as fast paced enough to be considered as traditional PR, but there are ways that social media is becoming a big part of how small business owners are conducting their PR. For example, a Drip marketing strategy involves paying micro-influencers to spread the word about your products and services onto their own social media channels. Micro-influencers grow an audience because they have a following that you can easily target for your product.
There is more emphasis on e-commerce within social commerce since it is now easier to make purchases online through the use of technology platforms. The Internet itself is becoming more like a store where you can browse and purchase based on specific interests. Through social commerce, small business owners can build an online store via their own website, Instagram profile or other platforms. Amazon is the most popular platform for small business owners to sell products on.
6. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Social media has become a big part of search engine optimization since people are using it more than ever to find information and products that they may be interested in buying. If you want a product to rank easily on Google, you have to have a strong presence on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram where people are able to see your content and reviews about your product.
Why is social commerce important?
Social commerce provides an opportunity for marketers to reach their customers in a unique way. When used effectively, social media can help boost sales by encouraging customers to engage with your brand on social media for the chance to win prizes and other rewards. With this marketing strategy, businesses can leverage digital platforms to reach more potential customers in a time and space that suits them best.
The benefits of social commerce are clear: It has been proven to increase brand awareness, improve customer satisfaction and loyalty, boost sales and can even help grow your email list.
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5 Lessons form Social Commerce: These Activities Impacts Small Businesses
1. Targeting is key!
Social media allows potential customers to be reached at a time and place that suits them best. With this in mind, it is important for businesses to carefully choose which social media platforms they wish to promote their content on as different platforms reach different areas of the market in different ways. For example, Instagram reaches 0–14 year olds with an average of 187 million daily active users. However, use Instagram for your business’ contest and give away (or place it on Facebook)!
2. Content is king
Everyone knows quality content is the key to social media success. However, it is important for business owners to remember that unique content also helps them stand out. Your audience will be less inclined to engage with you if your content has already been posted by other brands on Instagram and Facebook, for example. It’s also worth noting that certain kinds of posts can achieve a greater reach than others. Videos tend to have a higher engagement rate than text posts, while images are more likely to be liked and commented on compared to text posts.
3. Engaging is key
Social media is a two-way streets so it is important for businesses to respond to comments, messages and questions from consumers as quickly and effectively as possible. Take advantage of tools such as Facebook’s live chat feature or Instagram’s direct messaging feature to ensure your business is quick to respond and demonstrate you value their feedback.
4. It is all about community
By building a community on social media, business owners can generate goodwill and create opportunities for further engagement. For example, you could use iMessage apps to include your potential customers in a branded chat group or you could host Instagram takeovers from your fans. By engaging with your audience and encouraging them to interact with each other on social media, businesses can help increase brand awareness by demonstrating their benevolence and community spirit.
5. Mobile phones are the most important channel!
The majority of US Internet users are now using social media through their mobile device rather than a computer or laptop. As such, your business should ensure their social media strategy is mobile friendly to ensure your customers can easily engage with your brand and content. Optimizing your website for mobile and ensuring that all of your social media posts are viewable across different platforms will help you reach the greatest number of potential customers.
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