eCommerce and Social Media: A Look to the Future of Social Shopping

Hello everyone, my name is Marius and I’m the paid media manager here at Pilot Fish Media. Having worked on marketing campaigns around the world, I’ve found that my passion lies in eCommerce and driving sales through the use of paid ads. eCommerce brands and social media platforms are inherently intertwined. You’d be hard pushed to find any, new or old, who aren’t on social media in some capacity. I’m going to break down why this is the case, and why social media platforms are all moving towards an eCommerce approach.

 

What is an eCommerce brand?

An eCommerce brand is any company that is involved in the buying or selling of products, services, or experiences over the internet. Whenever individuals or companies are buying/selling products, services, or experiences online, they’re engaging in e-commerce. 

 

Why do eCommerce brands use social media?

Social media is an incredibly powerful marketing tool for eCommerce brands to utilise. It not only allows them to send direct traffic to their website, but it also gives them the opportunity to create and foster a community, which they can nurture in order to encourage returning custom. Whether it’s through paid social ads, organic content or influencer marketing, social media is the most important marketing tool currently available to drive sales online.

 

What is social shopping?

Social shopping or social eCommerce is when social media platforms and eCommerce platforms become one. Certain social media platforms have direct integrations with eCommerce sites such as Shopify, which allows a customer to buy products directly from their feed/shopping section. Essentially, social shopping enables social media users to shop for and purchase products on social media.

 

Which social media platforms currently have shopping tools?

Social Shopping is already a popular feature on a range of social platforms and is expected to grow rapidly. But why?

Simply put, it reduces the purchase journey for a customer to 2 steps. They engage with the product on your social media feed and then begin the checkout process. This is now possible on the below platforms who all currently use social shopping in some capacity:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Whatsapp
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Snapchat
  • TikTok
  • WeChat

 

What does the future hold for social commerce?

Social commerce is the future and we expect it to be adopted by more platforms going forward. There will be a time in the not-so-distant future when customers in the UK can click on a product on Instagram and purchase directly within the platform. This feature currently only exists in the USA.

If you assume social media is where your target audience spends the majority of their time, then it only makes sense to sell products to them then and there. They’re already engaging actively with your brand, so there will be a sense of trust and you won’t have to move them off the platform onto a separate website. Furthermore, with all of the privacy changes (iOS14.5/death of the cookie) and the shift to ‘walled gardens’ it makes sense for platforms to keep users on the platform. They are unable to track them effectively when they leave and go to a website, and as such, if they keep users on the platform, they can collect first-party data and information.  With one of the main struggles for eCommerce brands being the streamlining of the shopping process, social media and eCommerce integration should help combat that.

China has been the country at the forefront of social commerce through WeChat. WeChat originated as a messaging app and has developed into a unique hybrid platform. Users can do everything from calling a client, or their family group chat, to paying for their taxi or weekly shop. In China where services like Facebook are banned, WeChat is the standard platform for all business and communication. When we look at how important WeChat is, it’s no surprise that such a high percentage of products purchased in China are sold through social media. In fact, in 2019, 11.6% of eCommerce sales came through social commerce.

While China is a very different market to the UK, we can clearly see some similar patterns. There’s a history of copying what works in China: FB Messenger and Whatsapp have already adopted plenty of the features as seen in the chart below on WeChat.

*

It’s clear to see then why the UK and other countries in the West would adopt social commerce going forward. It allows for a streamlined shopping experience, which is beneficial to both the customer and seller. In addition, social platforms keep users on their app and try to keep their attention there, which is every platform’s ultimate aim. They’re trading in attention. Customers will expect to be able to purchase your products on social media with a couple of clicks very soon. So get ahead of the curve and prepare your platforms for social commerce now!  

 

If you’re looking for help moving forward with social commerce, please get in touch with me at marius@pilotfishmedia.com!

 

Sources:

* https://www.bigcommerce.co.uk/blog/social-commerce/#what-does-the-future-hold-for-social-commerce

 

The Facebook Ad Funnel: What Is It and How to Make It Work for You

The Facebook Ads Funnel is one of the most powerful tools in helping you generate leads, sales, increase ROI and ultimately grow your business. We want to help you get the most out of the funnel by breaking down what it is and how you can make it work for your business. 

 

Are you ready to start advertising your business on social media? You’ve established your brand identity and your core offering, but now you’re ready to really drive up those conversions. Before you dive into the world of Facebook ads, it’s important to understand how the conversion funnel works and how you can use it to get your message in front of the right people to reach your goals. 

 

 

The Facebook ads funnel is split into three key stages in the buyer journey (Awareness, Consideration, Conversion) and is designed to pull qualified users down the funnel to convert. A conversion is when the recipient of a marketing message performs a desired action, which might look like purchasing a product, booking an appointment or filling out a contact form.  

 

Top of Funnel (TOF) – Awareness

At the top of the funnel is the awareness stage. This is where you target cold audiences, people who are not yet aware of your brand’s products or services, as your ideal customer persona. At this stage, your key focus is to introduce your brand and clearly communicate your brand purpose and offering. The ads you push at this stage should spark curiosity with potential prospects and educate them on your brand through an authoritative tone of voice. 

 

Middle of Funnel (MOF) – Consideration

Moving into the middle of the funnel, you are targeting a warm audience as prospects: people who are aware of your brand and have previously shown some interest but who haven’t taken it further. For example, these prospects may have visited your website previously, engaged with your social media channels or engaged with the ads you are pushing at TOF. 

 

At this stage, you want to push ads that communicate not only the key features of your offering, but also its benefits and how it can help users overcome their pain points. Here, you want to focus on clear and concise ad creative that communicates your core USPs in the first 3 seconds of a user seeing the ad. 

 

Bottom of Funnel (BOF) – Conversion

At the bottom of the funnel is the conversion stage, where your prospects are now a hot audience of users you are retargeting. These users have come close to converting but have pulled back to consider further (e.g., adding product(s) to cart but abandoning before completing their purchase). Therefore, at this stage you want to push strong ad creatives that answer the ‘Why us?’ question and work to push users over the conversion line. You might use techniques such as highlighting social proof, featuring customer testimonials or using an offer (e.g., 10% off code) here.

 

The successful implementation of the full funnel Facebook ads structure works to nurture users and pushes those qualified users down the funnel to convert. It’s important to remember that most users are not going to convert on your core offer at the first touchpoint (particularly with high value conversions) as it’s likely they won’t know or trust you yet. Therefore, users need to interact with your brand over multiple touch points before converting – as the Facebook ads funnel is set up to facilitate.  

 

To maximise the success of your new Facebook ads funnel, it’s important to implement an omnichannel marketing approach that uses various touch points including organic social media, paid social media, email marketing, SEO etc., ensuring an integrated and seamless experience for customers across each. At Pilot Fish Media, we can help you build a successful Facebook ads strategy as well as help you implement a full digital omnichannel marketing strategy to maximise its success.

 

Get in touch at zoe@pilotfishmedia.com to find out about how our creative and strategy teams can help you reach your goals.

How to Design your Black Friday and Cyber Monday Offer

It’s this time of year again. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are approaching fast and 2021 looks like they will be even more hectic than 2020… But fear not, your trusty Pilot Fish Media team is here to guide you through the madness and help you plan (and execute) for BFCM success!

 

Step 1: Define your BFCM goal

Where should you start? First things first, begin by thinking about what you want to achieve this Black Friday and Cyber Monday. There are three big categories of BFCM goals:

Profit (short-term benefits)

And yes, it is profit, not revenue. The danger of focusing on revenue is that you try so hard to create an attractive offer that you could end up selling your products, services, or experiences at an unsustainable price where your profit margin is low to non-existent.

Tip: don’t forget to set yourself a best and worst case scenario measurable and time-specific profit objectives!

Growing your customer base (medium-term benefits)

With this goal, you are not so interested in a short-burst influx of cash as you are building your brand awareness in the market. You’re looking to the future with the goal of bringing in customers who will stay with you.

Tip: here also, you’ll want to define an ideal and break-even number of new customers from the BFCM sales to measure success!

Learning (long-term benefits)

Here, you take a longer-term approach and seek to know more about how your customers behave, to what techniques they respond best, their purchasing process… With this goal, you are using the BFCM sales as a research project to feed into future strategies.

Tip: Identify what you are analysing and how you will do so.

 

Step 2: Choose your type of offer

Now that you know your brand’s purpose in joining the BFCM sales, it is time to look at the different types of offers and deals available to your brand. You can then pick the one most aligned with your BFCM goal and most beneficial to your profit margins.

Percentage discount offer

This deal is one of the most widely used one and consists of offering a set discount to either selected items or to the customer’s full basket. Unsurprisingly, this is one of the most used offers and fits particularly well with profit-oriented BFCM goals.

E.g. 10% off selected items/your basket

Tip: make sure that your discount does not go beyond what your gross profit margin can sustain

Tip: display the original price AND the discounted price to show customers how much they are saving

Pounds-off discount offer

Here, you would offer a set amount of money off a product, selection of products, or even on customers’ total basket. This deal is also very popular and works well with profit goals.

E.g. £10 off selected items/your basket

Tip: consider bundling complementary products and offering your percentage discount off said bundle to increase your average order value.

Tiered discount offer

This offer is designed to increase savings based on levels of spending as set discounts are applied to specific levels of spending. This deal is designed to increase your average order value by giving customers an incentive to spend more. As such, it fits the profit goal best and the learning goals, too. It is also a great way to gently nudge your customers into trying more than just your hero product.

E.g. £30 off when you spend £80

£40 off when you spend £110

£50 off when you spend £140

Mystery box offer

This is a slightly trickier one but that can yield great results. The customers roughly know the type of product, service, or experience they are purchasing but not the specifics. As such, it is an opportunity for you to bundle complementary products and to surprise customers. The key is to manage expectations (so be very careful with your product name and description) so as to meet, or even better, exceed customers’ expectations.

This deal works best with experiences and when your product/service portfolio has a homogeneous high quality level. We would recommend this for learning-focused BFCM goals.

E.g. Wellness basket for £50 (but not mention of specific contents) OR one-night stay in our hotel (without specifying the room category or inclusions such as breakfast, bottles of wine, flowers…)

Tip: copy is critical, here. Make sure your offer descriptions generate excitement and play up the mystery for an enhanced unboxing experience.

Free gift offer

Always a good option when your gross margins are too slim to justify any discount, the free gift deal enables to increase overall value without decreasing gross profits. It is also a good tactic to use at key points throughout the year, especially when trying to extend your customer base!

E.g. Free mirror with every makeup purchase

Tip: make sure the gift is relevant and complementary to the product purchased, otherwise customers will have a lower incentive to pick this deal.

Extra donation offer

This offer consists of pledging a caritative action for every purchase, which can be monetary or not. It is an excellent way to create an emotional bond with your customer base and to enlarge it. It can also be a good learning opportunity for the brand to understand your customers better.

E.g. For each purchase, a tree will be planted in Kenya

Tip: for this to succeed, you must pick a cause about which your customer base feels strongly.

 

Step 3: Consider the customer experience

Once you have identified your goal and selected your offer, your work is not quite done. You should also consider the overall customer experience. First, look at your offer. The easier to understand it is, the better it will do. So make sure your deal makes sense to your target customers. In the eternal words of Michael Scott, “make it simple, stupid”. This is also why we would recommend only using one type of offer at a time! With customers having easy access to many sales from many different brands at the same time, any confusion will quickly cause them to go to a competitor.

Now that your offer is profitable, attractive, and simple to understand, examine the customer journey in detail to make it as smooth as possible. Don’t forget the check out process. As the last step in the purchase process prior to receiving the product, the check out is your last chance to make a positive impression. As the last link of the chain, the ease of checking out will leave a lasting impact on the customer and will likely colour their perception of the entire purchase process. As such, you will want to make this step, fuss-free, fast, and easy, without forgetting to thank customers once completed.

Your confirmation email is also an extension on your customers’ purchase experience and should reflect your brand. It is also a chance for you to subtly push one-time customers into becoming repeat or even loyal customers. To do so, make sure the email is visually appealing (in a way that highlights and supports your brand’s aesthetics), clear, concise, and highlights the next steps (i.e. delivery process and timing). Thank the customers for choosing your products and you, and add a little fluffy message to leave them with a fuzzy warm feeling about having supported your brand.

Need some expert help to make a splash this Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Get in touch with us now at maya@pilotfishmedia.com for a strategy consultation…

5 Things I Learned About Content Marketing By Accidentally Going Viral On TikTok

Of all the ways we could describe 2020, weird certainly is up there. With the majority of the world in lockdown for most (if not all) of the year, it’s meant a lot of spare time. Some of us learned how to make banana bread, others started a side hustle. As for me? I accidentally went viral on TikTok.

TikTok, once a platform I considered to be purely for teens doing dances, has grown to be a force in the social media ecosystem for all demographics. In case you’re not across it, TikTok is a short-form video sharing platform app that allows users to create TikToks up to 60 seconds long on virtually any topic. Its key difference? In my opinion, it’s the ability to tap into microcosms of society and culture.

 

You see, everyone starts out on TikTok with the same ‘For You Page’, which is essentially an explore page filled with all different users’ video content. You’ll be served dances, generic funny and viral videos, and then this is where the personalisation kicks in. Once you start engaging with a certain type of content (such as dogs, for example) the algorithm gets to work, personalising your FYP with similar content and creators.

Pretty soon, your FYP will be unique to your location, demographics and interests as TikTok categorises you into niches that it knows you’ll engage and interact with. As a queer, Australian powerlifter, for me this looked like: LGBTQ+ content, Australian politics, women in fitness… The more I engaged, the niche-r it became. Pretty soon, I started to post content of my own, and within a few weeks, one of my TikToks went viral, amassing over 550K+ views and 100K likes.

Spurred on by its success, I started to post more frequently. Almost a year on, I’ve grown my following to a community of 87K+ strong, with a total of 2.7million likes across all my content. While most of my content is centred around my personal experiences, as a digital marketing expert, I couldn’t help but glean some insights that can be applied to my day job as well. Although TikTok may not be a relevant channel for every brand to utilise, content marketing more broadly should be the cornerstone for any engaging digital strategy.

So, here are the 5 things I learned about content marketing by accidentally going viral on TikTok:

  1. Find Your ‘Why’, Niche Down & Run With It

You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘your vibe attracts your tribe’. While corny, it’s absolutely true. As a brand (business or personal), it’s crucial to identify your why, otherwise known as your vision, mission or brand story. Why do you do what you do? Drill down on that and then run with it. For me, my why is to empower women and non-binary people (especially POC) to take up more space and live authentically. Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Find your why and let your content flow organically from there.

  1. Test, Learn & Test Some More

Once you have your niche, it’s time to test! There are so many different variables to test when it comes to content creation. From the type (video, blog),  length (short and snappy or long-form), tone of voice (humorous, educational) and even stylistic choices (colour, use of music, crop of video). The great thing about content marketing, especially on an app like TikTok with a short shelf life, is that you can churn and burn until you find something that sticks. Start to build your secret sauce with the content that resonates best with your audience.

  1. Tap Into Trends To Boost Reach & Relevancy

Now you know what you’re saying and how to say it, how can you amplify this to reach new audiences? Trends and memes are a staple of internet culture, and while it can be confusing to get your head around some of them, jumping on them while they’re hot can work wonders for increasing relevance. Here’s a great example from one of our own clients, Pickering’s Gin, who jumped onto the ‘Bernie Sanders In Mittens’ meme with the below post:

As you can see, the post got some awesome engagement, with plenty of laugh and love reacts as well as shares. The key is to be quick: there’s nothing more cringey to a millennial or Gen Z audience than trying to revive a meme that is past its heyday. 

  1. Fuel Your Strategy With Insights

Now, you didn’t think I’d get through a blog post without mentioning data, right? While the analytics on TikTok isn’t as informative for creators as say, Google Analytics, they do provide some key insights on followers’ gender, location and (probably most importantly) time most active on the app. Using this, I know that my audience heavily skews to users in the US, followed by Australia and the UK, and that my key posting times should be around 5:00PM, 7:00PM and 11:00PM UTC to ensure all those audiences are awake and likely to engage with my content. On a post-level, I can see things like average watch time and the number of shares. These are crucial indicators of whether or not a TikTok will be successful and pushed out to more viewers! Use the data you have on your platform of choice to drive these decisions around posting time for the best chance of success.

  1. Before Posting, Ask Yourself: Is This Relevant And/Or Shareable?

The best content is something that makes your audience think “oh my god, that’s so me” and then share it with their best friends. As mentioned above, shares and comments are extremely important metrics to all social algorithms and weighted higher than just likes, for example. When I look back at my best-performing TikToks, they’ve been something niche enough but also relevant enough for that specific audience to share around – like one of my best-performing ones below:

Your content needs to be super engaging, funny or informative enough that people want to boost and share it around. Before you post, ask yourself how relevant and shareable your content is. If you’re unsure of the answer, you might be better off going to the drawing board and coming up with another angle. 

So there you have it! The 5 things I’ve learnt about content marketing by accidentally going viral have helped my TikTok take off and grow my personal brand. Although my first viral post was an accident, these tips will help you achieve sustainable growth for your own following and community, making your content strategy absolutely unmissable. 

If you’re keen to chat more about content marketing, TikTok or need a hand with your own digital strategy, reach out to me at paff@pilotfishmedia.com.

Happy TikTok’ing!

Marketing during the pandemic – social media advertising advice

The global pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we do business, as every company under the sun has been affected. Consumer behaviours have changed considerably and with all the talk of a new ‘normal’, things won’t be going back to the way they were any time soon. Now that the way we market to consumers must change, here are some key points to consider for social media advertising.