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.

3 Tips for Using Social Media as a Small Business

Hey there, Rachel here! Last month I joined the wonderful PFM team as a creative content producer. As you may have guessed from the job title, I am obsessed with almost everything to do with design. Although graphic design has my heart, I love experimenting in other creative areas such as rug tufting, painting, sewing…the list goes on. This love developed into a small business last year which is where the real learning process began!

 

Social media is something we all use and are comfortable with in our day-to-day lives. When you’re starting out as a small business, social media can be a key step to ensure success is around the corner…but only if you’re using it correctly. As well as being completely free to use, there are almost double the amount of active social media users browsing different social channels each day compared to just five years ago. So why should small businesses let this opportunity go to waste? 

 

On average, each user spends around 2.5 hours scrolling per day, although the screen time feature on my iPhone has let me know on numerous occasions that my scrolling time is much higher than this – oops. These few hours offer an incredible opportunity for you to grow your business by building brand awareness, connecting with your audience or even making direct sales through different channels.

 

Having some experience running a small business, here are some tips I’ve learned along the way on how best to utilise social media for your business!

 

1. Choose your platforms

 

To ensure you’re using social media effectively for business, I cannot emphasise how important it is to do some research! It can be easy to assume which social platforms your target market is using regularly, but you may be shocked when you get down to the nitty gritty figures.

 

For example, you may assume that the average age of Facebook users is between 35-55. With this thought in mind, you may be inclined to skip over this platform when trying to reach a younger demographic and jump straight into both Instagram and TikTok. However, according to Digital 2021, surprisingly almost a quarter of Facebook users are aged 18-24. 

 

It’s always great to start on the platform(s) your desired audience are using and build from there. That’s not to say you cannot and should not use other social platforms as well! Trialling new platforms and different channels can be great for expanding your audience and meeting different business goals. The beauty of social media is that you don’t need to take an all-or-nothing approach: experimenting can be fun, insightful and is all part of the process.

 

2. Consistency is key

 

No matter what you may be selling or what service your business is offering, posting consistently will help build strong relationships with your target audience. This doesn’t mean you’ll constantly need to bring out new products and offer new services every other day: posts can simply be about keeping your audience in the loop. Sharing what’s going on behind the scenes, resharing products and services you already offer or even having some fun and jumping on board with current trends can help create a buzz and build excitement.

 

Basically, don’t go radio silent and disappear completely! With all this being said, I believe it’s also necessary to touch on the importance of keeping your audience’s current needs in mind. Making sure you are up-to-date with what is going on in the world (especially within your target audience) is key as social media is constantly changing. What might have worked last year or even last month may not work today!

 

3. Have fun and be creative!

 

In my opinion, coming from a background and love for all things design, this is arguably the most important tip when it comes to posting on social media as a small business. You’ve got to be loving the content you’re creating and putting out into the world for everybody to see. 

 

Now more than ever with how many posts we see per day, it’s clear to users when a brand hasn’t put thought into their content. These posts will be met with a quick swipe of the finger and likely never to be viewed again! If you’re not enjoying creating your content then you can’t expect viewers to engage. 

 

As I mentioned before, it’s not a secret that social media is constantly evolving. With this comes each individual platform adding new features for us to creatively play about with. Even switching between static imagery, video, carousels or interactive polls can do wonders and keep the creative juices flowing…just have some fun with it!

Need some inspiration for your social media marketing? To get a complimentary audit of your current social strategy, get in touch at rachel@pilotfishmedia.com.