The term “social commerce” is often used synonymously with e-commerce, when in fact they are two distinct forms of online commerce. Social commerce deserves to be defined and treated in a unique way. Let’s start by defining what social commerce really is: it is a complete shopping experience – from discovering a product to the click of purchase – that takes place entirely on a social network. This definition is particularly important for marketers when considering the role brand engagement plays in a personalized customer experience. The way consumers shop on social media is different from shopping on websites. So this means marketers need to focus their influencer marketing efforts more specifically to grow their social commerce revenue stream.
Strengthening social channels is important because social commerce has proven its power in the consumer journey and its unique potential to drive brands ROI. According to a report by Accenture, social commerce is now a $492 billion global market and is expected to grow three times faster than traditional e-commerce, reaching $1.2 billion by 2025.
Developing a social commerce strategy is an important component of brand marketing and should be differentiated from the brand’s overall e-commerce strategy. Given the vast potential of the market, there is no better time than now for modern marketers to reframe and prepare their selling strategies, incorporating social commerce best practices as well as sophisticated analytics to ensure the success of each campaign.
Social Commerce Overview
Social commerce has grown steadily over the past decade, but in the past two years it has virtually become the de facto shopping mode for millions of consumers. The health crisis has pushed consumers away from physical stores in favor of online shopping significantly, but that’s not all: mobile data traffic has increased by nearly 50% as a result of the pandemic, meaning that consumer purchases are increasingly made through mobile devices. Digital channels have therefore gained influence during the purchase journey.
Where once consumers reacted to TV ads, billboards or magazine articles, today their attention is focused on the smartphone screen. As a result, this is where a large number of purchasing decisions are made today. With a booming influencer landscape, digital content is driving the majority of online sales today. Personalized content is used to educate consumers about a brand, highlight products and build loyalty.
As social media becomes more ingrained in our daily lives, it is becoming part of the e-commerce industry, making scrolling social media a shopping experience. This benefits both consumers for its ease of use and brands for its ability to reach consumers right on their smartphone screen.
Social commerce and the role of influencer marketing
Influencer marketing is at the heart of social commerce. One of the biggest reasons people shop on social media is the visual appeal and discovery experience offered by apps like Instagram and TikTok. Products can be presented to consumers directly through these apps, using engaging content from influencers.
Influencer content is effective for social commerce because it is perceived as more authentic than traditional advertising content, even if it is sponsored and clearly identified with a hashtag. Influencers are seen by the average consumer as a trusted source of authentic and sincere content. Consumers are more likely to buy a product when it has been recommended and promoted by their favorite TikTok influencer than a brand spokesperson.
This has led to a major redistribution of the advertising budget, away from television and print, and towards digital advertising, including influencer marketing. A recent report revealed that the Instagram influencer market will be worth $22.2 billion by 2025 (up from $13.8 billion in 2021).
That’s why today’s big brands are dedicating their budgets to influencer campaigns that enable social commerce, as opposed to more traditional marketing spend. Robin Marchant, Director of Marketing at Shopify, sums it up beautifully: “As customer acquisition costs rise, brands are looking to collaborate with creators to deepen relationships and increase awareness, trust, and loyalty of their audience. And it’s paying off, as a study by the Digital Marketing Institute shows: Influencer marketing campaigns generate $5.78 for every $1 spent.
Influencing content, authenticity and measurability
For brands looking to establish an authentic connection with consumers (which, let’s face it, all brands should be these days), engaging with influencers as part of their overall marketing strategy should be a critical consideration. If strategically implemented and managed correctly, associating a brand with the right influencers can make a difference in terms of a company’s visibility, brand awareness, and most importantly, bottom line.
One of the main ways to measure influencer marketing is to use engagement as a metric. In fact, when consumers authentically engage with content beyond mere approval, i.e. when they write a comment or share a message, a connection is created with the brand, which has been shown to generate sales.
However, selecting the right influencers for a brand is just as important as having the right tools to measure the effectiveness of those influencers in real-time and being able to make adjustments if necessary (after all, trends change and the online world is changing rapidly). Marketers therefore need the tools to make quick changes to their campaigns if needed.
It’s all about numbers and giving them meaning
However, it is often difficult for brands to determine what is working and where sales are actually coming from – and in an era where social commerce dominates, being able to do that is crucial to being able to redirect budget resources accordingly. .
Brands need to track the number of clicks, revenue and ROI generated by their influencer marketing campaigns. Matching sales data with campaign data in an influencer marketing tool can be tricky as the exported data often needs to be manually combined in Excel. This can be time-consuming and expensive, and more modern and streamlined solutions are needed.
Fortunately, today’s marketers have a new skill set in their marketing toolbox – the power to analyze sales data and cross-reference it with campaign data from influencer marketing platforms, using automation technology. An influencer marketing campaign can be set up in just a few minutes, and so should the analytics part of the resulting sales funnel.
Automation is the keyword here, allowing for a clear analysis of each influencer campaign. In fact, every marketer or brand can now access tools that leverage automation to deliver actionable data and insights at their fingertips. Influencer marketing is not just a fad, it is even becoming more central in certain industries; Retail brands that take time to implement and measure it correctly have an edge in social commerce and, by extension, the ability to retain modern consumers.
bleachers of Alexandre FrolovCEO and co-founder of HypeAuditor