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Social Shopping: 10 Best Practices for 2024
Social Shopping: 10 Best Practices for 2024
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Social Shopping: 10 Best Practices for 2024

In 2024, 42% of US internet users will use social media to shop. A year later in 2025, US social commerce sales will beat the $100 billion milestone.

If you’re not already selling on social, you could be missing out on a fast-growing revenue source — one that can drive product awareness, brand engagement and sales. But when it comes to social media, so much changes all the time. Where do you even begin?

In this article, we’re sharing everything you need to know to effectively leverage social shopping to fuel your e-commerce growth.

What Is Social Shopping?

Social shopping is the act of discovering, exploring and purchasing products via social media networks. Popular social commerce platforms include Instagram, Facebook (Meta), TikTok, Pinterest and more.

With social shopping, buying happens within the same social media platforms a business’s audience already uses to connect with friends, follow influencers, and keep up with their favorite brands.

How Social Shopping Works

As a brand, social shopping can increase your sales simply by making the customer experience feel as organic as browsing your Insta feed.

Simply create compelling social content featuring your products, offer users a direct way to purchase those products, and voilà! You’ve got a high-impact new revenue channel, plus the increased brand awareness that comes with it.

While the execution can vary from platform to platform, the core principle is the same: engage users and get them buying before they click out of the app.

Common social shopping features can include:

  • Product tags, product pins, or stickers on shoppable posts and videos
  • Swipe-up links on shoppable stories
  • Profile tabs for in-app or in-platform storefronts
  • Third-party apps and plugins (such as comment selling)

These are just some of the features and functionalities that can make it easy for social media users to add your products to their carts, continue browsing, and complete their purchases, without ever leaving the platform.

Rather than investing extra time and ad dollars to drive your social media traffic to your product pages, you can drive sales directly from social media while delivering an immersive customer experience.

Social Shopping vs. Traditional E-commerce

So just how different is social shopping compared to traditional e-commerce?

If you’re killing it on Amazon and/or Shopify, you might wonder whether adding a whole new sales channel via social is even worth it?

The honest answer is, it depends. Let’s take a closer look at some of the biggest differences between social shopping and traditional e-commerce so you can get a better idea of what the right strategy might look like for your business.

Traditional E-commerceSocial Shopping
Users come to the site to buy (and sometimes browse).Users come for community interaction and discussions, in addition to making purchases.
Users have to leave the platform to find social proof beyond anonymous reviews.Social proof like shares, likes, and engagement are featured in-app.
Separates informational content, like blog posts and video, from shopping functions (however, with new features like Amazon A+ Content this may be changing).Integrates engaging multimedia content directly with shopping features — for example, users can view user-generated content (UGC), then click and buy.
Relies heavily on keyword searches for product discovery, as well as traffic from sponsored positioning and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.Shoppers rely on targeted ads, influencer recommendations and peer feedback to drive product discovery.
May involve a multi-step purchasing process from selection to checkout and payment.Offers instant, frictionless purchasing so users can go back to what they were doing before they spotted your product.
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10 Best Practices When Leveraging Social Shopping

The specifics of your social commerce strategy will vary depending on your target demographics, social networks and whether you’re opening a TikTok Shop, setting up Facebook Shops, Snapchat Stores, a livestream shopping strategy, etc.

Although there are no hard-and-fast rules about which social shopping platforms are best for all retailers, there are several best practices that can help you win more sales no matter where you sell.

1. Take advantage of targeted ads

Targeted advertising is an (eerily effective) way to get potential customers on social media to behave the way you want them to. While shoppers may say they no longer trust brands, research shows that 49% of consumers still decide what to buy based on targeted advertising.

Even if your ideal customer doesn’t click through the first time, increased presence in their feed will keep you top of mind when it’s time to buy.

That said, always consider your target audience. For instance, Millennial and Gen Z shoppers are often looking for a laugh, while Gen X and Boomers crave a more traditional ad experience. Test your creative to avoid going viral for the wrong reasons, as with the latest Bumble Fumble for example.

2. Create authentic content

After targeted advertising, organic posts are the second most effective way to direct consumers to your products. Use high-quality photos and videos to show your product features in action and in a relatable setting.

Of course, organic content can also work wonders for brand affinity. Look for fun, authentic ways of hopping on niche viral trends, like Just Salad’s trendy TikTok song, for example. Just take care to avoid going too far with your campaign and risk losing trust with your audience. When in doubt, keep in mind that practical video content, like product demos, explainers, unboxings, and testimonials, are almost always a safe way to go with your organic content.

3. Don’t just lurk — engage! 

We often think of social media as an opportunity for consumers to follow their favorite brands, but the opposite is also true: Social media provides an excellent opportunity for brands to connect and engage with their fans and followers.

Teeming with opinions, likes, and dislikes, social media is like a ready-made focus group you can tap into at any time. Use it to listen and learn from your target audience.

After all, you never know where your next product idea or customer win will come from. Take the time to build authentic relationships with your followers and stay close to the people most likely to become vocal advocates for your brand.

4. Encourage reviews

No matter how perfectly you pitch your products, honest reviews will almost always carry more weight. In fact, over 91% of customers say they make a major difference in their purchasing decisions.

Shoppers want to hear about real experiences with your products. Authentic reviews in your social media advertising can help increase interest, build trust in your brand, and eliminate any lingering objections standing in the way of a potential purchase.

Remember, zero reviews can be just as off-putting as bad reviews. Always make an effort to increase your total number of product reviews.

5. Curate and share UGC

Social media gives you the opportunity to share the love with your fans in a whole new way.

Using your platform to showcase user-generated content (UGC), whether by reposting or sharing in stories, can be a great way to connect authentically and inspire more followers to create their own content featuring your products.

To harness the power of UGC, try creating a branded hashtag challenge, seasonal campaign, or piggybacking on an existing social media trend that aligns with your brand’s messaging.

For maximum impact, pair your campaign with a product giveaway. Keep boosting and re-using your followers’ content (with permission, of course), actively looking for new incentives to offer your followers.

6. Partner with micro-influencers

Consumers trust the honest opinions of real people far more than they trust traditional advertising — which is why influencer partnerships have been such a boon for brands.

But you don’t have to get Kim Kardashian to take a photo with your product to reap the benefits of influencer marketing.

In fact, research has shown that it’s actually the “micro-influencers” — those with fewer than 35k followers — who have the highest engagement rate with their audiences (about 5.3%). In combination with a strong social shopping strategy, micro-influencers can drive serious traffic to your in-platform storefront.

7. Keep it on-brand

From your e-commerce websites to your augmented reality virtual try-on apps, customers should have a consistent brand experience no matter where they make a purchase.

From the visual aesthetic of your social media posts and targeted ads to the tone of your captions, your followers should still be able to instantly recognize your brand.

And if you’re not already, make sure you’re hiring a representative pool of creators and models for your ads. Research shows that 71% of consumers expect brands to use their online marketing to promote inclusivity, and 58% of 2023’s most viral ads were posted by BIPOC influencers.

8. Consider the context

E-commerce businesses require different strategies compared to their brick-and-mortar counterparts because people shop differently online than they do in person. The same holds true for social shopping — each channel comes with its own specific online shopping behaviors.

While a visitor to your e-commerce site may be actively seeking your brand or product, social media users aren’t typically coming to the platform in a “shopping” frame of mind.

More often than not, they’re looking for distraction — not a new pair of shoes. Lower-priced items can help you capitalize on the impulse buying behavior that often happens on social. But with the right social commerce strategy, you can encourage your audience to explore your entire product catalog, including premium items.

9. Go frictionless

One thing that really sets social shopping apart is that it doesn’t feel like shopping. Your customer is hanging out with their friends, watching funny videos, and just happens to stumble upon your product. The purchase experience should be so quick and simple, they barely notice.

In a social shopping environment, frictionless features like one-tap payments and stored contact info are crucial to making the sale. Integrate as many easy payment options as possible and aim to eliminate every extraneous step in your checkout process across social media channels.

10. Leverage your data

Your social media accounts are a goldmine of valuable customer information.

As you incorporate social shopping channels into your business, leverage your advertising and engagement data to provide the right offers at the right moment across every platform.

For example, TikTok darling Halara uses machine learning to analyze Instagram comments, along with Google search trends and other data. It then applies those findings to its inventory, upgrading its product selection with new sizes, fits, fabrics and styles based on what followers want.

The result is lower overhead, more great UCG from satisfied customers and of course, more sales.

Tap into a powerful new revenue stream with social selling

As digital natives increase their buying power, a strong social shopping experience will become critical to staying ahead of the game with modern consumers.

To make it work, you’ll need a solid social shopping strategy and a clear plan for consistently connecting with your target audience.

Ready to make your next big move? SellersFi can help. Check out our complete suite of financial solutions purpose-built for every e-commerce growth scenario. Or explore our retail resources library to learn more about the future of commerce.

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