What is Social Shopping?

Social shopping — or social commerce — is selling a product or service directly through a social media platform. Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and now Twitter have set up ways to connect your ecommerce store and social feed, allowing customers to click on a product highlighted on your social profile and be sped directly to that product’s page on your store.

It’s fast becoming a major channel of ecommerce sales, with an approximated 492 billion dollars in value during 2021. This figure is set to triple by 2026 with an estimated 30% growth in value each year.

Instagram feed on mobile phone

Is Social Shopping Right for Your Business?

While testing multiple sales channels for your business is important, you should ask yourself a few questions before you set up social commerce:

  • Do you sell products or services?
  • Do you have a small or large advertising budget?
  • What sort of creative resources for creating assets do you have?

While social shopping can be used by any business, it’s best suited for ecommerce stores. Social shops tend to be product focused and allow you to tag products in images so that followers can go straight to a product page on your website.

Social shopping is fast growing in popularity and with popularity comes competition. Advertising on social media is more expensive than ever before, which may make it difficult for those with smaller marketing budgets to reap the full benefits of social shopping. However, store functions are available for free to merchants who want to focus on organic growth.

You should also consider the strength of the videos and photos on your social feed. Are your posts visually appealing? Are they product-focused? Are features and benefits made clear to your audience? Once you’re confident that your creative will drive good engagement, you’ll be ready to set up social shopping.

 

Social Shopping on Different Platforms

So you’ve learned what you need to start selling on social – but which platform should you choose? Find below a comparison of shop features and audiences between social media channels.

Facebook Shop on mobile

Facebook

The OG of social media advertising, Facebook boasts almost 3 billion users across the world, making it perfect for reaching wide audiences. Its long lasting online presence has made a number of social commerce features available to its business users.

Facebook has a natively integrated Shops feature in which you can upload your product feed and immediately start implementing product tags in your Facebook posts and ads, which will take customers directly to the product page on your site.

Facebook is enjoyed by a wide variety of people but is the most popular form of social media for users over the age of 35, making it a great place to start for businesses with broad audiences. 

 

Instagram

Like Facebook, Instagram is owned and operated by tech behemoth Meta, making the features and benefits quite similar. The Instagram Shop operates much in the same way as the Facebook shop – just upload your product feed and get tagging. In fact, Instagram’s Shop integration is the same as Facebook’s so if you have one you should have the other.

Instagram also has a huge number of users, albeit in a younger age bracket.  Over 75% of Instagram users are aged between 18 and 44 years old, meaning this is a great channel to use if your products are for Millennial and Gen Z users. 

Instagram is more visually focused than Facebook, so it’s best if you have the ability to create eye-catching Reels, videos, carousels, and static posts.

 

tiktok for business

TikTok

The newest contender and champion of video content, TikTok is the perfect channel to use if you have strong video creative and products that appeal to younger audiences.

The video giant partnered with Shopify in early 2022 to create TikTok For Business, allowing users to add shopping tabs to their profile and allow audiences to view a complete catalogue of products without leaving the app.

TikTok’s users are predominantly young adults, with 43% aged between 18 and 24 years of age. They’re quite engaged when it comes to marketing, too. In a survey by the platform, 39% of users reported that they discovered a new product on TikTok. 

 

Twitter Shops featured on mobile

Twitter

It’s been around a long while yet Twitter is the latest to introduce social commerce to its portfolio. In March of this year it unveiled Twitter Shops, allowing users to tag products much like Meta’s technology.

However, Twitter Shop doesn’t allow for an in-app shopping experience like TikTok, Facebook or Instagram. While in its testing phase, Twitter is allowing a “View Shop” button on the profile of business users, which takes users to your online store.

Twitter is best for businesses with a smaller collection of products, as the platform currently allows for up to 50 products to be showcased on business profiles.

 

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