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7 Tips for Implementing Social Commerce in Your 2021 Holiday Marketing Plan

Social commerce refers to buying and selling activities on social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. With social commerce, people can make an online shopping transaction without leaving their preferred apps.

According to Insider Intelligence’s report, the US’s 2021 retail social commerce sales will increase by 34.8% to $36.09 billion, representing 4.3% of all retail eCommerce sales this year. In the Shoppers Experience Index 2021, Bazaarvoice found that “overall, about 1 in 3 shoppers globally have made a purchase on social media in the past year. […] Shoppers say they buy this way because they like how the products looked in a brand or retailer’s post (31%), followed by it being easy (27%). Part of the way brands and retailers can make buying on social easy is by tagging the product itself in a post, and 38% of shoppers say this makes them more likely to click, click, buy on a social post.”

With that in mind, including social commerce in your 2021 holiday marketing plan will help you reach out to more new customers, drive more sales, and build a strong community.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through 7 useful tips to harness the power of social commerce in holiday sales this year. But before going into detail, let’s dive a bit deep into the why.

Why Does Social Commerce Help Boost Holiday Sales?

The best way to answer this question is to look at the latest statistics about social commerce. Here is some data you don’t want to miss out on:

  • “There are now 4.20 billion social media users around the world. On average, more than 1.3 million new users joined social media every day during 2020, equating to roughly 15½ new users every single second.” (We Are Social and HootSuite’s Digital 2021 report). 
  • 59% of surveyed shoppers said that more than one-quarter of all their online shopping is influenced by social media. The two most popular channels triggering a purchase are Facebook (78%) and YouTube (52%). (The State of Social Commerce in Southeast Asia report conducted by Econsultancy in collaboration with Hootsuite and Magento).
  • Snapchat plans to go all-in on social commerce with augmented reality (AR). On this platform, 89% of Snapchatters are interested in try-on AR experiences. AR drives trial to purchase at every stage of the shopping cycle (Snapchat’s 2021 Get The Gift of Results holiday guide).
  • 66% of weekly US pinners say the “inspiration phase” of shopping influences what they buy. Brands can get 4.7x more conversions when they run Pinterest ads earlier in the holiday season (Pinterest’s 2021 holiday guide).
  • 29% of shoppers across 7 countries (the US, the UK, China, Germany, France, Brazil, and India) frequently watch live streams from influencers they follow on social media (Global Web Index’s Connecting the Dots 2021 report).
  • $25 billion in sales is expected to be generated from livestream shopping events in the US by 2023 (Facebook’s Holiday Marketing 2021 guide).
  • The hashtag #tiktokmademebuyit has more than 1.5 billion views on TikTok. The hashtag #amazonfinds has more than 6.7 billion views (The Influencer Marketing Factory’s the Status of Social Commerce 2021 report).
  • 91% of executives anticipate their company’s social media marketing budget will increase over the next three years. The majority expect it’ll increase by more than 50% (Sprout Social’s the State of Social Media Investment report).

Now that you’ve understood why you should prepare a social commerce strategy for holiday sales 2021. It’s time to discover tips to get social commerce right from day 1.

7 Tips for Increasing Holiday Sales 2021 With Social Commerce

1. Create a Social Media Persona

Collecting customer data and turning it into valuable insights about your target audience has never been more critical. That’s the way you can increase your chance of success with social commerce. In fact, according to Magento’s 2020 Unwrapping the Gift of Giving guide, “brands effectively using data and analytics insights to improve the customer experience are 23 times more likely to acquire customers, six times more likely to retain customers, and 19 times more likely to be profitable.”

Consider the following tips:

  • Determine factors that represent your ideal customers on social media. For example, demographics, desires, pain points, interest, habits, who they’re following, what type of content they’ve often interacted with, what they’ve shared on their social media counts, how their friends look like, their purchase history with your brand, etc. You might also want to broaden your opportunities with more data sources from your website and platforms like Quora.
  • Segment your ideal customers into different groups and identify what type of products and content each group is interested in.
  • Invest in social listening tools, brand tracking tools, or social media marketing platforms to keep track of social media data. 

2. Implement Discovery-Based Social Commerce

More and more people have been using social media platforms to discover new brands and products.

Think about Instagram. About 200 million users visit at least one business profile every day, and 60% of users discover products on this platform.

Another example is TikTok. Kantar research says 83% of TikTok’s audience have made purchases inspired by its trending content. Lisa Friedrich, head of SMB at TikTok Europe, shared on The Drum that “people are using the platform to discover new products and that the hashtag #smallbusiness has been used 3 billion times to date.”

Hence, by taking advantage of discovery features on social media platforms, you can bring your products closer to potential customers, build brand awareness, and encourage them to make purchases. Done right, discovery-based social commerce can even help you gain more loyal customers and boost your growth. That’s the reason why Michelle Goad, Senior Director, Gen Z Innovation at Nike, said that discovery-based social commerce will future-proof businesses.

Case in point:

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by THE NOVOGRATZ (@thenovogratz)


Consider the following tips:

  • Build your shop on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media accounts. Also, include a link to your holiday sales collection on your website to your bio.
  • Create an Instagram Highlight dedicated to holiday gifts and holiday sales. You may also want to have separate Highlights for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or Christmas.
  • Use videos, stories, reels, TikTok, etc., to provide gift guides, introduce your product, tips and tricks to use it, etc. The more customers understand why your product makes their lives easier, the higher chance they’ll buy it.
  • Partner with influencers to promote your products to more potential customers.

3. Test Shopping Features on Social Media

Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok launched many features to help brands implement social commerce successfully. Test these features to find out which one works for your business.

Take Instagram as an example:

  • Instagram Shoppable Posts: You can tag products (listed in your Instagram Shop catalog) directly in feed posts, Instagram Stories, IGTV videos, Reels, etc. Then, shoppers can tap to discover product details, visit your online store, or buy directly within the app with Instagram Checkout.
  • Instagram Business: You can set your Instagram account as a business account. Your followers can tap on “Shop” on your profile to view product catalogs. Your Instagram Shop can also be featured on the Instagram Shop tab.
  • Instagram Stories Shopping: You can add a product sticker to your stories, and followers can tap on the sticker to learn more about your product and make a purchase.
  • Instagram Guides Shopping: You can curate a list of your best-selling products or create targeted roundups based on your audience’s needs. This is great for sharing gift recommendations.
  • IGTV, Instagram Live, and Reels Shopping: Use these features to introduce your products, help shoppers find the gifts they want, and give them a little push to buy with exciting offers.

4. Keep Mobile in Mind

By Jan 2021, 269.5 million US users access the Internet via mobile phones. According to App Annie’s State of Mobile 2021 report, Americans spent 8% more time on mobile than watching live TV each day.

When it comes to social networking, TikTok ranked in the top 5 by time spent, and its average monthly time spent per user grew faster than nearly every other app analyzed, surpassing Facebook. In 2020, Bizrate Insights found that 73% of US online consumers used a mobile phone to shop online on Thanksgiving weekend — up from just 51% in 2016. Furthermore, 70% also used their mobile phone to shop online during Cyber Week.

Hence, when thinking about social commerce success, always think about how your mobile site performs.

To optimize the social commerce experience on mobile, you should design your ad creatives, videos, product images, etc., for mobile-first and test on multiple devices. Use vertical images, add an overlay to make your product stand out, and keep videos short (6 to 15 seconds).

Also, keep in mind that the space on a mobile screen can be small. Hence, make sure you space out tags in images if you’re tagging multiple products in a single post or carousel on Instagram. The goal is to make it as easy and convenient as possible for your customers to search, discover, compare products, and buy.

5. Run Social Media Giveaways

The holiday season is an ideal time to run a giveaway or contest on social media. By doing that, you can increase engagement, draw followers’ attention to your holiday sales, attract more traffic to your Instagram business account, build brand awareness, etc. This tactic works perfectly for both large brands and small businesses.

Case in point:

Consider the following tips:

  • Think about what your fans really want and offer it. Also, make your gift relevant to the holiday season. For example, explain why the item is a perfect gift that your customers should have, which is effective in giving people a reason for joining your giveaway.
  • Make it easy for people to join in your giveaway. For example, you can ask people to like, share the contest, and tag five of their friends in the post.
  • Collaborate with influencers to promote your giveaway to more people.
  • Start the contest about one or two weeks before, so you get the chance to collect great responses from followers.
  • Announce the winner once the contest is over.

6. Leverage User-Generated Content (UGC)

User-generated content refers to content created by a user, such as reviews and ratings, testimonials, customer images, and videos.

In an analysis of how different elements of UGC impact conversion, PowerReviews discovered that “consumers who interact with ratings & reviews convert at 108.4% the rate of those who don’t; respective figure for Q&A is 157.1% and imagery is 91.4%.” In another survey on user-generated visual content like photos and videos, PowerReviews found that 77% of shoppers always or regularly seek out visual content from others who have already purchased a product. 

If that doesn’t convince you, then here is another interesting finding from Yotpo: “Share visual UGC and reviews on your social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest to draw in potential shoppers with influential and engaging UGC — those who see it convert at a rate of 161% higher than those who don’t.”

Case in point:

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Kreyòl Essence (@kreyolessence)

Consider the following tips:

  • Share your customers’ photos, reviews, ratings, etc., directly on social channels.
  • Feature customers’ reviews in your Instagram Stories, Instagram Highlights, Reels, or IGTV, which is also good to show customer appreciation.
  • Include customer photos and reviews in retargeting ads to build trust with a target audience.
  • Encourage your customers to share their holiday moments. You can also run a contest or
    giveaway to motivate more customers to do that. Create a branded hashtag and ask customers to include it in their posts so you can keep track of what they’ll share.
  • Remix UGC among platforms. For example, collect customers’ reviews on Instagram and create a TikTok video. Then, you can also repost the TikTok video on your Instagram account.

7. Implement Social Media Customer Service

With the rise of social commerce, consumers have increasingly become more demanding than ever. They now expect a seamless shopping experience, helpful advice whenever they need it, immediate solutions to their problems, etc. If you fail to deliver what they want, they may turn to your competitors right away.

Need proof? Global Web Index’s Connecting the Dots 2021 report showed that “3 out of 5 Internet users say that bad customer service would negatively affect their purchasing decisions, while nearly half say that bad press would do the same.”

Consider the following tips:

  • Include your customer service information in your social media bio or even posts. You may also want to set up a dedicated account for social media customer support.
  • Use social media tracking tools to track customers’ mentions and comments on social media. Then, respond to those inquiries as soon as possible.
  • Be proactive in your approach. To do that, you can live stream and let followers ask questions, provide answers to your fulfillment and shipping, etc.
  • Use canned responses to reply faster. However, customize those responses according to customers’ questions when necessary.
  • Take a public conversation private if you feel it should be done that way. Ask shoppers if you can chat with them via Instagram Direct Message or email.

Increase Holiday Sales 2021 With Social Commerce

Social commerce can become a sales-driven machine engine for every brand in holiday sales this year. Use our social commerce guide to start planning as early as possible, so you don’t miss out on this huge money-making opportunity. 

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Caroline Egan is the Global Content Team Lead at Zoovu with a background in content marketing and e-commerce technology. She is passionate about educating businesses about modernizing their approach to the intersection of e-commerce and brick & mortar and how to delight customers with unique digital experiences. When not working, Caroline can be found at early morning work out classes, cooking, and sharing a bottle of wine with friends.