It’s Time For Your Business to Support Social Shopping

Infographic_its time for your business to support social shopping

As our world continues to become increasingly paperless, consumers are flocking to their phones to pay back their friends. Social pay has become incredibly popular for peer-to-peer transactions on Facebook Messenger and Snapchat. Now when it comes to B2C transactions, social shopping–on desktop and mobile–is becoming all the rage, and it’s time for your business to adopt this practice.

The Traffic Problem

Before you come to accept the need for social shopping, you have to understand just what’s happening on social media right now. Facebook is shutting the gate for referral traffic, making it harder for web-based businesses to get clickbacks to their websites. Once upon a time, businesses could send out a link to their site, Facebook followers would click the link, and the business would reap the benefits of conversion. Facebook realized what it was allowing to happen, so they changed their algorithm to value native content, like pictures and video, over links that send users elsewhere.

The proof is in the numbers, as the top 30 Facebook publishers lost 32% of their referral traffic in 2015. The top 10 of publishers saw an even bigger drop of 42.7% in the same timespan. Facebook is making it harder for publishers to use them as a traffic funnel. The platform plans to make Instant Articles available to all publishers, which will allow their articles to load faster, and rank them higher in the algorithm, but it will also keep users on Facebook instead of traveling to other websites.

The Shopping Solution

Facebook’s introduction of Canvas now allows users to shop right on Facebook without ever having to travel to an external website. What this means is that small businesses are stuck between a rock and a hard place–go the traditional route without much help from Facebook and hope customers come to your website, or play the game but lose traffic referrals that could have been used for advertising purposes.

After abandoning traffic numbers, it’s not all bad. The introduction of Canvas and the Shop section on Pages has changed the game for online retailers. Facebook has found that around half of their users are looking to interact with brands on their platform. Around 37% of Twitter users will buy from a brand that they follow, making social media a place ripe with potential customers that have a high chance for conversion.

To make this potential a reality, Facebook and Twitter have begun adding calls to action in their advertisements. Now you can Call Now, Shop Now, Buy Now, Install, Sign Up, and more,  directly from the ads on the social platform. Pinterest has also implemented Visual Search that allows users to find an item in a picture, identify it, and purchase it, or something similar, directly on the platform.

The internet has been striving to make shopping simple for the last 20 years, and social shopping is the zenith of that endeavor. They say that when one door closes, another opens–traffic referral is down, but shopping is going way up.

The Social Media Accounts Your Small Business Should Take Pointers From

Infographic_the social media accounts your small business should take pointers from

Many popular companies use social media as a tool to enhance their brand. Your small business might not have the built-in audience many of these companies have, but that doesn’t mean you can’t look to these bigger accounts for inspiration. Each social media platform has its own functionality and purpose, so consider which are right for you, and pay attention to what others are already doing.

For Images

Whether you’re advertising a physical product or selling an experience, Instagram is a great platform to showcase aspects of your brand through fantastic visuals. Regardless of what your business is, the company you should be paying attention to is National Geographic. Their 45.5 million followers is a testament to the amazing work they do. The pictures they post come from all over the world, so it can get pretty eclectic at times, but their success is proof that beautiful pictures have their own market.

NatGeo’s Chief Marketing Brand Officer Claudia Malley had her own keynote panel at Social Media Week New York where she talked about their success in social. Malley spoke about the importance of giving their photographers the keys to the castle on their Instagram account in order to let them dictate the content. Of course, it’s hard to follow in the footsteps of a company like National Geographic, but there is something to be said for giving your employees control over the content you push out. No matter what your company does, introducing personal perspectives humanizes your brand. Adding small touches like names or personal accounts to their perspectives keeps your audience engaged.

For Video

If you’re looking to create shareable video content for your brand, watch what Buzzfeed’s Tasty account is doing on Facebook. Buzzfeed takes advantage of the platform’s algorithm that favors native videos over third party content . Their content is made specifically for the platform, and exists almost entirely on Facebook. That means they don’t count on clickbacks to the Buzzfeed website, and you shouldn’t be either. If you’re trying to create content for Facebook, make content that will live there. You’ll find more success that way.

Tasty’s videos work well with Facebook’s soundless autoplay feature, and are optimized with fast-motion to make them easier to watch. It’s easy to see how much value they put into production. If you’re going to put in the time to create video content, make sure it’s well planned out, looks great, and has your audience in mind. Do they want to sit through a five minute video, or can it be turned into a more compact format? Consider your audience’s attention span, then create content that will keep them interested. The more watchable it is, the easier it will be to share. And while Tasty’s videos work best on Facebook, they can still be shared across multiple platforms like Twitter and Instagram.

For Customer Service

Good customer service is important, but it’s crucial for many small businesses trying to get a foothold in the market. Social media’s connectivity can make for a great way to administer customer service, but if you’re going to devote one channel to support, it should be Twitter. People are tweeting to brands more than ever, and 80% of customer service requests on social are happening on the platform. According to a study, companies that use social care services have improved year-over-year revenue per contact by 18.8% over companies without. The platform has proven to be a much cheaper and more effective means to offer support.

Having an active social media presence makes it easier for customers to reach out if they have a problem or need to ask a question. Many large brands devote separate Twitter accounts to offer customer-focused channels. Maybe your company isn’t ready for multiple Twitter accounts, but the lessons still apply. @NikeSupport shows how important it is to remain active and respond quickly in order to form a level of trust with customers. Accounts like @JetBlue are taking a more proactive approach to customer service by tracking keywords and relevant hashtags to interact with people even if they don’t tag them in their tweets. You might also want to consider following @TMobileHelp by letting your customer service specialists sign their tweets in order to provide a personal touch, and show your audience that there are real people behind the account.