By Open Influence Associate Director, Client Success, Annabelle Shea
While the pandemic fueled the early stages of the social commerce era, as people looked for ways to shop without leaving their homes, that fuel now shows no signs of running out. The rise of social commerce represents a shift in the role of platforms in the consumer journey. While they had primarily been a source of discovery and consideration, after which customers were sent to retailers’ websites to complete purchases, now the process has evolved into seamless in-platform purchasing.
Just like consumers are willing to make quick and impulsive purchases at in store checkout lines, that same sentiment translates on social platforms with the click of a button. Platforms are simplifying this by maximizing in-app shopping capabilities. Amazon’s one-click patent paved the way for other retailers to adopt e-commerce solutions, and that, coupled with the influence that creators now have on younger generations via social media, will further drive sales.
Many brands’ initial concerns with investing in creator partnerships is the lack of ability to concretely track return on investment. Primarily, creators are known for maximizing brand reach, driving awareness, and inspiring their communities. With social commerce, brands will be able to more accurately analyze the influence that their partnerships have on sales.
User-generated content has become a key component of social commerce, with people sharing products in real-life scenarios, ratings, and reviews, and that authenticity helps build trust.
Niche communities and microtargeting are giving brands another route to connect with highly engaged customers who have specific interests, driving more meaningful interactions and, eventually, conversions.
Why Creator Marketing Matters
Creators are playing the role of virtual sales-floor associates, not only promoting products, but reviewing and testing them, and letting customers know about discounts through entertaining, relatable content that viewers engage with and share, further extending reach.
Creator-made brands will also become more popularized in the coming years. Building a new brand is difficult, so having a popular and influential name tied to that brand—someone who has an existent and devoted fan base—will maximize consumer awareness and sales in a much quicker and more efficient way. For example, the next ”it girl” TikToker might develop her own skincare line and partner with TikTok directly to set up shop in-app (“only available on TikTok Shops!”), driving consumers to the app to purchase by capitalizing on the notoriety of that creator and her fanbase, along with the seamless one-click purchase experience available directly on the platform.
The Social Commerce Best Practices Brands Need to Know
- Take a multiplatform approach:Letting creators work across different platforms enables them to capture authentic moments in ways that are relatable to their specific audiences on those platforms, as their audiences and interests may differ from app to app.
- Create native content:Creators have learned through experience what works and doesn’t work on each platform, and letting them do their thing and be authentic, rather than strictly following a script, will drive more engagement. Of course, brands should provide creators with briefs detailing the tone and messaging they desire, along with brand guidelines to ensure a successfully blended partnership.
- Tap into comments:Brands can use the comments section under content as a free, real-time focus group, learning more about what shoppers want and making the conversation two-way, rather than one-way.
- Activate all five senses: Capture attention in the first few seconds of content to keep audiences engaged. Leverage platforms’ full-screen, sound-on experience to immediately establish the tone and energy of your brand with audio, lighting, and text on the screen. Create luxurious moments that spark joy, whether it’s ornate packaging with perfect corners that feel just right, or ASMR unboxings that tickle the brain.
- Show something new:Unveil access to exclusive behind-the-scenes content or deals to reward audiences for being part of your community. Going live with in-depth product demonstrations allows customers to see the product in action and in real-time to instill shopper confidence.
- Mind the calendar: Tie campaigns to major holidays and have creators post on multiple occasions to maintain consistency and keep the brand top-of-mind.
- Give it a boost:Adding a paid social element to creators’ content will put it in front of more eyeballs and, presumably, provide more chances for conversion.