The world we live in is driven by technological progress and constant changes, leading to significant transformations in areas like eCommerce and social media, which continually evolve to adapt to new digital trends and consumer behaviors. Social media have evolved from mere communication platforms to a significant catalyst in the eCommerce industry. This transformation marks a vital moment in the history of digital marketing and online sales.

The beginning of social media dates back to the early 2000s, when platforms were primarily used for connecting people. For example, we can think of MySpace and Facebook, whose main purpose was to post your thoughts and expand your friends list. However, this interactive space has shifted over the years into a thriving marketplace, becoming deeply integrated with eCommerce.

This relationship is not just transforming consumer behavior but is also reshaping the strategies of businesses to adapt to this digital revolution.

With that said, this blog aims to examine the role of social media in the eCommerce industry by explaining the terms of social selling and social commerce, presenting the statistics about social media for eCommerce, and giving tips on how brands can leverage social media strategy to increase profits.

Let’s begin by looking at some statistics to get a broader picture of the topic …

Social media eCommerce statistics

  • Mentioned below are the most important statistics about social media eCommerce:
  • About 71% of consumers are more likely to buy products and services based on social media recommendations. 
  • In 2021, people used social commerce channels to buy $37 billion worth of goods and services. 
  • 68% of consumers follow brands on social to stay informed about new products or services.
  • In 2023, global sales via social commerce are projected to approach $1.298 billion.
  • Social commerce sales worldwide are expected to reach around $1.698 billion in 2024.
  • Online stores with a social media presence notice an average of 32% more sales compared to those not using social media.

How does social media influence the buying decisions of users?

Social media influences the buying decisions of users primarily in three ways. 

The first one is, of course, recommendations and reviews. Social media sites serve as a central place for users to express their thoughts and experiences regarding various products and services. When friends, family, or peers recommend a product on social media, it often carries more weight than traditional advertising. 

The second way is well-known influencer marketing. As individuals with a substantial audience on social media, they can shape the opinions and behaviors of their audience. Brands often collaborate with such people to promote their products or services and get more visible to a target audience. 

The third way is a more standard one, namely targeted advertising. Social media platforms gather vast amounts of data about their users, including their interests, behaviors, and demographics. This data enables advertisers to create personalized ads that are shown to people who are most likely to be interested in their products or services. Such personalized advertising increases the likelihood of engagement and conversion, as the ads are more relevant to the potential customer’s interests and needs.

As can be seen, social media networks not only serve as a direct marketing channel but also both consciously and unconsciously shape consumer preferences and decisions.

The role of social selling in eCommerce

Social selling is about building relationships and interacting with potential customers on social media platforms. It is a modern approach to sales that leverages social media platforms to connect with potential customers, build and strengthen relationships, and ultimately lead to more sales. In the context of eCommerce marketing, social selling is especially significant due to its direct impact on consumer behavior and purchasing decisions. eCommerce businesses can leverage social media platforms to connect with customers on a more personal level, building trust and loyalty to the brand. Additionally, social selling allows for the gathering of valuable insights and honest customer feedback, which can be used to tailor your marketing strategy and reach the target audience more effectively.

What is Social Commerce?

Social commerce, in turn, refers to selling and buying products and services within the social media platform. This term was introduced in 2005 when Yahoo! released the social shopping network named Shoposphere. It was an early example of social commerce, where social interactions and contributions were integrated into the shopping experience. Over the years, the term evolved, and events like the release of Facebook Marketplace (2016) and shoppable Instagram posts (2017) have greatly contributed to shaping its current meaning.

Nowadays, social commerce is a global phenomenon that eCommerce businesses can effectively utilize to reach many more potential customers. To do so, companies integrate their eCommerce operations with social media platforms. This can include features like mentioned shoppable posts, direct links to product pages, and seamless checkout processes within social media applications. As a result, online stores can reduce the barriers to purchase, making it easier for customers to buy products directly from their social media accounts.

How can brands leverage social media to increase sales and customer engagement?

Now that we know the theoretical background of social media eCommerce let’s take a look at the practical part of it. Social media platforms provide a great way to reach the company’s target audience in a place where they spend most time online. Additionally, utilizing social media strategy is a perfect solution to build brand awareness and engage directly with customers, building a devoted community around the brand. The following are the social media marketing approaches that eCommerce brands often use within social media channels:

Social media advertising

The first thing that probably comes to the mind of many is social media eCommerce marketing that utilizes advertisements – and it’s true. When selling on the internet, social media creates a great opportunity to reach a broad audience and interact directly with potential customers. Social media enables targeted advertising, where companies can tailor their advertisements to specific demographics, interests, and behaviors, ensuring that their marketing efforts reach the most relevant audience. Examples of paid advertising on social media are Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads, where people see posts or stories marked as “Sponsored.”

Shoppable posts and stories

Talking about posts and stories, we should not forget about shoppable elements within many platforms. By leveraging the social commerce approach, businesses can sell directly on social media by uploading posts and stories with tagged products on them. This way, users can directly buy the featured products presented to them. Coupled with a direct checkout that streamlines the shopping experience by keeping everything within the app, this great strategy can significantly boost sales and product recognition.

Utilizing Influencer partnerships

Another popular marketing approach is collaborating with influencers. They are like famous celebrities and actors seen on TV – but on the Internet. These influencers often have a dedicated and engaged following, making them valuable partners for brands looking to reach specific audiences. For example, a beauty brand might collaborate with a well-known beauty influencer to promote its products. The influencer creates content showcasing the brand’s offerings, providing an authentic and relatable endorsement to their audience.

Influencer marketing is an effective way to gain new customers. However, remember to do the research first and pick a suitable person to work with. The best way to do so is to choose one who already knows (and likes) our product to avoid misunderstandings and get the most out of this approach.

Consistent posting strategy

Remember to be consistent with your posts and stories when you decide to be active on social media. People will quickly lose interest when you post once or twice within a month. Participate in direct discussions with people and bring up trending topics and hashtags. Upload posts that show off the unique characteristics of your brand and also the human side of it. Do not hesitate to remind customers occasionally that the content you create and answers you provide are written by a human. Original and authentic content always finds its recipients.  Social media networks provide less formal ways of connecting with potential customers, which makes it possible to have two-way discussions with people who are curious about what you have to offer.

What’s more, you can post user-generated content related to your products or company to share positive reviews and spark discussion that provides social proof for your company. For instance, encourage customers to share videos and pictures of your products, and when they do, ask them to tag your brand. Then, reshare the content on the business profile. This popular approach works great as it connects the brand and its customers.

Leveraging analytics and feedback

Last but not least, keep track of your statistics. Social media analytics tools such as Hootsuite help to analyze and manage their social media presence across various channels. It provides features for scheduling posts, monitoring social media activity, and analyzing performance metrics. You can also check your post statistics, audience engagement, visibility, etc., directly on social media in your account.

Additionally, you can check how much traffic from social media, i.e. from published posts and paid ads, came to your website in Google Analytics – „Organic Social” and „Paid Social” traffic.

There are also tools on the market such as Brand24 for social media management. You can quickly check mentions of your eCommerce store online and respond to comments, which will further strengthen your position. on the market and relationships with customers.

The future of social media for eCommerce industry

The future of social media in eCommerce is going for growth and integration, driven by evolving technologies and changing consumer behaviors. As platforms like Facebook, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok continue to refine their shopping features, social commerce is becoming a more and more natural experience. The fact that over half of Chinese internet users shop on social media may be a sign for the rest of the world. Consumers are growing accustomed to discovering, interacting with, and purchasing products directly through social media, which, in turn, encourages businesses to invest more in social advertising and storefronts.

Social media and eCommerce combined create an effective combination that can make them the most effective advertising solution. Maybe it is time for you to use it as well?