How to Start Building a Social Commerce Platform

Xi Digital Published on 18 Aug

Traditionally e-commerce existed in two forms: a company website or a marketplace (eBay, Amazon, Kijiji). Now, social media has evolved into a place where consumers can buy products and services directly from retailers. While PPC Marketing (pay per click advertising) and search engine optimization were the go-to digital marketing services used to drive e-commerce conversions, social media marketing services were usually aimed at improving brand identity, audience, and awareness. However, the acceleration of online shopping via social media has forced digital marketing agencies and online stores to adapt their strategy. In 2020 social commerce was an $89.4 billion market that is expected to be nearly 7 times as large by 2027. 

The size of the market combined with the amount of time spent on these apps makes social networks a prime place for businesses. With the right digital marketing agency on your team, social commerce combined with traditional social media marketing services will enable you to extend your brand reach and convert more sales. 

If you want to expand your business into the realm of social commerce, this is how you can start. 

Choosing the Right Platform 

mobile social media app thumbnails digital marketing servicesThere is no shortage of active social media websites: Tik Tok, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, YouTube etc.. The list could go on for a while, but when you're looking to engage in online commerce, the key players, Facebook and Instagram, are the best equipped. 

While setting up shop on just any platform may lead to some conversions, online marketing experts recommend focusing on the ones with the most potential for your brand. Once you establish a converting social commerce store on one platform, you can expand to others. The best option for a social media store will vary, depending on the demographics of your ideal customer, your product offering, volume, and location. 

Here are the demographics of the most popular social commerce platforms. 

Facebook: In 2021, Facebook has approximately 2.89 billion active users, of which 53% are women. The largest cohort of users are males aged 25-34. In Canada, more than 14 million people check their Facebook feed every day.

Instagram: Of the 1 billion active Instagram users in 2021, more than half are under 35 years old, and the largest cohort of users is the 15.7% of women between the ages of 25-34. 

Tik Tok: As of June 2021, Tik Tok boasted an average of 1.1 billion active monthly users. Teenagers account for more than 25% of active accounts, and more than 22% of users can be attributed to 20 -29 years old. 

Pinterest: With 478 million active users at the start of 2021 followed by a slight decline of 24 million users in Q2, Pinterest has less volume than other social platforms, but it can still be valuable for targeted markets related to gardening, fashion, home decor & DIY projects.

Youtube: In 2021, Youtube is estimated to have more than 2 billion active monthly users. Not only is Youtube the most popular among American adults (74% of whom are regular users) the website is used by at least 70% of Amercans anywhere from 13-55 years old.

For more insight on how they apply to your business, work with a local digital marketing agency. At Xi Digital, our specialists use consumer insights and industry trends to develop custom strategies for our full range of digital marketing services. 

Upload Your Products 

The next step is to upload your products to the platform of your choice. You don't have to put your entire range of products onto your social media store, at least not at first. You can work on building your engagement and audience with the most popular products and customer favourites. As you expand your social commerce shop, you should optimize your listings to ensure they meet the platform's best practices for maximum reach. A local search engine optimization company can work with you to create effective listings that target key searches for in-platform searches and major search engines. If you want to maximize the success of your social commerce strategy, the team at Xi Digital can help you optimize your business pages and products to increase sales and brand engagement. 

Regular Social Media Posts

As you create the commerce side of your social media presence, it's essential not to neglect the regular posting of products, blogs, or other expected content. Post tutorials, user-generated content, products, even reviews. This regularly posted content builds trust and encourages interested users who are not yet ready to purchase to follow your page and convert later. If you find that there is too much work needed to maintain a steady brand presence and run a product shop simultaneously, you can find relief from a local digital marketing agency offering social media marketing services. 

Paid Advertising 

Unlike some other digital marketing services, PPC Marketing enables faster conversions. When paired with a social commerce page, not only will it allow for more sales, it can also quickly spread awareness on the platform of your product shop. PPC marketing is most effective when paired with strong content and an optimized social media profile. To maximize your return on investment, work with a paid ads expert who can help you develop ads, target the right audience, and track performance. 

Support Social Commerce With An E-Commerce Website 

Despite changes in the digital landscape that have enabled businesses to engage in commerce online via social media, the addition of an e-commerce website can add tremendous value to a business's digital effort. Not only does a website create a supplementary sales channel, but it also supports trust-building and permits extra digital marketing efforts. Working with a web development team and an SEO specialist early on, you can move your website up the search engine rankings to convert ready-to-buy leads actively searching for brands like yours. 

Social Media Without Commerce 

At the end of the day, social media can drive success digitally without being leveraged as a commerce platform. Studies show that 87% of online shoppers claim that social media posts can impact their purchasing decisions, even if they're not making their purchase on social media itself. This means that businesses can improve their bottom line using social media marketing services focused solely on traditional organic posts.

Whether it's Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or Tik Tok, potential buyers visit your profiles and pages to gauge whether they can relate to your brand, trust your business, or find use in your products. This is why digital marketing agencies stress the importance of maintaining a high-quality presence on the platforms that relate to your target consumer. So even with an in-platform store, you can effectively send warm leads to your website where they can browse your offerings and convert them into measurable sales. 

From social media marketing and PPC marketing to search engine optimization and ecommerce web design and development, the team at Xi Digital can help you build an eCommerce strategy that converts. 

Contact the experts at Xi Digital today to start building your custom plan!

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