Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat…There are so many social media platforms and it seems a new one is seeing the light of day almost once a month. You are probably using these apps for your personal leisure, sharing pictures and comments with friends and family. Do you know how to make the most of social media for shopping?
Facebook – the classic social media platform
Facebook, the old-time classic of social media platform is probably already used by your brand or retailer to engage with your audience, increase the brand awareness and drive sales to your stores. You might have tried to announce a discount only to your Facebook Fans, show a sneak-peek of your new collection or created promotion and raffles with third party apps on your Facebook page. Did you know of the internal Facebook rating that adds product reviews to your page? Or did you know that you can create a whole shop inside Facebook? Or use geo-targeted ads to Facebook users with specific characteristics in the neighborhood of your store?
If you already have an online store set up an integration with Facebook is easy and lets you replicate your store directly on Facebook, showing a selection of your products on your timeline with prices, pictures, a brief description and the Buy Now link to your store. You can promote this store inside Facebook with Facebook Ads targeted to your Fan based, friends of your fans or a whole different audience that you create based on criteria. You can also opt to retarget people who have seen your store or have subscribed to your newsletter among many other ways to retarget users inside Facebook. Should you have a physical store, Facebook Ads might also be used to drive foot traffic to your store by targeting Facebook users close to your location or by creating special events.
Pinterest – a visual pinning board of styles
Pinterest used to be a place where you collect all the beautiful things you have come across on the web – just like you would on a pinboard or in an old shoebox in the old days. Beautiful pictures, motivational quotes, inspiration for interior design, recipes for the next big summer party…all organized the way you want by topic, color or seasonality. However, Pinterest is more and more moving into the shopping sphere. It has now expanded the use of its Pinterest Shopping pin that lets users not just pin products to their board but find them on the web and buy them directly. As we found this new feature really interesting and promising, we have dedicated a new article to it. Read more about Pinterest Shopping here.
Twitter – for quick product reviews or sneak peaks
Just like Pinterest offers an integration between social and shopping, Twitter features a Twitter shopping button so that from a simple tweet you can bring your customers directly to the checkout on your store, provided you have an online store. In addition, Twitter has also introduced product pages, called Collections, where you as a brand can showcase your products and have users actually make a purchase. Next to purchase, the Collections also feature tweets, reviews and prices so as to increase the information available to shoppers but also to increase trust and a kind of longing for your product.
If you want to set up an online store to use the Twitter Shopping button, an easy way to set up your store and make use of the Twitter Shopping button would be through Shopify which promises that any product that’s ever been Tweeted from your online store will automatically include a buy button, and shoppers can immediately start buying without leaving Twitter. Shopify then also lets you publish your tweets directly from your shopify dashboard.
Instagram – to showcase your looks and spot brand ambassadors
Instagram as well offers in-app shopping to its users. Advertisers can now place “Shop Now” buttons inside their posts and embed links to take their instagram followers outside of the instagram platform directly to their shop. Instagram offers advertisers the option to target their customers based on Facebook profiling and to create the ads directly from the Facebook Advertisement platform, making this part of promotion even easier since only one platform needs to be accessed.
Other than offering your products through a sponsored post or expanding your followership through these ads, Instagram is an inherently interesting platform for fashion brands. Create your own hashtag and use it always, reach out to possible brand ambassadors – instagramers you like for their style, communication and their followers – and build up a reputation and visibility for your brand in this way.
Snapchat – to give an insight view to your brand
Snapchat, even though not the newest mobile messaging app out there is still enjoying a buzz and a sense of newness due to many commerces still trying to adapt it to their needs. While teens have used the auto-disappearing messages and the spreading of video messages for quite a long time, we still have to figure out how to use the app for our brands. So how can you use Snapchat?
What’s special about Snapchat is that it is about the instant, you share what is going on now and consequently cannot prepare content before hand. This gives you the opportunity to have punctual promotions, to drive customers to your store at this precise instant and to share behind the scenes looks that your customers wouldn’t otherwise see. We believe that especially in the fashion industry, that is so fast paced and rapidly changing, Snapchat is an ideal tool!
You could use the app to share outfit ideas, offer a time limited discount, allow a sneak-peek to your newest collection, showcase the latest photoshoot or fashion show and give a tour of your store or headquarters to show who is behind your brand. And on the other hand of course, Snapchat lets you view how your brand is being used, how outfits are being combined and what fashionistas your audience is most avidly following.
WeChat – for accessing the Chinese market
WeChat, what started out about 5 years ago as a mobile messaging app to send text, images and voice message to friend has developed into an integrated platform with many platforms, the go-to-app for almost anything when you are in China. Users can use WeChat to pay, send money to friends, to split bills in a restaurant, order food to be delivered, pre-order tickets for movies or theatres but also city services such as paying the water bill, accessing the local library database or request a doctor’s appointment.
The most straightforward way to use WeChat for your business is to open an e-commerce store that accept WeChat payments and you can do the same with your offline retail store, making the payment at your store much more easier using WeChat Payments and having your cashiers scan the customer’s Quick Pay barcode on their phone. Payment done. On top of payment solutions, with WeChat you can create promotions, have users access their account, view the items they bought, already pre-order for your next collection, find your stores nearest to their location…and all of this in one single app. Here you can find some examples of how big brands have used WeChat to promote their products.
LinkedIn for wholesale partnerships
LinkedIn, being a b2b tool inherently, might be used for your as a brand to find new retailers and to identify the right person to speak to when pitching your products. LinkedIn lets you manually search for company and job role to reach out to the person, create groups and post articles that might be interesting for your target group but also tap into the potential of custom ad based on your audience’s characteristics. The success of your efforts on LinkedIn strongly depends on the openness of your audience to publish their information and also on the adaption of the platform per country, as in the DACH region for example Xing is still predominant.
In short – Social Media for shopping
As you have seen, there are many many social media platforms and many many ways in which these platforms can be used to make your brand visible to customers, to engage with your customers and to increase your sales. So now it’s up to you to go out and give it a try!
Yesterday, Influence Central revealed their results from a study on Social Media influence on shopping behavior and they come to the conclusion that Social Media appearance impacts shopping behavior more strongly than being featured on tv (1.9% of consumers said that seeing a television ad impacts their decision to buy a product while 2.2% said the same of mentions in social media) and that consumers actively look for positive posts or product reviews. Especially in a sector as visual as fashion, we should take these findings to heart and employ social media to enhance our brand awareness, to spread positive messages and to promote our products to increase sales.