Published July 20, 2021
The importance of human connection may have never been more apparent than it is today. After people across the world were forced to isolate, reemerging often means rushing to see loved ones they haven’t seen in months. And consumers have missed connecting with their favorite brands, too.
Beyond this challenging time, the digital age has made face-to-face interactions increasingly more rare with shoppers making many of their everyday purchases online. So how will your brand compensate for the lack of personal interaction—and increase your loyal customer base?
Social commerce, (selling products using social platforms), is a great way to engage and connect with your customers in a way that not only leads to more sales, but presents an opportunity to set your brand apart while increasing customer loyalty. With 70 percent of consumers saying they use Facebook to search for products and 87 percent saying they take some action after seeing an ad on Instagram, it’s not shocking that social commerce accounted for $36 billion in sales by the end of March this year in the U.S. alone—an increase of 35 percent compared to last year.
But the value of social commerce isn’t just about increasing sales, you can use it for next-level connection with your customers establishing long-term loyalty that will have them posting and talking to people about your brand.
Likely you’ve long understood the importance of having a social media presence and how it’s an effective way to promote and set your brand apart. But connecting with your customers in their social media feeds—or through your social media, takes some consideration and planning. Using the data you have about your customers can guide you when deciding who to engage with—and how—while keeping in mind the basics of what drives connections.
Monigle lays out nine ways consumers connect with brands, including:
Not that you can cover all nine, but think of your products or services and see which of those connections they align with. For example, a travel company (particularly now) will gravitate towards the excitement connection and “living their best life” and empowering connections, too.
After you know the emotional component(s) that will help you connect with your customers; how do you go about applying it to your social commence? There are some common best practices that will please them.
Make your posts, ads and feeds exciting. Show off your brand, get creative, have some fun—but above all, be engaging. The possibilities you have to get their attention are fairly limitless, from something simple like posting three images side by side with enticing products that mimic a brick-and-mortar store window to an engaging reel with lively music (Instagram and Gen Zs say yes please to the latter).
Put user-generated content to good use. Do you know what your customers trust the most? Theirs’ and other users’ posts. So what if you feature your customers in a marketing campaign? That’s just smart. And something that will delight many of your customers is featuring one of them wearing or using your product—talk about instant and lasting connections.
Use influencers. The reason influencers have helped make countless brands so successful is due to the fact that, not too long ago, they too were once “unknown” (just another social media user). It’s the same school of logic as “if it can happen to them, it can happen to anyone.” Their followers trust them and if the influencers trust and promote your brand, you’ll connect with them more.
Show them that you care and understand them. Take the time and invest in data analytics to determine what your customers care about beyond your brand. If you’re a retailer who sells home furnishings and you see that certain customers buy a lot of pots and pans, it’s a safe bet that they enjoy cooking so offering recipes in your posts would be a good idea. But dig a little deeper into your data to find out what they like to cook to find recipes they’ll really get excited about—the more value you give them the more delighted they’ll be.
One consumer trend that’s likely to stay is that they want their brands to be socially conscious—particularly millennials and Gen Zers. So if your product is environmentally friendly, share some stats about how you’re helping reduce your carbon footprint.
Give them every reason to trust you. After you’ve made strong connections and increased social commerce purchases, be sure to follow it up with seamless service. From the security of their payments and the quality of your products to the lack of any glitches in your services as well as the timely arrival of their orders, show them that your brand is one they can trust. When trust happens, they’re more likely to begin scrolling their feeds to see your brand—or visiting your social sites.
Related: Retailers need to boost consumer trust when they’re introducing retail innovations
When you’re confident about the connections you’re making with your customers and how your brand is being promoted, it’s time to drive home sales. Here are some best practices to help you do it:
Reach them in the right channels. Do you have a product or service that you know is going to connect mainly with Gen Zers? Then concentrating your social commerce efforts on Instagram should be your top priority—73 percent say they want brands to promote new products through this social media platform and Snapchat comes in second with an approximate preference of 50 percent. Also, you’ll want to use short, catchy videos because Gen Zers love them.
Is Gen X more likely to connect in some other way with your brand? Then Facebook is for you, with 95 percent saying they use the platform. If you offer something that appeals to multiple generations then a mixture will help.
Either way, the better you match your product and your services to the right channels, the more likely you’ll reach and connect with your customers—driving sales.
Related: Take your social media presence to the next level with social commerce
Assume they’ll want to buy and make it fast and easy. Let’s say you’re in the right social channels with the best ads capturing the right feelings and your customers are thrilled to make purchases—but then, to complete their purchase, they have to take multiple steps? That can easily lead to them abandoning it and deciding not to even try to buy from you again. And then those ads they see in their feeds will become annoying, not exciting. So seamless, fast and easy—but also secure is the way to go. And with the rise of the digital wallet, they should be able to easily make purchases on their mobile devices.
Use that data some more. If you’ve already invested in data analytics to show your customers that you know and understand them creating those strong connections, now use it to help drive revenue. It can help you determine what’s trending and when it’s time to put some products to rest—staying on top of consumer changes isn’t the easiest thing for retailers but tracking it in social media can give you great insight.
Social media is your direct channel to show your customers that you’re listening and that you care. What’s more, they want you there making shopping a breeze, completing purchases quickly, safely and conveniently. And the connection you make is more likely to last well into the future—driving customer loyalty and revenue.