Social Commerce Market Report: How social media is driving ecommerce sales in 2020

Social media’s immense popularity and influence have built a huge potential audience for shopping through social platforms. Global internet users spent an average of 142 minutes per day on social media in 2018, up from 90 minutes in 2012, according to a report from GlobalWebIndex cited by Digital Information World.

This has made social media a major influence on consumers’ purchasing habits, with 36% of US internet users saying social networks have become as important as other information sources for making product choices, up from 27% in 2015, according to a survey from GfK cited by eMarketer.

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As social media’s influence grows, social commerce is becoming an increasingly important channel in online shopping. Consumers have used social media to learn about products and brands and find inspiration for over a decade; the term “social commerce” was introduced by Yahoo! in 2005. But in the past few years, platforms have been working to eliminate the friction of buying a product elsewhere after discovering it on social media by adding buy buttons and digital wallets, for instance, so users can make direct purchases.

In The Social Commerce Report, Business Insider Intelligence estimates the current size of the social commerce market, forecasts its future growth, and examines why its growth has been stagnant so far — as well as why that’s set to change. We also look at the top social media platforms’ social commerce offerings and analyze the future of each company in the space.

The companies mentioned in this report are: Amazon, BHADgoods, BigCommerce, Calibra, Depop, Facebook, Instagram, Kylie Cosmetics, L’Oréal, Pinterest, Poshmark, Nike, Samsung, SeatGeek,  Snap, Venmo, and Walmart.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • Growth in social commerce adoption has ground to a halt in recent years due to concerns about the channel’s safety and legitimacy.
  • But adoption and usage are set to pick up thanks to social media’s popularity, its influence, and social platforms’ improved commerce capabilities.
  • Top platforms including Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Snapchat have upgraded their commerce offerings in the hopes of becoming shopping hubs as social commerce takes off.

In full, the report:

  • Forecasts the value of the US social commerce market over the next five years.
  • Examines the obstacles and growth drivers for social commerce adoption and usage.
  • Covers the commerce features being introduced by Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Snapchat and discusses their various strategies, strengths, and weaknesses.
  • Looks at companies with different involvement in social commerce including marketplaces and payments platforms that use social tools and how they fit into the social commerce market.


8 Ways to Integrate Social Media Into Your Sales Strategy

Using social media for brand-building is just the tip of the iceberg — social media is a valuable tool for driving sales.

Here are eight ways to integrate social media into your sales strategy to drive revenue.

1. Identify the most-used platforms for your ideal customer.

As a sales pro, you should have a well thought out ideal customer profile. This profile should spell out key information about who your buyer personas are. For B2B companies, this can include the size of the company that would benefit from your product, how much revenue they bring in, and their organizational structure.

For companies that sell to consumers, your ideal customer profile should include information such as how old your buyers are, what their interests are, and what problem they are turning to your product to solve.

Once you have your ideal customer profile laid out, use this information to determine what social media platforms they are most likely to be active on. For example, if you work for a B2C company and are targeting Generation X and Millennial consumers, you would be better served to focus your efforts on Facebook than Tik Tok. Conversely, if you sell B2B and are looking to gain direct access to seasoned professionals, LinkedIn may be a more productive platform to focus on than Pinterest.

In addition to understanding what platforms are frequently used by your ideal customer, take time to understand how your customer is using these platforms. For example, if your customers prefer natural-looking user-generated content, then you will most likely find them on Instagram because that is where that type of content performs best. Or if your audience prefers searchable instructional content, they may spend more time on YouTube.

This information will provide valuable insight on where you should focus your energy to best connect with and serve your audience as you implement social media into your sales strategy.

2. Share customer stories with marketing.

When it comes time to purchase a new product, buyers feel more confident in their decision knowing the product has a seal of approval from another buyer. In fact,  83% of buyers say word-of-mouth recommendations influence their buying decisions.

The best way to incorporate the word-of-mouth approach into your sales strategy? Through sharing customer stories your prospects can relate to. As a sales rep, you play an integral role in sharing your customer’s stories. Although your marketing team is often tasked with the job of creating content for your company’s social media channels, your frequent communications with prospects and customers can provide valuable content as well.

Make sure you are regularly sharing the stories of happy customers with your marketing team for amplification on your company’s social media platforms to provide social proof that can help drive sales for your business.

3. Leverage social proof in your sales materials.

In addition to sharing customer stories with marketing, don’t forget to include social proof in your sales materials. If you receive a stellar online review or have a happy customer create an appreciative social media post praising your product, reference them in your sales pitches to build trust and credibility with potential customers.

4. Optimize your personal social media accounts.

Your company’s accounts aren’t the only touchpoints your brand can have with a customer on social media — your personal accounts can serve as a personable extension of your company’s brand. As a sales rep, you can optimize your own social media accounts to support your selling efforts. This way, buyers can quickly see you’re a representative of your brand as soon as they see your profile.

The two platforms that are best for this are Twitter (where consumers often go to communicate directly with brands and thought-leaders) and LinkedIn.

5. Use social media when prospecting.

Social media can be a powerful tool for prospecting and connecting with new contacts, especially for those working in B2B sales. If your company sells to other businesses,  LinkedIn should be a key tool in your prospecting process.

LinkedIn allows you to find and build relationships with potential customers that are a perfect fit for your business. The free version of the tool has a search feature that allows you to filter users by keywords, industry, location, work history, and mutual connections. You can simply tailor your search to include the attributes of your ideal customer to find new contacts to reach out to.

6. Track relevant metrics.

As a sales professional, you’re no stranger to tracking metrics such as the average length of the sales cycle, pipeline velocity, and average lead response time to understand how your business is performing. And if you aren’t already, it is time to include social media metrics in your regular reporting.

How many of your leads come in from social media? Of your social media leads, how many of them convert? What percentage of your total sales come from social media leads? This information is helpful to track to understand how to continue integrating social in your sales strategy.

In addition to these quantitative figures, you may want to consider tracking some qualitative information. For example, if a specific social media post led to an influx of leads that ended up converting, note what type of post this was and seek to understand what made this content so successful. This can inform your strategy moving forward.

7. Add social listening to your operating rhythm.

If you could be granted the superpower of reading your customer’s minds, would you take it? Though I can’t give you that superpower, I can attest to the power of social listening, which can help you understand how your customers really feel about your product and company. You can then use the information you find to inform your sales strategy moving forward to better accommodate customer needs and concerns.

Here are a few ways you can incorporate social listening into your regular operating rhythm:

  • Search for your company or product name on Twitter to see what users are saying even if they don’t directly @ your company. You can also do this with competitors to see what consumers are saying about similar brands.
  • Use a tool such as  HubSpot Social Inbox to see all of your company’s brand mentions across platforms in one place.
  • Follow the LinkedIn updates of companies and individuals you are interested in working with. Anytime they are mentioned in the media or elsewhere on the platform, you’ll receive a notification.
  • Scan the comments section of posts from your company, your competitors, and any influencer marketing posts promoting your or your competitor’s products.

8. Conduct competitive analysis.

I’ve alluded to it above — social media is a powerful tool for conducting competitive analysis. Not only can you see what content your competitors are sharing to engage with their audience, announce new product drops, and promote their current product line-up, but you can also access comments and reviews to see how their customers truly feel about their products.

Whether their audience is living positive or constructive feedback for their product, reviewing this information on a regular basis can help you distinguish the differentiators of your company and offering in the words of customers looking for those attributes. Spending time reviewing the content shared by your competitors on blogs and social is a value-added activity that can provide useful insights into the competitive landscape of your industry.

Additionally, if you work in B2B sales, performing a competitive analysis of your ideal customer’s competitors is also worthwhile. By knowing what your prospect is up against in their industry, you are better equipped to walk into a sales conversation knowing exactly how your product can suit their needs and support the growth of their business.


Media Together: Advertising and Sales

As with all industries, the spread of Covid-19 has put strains on all facets of the media industry, including marketing, advertising and editorial teams. As part of an ongoing project, Adweek has solicited stories of those who have been furloughed, laid off or otherwise affected by the pandemic. If you’ve been affected, please consider submitting your story here.

What’s your experience been like during Covid-19?

Covid has been challenging. I’ve been laid off for three weeks now and just trying to stay grounded, but I do have moments of anxiety and discomfort. I understand that its a competitive job market so I’ve been patient, but NYS unemployment has been extremely difficult to navigate and bills need to get paid. It’s a delicate balancing act managing my emotional and mental well-being while applying for unemployment, relevant jobs and networking on LinkedIn.

Bernice Veloz

What’s your hope for the media industry post-Covid-19?

The industry is quite fascinating right now, ripe with innovation and ideas. My hope is that brands shift the narrative to forge a more authentic relationship with audiences. We’re all in this together. It’s been great to see brands pivot to address this.

What is your motivation behind working in the industry? What are some memorable experiences you’ve had during your employment in the media industry?

This industry is my calling. I am a multicultural marketing guru in training that loves shaping the narrative of how brands connect with this unique and special audience. My entire career has been quite memorable, both good and bad. One of my favorite memories is working the Latin Grammy Awards with Univision on behalf of Metro by T-Mobile. The event is grandiose; the collaboration and camaraderie among all the brands, agencies, media platforms to bring the night of life was incredible to experience firsthand.