Email Marketers guide to Social Commerce Social commerce is tipped to be the next big thing in the world of eCommerce. Considered the realm of social networks such as Instagram and TikTok, brands that don’t have an ever-increasing social following may feel that they’re missing out when it comes to this new buying phenomenon. However, social commerce can work equally as well through our favourite marketing channel. Email. By implementing some of the trends and tactics that social commerce touches upon, brands can engage with similar audiences and emulate a similar experience to buying through social networks. And in this guide, we will show you how. For email marketers, better starts here. What is Social Commerce? Before we talk tactics, let’s start with the basics. Social commerce refers to sales that are conducted online, but with a social element. In fact, social commerce can forgo an eCommerce site entirely. That’s because many social commerce interactions happen over social network communities. Apps such as Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest have implemented “buy now” calls to action on ads. And are also running live commerce streams alongside influencers and product experts. And social commerce is doing pretty well, to say the least. The market grew drastically through 2020 and lockdowns, and by 2027 the industry is expected to drive an impressive $604 billion in sales. Social commerce is proving popular for small and big brands alike. For smaller brands, it gives them the opportunity to compete with industry giants without the vast budget. And for big brands, it offers the chance for them to showcase their people and personality. Benefits of Social Commerce Social commerce sounds interesting, right? But what are the benefits..? Engage with the latest generations of consumers Born between 1997 and 2012, Gen Z are now young adults who are coming of age and entering the world of business. And of course, as Gen Z secure more jobs, they also secure more income and buying power. Making them the latest and most powerful generation of consumers. 98% of this generation own a smartphone and average more than 4 hours per day on apps. So it’s perhaps unsurprising that 97% of Gen Z consumers state that they now use social media as their top source of shopping inspiration. By incorporating social commerce into your marketing strategy, you will be able to engage with this influential generation. And begin building up brand loyalty in the early stages of their lifetimes as consumers. Grow your audience and traffic Social networks have huge user bases. And the community-focused, sharing elements of social media mean that new customers can easily stumble across your brand and products easily. This means that as you focus on engaging your social community, your fans and followers can do some of the hard work for you in driving new audiences and traffic growth. Speed up the purchasing process By practising elements of social commerce, such as customer reviews and product recommendations, you are moving the consumer through the buying cycle and speeding up the purchasing process. This saves consumers the hassle of searching for reviews and product demos. And saves brands the efforts of having to create them. Increase consumer trust It’s natural that if consumers see others, just like themselves, engaging and purchasing from your brand, that they will find you more trustworthy. A large part of social commerce is community and promoting other consumers who buy from you. So naturally, this will quickly increase the trust of new purchasers. Additionally, social commerce gives brands the opportunity to showcase their personality. The more transparent and open a brand is, the more trust consumers will put into them. Social commerce and email marketing You may have noticed that social commerce is, unsurprisingly, largely practised through social networks. But with email marketing still remaining one of the most utilised marketing channels around, there’s no reason why social commerce shouldn’t feature in your email campaigns too. By incorporating elements regularly seen on social networks into your email campaigns, you’ll be engaging with audiences who are familiar with social commerce. Read on to learn how. Content optimisation The inbox is a busy place, but as well as competing with stunning email campaigns, marketers are now battling with hundreds of thousands of content creators on social networks. Here are some tactics to ensure your content stands out: Mirror social images The majority of users access social networks on their mobile devices, and so that they don’t have to turn these devices sideways, you will commonly see vertical images utilised on these networks. Mirror this style in your emails so that it is familiar to typical social commerce consumers, and so that they get the full impact of your campaign. Video Video is a big hit on social networks, with an estimated 82% of all online traffic predicted to be video content by 2022. Benefit from this engagement by incorporating videos or even GIFs into your email campaigns. Keep them short and snappy so that recipients don’t get bored, and you’ll be grabbing their attention in no time. Text Millennials and Gen Z are prolific social commerce shoppers. And they are used to visuals. To appeal to them, keep your copy short and snappy. Don’t overwhelm them with long paragraphs of text, but instead get to the point quickly. Filters Social media users love a filter. Furthermore, they’re used to them. Images that are bland and uninspiring will quickly be overlooked and forgotten about, so make yours stand out with the use of Instagram-style filters to make your campaigns pop. Reviews and ratings 89% of purchasers won’t take action until they read reviews. And reviews are rife within social commerce. Whether it be an unboxing video, a shopping haul, or featured products on a consumers’ social post. Social network users love a review. And fortunately, these can easily be incorporated into your email campaigns. You can utilise static imagery to pull through product reviews and ratings which you have gathered through your website or third-party review platform. Or, if you want to get a little more sophisticated, you can use dynamic content to automatically update your campaigns with the latest reviews and ratings. All in real-time. This is particularly useful for including star ratings on individual products, services, or trips that you are promoting. User generated content (UGC) At the core of social media is user-generated content. This simply refers to content (posts, photos, and videos) created by your average user (or influencer), as opposed to a brand or business. UGC can provide brands with an endless source of new and engaging content. But even more exciting, it’s more effective than traditional advertising. With 64% of consumers actively searching for UGC before making a decision on a purchase. This content is particularly useful in social commerce, as brands are able to share other consumers’ genuine positive experiences. But just like with reviews, there’s no reason why you can’t feature this UGC in your email campaigns as well as your social networks. This can be achieved by pulling through your customers’ social media posts or featuring stories from happy purchasers. And don’t forget to link directly to the products that your customers are shouting about within your email. Product recommendations It’s clear that recommendations from other consumers are key to social commerce. But if your brand doesn’t have a huge social following, or has yet to gather lots of reviews, don’t worry. You can still feature recommended products with the use of your purchase data. Brands can identify the products that have sold most frequently, and utilise these in their email campaigns under different guises of product recommendation. On a basic level, this could include campaigns recommending ‘most popular or ‘customer favourites’ with the relevant product recommendations. However, brands can be more sophisticated with the use of dynamic content and automation. For instance, when a consumer goes to make a purchase website automation can suggest products ‘frequently bought together’, or even upsell options. And post-purchase, an automated email can be sent out with recommended add on products, such as recommended items to finish an outfit. Personalisation Social commerce is a highly targeted way of marketing and selling. Social media platforms have access to vast amounts of data on their users. The brands and individuals they follow, the products they buy, and often their demographics. This means that social commerce can target consumers with the exact products and brands that they are likely to be interested in. And even at the exact point that they are most likely to be engaged. Fortunately, this can also be emulated within your email campaigns. We’ve already covered product recommendations, which can be triggered based on purchases. But personalisation doesn’t stop there. First name personalisation This isn’t the most advanced way to personalise your emails. But it’s a basic requirement. Instead of treating your recipients like a faceless inbox, ensure that you pepper their first name into your email campaigns. This could be in the subject line or in the body of the email copy. This is a small touch but can have a big impact. Timing By using intelligent time sending, you can send out email campaigns that will land in recipients’ inboxes at the exact time that each individual is most likely to be engaged. This is based on past open and click-through data. Which is gathered on an ongoing basis, and then will dictate when emails are sent to specific recipients. Language and currency With the use of dynamic content and location data, you can ensure that the email campaigns you send are appropriate for specific recipients’ locations. Ensuring that the correct language and currency is populated within your email, automatically. Product recommendations We’ve covered automated product recommendations, but this tactic also works for regular email campaigns. Again, using dynamic content alongside purchasing data, you can ensure that the products you include in your promotional campaigns are relevant to the recipient’s buying behaviour. For instance, promoting the latest game console to someone who regularly purchases games. Influencers Now we couldn’t write a guide on social commerce without mentioning influencers, could we? 92% of customers trust an influencer more than an advertisement or traditional celebrity endorsement. And products that are reviewed positively by influencers are far more favourable to social consumers. Influencers’ natural habitat is of course social networks, but that doesn’t mean they can’t also be featured within your email campaigns. And seeing as influencers have such clout in the social commerce world, we would recommend dedicating an entire email campaign to your partnership. Considering featuring their favourite products, quotes, and of course lots of photos. Feeling excited about social commerce? Great. Because we are too. Our experts are always on top of the latest industry trends and innovations, so are happy to talk tactics and strategy to help you incorporate social commerce into your email campaigns. Get in touch to find out more.