Shopping on social media is forecast to grow exponentially – are you ready?

17 May 2022

Research by the media agency Essense reveals that shopping on social media is becoming increasingly popular with consumers. Social media e-commerce presents a massive opportunity for SMEs in the UK, but many still aren't leveraging its potential. Here's how to make it work for your business. 

Phone screen with social media icons

Social commerce (otherwise known as social shopping) is where social media and eCommerce meet. When the entire purchasing journey – from discovering a product to buying it – happens on social media, where consumers spend a lot of their time. 

How many people are shopping on social media?

A report from media agency Essence provides some exciting insights into the growing trend of online shopping. 41% of the 2,200 consumers they surveyed worldwide made purchases or planned to make purchases involving social media. 

Notably, 75% of respondents said they'd likely buy goods through social media. In the UK, the categories that were purchased the most using social media were as follows:

  • Apparel (23%)

  • Beauty (20%) 

  • Home electronics (20%)

But that's not to say other sectors shouldn't be embracing social selling. Although these are the most popular categories, it's only time before others follow suit. 

Your business probably has some social media presence – but presence alone isn't enough now. The time has come to meet your customers' demand for shopping on social media. Getting on board now will help ensure you don't get left behind!

One of the best things about selling on social media is that the sales cycle is often shorter, so you can drive more revenue and grow your business quicker. 

Ecommerce finance can provide you with a short-term cash injection to kickstart your social selling strategy. Use Funding Options to see what you could be eligible for today. 

Fine e-commerce finance

Selling on Facebook

Before you start selling on Facebook, you need to create a Facebook Business page. 

Your verified page will help ensure your customers have access to accurate information about your business and enable you to start building a loyal following. 

Once you've built your page and gained some followers, you can launch your Facebook Shop. Business page administrators can do this in the Commerce Manager section of the page. You can highlight featured products in the shop and streamline the shopping experience for customers. 

Social Commerce Livestreaming 

Livestreaming is a significant social commerce trend at the moment. According to the Essence report, 52% of Brits participated in live shopping and conversational commerce events, and 85% said they enjoyed the experience.

Four out of five respondents said they were likely to buy on social media if they had viewed a Livestream or been involved in "conversational commerce". 

Use Live Shopping to host live streaming events, sell to customers in real-time, and create a product playlist for your Livestream in Commerce Manager. 

Selling on Instagram

If your products have a visual appeal, you should consider selling them on Instagram. 

First off, sign up for a free Instagram business profile if you haven't already done so. You can set up a shop and schedule sponsored posts and ads. You'll also have access to insights that you can use to inform your social media strategy. 

As long as you're an admin, you'll be able to set up your Instagram shop from your profile dashboard. Once it's live, your Instagram followers will be able to browse your products and purchase them directly from your profile, posts and stories. 

Tips for selling on social media successfully

Like anything in business, the key is in planning. While a lot of figuring out how social media works comes down to trial and error, it certainly doesn't help to be prepared. Before you dive into the world of social commerce, consider doing the following:

1. Create a social selling strategy

The first thing you should do is develop a social selling strategy. Don't worry about getting everything right – this will evolve as your company grows and new features are added to channels. Begin by identifying your resources, goals and the social media platforms your customers use most. 

2. Pick your social channels. 

Some social channels will align with your products more than others.

Explore the features provided by each. You'll also need to establish where your target customers spend most of their time. We've explored social selling on two channels (Facebook and Twitter), but there are many more besides.

3. Optimise your profiles

Make sure your social profiles are up-to-date before launching your shops.

Complete your profiles and add information that your followers might find helpful. Research relevant keywords and hashtags so that your page is more likely to appear in searches. Visitors to your page should understand what you sell by glancing at it, so fill it with engaging and relevant content. 

4. Enhance the mobile experience

Don't forget to design your posts with mobile in mind, as more people than ever are using their smartphones to buy. Purchase options must be mobile-friendly, and content needs to display correctly on mobile and desktop – including videos. 

5. Track your success

Finally, don't forget to track your results. Evaluate metrics such as likes, shares, comments and reposts, and direct sales figures, and use Google Analytics to track how much traffic to your website comes from social media. By evaluating your efforts, you can make sure you repeat what works well and improve what doesn't to increase your return on investment. 

How do I get finance for social commerce?

If you do business online, taking advantage of the e-commerce options available on social media is the next logical step for your business. At Funding Options, we work with more than 120 lender partners, offering the broadest range of finance options available, and could help you secure the finance needed to kickstart a social commerce initiative.

See my funding options



Maisha Brgum
Maisha Begum

Social Media and Community Engagement Executive

Maisha is a social media marketing professional and a 2019 graduate of King's College London, where she studied English Language and Linguistics. Maisha brings 2.5 years experience within the fintech and B2B space and plays a key role in communicating with Funding Options’ customers and online audiences and communities.

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