5 Ways to Leverage on Social Commerce with Little or No Startup Fund

social commerce

Getting a startup capital for your new business can be somewhat difficult, especially when you are planning an online commerce, you might need some considerable amount of money to market your products or services online. Technology has really helped so many people to startup a virtual business and over the years we have seen disruptions in so many industries. To some people social commerce isn’t a new way of selling while to so many others they are yet to catch a glimpse of what social commerce is all about, some rather confuse social commerce to eCommerce, although both involves the use of the internet there are seeming differences between the two.

For eCommerce, purchases are managed directly from the seller’s website, where people are able to buy from an online store and make payment directly, while social commerce sales on the other hand are managed through social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and the likes.

However this might mean that social commerce is less about decision-making than it is about learning more about a product or service. Nonetheless, this does not mean that social media does not influence the buying decisions of consumers as recommendations from friends is still the top reason purchasers choose a particular company.

Most eCommerce companies still integrates social media channels into their platforms to enable audience on the different social networks connects with them, this is also still different from social commerce, although you also tend to see some element of social selling on those social media networks. Starting an eCommerce company requires quite a lot of fund and effort, building a website, managing the search optimization (SEO), running digital ads, logistics and payment system integration and many more. While for social commerce you need very little or nothing to start depending on what your business goal is.

According to a report by Invespcro.com US Social commerce has grown from being worth around $3 billion in 2012 to around $14 billion in 2015, accounting for approximately 5% of online retail sales. And with 33% of consumers likely to act on a promotion posted via a brand’s social media page, it is clear that the impact of social platforms on our online purchasing behavior cannot be underestimated. It’s obvious social commerce is getting a lot of traction in the developed country already.

Regardless of the persistent hype around eCommerce, some retailers are still figuring out how to best drive sustainable e-purchases via social media. While social commerce may still only drive a small fraction of retail sales, small businesses can’t ignore its impact. According to the Internet Retailer’s Social Media 500 report, The top 500 retailers earned $3.3 billion from social shopping in 2014, a 26 percent increase over 2013, well ahead of the average 16 percent growth rate for eCommerce. Analysts predict the jump in 2016 may be even greater.

Social commerce can help brands target prospective buyers in a more personal manner. Instead of constructing rigid advertising campaigns that broadly promote products or services, professionals who embrace platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram create media and relationship that translates into actual sales.

As a small retailer or growing business you should start looking at how to maximize the different major social media networks in your environment to promote your products or services locally. What you need to consider first is, where your audience are, and what they do, this will help you target them through the right channel. When it comes to selling on social media there are different channels you can harness and they include but not limited to the following.

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Mobile messaging app – Whatsapp & BBM

Facebook

While you are waiting for your seed capital or series A funding you can leverage on Facebook to promote your products organically (without paid ads), but if you have little personal fund as low as N10,000 (Ten thousand Naira) or $50 (50 dollars) you can run an ad on Facebook that will still drive traction to your Facebook business page and help you generate some lead and conversion. Facebook gives you the opportunity to showcase your products with audio-visual representation. At first, you can make your Facebook friends your primary target audience by sending them requests to like your page, then you can always update the business page with your products. Another interesting new feature about Facebook is that you can set up a store.

READ: How To Set Up a Facebook Store To Sell On Facebook

Instagram

Instagram is another trending and hot social media channel retailers use to reach their target audience both organically and through paid ads. With Instagram you can display your products with good attractive images, price tags, contact details and product description.

With hashtag you can also promote your brand or products on Instagram for instance with hashtags like #ootd (outfit of the day), Nike’s ads are instantly searchable and generate a huge following; plus, the company has launched a dedicated “Instagram Shop” where followers can purchase the gear seen in the Instagram posts. The shop looks identical to the Instagram feed, when users click on a photo in the shop’s gallery, they’ll be taken to the product pages for each item.

Pinterest 

According to a particular report released, Pinterest users are far more likely to purchase products they discover on the site compared to users of other platforms like Facebook. The survey found that 79 percent of Pinterest members are more likely to purchase items that were pinned to the digital site. For those who have little or no resources to put up ads on different blogs you can also explore this social media channel to sell your products.

Pinterest users’ average order value is $123.50, which is about 126 percent more than Facebook users’ $54.64 average order value, reports a 2014 study by Javelin Strategy & Research. And while major retailers like Macy’s are making big waves on Pinterest, there’s still a place for smaller businesses or companies with a non-traditional retail business model.

Twitter

If you are active on twitter and you also have a good number of followers, it is an opportunity for you to sell your products or services on the platform, you can leverage on your followers to retweet your tweeted products or links to their followers too. or place a direct order Twitter also allows images, texts and short videos, so it’s an avenue for you to maximize the inherent opportunity and provide your audience with relevant information about your products or services. For retailers who have lesser followers on twitter, you can leverage on twitter influencers to promote what you sell. With hashtags and retweets which are twitter’s strong points

You can also take advantage of the new twitter’s buy button, where you can practically have people buy from you directly from twitter store.

Whatsapp & BBM

WhatsApp is a social messaging service/app acquired by Facebook for $19bn last year and is arguably the world’s fastest-growing communication app. It has more than 700m monthly active users and carries 30bn messages per day, double Facebook’s daily message traffic. For small business owners / retailers all you need to have is contact mobile number of your friends and send them a broadcast about your products and services, you can also forward pictures of your new arrivals but try not to spam them, because it can really be disgusting. You can also put your whatsapp number on your business card and ask people to make orders through your whatsapp line.


Its international market penetration is significant: a survey of 4,000 smartphone users by On Device found that 44pc of users in five countries used Whatsapp at least once a week.

Another effective way of reaching your target audience is through Blackberry Messenger. Just the same way you send broadcast message on whatsapp you can do the same on BBM and also share your BBM pins with your prospects so they can reach out to you when they need your products or services, you can also create a group on these mobile messengers for brand and easily reach out to your targets. You can also use paid ads to target audience on BBM because the app allows Ad display.

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3 comments

  1. Successful Aboki

    This is really an eye opener. I have been able to learn so much from this. Not only have I learnt something new, I have been able to get some more insights to some burning questions I have had overtime. Please keep it up Sir. More power to your elbow…

    • Oluwatobi Adekunle

      Thanks a lot Bro

      • Successful Aboki

        You’re welcome sir