By Vijay Singh
Over the last two decades, e-commerce websites and social media have become an integral part of our lives — and a crucial way for brands to reach new audiences. Social commerce presents an important channel for brands to reach a younger audience. It capitalises on products going viral, and trends being promoted by nano and micro-influencers on their social media platforms.
As more users join social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Twitter, many of them become content creators themselves, curating and crafting their stories, photos, and videos for others to view.
This is how social media influencers are born and quickly attract the attention of marketers. A social media influencer is someone who has built a loyal following through their online content creation. Today, influencer marketing is more accessible and measurable than ever before, and more marketers find it effective to achieve their goals. There’s no denying that influencer marketing is lucrative. According to Influencer Marketing Hub, the market grew from $1.7 billion in 2016 to $9.7 billion in 2020. In 2021, it soared to $13.8 billion, indicating steady growth. This year, the market is projected to expand to a whopping $16.4 billion industry and it will keep on growing.
Influencers are effective in persuading their audience since they usually are experts in some topic, which makes them a natural source of recommendations on the subject. If you’re selling a niche product, finding relevant social media influencers — Instagram bloggers, vloggers, TikTokers, or Facebook Group admins — is a great way to reach your audience.
More and more people are looking up product reviews online. Keep in mind that 80% of people said that they watched a YouTube video related to a product they want at the beginning of their buying process. Social media influencers tap into core human interactive needs, which spur responses, often in the form of purchases. As such, influencers are a powerful medium to communicate with potential customers and increase the customer acquisition rate.
It was found that 50% of the time spent on mobile devices was done using social media apps in 2020, so it’s crucial for businesses to include social media in their omnichannel strategy. More than a third of consumers have been purchasing through social media and that number will continue to rise. According to Forbes, Gen Z and Millennials are more likely to be influenced, with 84% of the latter saying user-generated content from strangers has at least some influence on how they spend their money. Social media has also encouraged impulse purchasing with more than three-quarters of consumers admitting that the ease of use has led them to make purchases they didn’t set out to make.
By incorporating social commerce, brands can tap into the growing trend of one-click shopping and reach a new group of customers that they might not have been able to before. They can also leverage the power of social recommendations and start selling without a costly upfront investment in technology. Ultimately, they can deliver an excellent experience in a convenient and cost-efficient manner. Consumers often look to social media for brand and product discovery but have traditionally been less enthusiastic about making purchases on social platforms. And while engagement with social commerce is growing, it has yet to reach mass adoption.
The author is CEO of Sony Entertainment Talent Ventures India (SETVI). Views expressed are personal.