How social media has revolutionised the way we shop

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Have you ever found yourself scrolling through Instagram and suddenly feeling an overwhelming urge to buy a new dress, a trendy pair of shoes, or a fancy coffee mug? A few clicks later and boom, it’s in your cart and on its way to your doorstep. Well, you’re not alone. It used to be that we had to actually leave our homes and go to a physical store to buy something. Can you even imagine? 

Now, thanks to social media, we can shop from the comfort of our own homes (or, let’s be real, from our desks at work). And it’s not just influencers and ads – social media is being used in all sorts of creative ways to promote and sell products. Brands are using Instagram stories to showcase new products, hosting Facebook Live events to answer questions and showcase their products in real-time, and even using TikTok to create viral product videos. 

Social media has completely changed the game when it comes to discovering and buying products, and we’re here to explore how and why…

Discovering products on social media

Picture this: you’re mindlessly scrolling through TikTok, when suddenly, you stumble upon a video of an influencer raving about a new skincare product. You think, “hmm, that looks pretty cool”, and before you know it, you’re checking out the brand’s website and adding the product to your cart. This, my friends, is the power of product discovery on social media. Influencers and brands have figured out that social media is a goldmine for reaching new audiences and showcasing their products. 

And with the rise of shoppable posts, it’s easier than ever to make a purchase with just a few taps. Basically, shoppable posts are exactly what they sound like – posts on social media that allow you to shop directly from them. So if you see a product you like on Instagram, for example, you can tap on the post and be taken directly to a page where you can buy that product. 

It’s like window shopping, but without ever having to leave the comfort of your own social media feed. No more clicking through to a brand’s website and adding items to your cart, then going through the whole checkout process. Now, it’s all streamlined and seamless. This is a huge development in the world of social media marketing. It’s like magic, but with less rabbits and top hats.

And it’s not just limited to Instagram – Facebook and Pinterest also have shoppable posts. In fact, Pinterest has been doing this for a while now – you can see a product you like on someone’s board and click through to buy it. It’s like a virtual mall, right there on your computer or phone. Of course, there are some potential downsides to shoppable posts. Some people worry that it could encourage more mindless spending, since it’s so easy to buy things with just a few clicks. 

There are also concerns about privacy and data collection – after all, the more you buy through social media, the more data these platforms have about your shopping habits. But for the most part, shoppable posts are a huge win for both consumers and brands. Consumers get a more streamlined shopping experience, and brands get a direct line to customers who are ready to buy. So if you’re a business looking to up your social media game, shoppable posts are definitely something to consider.

Targeted advertising on social media

Now, let’s talk about everyone’s favourite topic: ads. Yes, I know, we all love being bombarded with ads for things we never knew we needed. But hear me out – targeted advertising on social media can actually be pretty helpful. By using data to target ads to specific users, brands can show you products that you’re actually interested in. Things like our age, gender, location, interests, and even our search history are all fair game for targeting ads. 

For consumers, targeted ads mean that we’re more likely to see products that we’re actually interested in though. And as a consumer, that means you’re more likely to actually make a purchase instead of just scrolling past the ad. And for brands, targeted ads mean that they can reach a more specific audience, increasing the likelihood that someone will actually make a purchase. It’s a win-win…right?

User-generated content and reviews

Ah, user-generated content. It’s the lifeblood of social media, and it’s also a key part of the shopping experience. Believe it or not, user-generated content can actually have a huge impact on purchasing decisions. Seeing real people using and loving a product or service can be way more convincing than any slick ad campaign. And positive reviews can be the difference between a sale and a missed opportunity.

We’ve all figured out by now that customers trust other customers more than they trust the brand itself, so businesses are using user-generated content like client photos and customer reviews to promote their products. And as a shopper, it’s pretty helpful to see what other people think of a product before you make a purchase. But it’s not just consumers who benefit from user-generated content – brands can leverage it too. 

By encouraging customers to share their experiences and using that content in your marketing, you can build trust and credibility with your audience. Plus, it’s a way to show off your products in a more authentic way, rather than relying on perfectly curated images. Airbnb built their entire business on the idea of user-generated content. By showcasing real homes and experiences, they created a community of travellers who trust each other’s recommendations. 

Of course, managing user-generated content comes with its challenges. Negative reviews can be especially tough to handle. But the key is to respond quickly and honestly. Acknowledge the issue, apologise if necessary, and offer a solution. It’s not always easy, but it’s better than ignoring the problem and letting it fester.

Social media as a customer service channel

If you have a question or a complaint about a product, what’s the first thing you do? You probably head straight to social media to air your grievances (or ask if anyone else has experienced the same issue). Savvy brands have realised that social media platforms are a great way to provide quick and efficient customer service, and they’re using platforms like Twitter and Instagram to respond to customer inquiries and complaints in real-time and provide the kind of service that keeps people coming back for more. 

It’s a great way to build brand loyalty and show customers that you care. And it’s not just about responding to complaints – brands are also using social media to proactively reach out to customers and offer support. Good customer service on social media is essential for building brand loyalty. If a brand responds quickly and effectively to a customer’s needs, that customer is much more likely to continue buying from them in the future. 

In the world of social media, where everything is public and visible to everyone, providing good service can go a long way towards building a positive reputation. So if you’re a brand looking to up your social media game, make sure you’re paying attention to customer service. It might just be the thing that sets you apart from the competition.

So there you have it, social media has completely changed the way we shop, from discovering new products to shoppable posts, targeted ads, reading reviews, and getting customer support. It’s pretty cool to see how technology is transforming the shopping experience. Would you like to set your brand up on social media to take advantage of this revolution in product discovery and purchase? We can help.

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