Social media sites are no longer the digital spaces they used to be.
As these companies embrace change and adapt to business’ needs, they continue to evolve from personal, intimate, private spaces into commercial, public, and profitable platforms.
Recent updates in social media prove just that.
Below are the biggest social media platforms, and how businesses can use them to sell more goods and services:
Facebook’s domination continues in the realm of social commerce.
Apart from engaging carousel ads and lead generation opportunities on the platform itself, Facebook continues to power up its flagship commerce app, Facebook Messenger.
Home to chatbots and in-app shopping opportunities, the messaging app now hosts new features that will make communicating with customers a whole lot easier.
Facebook’s newest implementation includes M Translations, a bot that automatically translates messages in a non-native language.
This allows global brands to truly connect with their audience, whichever part of the world they may be.
This is especially helpful for non-English speakers who make up a significant percentage of Facebook users: 10% of users prefer Spanish; 7% prefer Portugese; and 5% prefer Indonesian.
Perhaps one of the most innovative changes to date is Messenger’s new AR feature.
That’s right, brands can now fuse digital and physical worlds using the AR feature.
Companies like Sephora, Asus, and KIA have taken part in its initial release, and are expected to set the stage for other global brands to follow suit.
Using their mobile devices, shoppers can place products into their own space.
This brings products much, much closer to buyers, and the intimacy of this new feature will inevitably help brands develop new engagement strategies.
Twitter has always stood out in a saturated social media world dominated by photos and videos.
It has always been the go-to platform for discussions and short and concise statements.
Its transition from purely social media to social commerce hasn’t been an easy one: early last year the Buy Button was discontinued just a few months after its release.
But with recent updates, it seems like Twitter is finding new ways to accommodate brand promotion, minus the usual call-to-action buttons Facebook and Instagram are famously known for.
For starters, it looks like the platform is gearing towards a more visual future, as seen by their proactive approach to develop and improve photo and video integrations: One of its latest developments include a feature called Timestamps that allows users to redirect their audience to a specific time in the recording of a live video.
Recent reports hint at the platform’s continuous development of a video sharing feature that can rival those of Snapchat and Instagram.
To share a live video, users have to open the Twitter app, click the compose button, and take or upload a photo or video.
This product’s goal is to simplify the steps and make it a more prominent feature of Twitter.
Although no specific features regarding the new development have been released, the new update is decidedly going to promote video sharing within the platform.
Instagram has always been a haven for businesses.
With 800 million monthly active users, Instagram is definitely one of the best places to set up a digital storefront.
It’s incredibly easy to set up a catalog, market products, and feature promotions through awesome photos and catchy hashtags With the Instagram Story update, brands can now post photos and videos in real-time to fully engage with their customer base.
In fact, ⅓ of the most viewed stories come from businesses, which proves that the platform has many opportunities for marketing products and services, as well as engaging customers.
This year, Instagram takes a big step towards complete social commerce integration through the app shopping option.
Gone are the days when brands had to resort to linking products in their bios.
Approved business accounts can now provide an interactive shopping experience through the app by tagging a photo and providing useful information for customers.
Instead of breaking down the prices in the description, brands can now tag a photo up to 5 times.
This displays the product name and price, as well as a clickable that instantly redirects them to a checkout page.
It’s intuitive and convenient for customers and will likely boost commerce in no time.
We all know Pinterest as the home to beauty products, home decor, DIYs, and unique and quirky gifts.
If you thought Pinterest was just a visual board with no commercial potential, think again.
With the Buyable Pins feature, businesses can convert a post to a buyable product.
Buyable pins include a blue price tag at the top, which customers can interact with. The best part? Everything happens in-app.
Whether you’re browsing on the desktop or using your phone, Pinterest lets customers buy within the network using Apple Pay and credit card payment.
Pinterest has joined forces with Shopify sellers to help niche markets gain more exposure and traction through the platform.
And this tactic appears to work well with Pinterest users: a whopping 87% of Pinners say they bought something after discovering it from using the platform.
Don’t Forget Messaging Apps!
Social media platforms aren’t the only ones rising to the commerce challenge.
Messaging apps have evolved from communication-only devices to well-rounded apps built to accommodate commercial operations.
Now that messaging apps have 20% more monthly active users than the biggest social networks, these apps make the perfect platform for niche engagement:
WeChat: Unlike other messaging apps, WeChat can act as a selling platform instead of a marketing tool. WeChat users can purchase items through the “one-click-payment” system called WeChat payment. Instead of setting up shop on the network itself, the process requires a third party commerce system. The most popular ones include WalktheChat, Weidian, and Youzan.
Viber: Following its ownership by the e-commerce giant Rakuten, Viber now features an in-app shopping experience. Users can cycle through available items by pressing a small shopping bag icon. It’s set to include a variety of retailers, including the department store Macy’s, as well as possible partnerships with companies like Groupon.
Kik: Kik allows businesses to use chatbots to communicate with customers, and it goes beyond customer support. For instance, Sephora used the bot to promote products and gain insight on customer preference. The bot had a call-to-action that conveniently redirected customers to a checkout page.
Buying Through Social Media: Why It Matters
It all boils down to convenience.
Social media sites gain more traffic than any other site on the Internet because it offers everything you need: from talking to friends and family to sharing documents with your co-workers.
All operations, both personal and commercial, are done through these platforms, so it only makes sense to migrate or at least integrate commercial transactions there.
What social media feature do you like best? Let us know what you think in the comments below!