With e-commerce around the world growing at a staggering rate thanks in no small part to the sharing of products online via social media, it’s little wonder that the social media platforms themselves are thinking of ways in which they can join the e-commerce party.
In recent months there has been a concerted push by the social media giants to integrate external links and enable users to purchase products or find out more about what they like without having to click away from their favourite platform.
Twitter launched their dedicated pages that allow users to shop where they tweet; Facebook has embedded ‘buy now’ capabilities into group pages and an option to send money to someone through Messenger; Pinterest unveiled its ‘buyable pins’ that give its users the opportunity to buy things they see on the site; and now Instagram is getting in on the act.
By unveiling a new advertising solution, similar to Twitter’s dedicated pages, Instagram is aiming to improve the efficiency of its marketing by integrating external links. Its most prominent features include a new application programming interface to facilitate a wider variety of advertisements and the authorisation of sponsored content related to user-specific interests.
What does it mean for your e-commerce business?
The consequence of this development for small online retailers is likely to be hugely positive, but only for those who know their audience and who they want to reach. Brands will be permitted to customise their sponsored content, so it is vital that you know your target audience and tailor your sponsored adverts accordingly. When you consider that Instagram has over 300 million active users, with an average of 70 million photos uploaded every day, you can quickly see how not doing this could well result in your products or latest offers not being seen by interested users.
As with Twitter’s dedicated pages, Instagram’s development now means that its users can find things they love based on the item, or a high-profile person endorsing it, rather than asking them to scroll through endless photos and advertisements. This effectively means your content can be pushed by an influencer with a large number of followers in your target area. If their followers like what’s been posted, its sharing potential across the platform is far greater.
Ensure e-commerce strategy is aligned with target audience
The emergence of integrated links on social media platforms has made it more important than ever to create content that is tailored to your target audience. Investigating who the influencers in your particular market are and trying to use them to endorse your products and services could then help to maximise exposure.
With social media activity an increasingly fundamental element of e-commerce strategy for even the smallest online retailers, it’s important to realise that platforms like Instagram are evolving from a place where information is shared to an engaging e-commerce marketplace.
Ecom Global Network Ltd is a membership-based organisation that exists to support and enhance the e-commerce operations of its members.