Those old days are long gone when we used social media only to find and follow our schoolmates, old friends and colleagues. A lot has changes since brands and businesses have discovered social media platforms and started reaching us with their posts and adverts.
By the 21st century, the borders between browsing and buying have been blended. Today we don’t just see brands’ ads, but we actually buy those products directly from social media.
(Cover image: 3D graphics image by Quince Creative)
What is Social Shopping?
Social shopping enables shopping products via social media. (Carmicheal, K., 2020) This can be done via online shop integrated in a social media platform or an interactive shoppable post.
Shoppable content enables the opportunity for users to purchase a product without leaving the social media app.
Shoppable posts are great way for businesses to promote their brand, boost their sales by reaching customers with products on social feed otherwise they would not search for or promote their new catalogue.
According to Instagram’s research in 2019, 1 billion users use Instagram every month and 90% of Instagram users follow a business on Instagram. (Instagram, 2019)
According to Statista, in the second quarter of 2020 Facebook has had more than 2.7 billion users per month, making it the third most visited website in the world. (Statista, 2020) 74% of higher income earners’ preferred social media platform is Facebook, and 15% of users shop on Facebook. (eMarketer, 2019)
It has never been a better time to start selling on social media.
If you’re thinking about starting shoppable posts, Instagram is the perfect place especially if you have a catalogue of products to showcase to your audience.
81% of Instagram users said that Instagram helped them researching products and services. (Instagram Business, 2019)
Instagram can interact with shoppable posts in newsfeed, Stories and Discover page. Discover page is Instagram’s own page dedicated to find new brands. (Carmicheal, K., 2020)
On Instagram, shoppable posts are marked by a shopping bag icon on the bottom left corner.
By clicking the shopping bag, it reveals the prize of one or more products on the photo.
How to Create Shoppable Post on Instagram
To be able to create shoppable posts on Instagram, your Instagram profile has to meet some criteria:
- Instagram shoppable posts can be created if your profile is from the following countries: United States, Canada, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, or Australia
- You must have an Instagram as well as a Facebook Business account
- You must sell physical goods that comply Instagram’s Merchant Agreement and Commerce Policies
- Your Facebook Business account must be connected to Facebook Catalogue. This can be created either on Facebook Business Manager or through Shopify or BigCommerce
Once you’re done with these and eligible to all criteria, all you have to do is to add your Instagram to Shopify or BigCommerce store (no additional cost here) and wait to be approved. Once your Instagram has been approved, you can enable Shopping under business setting on your Instagram app. Voila! You can start selling on Instagram.
Alternatively, you can use a feature such as Linkin.bio. Linkin.bio is an online tool that allows you to link your Instagram post to a specific product page, website or blog post. It is an easy way to drive traffic from your Instagram to your web shop or any other ecommerce platform and generate sales.
Some Great Examples of Shoppable Instagram Posts
This is actually a sponsored video post. When we click on the ‘Learn More’ button, a number of shoppable items appear in a grid fashion. You can configure this setting when you are building your post in Instagram Business. Braun linked to this post to Amazon.
In this post Ritual Cosmetics shows how their products fit to their target audience’s everyday lives. Although, the products are not in the focal point of the post, they fit perfectly into the scene. Notice how the colours of blue and white support brand awareness.
Warner Bros. Studio showcases an average situation during a studio tour: a visitor is enjoying the interactive exhibition while wearing a shoppable product to represent her favourite house in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Warner Bros. Studio went even further. In the post they encourage their visitors to share their own photos taken on the tour while wearing something that represents their favourite houses and use their hashtag #WBTourLondon.
Happy Socks sells quirky themed socks. Their shoppable post showcases the product in a colourful quirky environment that represents the brand. They are using emojis and playful band voice to reach their target audience – in this case kids and parents.
The post is advertising Disney Mickey Mouse themed socks. Notice, how all the board games on table fit into the theme of the ad: all of them have Mickey Mouse pattern.
Peggy Porschen greets Autumn with a stylish shoppable post, showcasing their new cupcake menu. The pink and delicate pastel colours perfectly represent the brand and target their audience while representing the new season.
Unlike Instagram, if you want to create a shoppable post on Facebook, you have to create a sponsored campaign. To be able to do so, must have a Facebook Business account. There are a variety of shoppable posts you can choose from: carousel, image, video, collection, Story or slideshow ad.
Examples of Shoppable Content on Facebook
Carousel ad allows the business to add different images with different product details, links and CTA (Call-To-Action) button. This makes it easy for customers to reach the business’ website and make a purchase.
This carousel shoppable post from Dior is perfect to showcase a catalogue of products.
Miu Miu’s collection ad starts with a compelling video and when we click on the video a collection of shoppable products appear under it in a grid fashion.
Apart from purchasing products, we can even book tickets for events via Facebook sponsored posts such as this one from Fever. Fever is an online ticketing tool. It helps people find events wherever they are and sell tickets for them.
This sponsored shoppable ad is advertising an immersive Doctor Who experience in London. Fever is using a compelling image portraying London in the background and the iconic Doctor Who telephone box. There are playful emojis in the ad, indicating that the target audience is a younger group of people, and the ad emphasises that the experience is available limited time only and tickets selling fast.
BFI IMAX is advertising their cinema experience in a Story ad. They are using a compelling graphic image illustrating the unique immersive IMAX cinema experience visitors can enjoy. By clicking ‘See More’ button, the ad navigates us to BFI IMAX website where we can book tickets to movies.
In 2019 almost 50% of users used Pinterest for finding or shopping products. (Lipsman, A., 2019) This indicates that Pinterest is the best platform a business can chose to sell their products generate leads and build brand awareness.
On Pinterest, users can easily find shoppable products. All ‘Products Pins’ are collected on the business’ main page, under ‘Shop’, as seen below.
To create shoppable posts on Pinterest, all you need is a business account and to join Pinterest’s Verified Merchant Programme. It is free to join and lets you enable shopping directly from your Pinterest page. Once you have been approved, you will receive a badge to appear on your page showing that ‘This Retailer Meets Pinterest’s Merchant Guidelines’.
How Get the Most Out of Product Pins:
- Use high quality photos and implement the Pinterest ‘Save’ button to allow your followers to save your pin on their boards
- Use descriptive copy. Indicate as much of product details as you can. For example, available sizes & colours and fabric the product is made from
- Do not just post a product, create a compelling story around it
- Use Pinterest analytics to learn how your pins are performing and to learn more about your customers’ behaviour
- Use promoted pins to boost customer engagement and sales
(Macarthy, A., 2017)
Social media users are not just mindless scrollers. They are constantly looking for inspiration and ideas. Traditional digital marketing efforts are no longer sufficient to gain customers’ attention. To stand out from the crowd, businesses need to follow the current trends and lift them into their digital marketing strategy.
Customers today are savvy about advertising and do not like ads being pushy. By using shoppable posts businesses can create story around their products while keeping the post naturally fit to the news feed. Shoppable posts increase loyalty because they create a direct line to the business by minimising the barriers between customers and purchasing. (Dod, R., 2018)
Carmicheal, K. (2020) Hubspot “10 Examples of Creative Shoppable Posts on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook” [Online] Available at: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/examples-of-shoppable-content [Accessed 25 Sept 2020]
Dod, R. (2018) Visiture “5 Reasons Your eCommerce Brand Should Consider Shoppable Instagram Posts” [Online] Available at: https://www.visiture.com/blog/5-reasons-your-ecommerce-brand-should-consider-shoppable-instagram-posts/ [Accessed 1 October 2020]
eMarketer (2019) “Social Media Activities Performed by US Social Media Users, by Platform, February 2019” [Online] Available at: https://www.emarketer.com/chart/226979/social-media-activities-performed-by-us-social-media-users-by-platform-feb-2019-of-respondents [Accessed 25 Sept 2020]
Instagram (2019) Instagram Business [Online] Available at: https://business.instagram.com/?utm_id=403967777216&utm_medium=paid&utm_source=google&utm_term=Marketing_hubspot_EN&utm_campaign=Marketing_MQLs_EN_AdWords_EMEA_UKI_Brand-HubSpot_e_c_856706782_403967777216&hsa_tgt=kwd-298569398281&hsa_grp=45114446858&hsa_src=g&hsa_net=adwords&hsa_mt=e&hsa_ver=3&hsa_ad=403967777216&hsa_acc=2734776884&hsa_kw=hubspot&hsa_cam=856706782&gclid=Cj0KCQjws536BRDTARIsANeUZ5_5u-n7gzfwWUR8VTs3YgURN1dJty2MIe8Dy_BzcP011ikHFOHyRc4aAhGSEALw_wcB&hubs_signup-url=www.hubspot.com%2Fproducts%2Fget-started-f049&hubs_signup-cta=null [Accessed 25 Sept 2020]
Instagram Business (2019) “How to sell your products on Instagram” [Online] Available at: https://business.instagram.com/blog/how-to-sell-your-products-on-instagram/ [Accessed 25 Sept 2020]
Lipsman, A. (2019) eMarketer “Pinterest Is the Talk of ShopTalk as It Eyes IPO” [Online] Available at: https://www.emarketer.com/content/pinterest-is-the-talk-of-shoptalk-as-it-eyes-ipo [Accessed 30 Sept 2020]
Macarthy, A. (2017) Social Media Today “How to Setup Buyable Pins to Sell Products Direct on Pinterest” [Online] Available at: https://www.socialmediatoday.com/social-business/how-setup-buyable-pins-sell-products-direct-pinterest [Accessed 30 Sept 2020]
Statista (2020) “Number of monthly active Facebook users worldwide as of 2nd quarter 2020 (in millions)” [Online] Available at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/264810/number-of-monthly-active-facebook-users-worldwide/ [Accessed 25 Sept 2020]