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Key Takeaways

Clicks to Cart: Social media isn't just for sharing holiday pics anymore. It's evolved into a crucial platform for ecommerce brands to exhibit their offerings and engage with their customer base.

Beyond Likes: What began as platforms for personal updates and foodie adventures has morphed into powerful marketing grounds for ecommerce, enabling brands to directly connect with their audience.

Community Commerce: Engaging on social platforms allows ecommerce brands not just to market products, but to build and nurture a community around their brand, fostering loyalty and customer connection.

Is your ecommerce brand on social media? It better be.

While platforms like Instagram began as a way to stay in touch with friends by uploading pictures of your last European trip—or a plate of cacio e pepe #italianfoodlover—it’s graduated towards the next phase—social media marketing and social commerce.

Social media marketing has become a way for ecommerce brands to showcase their products and services while connecting with their community of followers/customers.

You can gain brand awareness and drive new sales from the same platforms.

Almost every social media platform at this point, whether it’s Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, or TikTok, has the ability to take your ecommerce site to the next level. Building this into your ecommerce strategy playbook is a must to succeed.

On average, users spent around 2 hours and 23 minutes per day on social media in 2023. That’s more than one-eighth of your waking hours!

Learning to capture their attention by having a strong social media presence can help drive conversions to your online store.

Keep reading to learn how social media marketing can benefit your ecommerce brand and the steps you need to get started.

What is Social Commerce?

Social commerce goes beyond social media marketing by integrating ecommerce functionality into social media platforms.

So, instead of trying to drive traffic to your product pages on your online store, you can instead allow people to purchase directly within the social media app. You can find this functionality currently on:

  • Instagram Shopping
  • Facebook Shops
  • Pinterest Shopping
  • TikTok Commerce

You can also keep the sales on your site by delivering new customers directly to your checkout page from the social media shopping experience, keeping the process relatively smooth.

Social commerce is the natural extension of social marketing, as it creates a more streamlined customer experience by reducing the steps it takes to buy what shoppers want.

Statista projects that there will be almost six billion social media users in 2027 and social commerce will represent 8.4% of total US ecommerce sales so wrangling even a tiny sliver of that will yield huge benefits for your brand.

Which social media platforms are best for ecommerce?

Given the visual nature of ecommerce, the best platforms for ecommerce must be visual-first experiences.

While each brand will have their own target demographics that favor specific platforms, the fact is that Facebook is the least friendly platform for ecommerce. Luckily for parent brand Meta, they bought Instagram, which is perfect for the job.

With that in mind, the best platforms for ecommerce would be:

  • Instagram
  • TikTok
  • Pinterest

Nobody is shopping on Twitter (X, if you must). If you are a B2B brand, maybe you’d have some luck selling products on LinkedIn?

6 Benefits of Social Media Marketing For Ecommerce 

Beyond the simple fact of being in front of your audience where they hang out, using social media for ecommerce has many benefits.

1. It builds brand awareness

Social media is a fantastic way to build brand awareness, especially if you are starting out.

Making people aware of your brand is the first step in getting them to the top of your marketing funnel, so you want to pique their interest!

By being in their feeds, you are planting the seed in their minds—”Oh yeah, I’ve heard of that brand.”

Especially if you are still working on your ecommerce SEO, social media marketing is a great way to get noticed while you are working on building up a trusted following of customers. 

In some cases, social media is not just another touch point for potential customers to find you. It is the first touchpoint.

So building out your social profile can go a long way.

Social media platforms like TikTok, which gained major traction during the pandemic, have become a social selling powerhouse. 

As people chime in that they bought it because "they saw it on TikTok," businesses are flocking to this social channel, hoping their product gets on track to become the next hot item.

Everything from handy kitchen gadgets to sunset lamps for golden hour photos is getting the viral treatment. And those who don’t get in on the craze are getting a strong sense of FOMO. 

2. It grows your community 

Urge others in your social network to join your tribe by stating your brand’s mission. What is your brand’s purpose?

People love to be a part of a community that aligns with their interests and values.

lululemon instagram post screenshot
Lululemon built a community around the hashtag #TheSweatLife.

Show off what makes you stand out with a branded hashtag. Fitness clothing brands like Lululemon leverage their hashtag (#TheSweatLife) to promote a healthy and clean lifestyle. 

Or have a look at beauty retailer Sephora’s inclusive messaging, We Belong to Something Beautiful, that acknowledges their diverse community of beauty shoppers and team.

sephora instagram post screenshot
A post that showcases Sephora’s diverse and inclusive team.

These are great examples of brands that do a fantastic job of expressing what makes them special and communicating that to like-minded customers. 

3. You can leverage social selling

Your ecommerce store may already be up and running, but you’ll want to turn on the shopping features on your social media channels, too (they can be your sales channels, too!).

Setting up your Facebook shop, shoppable tags on Instagram (check out "live shopping" for more on this), or syncing your product catalog with your Pinterest page gives one more touch point with the customer and one interaction closer to persuading them to "add to cart." 

Many ecommerce platforms like Shopify can connect directly with platforms like Meta to deliver seamless social selling experiences.

4. You can retarget ads more effectively

Social commerce is also great for retargeting existing visitors to your site.

With all this information, you can filter by detailed demographics and data like age, location, interests, and how recently they were active on your site.

By tying your online store to your social media accounts, retargeting with Meta properties Instagram and Facebook becomes super easy.

Once you’ve built up a following, you can also retarget by who has liked or saved your post and start experimenting with different ad segments. 

These types of ads are super powerful because the visitors already have intent built-in, so the chance of converting is much higher than traditional ads.

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5. It shows that you have a presence

At this point, it’s almost a little weird for a brand not to be on social media.

That doesn’t mean you have to be on all of them (more on that later), but having an online presence, and leaving a valuable digital footprint, can help legitimize the brand in an age of online scams and phishing scandals.

Customers will feel more confident knowing they can find more information about the brand.

And, as the brand representative, you have full access to how your customers respond to your product or service via sentiment analysis.

6. Social media channels can be search engines too 

Have you heard? Almost 40% of Gen Z prefer using Instagram and TikTok as a search engine over Google.

So, now making sure your social media content is SEO optimized is more important than ever for maximum visibility. 

The younger generation relies less on Google Maps to find the hot new restaurant and instead on #FoodTok recommendations. Staying on top of how people find what they buy will allow you to adapt to these shifts in generational search behavior.

Diversifying your marketing channel strategy is key to surviving the ever-changing ecommerce landscape. Time to get that TikTok shop in shape for the masses!

16 Steps For Creating a Stellar Social Media Ecommerce Strategy

You can’t just throw together your social media accounts without first planning your social media strategy. The best brands took their time figuring out the best path so their efforts weren’t wasted on unnecessary plays.

So, let’s take it step by step and get your ecommerce social media game in fighting shape.

1. Figure out what your goals are for social 

Before you start creating a business account for every social media channel possible, you might want to evaluate your goals first. 

I like to set up some SMART goals about what I hope to achieve on these platforms.

Do you want to gain 10K followers in 6 months? Look at other businesses in your niche to see what’s attainable to ensure these goals are possible. 

2. Define your audience 

Where is your ideal customer spending most of their time?

Millennials and baby boomers gravitate more towards Facebook, while Pinterest attracts mostly women in the 18 to 64 age group interested in topics like wedding planning or home decor. 

If you’re targeting Gen Z, Tiktok and Snapchat are your best bet to catch their eye.

Knowing your target audience is key in figuring out what makes the most sense for you strategically. There’s no need to add your voice to a platform if your audience doesn’t hang out there.

3. Come up with content pillars to inform social media strategy 

After narrowing down what social channels to focus on, think of what your content pillars will be.

Your content pillars are three to five topics you want to educate your audience on. Keeping your topic list trim means you can cover them well and become trusted authorities with the folks that follow those things.

Let’s look at the vegan beauty brand Osea for a second.

Their content pillars are Clean Beauty, Sustainability, Transparency, and Health & Well Being. So all of their content will relate to these pillars in some way, creating a cohesive content strategy. 

Mapping out your pillars ahead of time lets you see what topics are on-brand and which might be fun to do but ultimately off-brand.

For Osea, doing a post on yoga aligns with their health and well-being pillar. 

osea instagram post screenshot
A yoga post from Osea’s Instagram that aligns with their Health and Well-being content pillar.

4. Determine your brand personality 

How are you talking to your audience?

As a close friend or with a professional tone? You don’t need to don a Duolingo costume to catch someone’s attention, but developing a specific tone or catchphrase makes the brand more likable and memorable.

Some verticals require a more serious tone, where others lend themselves to a funnier personality.

Nike does a great job at marketing, but nobody would accuse them of being witty. Same with Tiffany—elegant and sophisticated, but no place for goofing around.

On the other hand, the dating app Bumble is great at nailing that relatable brand voice that is funny and sarcastic but empowering and uplifting at the same time.

Their product allows for a different approach to voice and tone.

bumble instagram post screenshot
An Instagram post from Bumble that aligns with their brand voice.

This reflects the user experience you’ll have using their app and resonates well with the largely female audience they are catering towards.

If you don’t know what your brand personality is yet, ask yourself a few big questions to suss it out:

  • What does your target audience like in a brand?
  • What are our core values and how does that translate to a personality?
  • How do we want our customers to feel when they interact with our brand?
  • What’s unique about our brand?
  • How do our main competitors communicate with customers?
  • If our brand was a person, what would their personality be like?
  • What words or phrases do we want associated with our brand? Which do we want to avoid?

5. Find out what people are searching for 

Once you’re armed with content pillars and ideas, it’s time to do some optimization.

Start by using social media analytics tools like Instagram Insights or TikTok Analytics to find the keywords and hashtags that are getting the most engagement and conversions.

Engage with trending topics on the Explore page on Instagram or the For You page on TikTok to have a better chance of appearing there yourself.

You can also expand your keyword research to non-social media sources like Google Trends and SEO tools (SEMrush and Ahrefs, for instance) to get a broader sense of search trends. This includes competitor keyword research.

Include some popular general keywords and hashtags with your posting and any niche ones that are more relevant to what you are doing to capture other followers who may be interested in seeing your content. 

Encourage your followers to share user-generated content (UGC) with your hashtags to grow engagement with your community.

6. Work with content creators 

If you don’t have a big budget to hire a professional photographer, work with a few local content creators to create stunning visuals for your brand instead. 

Content creators are already experienced with the social media landscape and understand what it takes to educate and entertain followers.

These partnerships take advantage of creators’ existing fan bases similar to your target audience, with trust already built-in.

They can post on their social channels while tagging your brand and your new products to give you additional exposure. You can also recycle this user-generated content to fill your feed with on-brand images that match your aesthetic. 

As online sentiment shifts from idolizing big-time influencers to valuing more authentic and ‘real’ small creators, UGC is becoming one of the most in-demand social marketing forms. 

7. Optimize account for social commerce

Make it easy for others to find you on other site and social platforms.

Use link in bio add-ons like Linktree or Beacons in your profile to lead others to your storefront, YouTube, or other social channels.

Add a call to action in your profile and posts, so followers know they can take action to lengthen the interaction.

Whether you want them to sign up for your newsletter or visit your product pages, you want the destination to be memorable. 

8. Look into paid strategies

There are so many other ways to amp up your social commerce strategy.

Along with running ads, you can also work with high-profile content creators or influencers to review your product. Good fit influencer marketing can really drive sales when done right.

Running an affiliate marketing program can also give you exposure to smaller-sized creators who will market your products for a small cut of the sale.

When there’s a demonstrated return on investment (ROI) with a particular paid strategy, your money is only making more money. So, don’t stray from paid unless you don’t like making money (or the opportunity is a loser).

9. Plan ahead and make use of scheduling tools 

Using marketing automation tools like Hootsuite or Buffer to plan your content in batches frees up a lot of time.

Creating a month’s worth of content in one day has never been easier. Look out for key dates and fun holidays in your niche that you can use to tie in with sales and promotions.

This sort of marketing automation allows your one social media marketer to deliver consistent brand experiences across multiple platforms to keep your ecommerce business top of mind when people are ready to do their online shopping.

Craig’s Cookies used National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day to run a sale and drive online orders.

Ask yourself: What are some notable days within your industry that you can parlay into fun promos? 

craigcookies instagram post screenshot
A post that shows how Craig Cookie leveraged relevant holidays for a fun promotion.

10. Review analytics to see what works and what doesn't 

Once your content goes live, don’t turn off your computer and call it a day. Review your post and study analytics afterward to see how it performed. 

Some will inevitably do better than others, but don’t be discouraged if a post doesn’t perform the way you expected.

These insights allow you to see what content resonates best with your audience and those that have missed the mark. You can learn something from those, too.

Remember: some posts may flop, but it’s not a flop era. Sometimes after the hardest flop comes, the biggest slay.

11. Be consistent with your posting

This is one of the hardest things to follow through on social media, especially with a small team.

Whether posting a few times a week or multiple times a day, make sure that there is enough bandwidth to keep these channels running.

If the pace is not sustainable, you can become susceptible to burnout.

Inactive accounts on social media are de-prioritized by the algorithm and can lead to a loss of engagement in the long run that takes time to recover from. 

Remember that there are billions of active users online at any time and their feeds are filled with other brands putting in the work. Don’t get forgotten because you are trying to multitask (nobody does it well).

Hire a person to do the job. If they are good, you’ll reap the benefits in extra sales.

12. Find other brands in your niche 

Social media is a great opportunity to discover other brands in your niche and network.

Connect with like-minded individuals in the same industry so you can stay on top of trends and what’s happening in the market.

This is not to be confused with competitors. They ain’t your friends.

Find brands who you don’t compete with but have a similar customer base. By networking with these brands and even co-marketing with them, you can grow your own followers and get a sales bump.

One great example is Rumpl and Solo Stove. Rumpl’s outdoor blankets paired with Solo Stove’s outdoor firepits make for a idealistic scene that customers want to make their own.

13. Cross-promote social channels

If you are venturing onto a new platform, make sure to leverage your existing platforms. If you have one million followers on Pinterest, use that as an opportunity to cross-promote your TikTok videos.

At this point, every social media network is prioritizing video formats, which can help you get a boost in visibility. Maybe your video content will even end up on the For You page!

Platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, and TikTok are centered around visual experiences, so they are perfect social cross-pollinators.

14. Engage with your followers 

Don’t forget to take time to engage with your followers.

They may have questions about your brand, like where you source your materials or if your fig jam is organic. Don’t leave them hanging! 

Tip: Create a weekly post or add to your highlights of commonly asked questions. 

There are so many features available now to promote social engagement. For example:

  • Run a poll on Instagram stories to get a better sense of your customer base’s favorite colors or pain points
  • Create a private chat with your best customers
  • Give your community behind-the-scenes content using the Close Friends Instagram stories feature 

The opportunities to meet your future customers online are endless. You’ll need to get a bit creative. 

15. Don’t let complaints go unheard 

Not everyone will be happy about your product 100% of the time.

But, rather than ignoring the negative feedback, address it calmly and professionally. Troll comments we can delete, but for real customers, we will want to nip things in the bud and give them a fantastic customer experience. 

With really good customer support, these squeaky wheels can become your best customers and even give you feedback that will improve your overall shopping experience.

16. Surprise and delight over and over 

Aside from seeing beautiful visuals of your products, users on social media want to see something different from your brand that they can’t get from looking at your ecommerce website. 

Engage with them on IG stories with polls, and get them to vote for the next flavor of ice cream or the next color of a top that’s going viral.

Run a giveaway, promote a bingo card, or even let them know of a scavenger hunt you are running downtown. Find a way to be the brand they enjoy seeing stories and new posts from.

4 Examples of Great Ecommerce Social Media Marketing

Building a truly great social media presence for your ecommerce brand can be difficult to get just right. It takes a consistent and compelling brand voice and a keen awareness of social media trends.

A few brands do this really well. Let’s get inspo from a few examples.


chubbies funny instagram post ecommerce social media
Funny brand voice is an option for certain brands like Chubbies.

Chubbies is a perfect example of leaning into the funny. They sell shorts and other apparel for men, and they know their demographic well.


beardbrand ecommerce social media post instagram
Stylish male models showing off their expertly tended beards.

Guys with beards can be a bit serious about how they care for their face fur. Beardbrand understands this and delivers a sophisticated tone with images of stylish men with well maintained beards.


pangaia ecommerce social media post
A eco-friendly and somewhat comedic post from PANGAIA.

Self-described “materials science” apparel brand, PANGAIA, focuses on sustainability and comfort. They consistently come up with new and interesting methods for making clothes, like this blazer made with fruit fibers.


ridge wallet ecommerce social media post instagram
Flatlay everyday carry photography from the king of EDC, Ridge.

The everyday carry mindset is a lifestyle and Ridge has made itself the face of the movement. Their simple and smart wallets, key holders, and other accessories are always beautiful and well-photographed.

Be Bold, Be Social, Be Strategic

Selling on social media doesn’t have to be difficult.

Taking the time to think about your goals and social strategy can help create a cohesive and aesthetic page that can attract potential customers and create buzz for your brand. 

Every mention, tag, and comment is social proof and helps build your brand’s presence. And in an era of short attention spans, being bold, authentic, and really stands out. 

No matter what stage of the business you are in, these social media tips can help you take your ecommerce marketing strategy to the next level.

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By Frances Du

Frances Du is a content manager and writer with 10 years of experience in ecommerce and digital marketing, turning customer insights and market trends into actionable content strategies that drive engagement and discussion. Frances' editorial work has been featured in The Ecomm Manager, Village Living Magazine, GOOD Magazine, Traveler's Digest, SHE Canada, The Culture-ist, and The Huffington Post. She is a graduate of the University of Toronto.