• More than half of global Internet users between the ages of 16 and 24 use social media to research brands (55.9% female users and 51% male users
  • 76.8% of global Internet users purchased a product online in 2020
  • 44.8% of global Internet users searched for brand-related information on social media

Most social media networks now offer businesses services that promote their brand, be it advertising, news feed targeting, shop functions, or data sales.

Social media has made not only advertising but selling online easier. The tools that are incorporated into different platforms are also offered at different price points in general. From small businesses that don’t want to spend through to well-known brands that want to invest in all the benefits of social media targeting, platforms have developed ways to make social media work for eCommerce.

Social media eCommerce marketing goals

Developing a social media marketing strategy will depend on your business goals. Commonly, online businesses tend to focus online marketing at:

  • direct sales from the platform
  • communicating with customers at all stages of the sales journey
  • promoting traffic to a website or app
  • collecting insights about your industry (audience, competitors, benchmarks for success)

Social media has changed the landscape of online sales in the past few years. Because of this evolution, there are three main areas that social media plays a part in for online business, which can choose one or all three aspects to be involved with – or none, but that is not recommended as social media platforms are the most successful way to connect online right now.

  • Social commerce means selling products or services directly on social media, using Facebook Shops, Instagram Shops, Product Pins, and other native social media shopping solutions.
  • Social selling means using social media to generate leads, nurture prospects, and secure sales.
  • Social media eCommerce marketing means building brand awareness through advertising, community engagement, social customer service, social listening, competitive analysis, social commerce, and social selling.

Using social media for eCommerce

You can use social media marketing to promote your eCommerce brand to a global audience and sell products in international markets. Social media platforms are powerful tools that, when used correctly, can propel your business growth.

Building brand awareness

Building brand awareness, especially for new businesses, is easy with social media. As a business, you can purchase targeting data, ad space, and promotional tools that put your brand into the public consciousness. Because social media platforms are already segmented into communities and bubbles of thought, it is easy for your brand to reach its audience and fill the echo chamber with buzz about your brand. Publishing video, images, reports, and other interactive content will also help your audience to connect with your brand, and find you interesting and worth looking into further. In 2020, unboxing videos were huge and generated lots of UGC for brands. In 2021, finding ways to connect online requires a close reading of the public temperature and sensitivity of local and international issues. This is hard and many brands have got it wrong. The only thing to do is keep publishing and adjusting your strategy to reach your audience where they are.


In 2021, statistics show that in the United States:

  • 190 million people can be reached by Facebook advertising
  • 140 million people can be reached by Instagram advertising
  • 170 million people can be reached by LinkedIn advertising

Not all of these people are your target audience, and many social media users are active on more than one social media platform. For this reason, social media platforms provide the tools for you to target the segments that suit your brand.

If you understand the objectives for your social media ads it makes it easier to choose your target market. Facebook and Instagram let brands pick one of three conversion-oriented objectives:

  • Catalog Sales. Promote products from your catalog in ads and drive sales.
  • Conversions. Encourage your audience to take a specific action on your website, such as adding a product to their cart.
  • Store Traffic. This ad goal uses geolocation to promote your brick-and-mortar store to potential customers who are in the neighborhood.

You also need to choose the right ad format for your campaign. Different strategies work better on different platforms, and you can find volumes of research on this for your industry online. On Facebook and Instagram, the main format categories are:

  • Carousel ads
  • Collection ads – for eCommerce
  • Image ads
  • Video ads

Collection ads are designed specifically for eCommerce. They mix creative copy and images of your products to get attention and direct them to your checkout. Facebook offers the most advertising options as it saw the opportunity before other platforms, but others have been quick to follow. Twitter or LinkedIn use their own advertising types and are targeted to their users in different ways.

Selling products directly on social media

Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest offer native shopping solutions for business accounts. Snapchat and Shopify share a social commerce tool, but the feature is only available to a few handpicked accounts as they test launch the product.

For businesses, social commerce has many benefits:

  • It’s free to set up.
  • It creates an interactive, social shopping experience for customers.
  • It streamlines the sales process as people can shop directly from their feeds, without clicking through to an external website, shortening the distance between discovery and checkout.
  • 70% of people surveyed said that they use Instagram to discover brands and products.

Customer service

Social media gives you a fast connection with your customers, making it a great way to offer people guidance at any stage of the sales journey.

You are able to leverage the power of social media to connect with your customers. It is a place to give honest feedback. You can respond to posts or messages, DM with customers, and even encourage them to post content about your brand or products. How you respond to any negativity or criticism can also bolster your reputation, if you have the PR skills to approach all comments as opportunities for engagement and development.

Social listening

Social listening means scanning social media for mentions of your brand or products and conversations related to your brand.

Knowing what people are saying about your brand and products can help you understand:

  • Which products are most coveted?
  • If there are issues or recurring problems with any of your products.
  • How does the general public feel about your brand?

Keeping an ear to the ground online is also important for your PR management. This way, if your brand or industry is in the spotlight or under scrutiny for any reason, you will have an idea of what people are saying and how you can respond.