The Rise of Social Media Shopping During COVID

Rise of Social Media Shopping During COVID

COVID has us all scrolling more than usual doesn’t it?

Depending on where you are now, there literally might be precious little to do other than browse social media. Our usage stats for Facebook, Instagram, Snap, etc. have been through the roof in these tough times.

And you know who’s noticed that? Facebook, Instagram, Snap, etc.

Given that, we’re now seeing the meteoric rise of social media shopping. It was already a thing before but the pandemic has turbocharged the growth of what’s known as social commerce. At this point, 1 in 4 businesses are selling through Facebook. We’re not talking about running ads, we’re talking literally selling through the platform.

It’s big business and it’s something you need to be seriously looking into in order to stay relevant and competitive.

What Is Social Media Shopping?

Social media shopping aka social commerce is as easy to define as this: selling your products on social media platforms.

Very cut and dry.

On Facebook you have Shops while IG calls it Shopping, for example, and if you’re on either app you’ve no doubt seen these new features in your feeds or even in your stories. Yea, it’s possible to sell products in your story. Wild.

But does it work?

Well, yea. According to Big Commerce, “30% of online shoppers say they would be likely to make a purchase from a social media network like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat”. With 72% of American adults using at least one social media platform, you’re talking about a giant population that is already likely to make purchases via social media, which means we’re sort of just at the beginning of the boom.

Social media, at this very moment, is doing heavy lifting with 87% of people saying it helps them make purchase decisions. It’s only logical that these platforms become the point of sale too. Streamline the process and make it as effortless as possible for someone to get the products they need and want.

How COVID Has Affected the Way We Shop

Shopping online was obviously already immensely popular with 1.8 billion people making purchases online in 2018 and it was really a matter of ease and expediency that drove its growth. Convenience for the sake of convenience was the mantra. Like, did people have to shop online? Not necessarily but it was convenient.

With COVID…well that has changed. What was once a convenience has in some ways turned into a necessity. Regulations spurred by the concerns for public safety have led to less than ideal circumstances for traditional brick and mortars. Some stores are flat out closed for shopping, others have limited capacity and all, for the most part, require masks. Not surprisingly, these things have dramatically altered the shopping landscape.

Data from Statista shows that “retail platforms have undergone an unprecedented global traffic increase between January 2019 and June 2020, surpassing even holiday season traffic peaks. Overall, retail websites generated almost 22 billion visits in June 2020, up from 16.07 billion global visits in January 2020”.

As the pandemic rages, people are also spending more carefully than ever before with 1/3rd of Americans reporting a decrease in their household income during this time.

Looking for Digital Marketing? The Snow Agency Got You

With the shift to digital, and the tidal wave to digital in full effect, it’s crucial that your business keeps up and pivots along with the consumer. Both with where they want to buy and the way in which they want to shop. More and more that’s via social commerce.

If you have yet to dip your toes in the social media shopping pool, reach out to us at The Snow Agency and we’d be happy to walk you through what it takes and how it can benefit you.

The History of the TikTok App

history of tik tok

Like a bat outta hell, TikTok is all of a sudden everywhere. Like E.V.E.R.Y.W.H.E.R.E.

Launching only a handful of years ago in 2016, it’s the textbook definition of what we perceive to be the overnight success story. It literally felt like one day to the next that the collective consciousness outside of China went from not knowing TikTok to being TikTok fanatics.

For the purposes of this post, we’ll go ahead and mostly sidestep the abundant and seemingly unending controversy surrounding the app and just give you a little crash course in its vitals.

What Is TikTok?

Seems important to exactly what this thing does, no?

TikTok is basically an app used for creating videos. You’ll find lots of lip-syncing, dance and music-related content due to the origins of the app that we’ll get to in a second, but content runs the gamut at this point and includes everything under the sun.

It’s intended to be short form. Very short form. Instant gratification is the name of the game with social and TikTok capitalizes on that big time. Videos recorded on the app come in two sizes: 3 seconds up to 15 seconds and 3 seconds up to 60 seconds. You can also post videos longer than a minute if uploaded from outside the app.

It’s sort of the evolution of Vines. Remember Vines?

In fact, once Vines was shuttered by Twitter back in 2016, lots of people moved over to an app called Musical.ly that was launched in 2014.

Also in 2016, the Chinese tech company ByteDance created Douyin which very quickly racked up users. 

In 2018 they bought Musical.ly and rebranded it as TikTok for use outside of China. In essence, TikTok is the combo of Douyin and Musical.ly with Douyin being the version used in China and TikTok everywhere else.

That’s the Tik Tok origin story. Got it? Makes sense?

Why Is It So Popular?

It’s not just popular, it’s absurdly popular.

The app has over 800 million active users and has been downloaded over 2 billion times.

In terms of the United States specifically, TikTok has roughly 100 million monthly active users which is a nearly 800% increase from January of 2018. Eight Hundred Percent!

The popularity lies in both its algorithm that keeps people hooked with content they’re craving and in the pursuit of going viral that seems to motivate so many these days.

Perhaps one of the most interesting things about the app is not so much that it has attained such stratospheric heights of popularity so quickly but rather who it’s popular with.

Gen Z.

Over 60% of TikTok users are Gen Z-ers, i.e. people born after 1996. Wild. From a marketing standpoint, you’re going to want to pay close attention to this next bit. Gen Z is over 70 million people in the US. Globally, Gen Z is already the largest generation, surpassing Millennials and Baby Boomers.

Are you talking to them? If not, depending on your niche, you need to at least start thinking about it.

Take a second.

Good?

Now that you realize you need to update and modernize your strategy in order to speak and connect with this massive cohort, the next task is getting it going.

How?

TikTok!

Sure, there’s some controversial stuff surrounding it and it’s largely centered on data collecting and mining. Yes, it’s very important to understand that, what it means, where it goes, etc. and yes all social media companies traffic in the same data collecting but that aside for the time being, TikTok is hugely popular and is a great way to connect with your audience. Capitalize on while you can.

If you’re still unsure of how it can fit into your digital marketing strategy, hit us up at The Snow Agency and we’ll take you deeper into and get you going.

What Is A Digital Marketing Strategy?

digital marketing strategy

You’ve developed a kickass product or service offering. Packaging and delivery are wrapped up with a nice bow. Now you just wait for the sales to pour in.

Right?

That’s how it goes, no?

Well, not really.

If a tree falls in the forest nobody hears it, does it make a sound? How are people going to find out about your groundbreaking products or services if you don’t tell them?

That’s where an effective and well thought out digital marketing strategy comes into play, which is defined by HubSpot as, “a plan that helps your business achieve specific digital goals through carefully selected online marketing channels such as paid, earned, and owned media.”

Marketing strategy is part of what gets you to your goals and skimping on it is a misstep. Worse yet, is taking a throw everything at the wall and seeing what sticks approach. Developing a real, actionable strategy gets you where you want to be quicker.

Digital Marketing Strategy Explained

Marketing without planning or strategy is like a road trip without a map. Will you be moving? Sure. Will you get where you’re trying to go? Maybe? If you’re very lucky. But in most cases, probably not.

Digital marketing strategy starts with research. It’s data driven. A strategy is built out of knowledge and know-how, not guesswork. This is where you develop your targets, customer personas and the general who of it all. As in, who your audience is for your marketing.

Knowing who you’re targeting also helps you hone your unique selling proposition. It’s impossible to get your messaging right if you don’t know who’s going to be receiving. Think about it, what are you going to say to those that find you online if you don’t know them? How do you know it’ll be effective?

Luckily, the digital space is so, so incredibly measurable. Answers to that question and many others about your customer’s online behavior are easy to come by in the days of Google Analytics and other sophisticated software.

After you’ve created those personas, it’s time to create actual goals. The simplest way to do this is by making the goals, S.M.A.R.T. goals. Meaning:

Specific
Measurable
Attainable
Relevant
Timely

By creating goals in this way, particularly with an eye towards measurability, you’ll be able to set key performance indicators aka KPIs for your strategy.

Whether this is the first time you’re putting together a strategy or if it’s old hat for you, taking stock of a campaign or strategy’s effectiveness is imperative. In the face of changing customer tastes and behaviors, with data not aligning exactly with your expectations, you must be ready to shift with anything and everything. Nothing stays static because static gets old fast.

In other words, auditing should always play a part in your strategy formulation because auditing leads to understanding which eventually turns into optimization.

Of course, part of the process is landing on a budget and that’s its own separate ballgame. An important consideration nonetheless though.

At this point, you might be wondering where to put your marketing. That’s something that gets answered along the way. As you understand your audience more and what their online habits are, you can pinpoint methods of delivery and marketing tools that would work best. Will it be SEO, email marketing, content marketing, traditional media, social media, etc.? It’s different for each company and there’s no blanket solution, determining the media mix relates directly to everything that precedes it is the process of creating a digital marketing strategy.

Who Needs Digital Marketing? 

Everyone!

Unfortunately, not all companies are and around 45% are doing digital marketing with no defined strategy.

Strategy can get you where you want to be faster. If it’s something you’ve struggled with or haven’t even thought about, give us a buzz at The Snow Agency and let’s go over what you’re doing, together. Let us help you create a plan that steps you up to the next level.

How Google Became a Verb

google history

Just Google it.

How many times have you heard that when asking someone a question? How many times have you said to a friend or colleague asking you a question? Just Google it. We know we say it quite often at The Snow Agency

It’s ubiquitous in our day to day conversations. No one, literally no one, is out there going, “search for it online”. Think about it, you’d be looked at as a weirdo if you said anything other than “Google it” at this point. Can you imagine telling someone you love to Bing it? Or Yahoo it? What do those even mean? They’re painful to look at and to utter the words out loud conjures a bad taste.

From Noun to Verb

Google is one of the very few companies that were able to leap from noun to verb. It’s an impressive feat that speaks to the ever-presence and utility of what they do and how well they do it.

They’re not the only ones to make it to that rarified air, some other companies that have gone supernova and leaped the chasm into verb-hood, think; Kleenex, Band-aid, Velcro, Uber, Rollerblade, Sheetrock. The list goes on but it’s not a particularly long one. 

When a company becomes a verb and enters the lexicon in that way, they’ve gone beyond just making it. It’s a show of their unrivaled dominance in a field. That’s largely the “how” of it. Sure, there are other ways you can find things online. The aforementioned Bing and Yahoo are two of them, Baidu, the Chinese search giant is another.

While those companies do the same thing for the most part, when you combine them with the rest of the players in online search, they don’t even control 8% of the global search engine market. Google controls just north of 92% of search. That’s near-total control. Domination. That’s why they’re a verb.

But it’s not an accident. It wasn’t some stroke of luck. The “how” isn’t a fluke. It’s about having a superior product as well, but what makes Google so much better?

Why Google Is Superior 

For starters, it’s no-frills. If you can even remember what another search engine looked like at this point, you might recall lots of clutter. News and current events all over the place. Stock information. Google never strayed from its sole reason for existence. The simple, all-white webpage with a search bar and a couple of buttons. If you were going to Google, you were going to search. There is quite literally nothing else on the page.

Go look at Yahoo. It’s a claustrophobic nightmare. Now check out Google. Same as it ever was. They never offered anything else because, initially, they only wanted to be the best at search. Now, of course, they do lots of things but Google.com has stayed the same. Kind of.

The one thing that has changed is how good they are at search, that is in constant evolution. Another reason they became the best and then became a verb. They didn’t worry about curating a newsfeed or the rest of their site, they worried obsessively about one thing; their algorithm and making sure it was delivering increasingly more relevant results to whatever it was that you were looking for and doing so quickly.

That’s another important thing, we may take it for granted now but speed was huge, Google to this day still tells you how quickly it completes your search in addition to how many results it was able to find.

 

Grow Your Business With the Snow Agency 

Now not every company is going to reach verb status. In fact, to put it bluntly, the vast majority won’t. But that doesn’t mean the ingredients for getting there aren’t relevant to your business. The passion for excellence and the overarching drive to improve coupled with the obsessive attention to the details that make that possible are lessons everyone can take from Google.

That passion is what drives us at The Snow Agency to do the best work we can to get you the best results possible, quicker than the rest. Get in touch with and learn more about what drives us and how it can help you.