Over the past decade, we have seen popular social networking sites go from experimental to absolutely necessary in the world of digital marketing. Offering unique ways to target users and improve brand awareness, these platforms have opened the doors to a new kind of marketing that connects with people on a personal level, which can be incredibly powerful.
So what are the best social media platforms for eCommerce marketing specifically? If you operate an online store, you know how tough it is to attract customers.
Your marketing tactics have to be polished, smart, and above all else, human.
Not every social media site is even suitable for these purposes, for one reason or another. Either their advertising features aren’t comprehensive enough, or the platforms themselves are better suited for services rather than products.
There are a number of reasons why one platform is superior to another for eCommerce marketing, and finding out which ones actually work can be a time-consuming and costly process.
That is why we have put together this guide that cuts through all of the fluff and lays out exactly which of the top social media platforms is right for your eCommerce business. If you want to successfully market your products to a wider audience and start fully leveraging the power of social media, the information below will help.
The Best Social Media Platforms For eCommerce Marketing
While the number of popular social media sites differs from year to year, there have been roughly a dozen key players in this space for the better part of the last decade, all of which offer a unique cache of benefits and drawbacks for eCommerce marketing.
The trouble with getting into social media marketing on your own is that it can be difficult to know which platforms to choose. There’s no guidebook out there that says “this is an eCommerce social media platform.” You just have to kind of choose a few and hope they work out based on current trends and what you see other brands doing.
Clearly, this is not a reliable strategy. For one, you might spread yourself too thin by targeting too many platforms. If you are trying to advertise on half a dozen social media platforms, it’s likely that you aren’t allocating enough budget into any one place in order to push the desired results.
Marketing on each of these platforms effectively also requires different knowledge and skillsets. Running an ad campaign on Facebook is nothing like running an ad campaign on Reddit, for instance. Not only is the targeting options and UI different, but the actual demographics that use these platforms are dramatically different as well.
In other words, what works for one platform won’t necessarily work for another. This means that even if you have found a decent level of success running your own Facebook ads, you could be throwing money out of the window by trying to use the same tactics on a website like Twitter.
This brings us to another key issue. It’s extraordinarily easy to spend a ton of money on social media advertising and not see a cent in terms of a worthwhile return. These platforms have made it quite easy to attach a credit card, input a few options, and spend away in hopes of pushing traffic to your products. This is of course not how you want to run your digital marketing campaign.
Rather than trying to focus on every single social media platform out there, it’s much more profitable to focus only on those that have the best features and audiences for eCommerce. This will not only help you connect with your audience better, but will also generate better results in terms of traffic and sales over time.
The best social media platforms for eCommerce share some key similarities. For one, before becoming digital marketing platforms, they already had a strong user-generated eCommerce marketplace, based solely around organic engagement and core social media functionality.
Another theme that brings these 3 platforms together is that they are highly visual. This allows for easy display of products.
One other important element of these social media platforms is that, while they do support video, they aren’t designed around it. Video is great for advertising online but isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Video-based social media platforms such as Vine and TikTok have traditionally been used for memes and entertainment. Product advertisement on these platforms tends to come across as spammy and out of place.
While several similarities are present, the 3 platforms that are best suited for eCommerce product marketing also have their own unique traits that are worth looking at as well. We will highlight these below.
1. Facebook: The Gold Standard
You can’t talk about social media marketing without Facebook. Although its popularity has waned in recent years due to a number of factors, what can’t be argued is that it is still one of the most widely used websites on Earth, and still has a strong and active user base.
This is perhaps more so due to the fact that Facebook has integrated itself into our lives so deeply. For many, it’s just another facet of modern life.
What makes Facebook so incredibly powerful as a marketing tool is its unique targeting capabilities. This platform has been collecting a diverse array of data points on millions of people for going on twenty years now. Everything from where users went to college, to their hobbies and interests, frequented stores, and social circles are all there to be used to create an audience.
At this point, many marketers consider Facebook to have an even more robust assortment of targeting options than Google. This is a digital marketer’s dream, and if utilized correctly, can yield amazing results.
Facebook also benefits from widespread familiarity. Even those who don’t use the platform often know what it looks like and will trust a link if they see it, granted it is styled appropriately and looks organic enough.
This is another one of Facebook’s strengths, which is also something that the other platforms we are highlighting share as well. Unlike platforms such as YouTube and Reddit, where ads still very much look like ads, a sponsored post on Facebook doesn’t really detract from the experience. The ads populate right onto the user’s feed, and if designed correctly, will be a welcome sight even for someone who is not in the shopping mood.
One of the difficulties with running ads on Facebook is designing them well enough so that they capture this organic feel and don’t come across as spam on someone’s feed. Once you cross this threshold, a Facebook ad campaign can be incredibly effective.
Ad posts on Facebook have all of the same functionality as any other post. You can react to them with likes, comment under them, and even share them with your Facebook friends. A well-made ad can actually go viral on Facebook. This combination of organic sharing power and a carefully used advertising budget can extend the longevity and reach of a post, generating an incredible amount of traffic and sales.
Best reasons to use Facebook marketing:
- Great variety of attractive ad formats, including slideshows and videos.
- Familiar, massive user base, best audience targeting of all the social media sites.
- Ads can be used to improve brand awareness and user engagement.
- A sophisticated business manager that can assist in running full-scale marketing campaigns.
- Ad posts can wind up having a long lifespan that extends even after you are no longer boosting the post, depending on how many times the ad was shared and engaged with.
Even though there are newer and more popular social media platforms out there, Facebook is still the gold standard when it comes to social media advertising, and should be included in any serious eCommerce marketing strategy.
2. Instagram: Versatile and Trendy
Although newer social media sites such as Snapchat and TikTok have tried to steal Instagram’s thunder, this trendy visual platform still reigns as the most popular platform at the moment, especially among younger users.
Even before Instagram acquired several new features, including ones specific to eCommerce, Instagram served as a hub of organic eCommerce marketing online. Many brands and influencers used the platform to visually advertise clothing, jewelry, and other products, using stylized photos and videos. At this point, Instagram has become a dedicated shopping platform all its own, with an integrated cart and other features that allow shoppers to easily find the clothes and other products they are looking for from the brands and personalities they love.
While it may seem at first glance that only a select few niches could thrive on Instagram, this is far from the case. The platform is home to a diverse assortment of businesses in just about every key eCommerce industry. Due to the incredible size of the active user base, how streamlined and easy the platform is to use, and its high reputation, Instagram is an easy choice for effective eCommerce marketing.
Instagram was recently bought by Facebook and has since completely integrated with that platform. This means that Instagram shares targeting information with Facebook and also enjoys the full extent of the Facebook Business Manager as well. The advanced targeting options and cross-promotional capabilities make Instagram that much more valuable for your digital marketing efforts.
Best reasons to use Instagram marketing:
- Arguably the most popular social media platform at the moment.
- Continues to innovate and add features. IGTV, Reels, and Stories offer a bunch of unique ways to connect with users and generate hype for your products.
- Sponsored posts seamlessly appear on user timelines and have an organic feel to them.
- Shares all of Facebook’s robust targeting options.
- A well-liked, respected platform that is great for building a brand on.
- Integrated cart and other eCommerce functionality baked into the platform.
Even if you aren’t familiar with the platform or don’t think it’s the perfect fit for your business, Instagram is one of those “no brainer” marketing moves that can help you grow your brand and generate reliable revenue for your business.
3. Pinterest: Perfect For eCommerce
While Facebook and Instagram are considered two of the biggest platforms both in terms of popularity and users, there’s another social media platform that you may want to make the cornerstone of your marketing efforts.
Pinterest has been around forever and is loved for its simplicity. Used mostly as a place to collect thoughts and create mood boards, the platform has seen a growth in eCommerce activity in recent years for a number of reasons.
First of all, it is another highly visual platform that has long been associated with clothing and other eCommerce niches. Users visit Pinterest to search for decor ideas for their home, new seasonal clothes, home goods, accessories, and inspiration.
Just like Instagram, Pinterest has made strides to integrate certain eCommerce elements right into the core functionality of the platform. When viewing a photo, objects in the image can now be tagged with product links that will enable users to go right to the appropriate website to purchase the item. Other features include the ability to “try” an idea or product, which is basically like a glorified Amazon review, with pictures and commentary involving the product in question.
While Pinterest doesn’t enjoy the wealth of targeting information that Facebook and Instagram do, it makes up for it with a simplistic interface and a user base that is geared towards shopping. Before Facebook and Instagram were even dreaming of being eCommerce platforms, Pinterest already had an active shopping community. It is perhaps the most eCommerce-centric of all of the social media platforms, which makes it a must if you truly want to get more traffic and sales to your online store.
Best reasons to use Pinterest marketing:
- Social media built around product photography and shopping.
- User base that loves online shopping and is highly likely to make a purchase.
- Visual platform that makes it easy to display your products.
- Not as competitive as other platforms, highly cost-effective advertising.
- Pinterest benefits from SEO, which can help build your brand as well.
- Just added stories and support for videos, as well as eCommerce functionality such as product tagging.
Advertising on Pinterest may seem obscure, but this platform actually serves as one of the best places online to promote your products. For eCommerce businesses looking for simple and effective ways to get more traffic and advertise online, this is the ideal platform to utilize.
Synthesizing Your Social Media Strategy
When approaching your eCommerce marketing strategy, you don’t want to think of each individual platform separately. Just because you know the best social media platforms to use doesn’t mean that you will get the kind of results you want without forming a proper game plan.
This is why here at 1Digital®, we have a comprehensive approach to social media marketing for eCommerce that combines the benefits of each of these three platforms together into one coherent strategy.
While using Facebook or a different platform by itself can generate great results alone, we prefer to incorporate all three of these platforms together in order to leverage their best traits and reach the most shoppers without spreading management time or ad budgets too thin.
By focusing on a few select platforms that have proven eCommerce benefits, you can focus your energy where it matters most and generate more effective results. Whether you are simply trying to build your brand and gain a following, or if you intend on running ads in order to generate more sales, this approach to eCommerce marketing using the best social media platforms has a greater chance of creating steady growth, more eCommerce-centric engagement, and better results for your business overall.
Interested in taking your social media marketing to the next level with a synthesized strategy built specifically for your brand? Get in touch with our digital marketing team today by calling 888-982-8269.
- Matt Lovett
- April 9, 2021