Informed observers have been predicting that the internet would transform commerce since the 1990s, but 2020 was the year their prophecies finally came true. The pandemic pushed shoppers online in greater numbers than ever before and, quick to capitalise on this trend, the social media giants began positioning themselves to reinvent shopping. The result - 55% of people now claim to buy products via social channels, and 87% say content on social platforms helps them make purchasing decisions. The high street or shopping mall of the future will almost certainly be a platform on our phones.
Social commerce will therefore become an increasingly significant component in publisher revenue streams. They must act now to innovate and grab a slice of the pie, but that means doing more than simply embedding affiliate links and delivering branded content. Publishers must build huge, highly engaged communities, and they must be seen as relevant to audiences on every platform, be it Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, Snap, or Twitch.
The good news is that if publishers get their engagement strategy right, the revenue will certainly follow. According to recent research from content analytics specialist Parse.ly, consumers are becoming ever more loyal to their favourite publishers and content providers.
So, when it comes to social commerce, how to grow audiences quickly, and keep them loyal?
The answer is video content, and in particular user-generated video (UGV) content.
Inspire, delight, and connect
When it comes to content consumption, moments that inspire and delight consumers hold attention, and moments that foster connection is most likely to be shared. But publishers must ask themselves - how much content will consumers patiently read when they are on a mission to shop?
According to Verizon Media, two key trends are currently at play. Firstly, the importance of building a true connection between storytelling and commerce, and secondly the intersection between entertainment and shopping – the need for shoppable video experiences that meet audiences where they are and empower meaningful interactions.
Audience trends over the last few years have shown time and again that user-generated video is the content they most want to see. UCV provides publishers with the ability to collect and share the vast quantity of content needed to attract and retain audiences, whilst at the same time tapping into the need for connection, a sense of community, and a desire to be entertained and inspired.
It works! Newsflare customer In The Know has driven a 125% increase in sales value by combining storytelling, authenticity, and entertainment in commerce, to meet new audiences.
UGV builds social communities for publishers because it bridges the gap between them and their audience - increasing the sense of belonging and therefore loyalty.
Create relevance as well as awareness
If there is one thing we know for sure about social media audiences it is that they can be a fickle bunch. It can be hard to keep up with content consumption habits that change day-to-day and week-to-week, depending on what’s happening around audiences at any given time. It can also be hard to predict how they will respond to content at any given time.
The fast-paced nature of UGV, and the vast breadth, depth, and variety of video means that publishers can be far more flexible with content, and can respond quickly to changes in consumption habits.
UGV enables publishers to gather and share content quickly, and constantly pivot to create highly relevant and contextualised moments based on current audience needs and trends.
Meet audiences where they are
Social platform audience demographics vary greatly, as do their expectations. Facebook is favoured by women for example, whilst Snapchat reigns supreme amongst teens. TikTok users greatly value creativity, whilst Instagram users want to be inspired. Rather than pick one platform over the other, publishers must adapt content to platform and audience requirements – not an easy task, but one that pays off quickly if done right.
The vast quantity and variety of UGV coupled with the constant availability of new videos offer the opportunity for publishers to get creative, experiment with different formats, and work out what resonates best with audiences on each platform.
It’s pretty safe to say that the events of the last 12 months will have a lasting impact on consumer relationships with social media, and how they shop online. TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, Snap, and Twitch are reinventing shopping and evolving into digital high streets.
So what should publishers looking to set up shop on the social high street do?
Come and speak to Newsflare. We have over 250,000 clips on our platform and an army of content creators delivering over 5,000 new videos every month, which can quickly be tracked and filtered to expose unexpected, disruptive, unique, and relevant content to keep social media channels highly engaging and competitive for publishers.
Get in touch with a member of our team to find out how we can help you build a strong social media strategy