Social Commerce 101: What Marketers Need to Know

/ Thoughtspace - Blogs, Channels and Tactics, Paid Social

During your leisurely afternoon scroll through social media, you may have come across a post with a shopping feature prompting you to purchase a product within the app. This is social commerce at play – the ability to buy and sell a good or service within a social media platform. 

Why Is Social Commerce Important?

The pandemic permanently changed consumer shopping behaviors. 62% of US consumers are shopping more online now and 48% of US social media users have bought something on a social platform. 

Brands, now more than ever, should explore social commerce to meet the consumers where they are. Let’s explore ways you can leverage social commerce by platform to meet campaign objectives and business goals.

Meta: Facebook and Instagram

Meta makes it easy for brands and consumers to engage in social commerce. In Facebook Business Manager, a business can upload and manage their inventory and even provide customer support via Commerce Manager. To get started, create a Commerce Manager account where you’ll be prompted to link your business account, set shipping options, create a return policy, and assign a bank account for payouts. You can upload as much inventory as you desire to the Facebook catalog because there is no limit on product uploads.

Facebook also introduced in-app shopping features in 2021 including: Shops in Groups and Product Recommendations in Group

Likewise, Instagram added Shopping from Creators which allows users to purchase products that influencers tag in their posts. Users can also research and purchase products on the Shop Tab which is located on the Search and Explore Page in the Instagram app. Instagram is really driving the user experience and optimizing the algorithm to become the go-to hub for product discovery. 


Twitter recently introduced a new shopping feature, Twitter Shops, that allows brands to create an inventory list of up to 50 products that can be displayed on their profile. Users can then peruse the brand’s products and click a “View Shop” button that will direct them to the brands website to complete the transaction. 

It is important to note that the transactions do not directly take place in the Twitter platform. This means users will be driven to your external site and your brand does not need to develop a new transaction process for payouts.


Pinterest was one of the trailblazers for social commerce, introducing shoppable pins in 2019. Within the platform, there are a plethora of ways a consumer can engage with a brand and purchase products. This includes the Shopping List feature, which automatically saves all of the product pins a user has pinned in one location so they can easily come back and shop. It also notifies a user when a product price has decreased to entice them to purchase. 

Additionally, Pinterest has an AR shopping experience that allows users to virtually try out products, such as placing furniture in their home, before purchasing. Check out this article for more Pinterest advertising tips


Snapchat may not be the first platform that comes to mind when thinking about social commerce, but it is helping brands drive efficient sales. Through Snapchat’s AR lens product, Try On, brands’ product catalogs are pulled into the platform to allow for user interaction. 

Major makeup retailer, Ulta, has seen significant success using the AR lens feature. They generated $6 million in sales by allowing users to virtually try on makeup in the app.


TikTok is also beginning to enter the social commerce space. Brands can promote their products in the app by adding a Shopping Tab to their profiles. This allows users to look at products and prices, and then redirects the user to the website once ready for checkout. Two prominent brands successfully utilizing the Shopping Tab are Kylie Cosmetics and Sephora

If you’re unsure how to adapt your marketing to fit on TikTok, follow these Do’s and Don’ts of TikTok Advertising

Which Social Commerce Platforms Should You Use?

When planning a social commerce strategy, first define who your target audience is and identify which social platform(s) can help you reach them efficiently. Also consider the different social commerce offerings and capabilities each platform provides and how they can best meet your brand needs. Use this information to choose the platform(s) that can most effectively promote your brand’s products and create a positive user shopping experience.

Social commerce is a great way to align with shifting consumer shopping behaviors and meet the next generation of shoppers where they are active online. The volume of new shopping tools we’ve seen roll out in the first half of 2022 alone indicate this is only the beginning. Now is the time to get familiar with and start testing different social commerce applications to find what sparks the greatest results for your brand. 

For more on social commerce and other emerging topics, view our top 5 Social Media Trends for 2022

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