With 2.8 billion active monthly users, Facebook is a behemoth social platform that continues to dominate 17 years after its founding by Mark Zuckerberg. The Menlo Park, California-based platform is the world’s third most-visited website after Google and YouTube. And it’s where 57% of Americans visit to share content.
A New, Fun Way To Sell
With the surge of ecommerce during Covid, it’s essential for direct-to-consumer (D2C) businesses to reach audiences through a new feature called Live Shopping. It’s a new way to sell products online that paid-media expert Ethan Kramer says can be lucrative for entertaining streamers who can attract and engage the social crowd.
What distinguishes Facebook Live Shopping is that it’s actually not about selling all the time. Salespeople at the mall can get annoying very quickly because they’re taught by managers the supposed no. 1 rule of sales: ABC or always be closing.
But on Facebook, streamers are socializing, interacting, entertaining and hanging out on the platform with followers, family and friends. And they can perform personalized product demonstrations for consumers who are researching goods and services. Thus, these broadcasts also build a community around the streamer, which grows his/her social following.
Facebook’s algorithm is designed to reward certain actions that give Mark Zuckerberg’s platform a competitive edge. These actions include video views, commenting and sharing (engagement).
Product Demonstrations And Real-Time Interactions
So how effective is social shopping? It’s still early but it can be a game-changer for boutique businesses who are trying to go from zero to hero overnight.
Kramer is founder of Ethan Kramer Creative, a New York-based marketing agency. He says it’s not uncommon for brands to get 10x-20x return on ad spend (ROAS).
How does it work?
Facebook Live Shopping lets brands, entrepreneurs and marketers broadcast a live video, discuss products and services, and sell during the stream. However, the video presenters don’t necessarily behave like traditional salespeople. The social stream has more “personality” so to speak since work-from-home (WFH) broadcasters may delve into personal topics that keep viewers engaged.
Kramer says that Facebook Live Shopping is more like a combination of QVC, ecommerce and reality TV where viewers form a personal connection with live presenters. And it’s common for broadcasters to talk about their personal lives, marriage, kids and business ventures.
“Social shopping is way different,” says Kramer who routinely sees wild success working with boutique clients. “Compared to traditional channels, these new approaches are much more engaging and fun. Because audiences can interact with streamers, make friends, get product info, or just hang out.”
A Competitive Edge
Streaming isn’t new. YouTube has been around for nearly two decades. While Twitch, the gaming platform, has grown to 15 million users and was acquired in 2014 by Amazon.
But combining the best elements of streaming, especially the real-time interactions with an online community, gives social selling a disruptive competitive advantage. Aside from the personal engagement mentioned above, marketers can provide helpful demonstrations, tips and strategies. Videos can be saved and replayed.
Moreover, sellers can immediately reach an existing audience of current friends and followers. They can also tag products and services. This makes the content discoverable by shoppers who are researching relevant merchandise.