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As consumers continue to engage more and more with social platforms, they have changed the way they shop, which means a big shift in how brands reach their audiences. eMarketer forecasts that social commerce — or selling products directly on social media — will continue growing over the next four years, with U.S. sales doubling to reach $79.64 billion by 2025. Social commerce, or shoppertainment, allows the entire buying process, from discovery to purchase, to take place within the social media platform. And business is booming.

A person taps a phone screen; an ecommerce icon is to the left.

Globally, social commerce reached an estimated $89.4 billion in 2020 and is projected to hit $604.5 billion by 2027, according to a report by ResearchAndMarkets.com.

That’s particularly notable for brands trying to reach a younger audience; while only about one-third of people over the age of 55 will make a purchase on social platforms this year, nearly half of consumers in the 18-to-34 market will buy via social, eMarketer reported. And TikTok recently raised the stakes in social commerce by partnering with Shopify to offer product links to Shopify merchants, allowing them to tag products in organic TikTok posts and users to buy the product with a couple of clicks.

Of course, it’s not as simple as just tossing your product out on your social media and waiting for the sales to roll in. Reaching customers on social media means finding ways to engage and entertain them. This new approach — shoppertainment — can make fans of your brand while also boosting sales. And there are few better ways to reach your customers on social media than influencer marketing.

Here are 7 tips for leveraging shoppertainment in your 2022 plan

Consider your audience.

Social commerce can be huge for your brand, but only if you have the right product and go after the right market. While baby boomers will make the occasional purchase on social, your ROI will be lower with those demographics. So, if you’re not going after Gen Z and millennials, you might be spinning your wheels.

Choose the right platform.

Meeting your audience where they live is critical. Research from Facebook shows that 81 percent of shoppers use Facebook and Instagram to research products they’re interested in buying, while nearly half of Pinterest users are looking to buy. A recent survey found 49 percent of people have purchased an item or service they saw on TikTok. Knowing where your audience is and what they’re looking for helps you create the right strategy.

Use an influencer to amplify your message.

Influencers — even micro-influencers with a smaller following — are an effective way to spread the word about your products. Influencers can promote your product in a credible, non-salesy way and it’s great for building brand awareness. Partnering with an influencer who reaches your audience can give you the boost you need to take advantage of social commerce.

Keep them engaged.

It’s called “social” for a reason. Your content should be authentic, appealing, and interactive. Make it lively and tailored to your audience; you need to capture their attention as they scroll. And, if you don’t have humans answering questions, use a chatbot to keep them from losing interest.

Get specific.

If you’re using the data from your social media traffic, you have a good idea of who your market is and what they like. Use that information to offer specific products; instead of inviting them to check out your line of T-shirts, focus on a certain one. See what works, what sells best, and what type of offers seem to get the most traction.

Make sure the price is right.

A good deal is a great way to catch the attention of shoppers on social. Offer special pricing — perhaps for a limited time — to drive sales. A great deal also increases the chances of users tagging friends and family who might be interested in the products as well, which is a powerful way to help spread the word.

Ask for reviews.

Don’t be afraid to ask purchasers to spread the word about how much they love your product. That can pay off more than you might expect; one recent study found that 36 percent of social users trust reviews from everyday users more than any other endorsement.

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