Social Commerce: Reaching Niche Audiences with Micro-Video
If you’ve ever made a purchase via social media, congratulations, you’ve joined the 96 million people who also participated in social commerce over the past year. And while social shopping isn’t particularly new, the amount of growth predicted over the coming years shows that it is far from reaching its peak. In fact, Statista forecasts that the amount of sales via social media will reach nearly $3 trillion by 2026.
Of course, the growth in social commerce won’t happen in a silo. Generating brand awareness, influencing purchase decisions, and building trust requires an omnichannel approach. The increased fragmentation across digital channels means there’s a good chance that customers will see your brand on other channels before heading to your social channels for further exploration.
Niche audiences especially won’t always respond to broad traditional marketing tactics, due to having more peculiar interests. The key here is to quickly grab their attention, like through short form or micro-video, and then turn that interest into engagement.
Imagine browsing social media and getting a suggestion for an Instagram Reel, Facebook Reel, or TikTok video. If you went on to further engage with the original creator, then you already know how effective this approach can be. And most likely, the more the suggested content appealed to a niche interest of yours, the better it was at capturing your attention and engaging you.
This scenario plays out across channels, social networks, and the web at large non-stop—24/7. So whether you’re new to social commerce or already have an established presence on several platforms, understanding how to leverage it and incorporate it into your overall e-commerce strategy will pay dividends for years to come.
Social Commerce Audiences
The good news is that you don’t have to go to the depths of the web to find these niche audiences. It’s more a matter of tapping into already existing audiences and appealing to the members with niche interests within them. Take a look at some of the typical social commerce audiences, how to reach them, and where to find them.
|Audience||Landscape||Best Ways to Reach Them||Top Platforms|
|Broad||Brands and retailers||Establishing a social presence or running targeted ads||Facebook and Instagram|
|Influencer||Less broad than brands and retailers, but seeing astonishing growth||Partnering with influencers||TikTok|
|Niche||Audiences looking for specific content based on their interests, regardless of brand, retailer, or influencer||Crafting engaging content related to their search queries|
Social Commerce Videos
One thing these audiences have in common is that statistically speaking, 84% of each of these groups will be convinced to purchase after watching a related video. However, different types of videos are more effective with different audiences. Below are just a few of the key categories that can support social commerce, depending on which audience you’re trying to engage.
Live streaming allows you to engage with your audience in real time, fostering deeper customer/brand relationships. The spontaneity that can occur during live streams gives viewers a clear, unedited view of the brand which creates a sense of authenticity and trust—both of which are invaluable for social commerce.
Live videos generally appeal to broader audiences, especially when they feature an influencer. They tend to work well for creating a sense of urgency and exclusivity, making them ideal for announcements, giveaways, and events.
Long-form videos can appeal to every type of audience. The opportunity for robust storytelling makes them appealing for broader audiences, while the opportunity to take a deeper dive and showcase expertise makes them ideal for niche audiences. Keep in mind that in social commerce, purchase decisions are often influenced not just by the product but also by the people, passion, and values behind it. Longer behind-the-scenes videos are a great way to help brands effectively communicate them.
For niche audiences, who often have specific interests, how-to videos are particularly effective at visually demonstrating how your product can solve a problem or fulfill a need.
User-generated videos can be a strong asset for your social commerce efforts. The authenticity they bring provides strong social proof that people are buying, using, and loving your product.
Oftentimes, content like product reviews will dive deeper into many of the features, benefits, and use cases that might not be mentioned in official brand content. They offer diverse perspectives of your product and typically lead to high engagement as users may be more likely to interact with content from their peers. User-generated video will appeal to a wide range of audiences, whether broad or niche.
The explosion of short-form or micro-video content is evident by the strong growth of platforms like TikTok and features like Instagram Reels. As digital attention spans seemingly grow shorter and shorter, micro-video helps ensure that your message is concise and can capture attention quickly. They offer a great way to engage the 85% of Gen Z who turn to social for shopping, while also spanning generations since the content is so commonly and easily shared.
Many platforms now allow your customers to shop directly from the micro-video itself, making them great for flash promotions or teasers that allow users to pre-order. While micro-video appeals to all audiences, you’ll find much higher competition for consumer attention on broad audience platforms.
Social Commerce Technology
When it comes to leveraging video for social commerce, if you can’t compare performance across channels and platforms, you can’t know how to optimize your campaign and content. Social media platforms can give you an overview of data, but you’ll get deeper insights and richer analytics by integrating your online video player (OVP) with your marketing automation platform (MAP).
Combining content data and marketing data can give you a clear picture of what’s truly resonating with your most loyal audiences. Add to that the data social platforms offer and you can start to test which types of content resonate best on which platforms and with whom.
For example, not only does Brightcove integrate with Facebook and Instagram, it also integrates with Pinterest business accounts. And Pinterest is notably increasing its foothold as a social commerce powerhouse with their shift to video and recent partnership with Amazon.
So, by integrating your OVP and MAP with your social content, you’ll be able to clearly tell whether Pinterest or other platforms are performing best and make strategic marketing decisions based on that insight.
For example, you might find that some videos perform well with your customers but don’t seem to perform well on Facebook or Instagram. Perhaps those platforms are too congested for your specific target audience to see them. You can try them on Pinterest, where you might find your target audience has an easier time discovering them. The deep analytics will help you uncover these types of trends.
It’s worth noting that if you lack an established presence on Facebook and Instagram, Pinterest is a great first step into social commerce, since you don’t need a big presence to be effective. The strong performance it sees from micro-videos tailored to niche keywords makes it an ideal platform to build your social commerce foundation on.
Simply repurpose the content that you know your customers already love into micro-videos that connect your product to specific queries, monitor the analytics, and optimize your approach. In fact, with Brightcove’s Pinterest integration, you can publish video pins directly from the same interface you use to promote the rest of your digital video content.
Social Commerce: The Future Happening Now
Social commerce has become an undeniable part of a complete e-commerce strategy. And just like the rest of e-commerce, a successful strategy needs a diverse distribution plan that can reach and engage broad and niche audiences alike.
Once you understand your audiences and how to best reach them on their preferred social networks, you’ll want to ensure that you have a centralized solution that can manage all of your content. The ideal solution will allow you to integrate your OVP, MAP, and social business accounts into a single platform. Not only will this provide efficiency and consistency, it will offer the deep analytics and segmentation that can help guide your strategy moving forward.
You’ll also want to understand which platforms offer which features and stay on top of changes that can further enhance your overall performance, especially on growing platforms like Pinterest.
Wherever you’re at in your journey, one thing seems certain: social commerce will see strong growth YoY for the foreseeable future. There’s no better time to start or optimize your approach to engaging customers on the platforms that have become so inextricably interwoven into the way we shop and live our lives.