Any great marketer will tell you that the trick to generating more online traffic and converting more customers is having a simple process. The fewer obstacles you put in consumers’ way, the more sales you’re going to get.

Social media has become a powerhouse for brand awareness and traffic generation. More recently, it has emerged as a vital tool in modern day life with the world scrolling social media for news, conversation and, of course, cat videos. It makes sense then that people will want to do their shopping there too (while laughing at cat videos).

Shoppable social channels

Social media marketing has mostly focused on creating editorial and video content to capture the attention of an audience and direct them to an external sales page. The idea was to leverage the interest in the content to maximise sales. While this remains a successful model with great returns, it could be better.

Recent social media innovations now allow that content to be ‘shoppable’ in order to cut out superfluous steps in the sales process. We can now go from consuming content to buying products at the click of a button. This evolution of content marketing, the shortening of the distance between consuming content and making a purchase, reduces drop off and allows us to convert more customers than ever before. In short, it’s extremely efficient.

Why link your social media to your online store?

Aside from the great insight you get from the inherent data provided by social networks, social commerce is a growing industry. According to Statista, global social commerce grew from US$5b in 2011 to US$30b in 2015. That is phenomenal growth!

Jan-Pieter Lips, President of International Coalitions at Aimia, believes that social commerce offers an opportunity for retailers to shorten the path to purchase for customers and that brands that do not prioritise social channels risk missing out. Or, in terms of great Aussie directness: you’d be bonkers not to have shoppable posts.

The best channels to make shoppable

A 2016 survey by Marketing Week found that 19% of Facebook users, 10% of Twitter users and 9% of Instagram users would like the ability to purchase items directly from their social feeds. Research by Forrester suggests 74% of consumers will use social media to influence their purchase decisions, so the potential for driving business growth via shoppable social posts is monumental.

The revolutionary buy buttons

Social commerce innovators like Yotpo, Shopify and Beetailer have proven you can build sales through these platforms and now many are following suit and creating their own native applications.

Pinterest’s native buyable pins are distinguishable by blue price tags and they already work with Shopify, Magento and BigCommerce.

Shopify has also partnered with Twitter to display products directly on your brand’s timeline and create a ‘Buy Now’ call to action button that displays by adding a simple link in posts.

People spend more time on Facebook than any other site, so having a store with all the familiarity of Facebook’s interface can be a real bonus and you can pick from Facebook Shop and Beetailer to get your store on the world’s biggest network.

Get ahead of the curve

Eventually all brands will embrace social commerce and translate their social media into real revenue. It can be tempting to let someone else take the risk of seeing if it works, but with social commerce it’s best to get ahead of the curve, as early adopters will be the more nimble competitors. And the thing is, it’s easy! Well, nothing in marketing is easy – but if you’ve already got a great strategy, the adaption is straightforward.

Brands intent on growing their social presence post great content, and so making that content shoppable is the next logical step. You should already be creating interesting, engaging content that seeks to earn your place in the thoughts of your customers. You don’t need to change your winning content – you just need to make it easier for your customers to buy from you.