Is Your Social Commerce Working Hard Enough For You?

An Instagram profile is surrounded by a message bubble; thumbs up, heart, and smiley emojis; a chart; and shopping bags.
Posted in
SMS Marketing
Published on
Apr 12, 2022
Written by
Elodie Huston
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You’ve already built an engaged social media audience. Tap into it to grow your SMS marketing list, too.  

Social media has come a long way from the days of ranking our top 8 friends or adding a song to our MySpace profiles. Now we use social media for so much more, from connecting with our community to discovering new products. 82% of consumers say they’ve discovered a product on social media and purchased it directly on their phone. 

Social commerce—including your owned channels and your influencer program—has probably become a major source of traffic for your brand, but diversification is key to long-term success. So how do you build on that success by getting your engaged social media audience to convert on your other owned channels? 

We’re breaking down a few simple strategies you can implement today to convert your social media audience into engaged SMS subscribers

What is social commerce? 

Social commerce is a type of online shopping in which consumers discover and purchase items through social media. When you tap a tagged product or ad on Instagram and buy it directly within the app, that’s social commerce. It can also look like discovering a brand or product on TikTok and clicking through to the brand’s website to shop. And, thanks to a new integration with Shopify, TikTok users can tune into shoppable livestreams. 

Social commerce naturally lends itself to product discovery and research. Consumers can discover products through their “For You” page, an influencer they trust, or your brand’s profile. And when they’re researching a purchase, they can use social media to learn more about a product, get inspired with ways to use it, ask questions, and share potential purchases with friends. 

What are the benefits of pairing social commerce and SMS marketing? 

Social media is inherently interactive and entertaining, making it a powerful channel to reach new (and existing) shoppers and drive conversions. Consumers turn to it to: 

  • Engage with brands and ask questions 
  • Research new products by reading comments, looking at tagged photos, and more 
  • Get friends’ opinions on potential purchases 

In short, social commerce helps brands increase awareness and speed up the shopping journey. Case in point: 83% of consumers say seeing trending content on TikTok has inspired them to make a purchase.  

Reaching a large, engaged audience on social media can help you grow your other owned channels (like SMS) and diversify where your consumers can engage with you. Text messaging delivers the same level of interactivity your customers expect from social media. Your shoppers’ social media feeds are personalized to their interests. Because it’s a 1:1, personalized channel, SMS marketing serves as a natural extension of social media. Plus, two-way conversations help consumers further curate their shopping experience.

Converting your social media audience into SMS subscribers helps you nurture shoppers through 1:1, personalized interactions, ultimately driving repeat purchases.

And once you’ve connected the dots between your programs, your traffic doesn’t have to go one way. Instead, you can use your SMS program to drive traffic to your live shopping events on TikTok and Instagram, or let them know about an influencer takeover that’s happening for the day. 

Growing your SMS subscriber list with organic posts 

Sharing organic posts on Instagram and TikTok (ranging from quick videos to engaging Stories) promoting your text channel is an easy way to start converting your engaged social followers into SMS subscribers

Driving SMS sign-ups with entertaining TikTok content 

TikTok is famous for its algorithm, delivering hyper-relevant short-form videos to users. As a result, users expect authenticity, personalization, and entertainment from TikTok creators. 

When promoting your text channel on TikTok, think about how your SMS program can serve as an extension of the personalized entertainment users are already engaging with in their feed. 

If your brand has a playful TikTok presence, you can tease a conversational, gamified experience like a product finder quiz or a scavenger hunt done via text. Add a link to your bio that directs followers to a dedicated SMS sign-up landing page so they can easily opt in for text messages from your brand. For best results, create a customized welcome Journey for new subscribers who signed up through the landing page to immediately deliver the experience. 

If your presence on TikTok is focused on sharing helpful content, promote the benefits your audience can expect from your text program (from limited-time offers to exclusive content). Further incentivize users with a “secret” piece of content (like a how-to guide or a digital download). 

SMS Pro Tip: It’s easy to get distracted when you’re scrolling through social media. Add a nudge to your welcome flow to encourage new subscribers who haven’t made a purchase within 24 hours to check out your best-selling items, or remind them about their coupon code if you sent one. 

Turning Instagram followers into text messaging subscribers

While TikTok users prefer off-the-cuff content, Instagram users generally expect more polished posts. 

Use Instagram Stories to promote upcoming product launches, using multiple slides to tease the items and build excitement. Then, invite followers to sign up for texts to be the first to know when the products drop. You can link directly to an SMS sign-up landing page within the story, and add a link to your bio so followers can sign up after your Stories expire.  

Crocs' SMS sign-up landing page, giving subscribers first access to new collaboration drops

Or, use your Stories to tease upcoming sales. Invite your followers to sign up for texts to be the first to know when the sales start. Because your social media followers are already engaged with your brand, consider offering them an extra perk—like free shipping or an additional dollar amount off—if they sign-up for texts. 

schoolhouse instagram story signup

No matter where you’re promoting your SMS channel, create personalized sign-up Journeys to welcome your social media followers to your program. Think about your own experience. Your social media feeds are personalized to your interests and community. Encountering an impersonal experience after leaving a hyper-personalized one will feel jarring. Set up a separate landing page for each of your social channels so you can track where a subscriber is coming from. Then simply acknowledge where your subscribers signed up (whether it be TikTok, Instagram, or an influencer's post) to make them feel recognized.  

Reaching—and nurturing—new audiences with influencers

Influencer marketing helps you reach your target customer by tapping into established figures’ existing audiences. 70% of consumers follow more than 10 influencers, and the majority say they follow at least one. Consumers aren’t just drawn to influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers—46% say they’re drawn to “everyday people.” 

There’s a level of trust baked into influencer marketing that lends itself to growing your SMS marketing subscriber list. Consumers look to their favorite influencers for engaging content and recommendations. And because you’re working with someone your audience already trusts, they’ll be more interested in learning about the benefits of your SMS program.

Keep in mind that many consumers expect a perk or incentive when trying products their favorite influencers share. Offering special perks to subscribers who sign up for your text program through an influencer is one great way to grow your list.

You should also think about another core value users get from engaging with influencers: being a part of a community. Consider how you can promote your text channel not only through offers, but by building on the community your influencers have already established. 

splendid influencer example for SMS early access

Customize SMS sign-up landing pages for each of your influencers to link to in their Stories or bios. After a new subscriber has signed up, share the incentive in your welcome message. Then send a second conversational message to get to know your new subscribers (and help them get to know you, too). 

You can ask them what they want to learn about, what product category they’re interested in, or what problems they’re trying to solve with your products. Once you have that information, you can share content or product recommendations based on their preferences. You can also invite them to learn more about your brand, from your mission to your most popular items. 

Consider using giveaways as an incentive to drive SMS sign-ups, too. Your influencers can invite their audience to sign up for your brand’s texts to be entered into a contest. You can alert the winners with a playful text, and send subscribers who weren’t selected a special offer or perk (like free shipping) to redeem with their next purchase. 

You can also use your influencer strategies on your text channel to drive engagement. Run an “influencer takeover” via SMS. You can send a series of texts written in their voice, share special perks, and maybe even highlight an upcoming collaboration. 

Social media is a powerful tool for building awareness. Turning your followers into SMS subscribers will help you avoid algorithms and directly engage shoppers who are ready to convert with timely and relevant content–personalized to them. 

Looking for more list growth inspiration? Check out our SMS gallery, Texts We Love, for more creative sign-up examples.

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