Social Media Ecommerce: How to Leverage Instagram for Growth

Olivia Fitzpatrick
June 29, 2021
Last Updated On
November 15, 2021

Social media was once solely considered to be a source of brand awareness. However, in recent years, it has evolved into an all-encompassing sales platform, including product discovery, interest generation, and sales conversions. It is all happening in customers’ social media feeds, with a few taps on their screens. 

Finding ecommerce success with digital marketing is one of the greatest differentiators for brands, and it has become a proven method of supercharging sales. Through the lens of the beauty industry, particularly in the UK retail landscape, ecommerce has never been more vital to sustaining growth.

The UK beauty industry faced significant declines in 2020 due to the global pandemic. There was a 43% decline in socialising, creating a perfect storm where beauty products were no longer seen as being as important as before. UK online retailers instead saw consumers investing disposable income into loungewear and activewear, as they adjusted to life at home.

The beauty industry, however, was resilient. While cosmetic sales may have plummeted, brands quickly noticed an upward trend in the skincare category and shifted focus into that vertical instead. There was also an increased demand for men’s skincare, and with the emergence of new brands and targeted advertising, the category eventually saw +300% growth in 2020 despite the initial sales slump. Capitalising on key trends, focusing on online channels, and increasing digital investments is helping the UK beauty industry to drive traffic and find success in social commerce.

Driving Ecommerce Growth With Social Media

The UK has the third-highest consumer spending of cosmetics products in Europe, only behind France and Germany. The average British consumer spends approximately £400 a year on beauty products, and this market is only predicted to grow.

GlobalData estimated that in 2020, 37.2% of UK consumers purchased health and beauty products via online channels last year. This is currently the fastest-growing channel for UK health and beauty purchases. While European consumers have always been accustomed to purchasing health and beauty products through online channels, the pandemic has created a tremendous digital boom in ecommerce growth for beauty products.

Ecommerce and social media accounts go hand-in-hand in the beauty world. It is reported that 72% of social media users use Instagram for research and discovery when considering a purchase. With this in mind, it’s crucial for a brand’s social presence to be top-notch in order to capitalize on ecommerce Instagram growth. Many beauty brands, in particular, are turning to artificial intelligence and content segmentation practices to drive online sales.

Optimizing Organic and Paid Social Campaigns to Perfection

A prominent personal care brand used AI-technology when launching a campaign around a beard balm. Its marketing strategy aimed to celebrate diversity and define confidence. On the photoshoot set, images were uploaded to visual ecommerce marketing software, Dash Hudson, in real-time.

With Dash Hudson’s predictive visual performance technology, the team could quickly see which photos would work on Instagram and pivot their content strategy accordingly, saving them both time and money. Using the Vision technology, the campaign saw a +60% increase in engagement on Instagram and a +109% increase in followers, making it a huge success for the brand.

Understand the Metrics Behind Social Ecommerce Channels

Innovative skincare brand, The INKEY List, also understands the importance of putting your best content foot forward. In response to the meteoric rise in global social media usage throughout 2020 and beyond, the INKEY team identified a need for more easily digestible content.

Using Dash Hudson’s Content Segmentation Boards and social media reporting tool the team can group posts from each campaign or content pillar into categories to see topline metrics and understand what content is working for their social channels. Since putting a focus on content, social media insights, and using Dash Hudson as an Instagram ecommerce solution, the brand has seen +598% growth on the channel.

Social media is a beauty brand’s best friend when it comes to driving ecommerce Instagram sales. To gain further industry insights on how beauty brands in the UK are using Instagram and social media reporting tools to fuel ecommerce growth download The British Beauty Guide to Social Media ROI here.

Social Media Ecommerce FAQs

Which social media is best for ecommerce?

It is possible to have an ecommerce presence on any social media platform, although each channel has its own unique set of best practices for reaching potential customers and using strategic content marketing to drive sales.

How does social media promote ecommerce?

Many social media channels have integrated ecommerce into the customer experience, such as Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. The best way for social media marketers to maximize potential reach for their target audiences is by utilizing multiple ecommerce methods at once, such as using link-in-bio solutions and shopping tags wherever possible.

How do you make Instagram shoppable?

There are several ways to create an Instagram shopping experience that is integrated with your ecommerce platform.

The first is a link-in-bio solution, such as LikeShop, that allows you to drive traffic from your social media channels to your website. This solution allows you to get granular in tracking the customer journey from social platforms, to product pages, to sales results.

The second is using product tags on your Instagram or Facebook Shop. If your brand is eligible, you are able to start using product tags by:

  1. Converting to a Business or Creator Account
  2. Connecting your Instagram account to a Facebook account
  3. Upload a product catalog through Catalog Manager or a certified ecommerce partner, such as Shopify or BigCommerce
  4. Wait for Instagram and Facebook to review your account
  5. Once approved, turn on the functionality and start tagging

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