What is Social Commerce? Does It Matter In B2B?

Social commerce is a fairly new term, but its definition is growing more clear as time goes on and more companies apply it to their digital marketing efforts.

Simply put, social commerce is the use of social media to drive sales.

It can be accomplished in a number of ways, including creating product pages on social networks, running ads with social media links, or even just including carousels to products on your posts. No matter how it’s done, the goal is always the same:

To get people to buy what you’re selling directly through your social media channels.

So does social commerce matter in the B2B world? The answer is a resounding yes! In fact, social commerce is becoming increasingly important for B2B companies as buyers become more reliant on social media to influence their purchasing decisions.

Here are a few examples of how social commerce can be used in B2B.

B2B Social Commerce Example 1: Create Product Pages

If you sell products that can be purchased online, creating product pages on social networks like Facebook and Instagram can help increase sales. By making it easy for potential customers to find your products and learn more about them, you can encourage more people to buy what you’re selling.

Creating product pages on sites like Facebook are just one way you can keep the train moving and carry your sales momentum online forward. Check out a few more of our best eCommerce tips for 2022.

B2B Use Case IRL: BulkBookstore

b2b social commerce example - Bulk Bookstore's Facebook Shop

BulkBookstore.com is – you guessed it – an online retailer of bulk book orders to organizations like Duke University, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Hyatt Hotels. They keep a focus on serving the business community by not accepting orders from resellers, retailers, or individuals (unless you’re a teacher).

Their Facebook Shop is the third link across the navigation of their Facebook page. Their Facebook Shop functions almost exactly the same as the product listings on their website, featuring a product title, pricing, and description. To purchase an item, all their 10,300+ followers need to do is click the “view on website” button to be taken right to the product page on their website.

This is a high engagement platform for them to seriously boost the visibility of each new product on their site.

B2B Social Commerce Example 2: Run Ads With “Sign Up” Or “Buy” Buttons

Ads are a great way to promote your products or services on social media, and including links to your website or online store can help increase sales.

B2B Use Case IRL: Grade.us

b2b social commerce example - Grade.us's LinkedIn Ads

Grade.us is a SaaS platform for online review management that was started in 2013. Today, it’s part of the Traject platform of digital marketing tools.

This may seem like a pretty standard practice today, but normally on platforms like LinkedIn you will find companies pointing the links in their ads to “Learn More” landing pages for gated resources, or to sign up for an upcoming webinar.

This tactic goes against the grain of what we would normally recommend on LinkedIn, but we are always interested in testing out new approaches to increasing free trial starts and driving down cost per acquisition.

This approach appears to do both.

Running LinkedIn Ads already? Thinking this might be a great way to get a performance boost? Before you go to “sign up” or “buy” ads, check out these 3 ways to boost your LinkedIn campaign performance.

B2B Social Commerce Example 3: Facebook Product Carousels

If you’re not ready to create product pages on social networks just yet, you can still use posts on Facebook to drive sales by creating carousels with links to your products. This makes it easy for potential customers to purchase what you’re selling with a simple click away from their social media feed.

Before you press publish on your first carousel though, make sure you know the best time to post it to Facebook.

B2B Use Case IRL: Quill’s “Fun Friday Finds”

b2b social commerce example - Quill's Fun Friday Finds

Quill has been providing reliable service to its customers since 1956. We assume they haven’t been online that entire time. Over the past two years, they have been voted America’s Best Customer Service provider in the Office Supply Category by Newsweek and Statista.

As you can see, there are a number of ways that social commerce can be used in B2B. And as social media becomes increasingly important in the purchasing decisions of buyers, it’s only going to become more important for companies to start using social commerce. This carousel links to 9 different pages on their website – 8 products, and one to their Free Shipping page.

Over the past month, their social media team has been publishing carousels like this weekly. Prior to that, they had been creating about 1 carousel per month over the course of three months.

We don’t have an inside source at Quill to verify this was successful, but based on their increased usage, we’re willing to bet it was successful for them.

Ready To Start Trying Social Commerce For Your B2B Brand?

What do you think? Is social commerce something you’re going to start using in your B2B marketing?

Hopefully these examples were enough to get the brainstorming underway for you and your team.

If you are looking for a more well-rounded impact on your bottom line from your social media profiles, learn more about our social media advertising services. Once we define and understand your audience, we can tailor a strategy to help you engage with them.

Jonathan Bentz

About The Author

Jonathan Bentz is a Senior Digital Marketing Strategist at Direct Online Marketing. Jonathan is a 15-year SEO veteran and holds a Journalism Degree from West Virginia University. He contributes to Business.com, Business2Community.com, and G2. Jonathan serves as a Startup Mentor for Vantage Ventures and as a tech and media ministry lead for his church.

View Jonathan's full bio.
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