October 7, 2023

Social Media for E-commerce: Reaching and Engaging Your Target Audience

E-commerce businesses are not just battling on the price and product front; they’re also competing for attention. To differentiate themselves, it's evident that the future for e-commerce businesses lies in the utilization of social media for e-commerce success.

But, Can Brands Actually Use Social Media for E-Commerce?

Short answer, yes, brands can use social media for their e-commerce strategy. It is a great way for e-commerce stores to reach their target audience while personally engaging with consumers. Plus, it helps drive more conversions. In 2021, it was estimated that over 50% of all adults in the U.S. made a purchase over social media. And, 40% of people who make a purchase do it because of social media.

Needless to say, social media has a firm grasp on our buying habits. And with 114.3 million Americans expected to buy over a social media platform in 2025, its grip is only growing tighter.

However, that doesn’t mean e-commerce stores have it easy. Over 70% of businesses in the U.S. actively sell their products over social media. With a crowded market and only so many dollars to go around, it’s imperative for online brands to use social media for e-commerce and get ahead of the competition.

So, with the help of the experts at Marketwake, we’ve compiled a list of ten social media strategies that’ll help your e-commerce brand stand out on any social media platform of your choice. Let’s dive in.

10 Tips on Using Social Media for E-Commerce Success

1. Utilize Short-Form Video

Short-form video has become the king of driving engagement on social media, and consumers agree: 66% of users claim that the most engaging social content is short-form video. Not only does this keep consumers entertained, but it also helps with increasing the overall knowledge and top-of-mind awareness of your products. 

When researching products, 73% of consumers would rather watch a short-form video to learn more. By utilizing short-form videos on social media for e-commerce brands, they can engage their customers while giving them valuable information about what they offer.

Another thing to note: on Instagram and Facebook, short-form video appears in front of more non-followers than any other type of post. Utilizing short videos provides more opportunities to get your brand in front of the eyes of new consumers, which is one of the hardest aspects of e-commerce and social media marketing. So, be sure to give the people and platforms what they want. Short-form video all the way.

2. Optimize Your Social Media for Search Engines

Yes, even when using social media for e-commerce you have to be concerned about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Why? Because the line between search engines and social media platforms is continually blurring. Thus, optimizing different parts of your e-commerce store’s search engine presence on social media is an important tactic to utilize.

So, how should you do that? By optimizing everything. Hashtags, image file names, bios, alt text, and captions; each should have keywords relevant to your industry and what you are selling so you can show up in search. Additionally, you should add the keyword to the images and videos you’re posting either as on-image copy or as subtitles under videos.

However, there is no need to overdo it. Keyword stuffing is potentially harmful to your e-commerce brand’s search engine ranking, which can then hurt your inbound marketing strategy. Remember, the value of organic social is that you’re speaking to people. Don’t try and use buzzwords or keywords to stick out. Let your brand’s authenticity shine.

3. Track On-Platform KPIs 

For a social media e-commerce strategy, keeping track of your on-platform KPIs is crucial. By following the relevant data of your posts you can see what content is working, what isn’t, and how you can adjust to fill the gaps between you and your ideal audience. It’s a way to measure your e-commerce and social media success beyond just conversions and purchases. Here are some important on-platform KPIs to consider in the context of social media for e-commerce:

Shares and Saves

Shares and saves help you see the efficiency of your posts. You can learn if your content is gaining traction, if it's serving your audience well enough to be shared, and whether people want to come back to watch your content repeatedly


Comments are very valuable for gauging intentional engagement. This metric is so valuable because it requires users to take another step toward letting you know how much they appreciate your brand, products, etc. They took the time when they didn’t have to, which is hard to find on social media.


Reach, especially when using social media for e-commerce, is important because it tells you how many new users are seeing your content. Having a strong reach is the only way to grow and convince new audiences to interact with your content. 


At its core, a click signifies interest. When a user takes the time to click on your ad or post, it indicates that something about your content or product caught their eye. Tracking the number of clicks can provide a direct metric of how compelling and attractive your content is to your target audience.

However, you have to balance reach without siloing your current audience. Having a strong reach with lower engagement could tell you that while more people are seeing your content, it might not be catering to them enough to create an interaction.

4. Create Content for the User, Not the Brand

While using social media for e-commerce is a very productive method of driving users through your business's sales funnel, there is a thing as “too much” selling. Here is Sydney Watts, Senior Social Media Strategist at Marketwake to explain more:

Based on user behavior tracking, we know that creating content genuinely for your audience to enjoy is how you’ll see the most impact on increased sales and engagement rates. Even if you’re not directly promoting your product, catering to your user’s preferences will help you reach and grow a larger audience, get more consumers to your website, and ultimately drive more purchases. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Sydney Watts

Senior Social Media Strategist at Marketwake

And there’s math to back this up. Dash Hudson found that social media videos with higher entertainment scores and engagement rates correlated to increased sales growth. In some cases, beauty brands that scored the highest on entertainment scores saw a 100% increase in sales growth.

So, while showing off your product is good, making digestible and entertaining content pays dividends in the long run.

5. Streamline the User Journey With Social Commerce

Speaking of showing off your product, enter social commerce. If you don’t know what social commerce is, it’s basically selling products through social media platforms. And, it’s huge. The U.S. social commerce market is expected to exceed $50 billion in sales by the end of 2023.

Why has social commerce become so popular? Because it doesn’t interfere with the user's journey on social media. Consumers are going on social media to escape and relax, not to inherently shop. Asking them to go to your website, look for the thing they saw on your page, enter their email address, press purchase, etc., prevents them from doing what they intended. It disrupts their user journey and is way too many steps for someone who is just trying to enjoy themselves.

That’s why social commerce has done so well recently. It minimizes the extra steps in the user journey. Everything on an e-commerce store’s website is linked to their social platform’s shop feature, making the user’s online shopping experience seamless.

If you’re not taking advantage of the full shopping experience for users on social media, they are going to find it somewhere else.

Sydney Watts

Senior Social Media Strategist at Marketwake

6. Don’t Disregard Carousels and Static Imagery

Believe it or not, carousels and static imagery still serve a purpose when using social media for e-commerce, even in the age of video; they can continue to give more useful information about products and show them off with compelling imagery. However, they should be used in quality over quantity. 

That doesn’t mean going back to posting at your regularly scheduled cadence. You should be posting quality content at an increased frequency to support your main sources of engagement.

In short, don’t take what you’re currently doing and split it up for quantity. Increase the frequency of your strategy and add more value. 

7. Interact With Your Audience

To effectively integrate social media for e-commerce marketing strategies, you also need to spend time engaging with your audience. The more you interact and converse with other creators and brands, the more eyes are on your brand.

Plus, interacting with your audience humanizes your brand. Especially for social media e-commerce marketing, more people like to shop with brands whenever they know there is someone behind the phone. This means giving your brand a unique voice and posting content that is relatable while interacting with your audience in a multitude of ways. Here are some ways e-commerce brands can start interacting with their audience:

  • Respond to DMs
  • Responding to comments
  • Commenting on a like-minded content creator or influencer’s page
  • Commenting under other people’s comments on different posts
  • Engage with other business pages
  • Ask for responses or feedback

8. Spotlight More Creators

Using social media for e-commerce also requires social proof to build credibility for your brand’s products and increase reach. Here’s how we know: 31% of social media users discover new products through influencers and 50% of millennials trust product recommendations from influencers. 

Setting aside a budget for authentic User Generated Content (UGC) and social proof that doesn’t feel scripted from credible influencers can help you find a new audience that inherently trusts and appreciates your product.

9. Don’t Sleep on Stories

Stories, and Instagram Stories specifically, are heavily underutilized. Given the ever-changing nature of Instagram’s feed and algorithm, Stories are one of the main ways you can stay top-of-mind. Even if consumers are swiping past your brand’s story, they are constantly seeing you and could potentially recall your brand when a need to buy arises. 

You can also add shopping features to your Instagram stories too for a holistic buying experience across social media for more e-commerce sales. You can link out to your brand page, your website, your Instagram Shopping page, or really anywhere your consumers can look at and learn more about your products. And, as we stated earlier, 40% of people make purchases because of social media. To convince one of those consumers, you have to be everywhere.

10. Remember: Social Media Is Not a Sprint. It’s A Marathon

There are many people who use social media for e-commerce to attain the same end goal. But, really prioritizing your audience and delivering the content they want is the best way to keep their attention. Creating content that matters to them over time is better than pushing a bunch of content at a high frequency that no one asked for. Being people-focused first, especially organically, will ultimately yield the end result you want. It just won’t happen overnight.

Optimizing Your Social Media E-Commerce Strategy With Marketwake

At Marketwake, we have a deep understanding that optimizing social media for e-commerce isn’t instantaneous. It’s a process. But, a process that works. And we’re ready to help you with that process. Helping brands build their social media presence and even go viral is our specialty. Don’t believe us? We did it to ourselves! Plus, we have helped other e-commerce brands like Machete and Yamaha find success across multiple different channels.

Ready to level up your social media for e-commerce strategy? Contact us today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Social Media Is Best for E-Commerce?

To us, the three best social media platforms for e-commerce brands are Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram. Over 800 million people shop globally on Facebook. 55% of TikTok users have bought something after seeing a brand on the app. And, over 130 million Instagram users have clicked on an Instagram shopping post.

How Is Social Media Used in E-Commerce?

Social media is used in e-commerce to increase reach, grow audiences, and ultimately increase conversions and online sales. This is done through consistent, frequent posting of high-quality social content that users not only enjoy but crave.

How Do I Promote My E-Commerce Website on Social Media?

There are a few ways to promote your e-commerce website on social media. Some of the best are to

  • Utilize short-form video
  • Optimize your social media for search engines
  • Track meaningful KPIs
  • Create user-centric content
  • Integrate social commerce features
  • Don’t lean away from carousels and static imagery
  • Interact with your audience
  • Spotlighting creators
  • Use stories
  • Make your social media strategy a marathon, not a sprint

What Social Media Should I Use for E-Marketing?

In terms of using social media for e-commerce brands, Facebook has the most active users and over five million people have made a purchase on the platform in 2022 alone, so that would be a great choice to start e-marketing.

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