Social Commerce: how to use social media to sell online

Social Commerce is an evolution of digital commerce that enables the direct purchase of products or services within social media platforms.

For quite some time, social networks have been central to our lives, serving as effective tools for entertainment and business. With the advent of smartphones, this phenomenon, already on a strong growth trajectory, has witnessed an unimaginable expansion.

People spend an average of 1 hour and 46 minutes on social media every day! Social network-shopping involves the presence of e-commerce on social channels.

It is a delicate and complex activity that relies on establishing effective communication with the target market. In Social e-commerce, social media marketing becomes an essential factor in intercepting and converting users into buyers.

To learn more about this topic, keep reading. In this article, I will explain:

  • What does Social Commerce mean?
  • How to use social media for selling?
  • The various Social Commerce platforms.

In today’s world, knowing and managing social networks becomes very useful if you want to differentiate yourself from your competitors because you have access to a world that truly offers immense opportunities.

The same applies to e-commerce, which effectively allows you to sell anything you prefer without particular limits.

If you want to learn how to manage e-commerce effectively and use social media to sell online, I recommend the E-Commerce Specialist Course and Social Media Course, a practical and operational training to make you competent in this sector and help you grow professionally.  

What is Social Commerce

Social Commerce, born in 2005, represents a new form of electronic commerce that opens up the world of social media to have more interaction with customers and consequently improve their shopping experience.

social commerce platforms

It is the opportunity offered to an interested user to purchase a product or service directly within the social platforms of the company or professional of their interest.  

Social Commerce vs E-commerce

Both Social Commerce and E-commerce offer the possibility to sell products or services online. However, the main aspect that distinguishes them is the interactions that can occur among users.

With social media, it’s possible to share information about products or services with other users, influencing their purchasing choices.

Here, the user plays an active role during the purchase, as they can also become promoters of products they are interested in. In E-commerce, on the other hand, purchases happen without interaction with other people, except through reviews.  

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Advantages of selling with social networks

The benefits of implementing a digital strategy with Social Commerce are numerous.

For example:

  • You can sell worldwide with no closing hours, meeting the temporal needs of customers.
  • You can gather a lot of data thanks to the analytical tools of social platforms that allow you to monitor results.
  • It serves as an excellent alternative to traditional e-commerce as activation costs are significantly lower.
  • The user becomes central because the goal of the seller is to satisfy customers through their involvement on social networks.

Social Commerce platforms

Social Commerce is a valuable tool for selling any type of product or service. To do it effectively, it’s useful to focus on “social shopping,” a method of commerce where buyers’ friends are involved in the purchasing experience.

It uses technology to simulate social interactions found in physical stores. Nowadays, most social channels offer the possibility to sell/buy directly on the platform or connect to the e-commerce site.

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Facebook was one of the first platforms to focus on Social Commerce with the launch of Marketplace in 2015. On Marketplace, users have the opportunity to view private ads for selling purposes.

Every business can create its business page to stay in touch with customers and can include content such as photos or videos to showcase the products for sale. Each product can be accompanied by a card showing photos, descriptions, and prices.

To give visibility to products, sponsored posts can be used, directed straight to potential interested customers. In 2021, Facebook announced new ways to shop through its applications.

It introduced Facebook Shops: an online showcase of products that people can explore and then purchase. It is a tool that allows for the free creation of an online store accessible to both Facebook and Instagram users.

Companies can choose the products to include in the catalog by customizing the appearance of the store. The user, on the other hand, can connect through the Facebook page or Instagram profile of the business.

They can browse the catalog, save favorites to a wish list, and complete the purchase directly on the platform.


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Instagram is the social network that is most suited for Social Commerce. It has almost become a virtual store thanks to the “Shop” section.

To start selling on Instagram, it is necessary to open a business profile and understand the available tools.

Instagram Shop is a feature suitable for those who want to sell products directly on the social network. In each post, you can add an image of the product that directs the customer to purchase on the linked external e-commerce site.

Alternatively, you can also use the “swipe-up” feature or add a link directly in stories that lead to an external page of the product for sale.


Visual communication is central to promoting products on Pinterest, an image search engine. Each post is associated with a photo, and some tags lead the user to the external website page.

To get started, you need to create a business profile and enter the necessary information in the product description.

Since 2021, the “Product Pin” functionality has been present, something similar to posts in the Instagram Shop: images that present the products which then link to the external e-commerce site.

Pinterest can be useful, especially for those activities that focus heavily on images and stage performance.

visual communication sample


With “Twitter Shops,” this social network is also entering the Social Commerce space. However, product purchases cannot be made directly on the platform.

Once the desired product is chosen, the payment is made on the website. Initially, Twitter Shops will be available only to a limited circle in the United States and will operate only through the iPhone app.

In the realm of e-commerce, Twitter has introduced a live-streaming shopping service. In this case, the customer can decide to purchase a product in real time.


Originally a youth-oriented social platform focused on fun and entertainment, TikTok is proving to be a suitable tool for Social Commerce.

It is the perfect place to emphasize creativity, offer entertaining content, and aim for virality. E-commerce tools are not extensive, but there are still valid options for business profiles.

In 2021, TikTok and Shopify joined forces. Anyone using the Shopify e-commerce platform to manage their online store can sell products and services through advertising campaigns on TikTok.

This will happen through the so-called “Shoppable Ads,” video content that allows direct access to the brand’s online shop.

To sell via social media, you need to create and manage effective communication plans. Would you like to learn how?


Conclusion and free consultation

Social Commerce is truly an excellent opportunity if you intend to use social media for online sales. Knowing these channels, e-commerce, and all the possibilities they offer is a great launchpad for your business.

If you already have an e-commerce site with a good number of customers, it’s important to engage them with loyalty actions through social media as well.

For example, you can showcase your products on Instagram by using hashtags on photos of customers wearing your clothing. By taking advantage of social interaction, you can thus grow your profits more quickly.

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