Social Capital: Why Livestream Shopping is the Next Big Thing

Jun 4, 2023

What is livestream shopping and why should we take notice? Social media guru Mary Proulx says livestream shopping will be the next big thing in social media commerce, selling products and connecting with consumers through “edu-tainment”.

The co-founder of Bread Agency creates innovative social media and influencer marketing campaigns for some of the world’s biggest brands. Mary will be among a host of industry experts offering free one-on-one advice at Naturally Good’s Business Pods in Sydney (get in quick to secure your spot).  Here’s a taste of Mary’s social media nous, as told to journalist Wendy Hargreaves.

Q. Where do you think we’ll be in 10 years in the social commerce space, particularly in the natural/organic area?

Brands will have realised the full power of livestream shopping to tell their stories and will utilise this as a crucial part of their selling strategy. Livestream Shopping allows consumers to shop while they watch a piece of live content. Think QVC on steroids. Brands will be able to inspire, inform and educate their audience throughout a livestream, edu-taining the audience for 10-20-30 minutes to drive sales. Brands leveraging Livestream Shopping in other regions have already seen exponential success – and this can range from one-person shops to much larger corporations. 

Even if the viewers don’t purchase products during the live stream, they will be more likely to join the brand’s community for long-term engagement and future purchases.  

Q: Is social media commerce hitting saturation point? Where are the opportunities for growth in the natural/organic space? 

A: More and more, we see that consumers demand transparency around the ingredients and processes used in the creation of the products that they purchase. Brands that are credible and authentic within this space have a great opportunity to leverage social media platforms to tell that story, taking consumers behind the scenes to build trust and credibility.  

Q: If there’s a small budget for social marketing, what’s the most effective way to spend it? 

A: It all depends on what you want to achieve, but ultimately, a small budget means you need to get creative with what and how you develop the plan. For example, if you don’t have a huge budget, but you have a product or offering that is uniquely appealing, can you look at how contra deals could fit into an influencer campaign to reduce the costs?  

Q: Do influencers still have influence on socials, or are consumers tuning out? 

When influencer marketing is done correctly, it can work extraordinarily well.  Consumers tune out when the relationship or tie between the brand/product and influencer is misaligned and the content/message is forced. Take the time to search and engage with influencers who have an authentic tie to your product and then trust them to craft the content that they know will work well for their audience. Too much red tape from brands can water down the content which ultimately leads to poor results. 

Q: Who’s cutting through? Which brands/companies are leading the way on socials in the natural/organic space? Why do you rate them? 

eos Products is a great example of a business creatively sharing their product and brand story on social in a way that attracts and engages a relevant audience. They’re relevant, topical, trending and do it all while consistently weaving their sustainability story into the content in an authentic way. Naked Sundays, a vegan SPF brand that was born in Bondi, is also doing a smashing job on social. They do influencer marketing really well, which has had a big impact on their brand.  

Q. What trends in social commerce have you noticed post-pandemic, and what are you expecting in the next year or so?

A: The pandemic expedited consumers’ comfort with using tools and services to shop from home. We’ve seen that brick-and-mortar sales have returned steadily since the world has opened back up, so now it will be how the online and offline worlds complement each other to give the consumer the speed and efficiency of online shopping with the human touch of in-store engagement. This is where formats like video commerce and conversational commerce will play a bigger role, making the discovery and shopping experience much more seamless. 

Q: You’ve run social campaigns for some of the world’s biggest brands. Do the same rules of engagement apply to smaller retailers and brands? What can they learn from the big end of town? 

A: The beauty of social media is that in many ways, it can help level the playing field between big brands and new players. Of course, paid media budgets may not be the same, but smaller players are often more nimble and much faster to jump on trends, trial new formats and test their storytelling approach, giving them an advantage over the more established brands. Lean into the nimbleness that your size affords you. That can be your biggest competitive advantage.  

Q: At Bread Agency, you talk about “disrupting the status quo” in social media commerce. Can you elaborate? 

A: We’re working with Aussie brands to integrate new and emerging tech, including livestream shopping, into their social media content mix. We’re seeing the impact that these emerging technologies are having in regions like Europe, Asia, and North America, and have created Bread Agency to bring these innovative social selling tools to Australia. 

Q: What tips do you have for start-ups and small retailers working on their own social campaigns?  

A: We love a good social media tip! Small retailers or start-ups should consider the following when working on their own social media efforts: 

DON’T discount the power of community.
Social media channels have always given brands the opportunity to have a two-way conversation with their current or potential customers. Listen to the conversations, respond to the comments, and bring your brand to life in how you engage through the platforms. 

NEVER stop testing.
Test, learn, repeat. Don’t shy away from trying new formats and content to see what works best to get the results you’re after. This doesn’t have to be a big paid media campaign either. Have a clear testing strategy across your organic content and when reporting, make sure you use the learnings to influence your ongoing decisions. The more you test, the more you learn, the better you get.  

BE selective with where and how you show up.
Often brands feel the need to have a presence on every social media platform but due to lack of time or resources, they’re not able to maintain the channels well. Take the time to research and understand which platform will have the biggest impact for your intended audience and do that platform really well.  

Need help with social media, marketing strategies, sourcing suppliers or scaling up your business? Ask the experts in one-on-one sessions at Naturally Good’s Business Pods on June 5 and 6. 

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