The overlap of social media and e-commerce has been always projected as the eventual next step of consumer behavior in the digital landscape. Social Commerce or Social Shopping is a term used to define the integration of social media in an individual’s shopping experience.

Nowadays, it is very typical for a consumer to seek out reviews from social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and Reddit before a purchase. Businesses recognize this behavior and use these same platforms to monitor how their brand, product, or service is perceived. With the information of how people engage with their brand in social media, they can also decide where, when, and how they can manage what they are selling. The most straightforward example would be negative posts about a product. Consistent negative experiences, such as bad customer service, can be a point of emphasis for changes that need to be made by the business.

Consumer behavior can be influenced by factors such as age, values, hobbies, and interests. All of which are expertly adapted by social media platforms through their respective algorithms. These algorithms monitor which content a user would be most interested in. This is why social media companies have excelled in curating the content of their respective platforms to keep their users engaged.

Social media influencers also play a major role in the proliferation of social commerce. For example, food vloggers and their recommendations are often trusted by their followers. The experience shared through the content created by the vlogger, whether positive or negative, influences the reality perceived by their followers on the food product or restaurant being reviewed. This process of creating a collective experience on a business or an organization is the principle of brand building in itself.

Other than understanding consumer behavior, businesses have also used social media platforms as a medium to interact with their market; from companies that use their Facebook page for customer inquiries to Instagram business profiles that also serve as look-books or catalogs to showcase their products. Facebook Marketplace was created from the tendency of users to create Facebook groups in offering products or services among friends or communities. Marketplace enabled users to sell or barter with other Facebook users seamlessly. TikTok, with more than 800 million users, is also becoming popular among marketers. TikTok for Business was a tool launched by the company to help businesses manage market research data and ad campaign executions within TikTok. Instagram has also enabled businesses to tag products in a post which can include information such as price and product description. These tags can also redirect the user to where they can buy the product.

With all the different social media platforms available as well as different marketing channels companies can use to reach their customers, Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) has gained a bigger role in the consumer shopping experience. IMC is the synergy of all marketing communication materials used by a business in creating a consumer experience that is favorable towards their brand. Whether it’s increasing awareness for the business by being easily searchable online or improving its reputation, the goal is to effectively implement all marketing communication strategies according to an idea that the business wants to instill among its intended consumers. With social media and the increasing popularity of social commerce, the way consumers interact with businesses has changed. Traditionally, it is the business that usually dictates the timing, frequency, and messaging of marketing communication executions. However, with the volatile nature of how trends among consumers shift, it is now businesses that need to catch up.