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How These 2 Social Media Growth Opportunities Will Transform Business in 2024 Social media platforms are great tools for "listening" to ongoing conversations to understand what is important in your community.

By Ashley Hubka

Key Takeaways

  • Businesses should create interactive, entertaining content that engages audiences who may never set foot in their physical locations.
  • Humbly sharing a business's involvement on social media will help increase awareness and favorability, strengthening its reputation.
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As we move into 2024, two trends are reshaping how businesses engage with their customers. The first is the shrinking gap between awareness and purchasing, which is evident in the skyrocketing popularity of social commerce, which merges social media discovery with e-commerce. The second is the growing consensus nationwide that businesses should contribute to the well-being of their local communities. This expectation transcends traditional notions of corporate responsibility and asks companies to take the lead in building strong local economies and more resilient communities.

Both trends present opportunities for businesses to generate competitive advantages and growth opportunities, and why an organization's social platforms should be a strategic priority in the year ahead.

Related: How to Create a Stellar Social Media Marketing Plan for Under $100

Bridging the discovery-purchase gap

With a growing demand for convenience and immediacy, consumers are moving through the consideration phase of the traditional awareness-consideration-purchase journey online and at lightning speed. This shift requires businesses to focus on converting customers in real time. Social media is quickly becoming the first option for consumers to engage with their favorite brands, shop for the products they love and discover new ones. Because digital discovery often leads directly to purchase, integrating shopping experiences into consumers' social media feeds is essential to satisfying their desire for convenience and immediacy. This approach caters to the shift in consumer behavior by emphasizing seamless and personalized interactions with brands in familiar online spaces.

Social media platforms regularly roll out new features and functionalities. For example, last year, TikTok launched its TikTok Shop, and Instagram replaced its "Live Shopping" section with the "Buy Now" and "Add to Cart" buttons to make it easy for users to purchase products as they scroll through their Feed and Reels interfaces.

Retailers are realizing that social commerce platforms like TikTok Shopping, Instagram and YouTube Shopping have become vibrant marketplaces. This is not a fad; Statista projects social commerce will generate $3.37 trillion by 2028 at an annual growth rate of nearly 30%!

Walmart tapped into the power of social commerce last December with our innovative "Add to Heart" shoppable series that combined the holiday season traditions of shopping and watching holiday movies. This first-of-its-kind shoppable commercial series featured over 330 products featured in the series available for real-time purchase, including furniture, holiday décor and clothing items the cast members wore. Customers could watch "Add to Heart" on TikTok, Roku, YouTube and Walmart's social media channels, and TikTok's Video Shopping Ads and Roku's "Ok to Text" feature enabled them to shop whether they were at home or on the go.

The applications and benefits of social commerce are not limited to consumer retail. LinkedIn's native lead generation is a short hop to something like in-video actions to bridge the gap between discovery and B2B sales. Social commerce is also a viable sales platform for service providers. An insurance company may not offer products its customers can add to a virtual shopping cart, but it can distribute engaging content via social commerce to generate leads and sales.

For now, capitalizing on this trend requires businesses to create interactive, entertaining content that engages audiences who may never set foot in their physical locations. But with the ever-changing social platforms and the tools they provide, what works today might not work tomorrow. That's why it's essential to regularly review customer engagement and social media strategies and adapt to and take advantage of them.

Make community building a business priority

While social commerce platforms are transforming traditional sales models, an equally important shift is occurring in how businesses interact with their communities and the role social media platforms play in those interactions.

Organizations of all sizes should make fostering the well-being of their local communities a top priority in 2024. Companies can achieve higher visibility and create positive change by gaining an understanding of what matters most to their community. Demonstrating a commitment to communities, employees and customers is a strategic choice and a key driver for long-term success.

At Walmart, we know that applies to us too. Walmart is a big company, but we are also a collection of businesses in more than 4,600 communities committed to being good stewards of the places our associates and customers call home. We aim to:

  • Create value for communities by providing convenient access to affordable, quality goods and services through our omnichannel business model and everyday low prices.
  • Contribute to economic vitality by providing quality jobs, training and career paths, investing in local suppliers, and contributing to local economies.
  • Strengthen community resilience by supporting local organizations and causes that matter to our customers and associates, increasing food access, and preparing for and responding to disasters.
  • Build more inclusive and engaged communities by advancing equity, supporting caring and connected communities, and deepening engagement between our stores and clubs and their surrounding communities.

Consider how your social media strategy can help you optimize your approach. Social media platforms are great tools for "listening" to ongoing conversations to understand what is important in your community. They also identify opportunities to get involved and make meaningful contributions to the things that matter to your community. Humbly sharing a business's involvement on social media will help increase awareness and favorability, strengthening its reputation.

Ashley Hubka

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Senior Vice President & General Manager, Walmart Business

Walmart Business SVP & GM, Ashley Hubka, oversees the retailer’s eCommerce experience built to empower SMBs and nonprofits. She oversees strategy, operations and growth drivers. Prior, she served as SVP, Enterprise Strategy, Corporate Development & Strategic Partnerships for Walmart.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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