Online Sellers Weigh Value of TikTok, Twitter in Reaching New Customers

Retailers that rely heavily on social media for sales may want to consider diversifying platforms.

TikTok is poised to be regulated in the U.S. and has already been banned on government-issued devices in multiple states, including South Dakota. Meanwhile, Twitter is searching for a successor CEO and EU leaders are voicing concerns over Facebook’s data handling.  

The reasons behind each channel’s difficulties are very different and (at least for now) don’t seem insurmountable for these social media giants. However, online sellers that rely on social media for promotion and sales may not cope with temporary traffic dips as easily. 

A social media presence is all but required in the current online retail space. SMBs in the sector heavily incorporate the platforms into their sales strategies. Indeed, per PYMNTS research, online sellers are looking to focus more specifically on social media channels over the next year. 

For online sellers concerned about relying on a single social media platform, many alternatives have become available with expanded eCommerce offerings. This wider breadth of options may allow these SMBs to refine their social media strategy to reach their target better demographic. 

TikTok, for example, is reportedly testing its eCommerce capability in the U.S. market, as it was previously only available in the U.K. and parts of Southeast Asia. Select U.S. businesses were invited to participate in TikTok Shop, while international merchants will have the opportunity to do so in the future.

Meanwhile, Instagram has planned to cut back on its shopping features to focus more on driving sales through eCommerce capabilities. According to a September internal memo, the Meta-owned social media platform doesn’t expect to do away with shopping altogether. Instead, it plans to test a less personalized shopping option called “Tab Lite.” Instagram also plans to eliminate the button that sends users to its old shopping app by March 2023.

Klarna, too, is focusing on expanding its eCommerce offerings through its Creator Platform. The Swedish payments and buy now, pay later (BNPL) platform launched this initiative in the U.S. in October and plans to branch out into the U.K. and the rest of the company’s 45 regions. Dubbing creators “the new heart of online shopping,” the company aims to connect retailers to creators by offering streamlined services to creators, including initial outreach, performance analysis, sales tracking and billing.

Instead of rethinking social media sales strategies altogether, small digital retailers may consider branching out into multiple platforms. This could allow online sellers to navigate any bumps using individual platforms and achieve a smoother sales experience overall.