Selling on Instagram is no longer a guessing game. Now, with the introduction of new functionality, Instagram is a direct selling avenue for ecommerce brands.
Thanks to Instagram’s continued growth, ecommerce shopping and advertising opportunities on the social media platform are skyrocketing.
- As of June 2018, Instagram grew to reach 1 billion monthly active users.
- By 2020, ad revenues on Instagram are projected to nearly triple, reaching $4.65 billion.
- 72 percent of users have bought a product they saw on Instagram.
Are you ready to start selling on Instagram? Leverage these six powerful Instagram shopping tips for ecommerce marketing success in 2023…
1. Optimize Your Instagram Profile Page
When it comes to using links on Instagram, you have one shot to make a first impression – and your bio is the only hyperlink opportunity on your business profile page.
This means your profile page is prime real estate, and you must optimize it to work in your favor. To do so, use your Instagram bio section to add a captivating call-to-action that drives users to a shoppable landing page.
Make your CTA and link stand out by utilizing actionable language and relevant emojis similar to this example from Trade Coffee.
Image credit: Trade Coffee.
To better track and measure your Instagram selling results, launch an Instagram-specific landing page as part of your ecommerce strategy. For instance, if you were to click on the link Trade Coffee used in their profile, you’d be directed to their landing page for the Black Friday sale.
Image credit: Trade Coffee.
Rather than linking to your website’s homepage, exclusive landing pages allow customers to shop instantly right from the Instagram link. Alternatively, offer them a digital business card integrated with a QR code so that they can just scan and purchase from the website. This tactic also enables marketers to directly track the success of an Instagram shopping campaign.
Keep in mind, since Instagram is a mobile platform, your landing pages must also be mobile-friendly and adapt to your customers’ phones or tablets.
Note: To get the most out of your account it is important to convert your regular account into an Instagram business profile. This will give you access to Instagram insights, ads, and various features. These tools are essential in beating the algorithm and rising up in the feed.
2. Sell with Instagram Stories Ads
Another avenue for selling on Instagram is via Instagram Stories. Ads in this continuous stream of vertical content serve as breaks between organically posted content from brands and users alike. Due to the nature of this content, Delmondo reported the average Instagram Stories ad completion rate for brands was 72 percent during the first five months of 2018.
Image credit: Delmondo
However, if you’d rather promote your products organically through Instagram Stories, there are several ways to do so. You can:
- Provide details about a product launch through vertical videos or graphics.
- Use Instagram Live to offer a “backstage” or “behind the scenes” look at new products or promotions.
- Interact with customers through Instagram Stories polls stickers, GIFs, questions, location tags, and hashtags.
Get creative and use Instagram Stories to your advantage. Plus, if you have more than 10,000 followers, you can link your Instagram Stories to a designated product page and drive traffic and sales directly from your content.
Another paid Instagram marketing technique you can try out is influencer marketing also know as shoutouts. Here’s a great guide on how to get started with free Instagram shoutouts.
3. Use Instagram’s Shoppable Posts to Sell Directly in Posts
For a while, the only way to sell products on Instagram was through the link in your profile. As of March 2018, shoppable Instagram now allows users to click on products displayed in a photo or story. Once a user clicks on a product, they are directed to a page with descriptive product copy and a call-to-action (CTA). This CTA sends shoppers immediately to the respective product’s page on your website.
This immediate mobile shopping tactic has led to more than 90 million users tapping on images and stories to identify product tags in shopping posts every month since its launch.
Image credit: Neil Patel.
While this functionality has been available for a little while, it is still an exclusive feature that should be utilized. To obtain access to shoppable Instagram posts, accounts must complete an application.
To apply, your Instagram account must:
- Be an established Instagram Business Account.
- Have an associated Facebook Business page.
- Own a shoppable catalog on Facebook that is supported by an optimized product feed.
- Sell physical goods, not services or digital products.
If your online store runs on Bigcommerce or Shopify it is pretty straightforward to create a product catalog, set up shoppable posts, and tag products. You can also set it up manually, but it requires a few extra steps.
Defshop, a German streetwear ecommerce business, was one of the first companies to receive access to shoppable Instagram posts.
As a result of their efforts and the new functionality, Defshop enjoyed:
- 56 percent more website visitors.
- A 64 percent increase in sales.
- A 13 percent higher conversion rate.
The key to success with Instagram’s shoppable posts is high-quality imagery, direct CTAs, and a consistent brand voice and style.
Instagram is also working on a new feature called Instagram checkout which will allow people to directly buy on it. This can drastically increase sales. Keep your eyes peeled for its release.
4. Preview Upcoming Products
Want to create buzz around a brand new product launch? Instagram may be your answer.
Since you have to create product photos and copy for your ecommerce store anyway, why not take advantage of having this content readily available and share it with your Instagram followers? Loyal fans will appreciate having an exclusive sneak peek at new products and kick-start conversations about the launch.
If you’d like, run a sale exclusively for your Instagram followers. Along with photos and video of the new product, add a unique promo code to your post or story copy. Only engaged Instagram followers will have access to the sale, further cementing their loyalty to your ecommerce brand.
Remember to use top quality images and content surrounding your new product. Instagram shoppers won’t interact with lackluster product content.
5. Use High-Quality Product Shots and Develop a Signature Style
Although 77 percent of shoppers would rather see customer photos than professional photos when making a purchasing decision, this doesn’t negate the need for high-quality product shots.
Image credit: Yopto.
This means brands selling on Instagram need to partner with influencers who understand your need for captivating, high-quality image content. After all, 65 percent of top-performing brand posts contain products.
In addition, as you take these photos, use your creativity to develop a distinct style. This style should be consistent throughout your Instagram marketing and selling efforts. Do your best to reflect the personality of your brand through this style, whether that be through different filters, graphics, or colors.
6. Interspace photo posts with video content and demos
While the most common type of post on Instagram is an image post, there are other types of content like Reels, Stories, Live, IGTV, and Carousels too. It’s important to mix up different post formats to keep your feed interesting and relatable for the audience to engage with you.
It’s also important to remember that Instagram users are looking for genuine posts from brands—not direct advertisements. Consider trying to capture your company culture with Stories and behind-the-scenes looks through the Instagram Live feature. However, avoid posting too many photos of your product as it may appear too pushy or sales-y.
Oatly, an oat drink company, has a great mix of eye-catching carousel posts, videos, and static images on their feed that promotes their brand personality as a whole and invites engagement.
Instead of directly announcing the launch of a new product on Instagram, use Stories and posts to drive interest. Build up suspense through product teaser photos, videos, and questions to invite further engagement.
Pressed Juicery posted a story of ingredients to tease their new drink, the Tumeric Almond Signature Blend. The teaser gave a timeline of when to expect the announcement and put a mental note in the customers’ minds to check back for the product release the next day.
Recent reports show that 9 out of 10 users on Instagram watch videos weekly. It also makes sense since Instagram is no longer just a photo-sharing app, as stated by Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram. Video content is rising, with the popularity and high viewership of how-to tutorials, behind-the-scenes IGTV videos, and reels from influencers being the popular format choices.
But how do you stand out from a pool of videos on Instagram? Get creative. Take note of any concepts or styles you think would work well for your brand, experiment with them, and use analytics to see the results of your efforts. A variety of posts will show your brand is diverse and engage your followers in different ways while allowing you the freedom to experiment and double down on what brings you good numbers.
7. Write persuasive captions for your Instagram posts
A caption can make or break your Instagram post. Captions are your brand voice and should be consistent across all mediums. Compelling captions have the power to evoke emotions among your customers, help them relate to your post, and serve as a strong call to action.
When writing an Instagram caption, the quickest way to engage your followers is by asking a question and encouraging them to tag a friend in the comments. With the 2200 character limit, you get to explore different formats like captioning a picture with short bursts of text or writing a long, informative piece for impactful posts.
A brand with a strong caption game is Starbucks. It likes to break up its captions with spaces and emojis. This makes it easier to catch the attention of its target audience. Further, innovation and creativity encourage users to stop and engage with the post.
Starbucks frequently uses a mix of calls to action, humor, and details about new products in its captions to invite more likes, comments, and shares.
People tend to skim captions rather than read them in depth. You want to try and get your customers hooked by reading the first two lines. Hootsuite recommends different caption lengths for different posts:
- For organic posts: 138-150 characters
- For Instagram ads: 125 characters
This is not a one-size-fits-all strategy. Instagram captions show your company’s personality and humanize your brand, allowing you to connect with your audience better. Your best bet is trying different types of captions—short, long, and with different contexts—to see what works best for your brand.
8. Invest in Instagram influencer marketing
90% of marketers believe influencer marketing to be an effective form of marketing. It can be a good way to showcase your products with a sense of authenticity. Also, a product recommendation given by someone your audience trusts is more likely to convince people to buy that product.
Consider working with a micro-influencer if you don’t have the budget to partner with a big influencer. These influencers have a significant and engaged but not massive following, usually ranging from 1,000 to 100,000 followers. In fact, 75 percent of marketers are currently working with micro and nano influencers.
It’s important to identify influencers relevant to your brand, find the best fit, and set clear goals for this partnership. Here’s an example of an influencer-brand match made in heaven. The popular skincare brand Biossance partnered with Jonathan Van Ness, a beauty expert. The brand believes in sustainable, clean beauty and promotes self-love and inclusivity, which Jonathan regularly champions on his Instagram profile.
Such authentic, fun, and unique brand promotions by reputed influencers will help you gain a lot of traction for your ecommerce business. Strategically build a plan that is suitable for your company, understand what you require from this partnership to drive sales and create brand awareness.
9. Publish user-generated content
93 percent of marketers agree that customers trust content created by real people rather than that created by brands. User-generated content (UGC) serves as a breath of fresh air as they present authentic, rather than promotional content on brands’ social media channels and websites.
UGC, also known as user-generated content is original, brand-specific content created by consumers and shared on social media or other channels. It comes in many forms, including images, videos, reviews, a testimonial, or even a podcast.
User-generated content plays a big part in swaying buyer decisions—it’s an effective way to build credibility for your brand. Posting such organic content like images and videos of buyers using your products as part of your Instagram marketing strategy has a two-fold advantage. UGC is both a product image and a product review. It’s a testament to the fact that consumers had a great experience with your product.
A great example of a brand that integrates UGC naturally into its Instagram feed is Ipsy, a monthly subscription beauty service. It shares authentic images from makeup artists and other enthusiasts with the hashtag #IpsyFlauntIt. This inspires consumers and gives them an idea of how to use Ipsy’s products on their own. The post below showcases makeup done by one of their consumers.
You, as a brand selling products on Instagram, have a better chance of converting leads with UGC. It also encourages brand advocacy by attracting new customers and retaining existing ones.
10. Run Contests and Promote your Profile on Your Website
Instagram contests have the ability to reach and engage potential customers while highlighting your latest products. Whether you just started a new blog, run an ecommerce business, develop digital products and online courses, or simply want to promote your Instagram profile on your website, you need to unify your messaging.
Ecommerce companies run everything from a simple giveaway to contests requiring followers to use a hashtag or submit user generated content. No matter what type of contest you choose to pursue, always highlight your products, follow all of Instagram’s rules, and work on using Instagram to build your email list.
You can increase your contest reach and participation by promoting your Instagram profile on your website. The mix of professional photography and user-generated content will entice website visitors to join in on the action.
Increase Ecommerce Sales by Selling on Instagram
From shoppable posts to Instagram Stories ads, ecommerce brands have more opportunities to monetize Instagram than ever before. There are also other features such as Instagram insights which offers a wide range of metrics to books sales even further. Have you had success with the new Instagram shopping features? What’re your favorite Instagram sales tactic? Comment below with your top tactic or tip.
If you found the above post on selling on Instagram useful and feel your followers will too, please share it with them by using the share button below.