Do you want to get to grips with selling on Instagram? You’re not alone. Over a billion people use the social media network each month.
It’s hard to ignore the opportunities this presents when growing your brand online. But where do you start?
The introduction of shoppable posts on Instagram has made this much easier. Here’s our guide to get you started.
What Are Shoppable Posts?
Instagram introduced shoppable posts in 2018. This enabled brands to create a seamless experience for customers, linking content to product listings.
Before, there were only two ways to sell on Instagram:
- By adding a link to your website in your bio.
- By investing in paid advertising.
Previously, it was almost impossible to sell organically. Before shoppable posts, brands were relying on paid advertising.
Sending users to click a link in the bio isn’t very effective. It involves taking the customer away from Instagram. They have to complete multiple steps before reaching your product listing.
Unless they really want to buy your product, the likelihood they will complete the process is low.
But shoppable posts have changed all this.
You can now tag your products directly in your content. If your followers want to know more about a particular product, they simply click the link.
This will take them directly to a product listing, which contains:
- An image of the product
- A product description
- The price
- A direct link to purchase the product from your website
This massively reduces the effort required by your followers. In turn, it increases the likelihood they will click through to your website and buy from you.
Setting up Shoppable Posts
To set up this feature, you must first make sure you meet Instagram’s eligibility requirements:
- Your business must be in an eligible country. The good news is, if you’re in the USA, you’re on the list.
- You must have a business Instagram account, not a personal account.
- Your Instagram account must be connected to a Facebook Page.
- You must sell physical products, although they hope to include other types of products in the future.
If you meet these requirements, you can set up shoppable posts and start selling on Instagram.
To do this, you need to create a Facebook catalog for your products. You can do by following the instructions in the Ads Help Center.
Finally, you need to submit your account for review via your account’s settings on Instagram. The process will likely take a few days to complete – but then you’re good to go!
How to Sell Products on Instagram
- Once your catalog is set up and your account has been approved, creating shoppable content couldn’t be easier.
- Upload your content, as usual, editing the image and writing the caption to go with it. You will then see an option to “Tag Products” underneath the option to “Tag People”.
- Click on it, tag your product – and post.
- That’s it.
Your audience will now be able to shop your products directly in your Instagram account.
Selling on Instagram: 10 Tips to Increase Sales
Setting up shoppable posts is only part of the story. If you really want to increase sales on Instagram, you need to make sure the rest of your strategy is up to standard too.
Here are 10 tips to help you maximize sales from your shoppable posts:
Grow an Authentic Following
We’ve already spoken about the importance of adopting a long-term approach when it comes to your marketing.
This is especially true when marketing your business on Instagram.
There are many agencies out there promising rapid follower growth. But here’s the thing:
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
By now, we should all know it’s a bad idea to buy followers. But it’s also important to make sure we’re growing our accounts sustainably.
We want to make sure each follower we acquire has a genuine interest in the brand. When you focus on getting authentic followers that fit your customer avatar, they’re more likely to buy from you.
Not only that, but we want to make sure our followers engage with our content. The algorithm works by testing your content on a small proportion of your audience to see how they react.
If your followers aren’t interested in what you have to say, they’ll be less likely to interact with it.
And if nobody interacts with your post, fewer people will see it.
On the flip side, if your followers are actively engaged with your account – and interested in what you have to say, they will be more likely to interact with it.
The more interaction your post gets, the more people will see it.
So focus on getting the right people on board. Prioritize quality over quantity, and watch your sales increase from selling on Instagram.
Share High Quality, Valuable Content
As well as finding the right followers, you also need to make sure your content is what they want to see.
This starts with a solid understanding of your ideal customer.
Do your market research: Who are your customers? What do they like? What do they dislike? What are their biggest problems and challenges?
Once you know the answers to these questions, you can create a content strategy that resonates with them.
This is essential.
Instagram has so many brands out there sharing the same content. There are only so many sunset photos and inspirational quotes one audience can take.
Stand out from the crowd. Give your audience more. Create content that builds trust, inspires and – ultimately – sells.
Don’t forget, Instagram is a visual network. Although your captions are important, it’s imperative you start with an appealing, high-quality image.
Research suggests accounts with a consistent aesthetic get the best results. Think about your brand image. What type of theme would compliment it best? Bright and colorful? Monochromatic? Light and airy?
Experiment by creating some grid mockups – and develop your theme from there. Then use this to shape content that will capture attention and – in time – make your brand instantly recognizable in your followers’ feeds.
Run Retargeting Campaigns
Retargeting campaigns display adverts to people who have already been on your website. If you’re going to invest in advertising, we recommend you start with these.
If a potential customer has visited your website, they have already expressed an interest in your brand. They may even have browsed your products or gotten as far as your check out.
When you install Instagram’s advertising pixel on your website, it’s possible to target all these people with adverts in an attempt to get them back onto your website.
An even better idea? Set up a retargeting campaign using a shoppable post. Make it even easier for your audience to complete their purchase without leaving the app.
This is how you maximize your profits from selling on Instagram.
Work with Relevant Influencers
Influencer marketing is a controversial subject.
So many brands attempt to develop influencer campaigns without a significant return on investment.
But when it’s done right, it’s a great way to increase brand awareness, build trust and sell more products.
The key lies in effective research and relationship building. You need to ensure the influencers you choose are the right fit for your business.
Start by creating a database of influencers in your field. These won’t always be the people with the highest follower count. Remember what we said earlier about the importance of an authentic following?
In your database, make a note of the influencer’s typical engagement rate.
And don’t discount micro-influencers – who can have as little as 1,000 followers. One study found that 82% of consumers are “highly likely” to act on a recommendation made by a micro-influencer.
This might be due to the fact it’s easier to create a more personal connection with fewer followers, which results in a more engaged, trusting audience.
Once you’ve found the right influencers for your brand, you can start building a relationship with them.
Many influencers expect more than the product in return for their time and exposure. Make sure you’ve decided on a budget before entering any discussions and be clear on what you can expect in terms of ROI.
Engage with Your Audience
Interacting with your audience can be time-consuming, but it’s a necessity if selling on Instagram is a priority to you.
Both Instagram and Facebook (who owns Instagram) have made big changes to their algorithms in recent years, prioritizing meaningful interactions.
Their stance on this is simple:
“Interacting with people associated with a greater sense of well-being. On the other hand, just scrolling through your Facebook feed, passively reading or watching without interacting with others, tends to make people feel worse.”
In other words, they want to see brands interacting with their audience. This is a priority for them. And, if you want your content seen by as many eyes as possible, you need to listen.
At the very least, you should take time to respond to comments people leave on your content.
You can also invite your audience to interact with your account by asking relevant questions.
Not only will this increase engagement on your account, but it can also provide invaluable insights into your audience, helping you refine your content strategy.
Use the Right Hashtags
When selling on Instagram, hashtags matter.
When used correctly, they can help get your content seen by more people.
The trick is to strike the right balance between popular hashtags and those that are quieter but still used by people in your target market.
The most popular hashtags are followed by more people. This means a larger number of people could potentially see your content.
But it also means you have more competition and you’re less likely to find your ideal customer that way.
For example, the hashtag #dogsofinstagram has around 150 million posts. The more specific #dashundsofinstagram only has 337,000 posts – and is more likely to help you find more targeted users.
Spend a little time on your hashtag research and come up with a list you intend to use regularly.
The goal should be to get your content into the “top posts” section so it will be seen by a larger proportion of the audience.
In the example given above, a post with 50 likes would get you into the top posts for #dashundsofinstagram – but you would need hundreds of likes to be in the running for #dogsofinstagram.
Consider this when conducting your research.
Encourage User-Generated Content
If you’re selling products directly from your shoppable posts, reviews, photos, and videos created by your customers are invaluable.
Peer-generated content is more credible and trustworthy. Your followers are more likely to buy something if they can see your existing customers are happy with their purchase.
We’ve already mentioned authenticity a few times – but it’s worth repeating. Because people buy more from authentic brands. And you don’t get more authentic than a genuine review from a happy customer.
Don’t Sell on Instagram Too Often
This might sound counter-intuitive, especially given this entire post is about selling products on Instagram.
But it is so important.
People don’t want you to sell to them each time they decide to scroll through Instagram.
Avoid the hard sell as much as possible. Instead, become proficient in the art of “selling without selling”.
Make the majority of your posts about providing value – with the occasional sales-focused post thrown in to boost revenue.
Get Off Grid with Stories, Lives, and IGTV
There are three main types of content you can use to reach your audience on Instagram:
- Instagram posts, which appear on your grid
- Instagram stories
- Instagram lives
To get the best results, use all four. Instagram stories and lives are a great way to take your audience behind the scenes of your business and connect with them on a more personal level. This is a great way to build trust, likeability, and engagement.
IGTV is Instagram’s answer to YouTube – and provides a way for you to offer more curated, polished video content to your followers.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed – so it’s a good idea to stick to a couple of these when you’re just starting out. But don’t be afraid to experiment and branch out – you might be surprised by the results.
Have a Personality
Finally, make sure you stand out.
Have a personality. Make your audience laugh. Don’t become another faceless, monotonous brand fighting for your audience’s attention.
There are over 25 million brands active on Instagram today – give people a reason to care about yours and selling on Instagram will yield greater results.
We hope this post has given you some fresh insights when it comes to selling products on Instagram. If this is something you feel you need more support with, we offer a free, no obligation chat to help you figure out your next steps. Get in touch to find out more.