July 22, 2022
We’ve broken down 10 actionable ways you can sell on Insta. From creating shoppable posts to partnering with influencers, these tips will help you drive sales.
Instagram is an effective platform for brands to reach out to their target audience, engage with potential customers, and drive sales.
And the stats speak for themselves:
These stats show that Instagram can be a sales-generating machine. If you haven't started selling on Instagram, you are missing out.
So in this guide, we’ve broken down 10 actionable ways you can do that. From creating shoppable posts to partnering with influencers, any of these tips will help you drive sales on Instagram.
Let's get started.
Your Instagram profile is usually the first point of contact with new customers, so it’s important that it captures their attention.
The first step is to ensure that you are using an Instagram business profile.
Switching to a business profile gives you access to
Here is how you can switch to an Instagram business account:
Go to your profile and tap on the menu in the top right corner of the app. Next, tap Settings and then tap Account.
At the bottom of the Account page, click on Switch to Professional account.
Next, select your business category.
The next step is to choose what best describes your brand.
A Business account is best for brands that sell a product or service.
The next step will be to add your contact information. It will be displayed publicly on your profile.
Next, connect your Facebook page. This will give you access to features like shopping tools and ad promotions.
After connecting your Facebook page, your business profile is ready to use.
After setting up your business profile, the next step will be to optimize it. A good business profile will include the following:
Here is an example of a great Instagram bio from Rocky Mountain Soap Company.
Their Instagram bio tells their audience what products they are offering. They also make a good first impression by highlighting that their products are 100% natural.
Tip: Always remember to change your URL links accordingly. If you are promoting a new product, make sure you update your bio with the right link so you don’t lose potential sales. Not all your followers will take the time to search for the correct link.
By optimizing your Instagram bio, you can direct traffic from Instagram to your store or website.
If you don’t have an Instagram Shop set up for your brand, you risk losing sales.
For instance, if a user sees a product on your page that they like but there is no way for them to quickly buy the item, they might give up on the purchase. So, the best way to make it easy for customers to buy from you is to create shoppable posts.
A shoppable post allows your users to see relevant information on a product like descriptions and pricing without having to leave the Instagram app. Customers can even save the product for later by tapping the label icon on the product page.
Also, when a user finds a product that they want to purchase, shoppable posts automatically provide links to the corresponding product page on your website so that the customers can quickly add the product to cart and check out.
Studies from BigCommerce on their merchants that use Instagram Shop show its effectiveness in helping brands drive sales. For example, Natori saw a 100% increase in revenue and a 1,416% increase in Instagram referral traffic to their website in just a few weeks after using Instagram Shop.
The image below shows the Instagram Shop of Natori. Their customers can view their products without leaving the app.
You can also tag shoppable products in your posts. Instagram allows you to tag up to five items per image or twenty items per carousel.
So when customers click on view products, they are directed to your Instagram Shop and can start purchasing items immediately.
If you haven’t created an Instagram Shop, here is our detailed guide on how to create an Instagram Shop.
With over 500 million accounts using Instagram stories daily, stories provide brands with a perfect opportunity to connect with their audience, promote offers, and show their products in action.
Not only can you share pictures and videos of your products on Instagram, but you can also add links to your stories. This can be a link to a product page, your website, or even an email list.
Here are some tips on how to drive sales with Instagram stories:
Instagram offers a variety of tools to help you make your stories interactive. You can use some of these tools to encourage your audience to interact with your stories.
For instance, you can learn more about what your audience thinks of your product or brand with quiz or poll stickers. You can also drive people to your website using link stickers.
Tip: When you add a link to an Instagram story, a “See More” text appears at the bottom of the screen. Users may not notice this small text. So to give your links more visibility, you can add a CTA text encouraging users to “Swipe Up”. You can also use clickable texts in Stories. For example, Vogue Magazine uses “Tap to See More” to encourage clicks.
Instagram stories are a great place to promote new products without looking spammy. Stories also give you a chance to directly link to the product for sale. You can even use the countdown sticker to drive anticipation for an upcoming launch. Your followers can also choose to be notified when the countdown is over.
User-generated content is one of the most effective forms of social proof. Potential customers will be more likely to make a purchase when they see other real people saying positive things about your product.
When your followers share content related to your brand or product in their Stories and tag you, Instagram will notify you and you can share it to your account. This is a great way to build trust among your audience and drive sales.
Kylie Cosmetics regularly shares UGC content created by their fans in their stories.
With 69% of shoppers actively looking for sales and deals online, running exclusive promotions on Instagram is a great way to drive sales on the platform.
Exclusive promotions and deals are especially great when you are running a new product launch. You can use a limited-time offer to encourage FOMO. Customers who are interested in your products will be happy to make a purchase when you offer discounts. You can advertise the promo in your Stories, Reels, or normal feed posts.
For example, Kylie Cosmetics ran a promotion where customers can buy one of their annual lip kits and get another for free.
You can also run Instagram contests or giveaways. Not only are contests a great way to promote your products, but they can also help you grow your following. Studies show that brands that do giveaways and contests grow their following 70% percent faster than brands that don't.
If done correctly, contests and freebies will help you get new followers and fans. As part of the promotion or contest rules, you can ask participants to follow your Instagram account. For Instagram exclusive promotions, you can tell your audience a special discount will be available for your followers only.
Here is an example of a promotion from Birchbox:
There is no shortage of content on Instagram. So to ensure that you stay top of mind with your target audience, it's important that you post regularly. The more you post, the more likely your content will break through the noise and show up in your audience feed.
And the best part is that there is a lot of content you can share with your audience to keep them engaged. For example, you can share behind-the-scenes content in Stories, product demos in Reels, UGC photos in your normal feed, and much more.
Also, to figure out the kind of content that works best for your audience, you will have to experiment. That means you will have to increase your content production.
You might be worried that posting too much might make your profile look spammy. But for regular feed posts, publishing at least once a day is a best practice. For Instagram Stories, you can post freely without worrying about spamming your audience.
Tip: As you increase the number of posts you share on Instagram, it's important that you know the best times to post for your brand so you get as much engagement as possible.
If you use Iconosquare, you will see this data in the Best Time to Post chart in the Engagement section.
There are hundreds of millions of posts shared on Instagram each day. Instagram analytics show that 95 million selfies, snaps of sunsets, and staged photos are posted every day. And these are just photos.
So with all this content being shared on the platform daily, how do you make sure your audience notices your content and product?
The key to getting noticed and receiving engagement is to not just post consistently but also post high-quality content. Quality content helps to positively build your brand image. The more quality your content, the more users you will attract to your profile. This will help you build a loyal fan base which leads to more sales.
Here is how you can create engaging Instagram content:
Instagram is all about visuals. To grab people’s attention you need to share photos and videos that pop. Avoid uploading low-quality content. You don't even need to invest in expensive cameras. Today, there are a lot of great smartphones that will allow you to take great pictures and videos.
Instagram advises users to have a unique and cohesive profile aesthetics. A cohesive Instagram profile aesthetic helps with brand recognition. It also allows you to convey your brand’s personality and voice.
Some of the things that contribute to brand aesthetics are the colors, tone, and layout. They contribute to the overall feel of your brand’s Instagram page. For example, the @bonpuf Instagram page has a light and airy feeling to it. They use a lot of light pastel colors in their content. Scrolling through their page is very soothing.
Even if your goal is to drive sales on Instagram, you should remember that the first reason people go to Instagram is to share experiences. That is why selfies are very popular on the platform. So the best kind of post you can share is content that focuses on people. Even when promoting a product, share more user-generated photos and pictures of people using your products in real-life settings.
Natori regularly shares photos of their customers wearing their clothes.
Instagram offers several creative tools to help you enhance your content. Use IG tools like Layout, Boomerang, or Hyperlapse to make your content even more appealing to users. For example, Instagram Boomerang allows you to take a burst of photos and stitches them together into a high-quality mini video that plays forward and backward.
You can also check the App Store for more apps that can help you enhance IG content. For example “to Stories” is an app that allows users to create beautifully designed Instagram Stories.
Regularly interacting with your audience will help you build strong relationships. And building relationships will help grow trust and customer loyalty – which is key to driving sales. Customers are more likely to make repeat purchases when they see that you genuinely care about them. Show your audience you value them by responding to comments, answering their questions, and addressing any complaints quickly.
Creating branded hashtags is a great way to spread the word about your brand and also encourage your audience to promote you. Branded hashtags also make it easy for you to find content created by your followers that you can use as UGC.
A good example is Benefit Cosmetics creating the branded hashtag #realsies. Benefit encouraged their followers to share photos and videos of themselves using Benefit’s “They’re Real” mascara. And because Benefit shares a lot of UGC content, their followers started using the hashtag for a chance to get featured. Fans submitted more than 15,000 thousand posts using the hashtag.
You should also try to promote your content using general hashtags related to your industry. For example #foodporn (food) or #styleinspo (fashion). Adding more hashtags to your post will increase your reach and allow your content to be searchable by Instagram users.
Tip: Take advantage of hashtag analytic tools. Iconosquare allows you to track hashtags so you will know how they perform. This will help you to be smart about your hashtag usage so you can get optimal engagement results.
Tagging is an effective way to promote your brand on Instagram. And it is different from using hashtags. For example, you can tag other accounts in your posts. Chances are that whoever you tag will be happy to be featured in your post and will share it with their followers.
You can also tag locations. If your business has a physical location, or you are promoting an event or pop-up sale, using location-specific tags in your posts will make it easy for your followers and potential fans to find you.
You can add a location tag before sharing a new post on Instagram.
You can also put location tags in your Instagram stories using the Location sticker.
Brands have to look for creative ways to promote their products to their target audience without being too promotional or salesy.
This is where influencer marketing comes into play.
Influencer marketing involves a brand working with individuals (influencers) with a sizable and engaged Instagram following. The brand can either pay or offer freebies to influencers in exchange for them to promote their product to their audience. The key thing is to work with influencers with an audience similar to yours. You will get more engagement this way. For instance, if you are a fashion brand, you should work with an influencer in the fashion niche. Don't work with an influencer just because they have a large following.
Here is an example of an Influencer post for @imango_a by fashion influencer Sissy Chacon.
You can find influencers by manually searching or going through hashtags on Instagram. You can also use a tool like Tapinfluence for in-depth influencer research based on your industry.
Last but not least, you can use paid promotions to reach a large and targeted audience so you can win over new customers.
Instagram offers a ton of ad objectives to ensure that your sponsored posts help you reach your business objectives. Some of these objectives include brand awareness, engagement, reach, lead generation, conversions, traffic, app installs, catalog sales, and video views.
If your goal is to boost sales, your ad objective can be conversions, catalog sales, or store traffic. Tip: The “store traffic” ad objective is best if you want to increase foot traffic and boost sales for a physical store.
There are also different ways you can utilize Instagram ads. They include photo ads, video ads, stories ads, ads in Explore, carousel ads, and slideshow ads.
The two ways you can promote ads on Instagram are to tap “Promote” under posts in your profile or use the Facebook ad manager.
Using Iconosquare’s analytics tool you can monitor the performance of your organic vs promoted posts. This will help you monitor the performance of your campaigns.
And with that, we've come to the end of the guide. Sticking to the tips above, you will be able to maximize your engagement and also increase your sales on Instagram.
Instagram offers brands a lot of ways to build brand awareness and promote themselves to their audience. Check out these guides to help you grow on the platform:
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