How to sell on Instagram

Discover the benefits of Instagram for eCommerce sales. Learn how to use Instagram as part of your business marketing toolkit and boost your brand awareness.
· 31 January 2024 · 5 minute read

The benefits of Instagram for business

Instagram has become a significant player in the eCommerce landscape. It offers a multitude of opportunities to drive sales and connect with a larger audience.

With its popularity and large user base, Instagram provides an excellent opportunity for your marketing and eCommerce strategy. Using Instagram can help you boost your brand exposure and drive product discovery. The platform's interactive nature can also help you engage with audiences in a more authentic and immersive way.

Let's delve into how you can make the most of Instagram to sell your products and services.

 

Set up your Instagram shop

The first step is to create a professional account on Instagram. If you have a personal account you want to use for selling, you'll need to convert it to a professional account. This will unlock a range of tools and features to help you drive sales.

Here is the step-by-step process to get your Instagram shop up and running.

 

1. Create a compelling business profile

Building trust in your brand is a critical part of encouraging buyers to choose your products. Below we explore some ways you can start to establish an authentic presence on your Instagram channel.

  • Use a clean and professional profile picture of your business logo
  • Write a bio that clearly shows what you do
  • Feature product reviews and customer testimonials
  • Create Instagram highlights albums for different products or services.

 

2. Create or connect your product catalogue

To start selling products on Instagram, you'll need to create or connect a product catalogue. There are several ways to do this.

Use Instagram’s built in catalogue tool 

If you have a small number of products, you can manually add them to your Instagram shop via Commerce Manager. Facebook Commerce Manager is a Meta-owned platform you can use to manage your catalogue. It acts as a digital inventory of all the products you want to showcase and sell on Instagram and Facebook. Simply provide details such as product name, description, price, and images directly on the Instagram app and start selling.

Use an eCommerce platform 

If you already have an online store or use an eCommerce platform like Shopify, you can sync your existing product catalogue with Instagram.

Set up a data feed 

If you have a large product inventory or prefer a more automated approach, you can create a data feed in a compatible format, such as a CSV or XML file. This allows you to update your product catalogue and sync it with Instagram.

 

3. Request verification from Instagram

After you have created and connected your product catalogue, you'll need to sign up for Instagram Shopping. This step verifies your business and ensures you comply with their policies. It may take a few days for Instagram to review and approve your account for Instagram Shopping. Once approved, you'll be able to start tagging products in your posts and stories.

 

Make the most of Instagram’s shopping features

Instagram has several features to help you connect to customers and promote your products. These can include:

  • Shoppable posts. Shoppable posts enable you to tag products in your posts. These connect to your product pages. Users can click the tag to view more information or buy without even having to leave the Instagram app.
  • Product stickers. Product stickers are like shoppable posts. But instead of tagging the product in a photo, you can add a product sticker to your Instagram story. Users can then swipe up to purchase the product directly from your story.
  • The shop tab. The shop tab is a section on the Instagram profile that displays products available to buy. Users can browse products, view prices, and buy from the shop tab.
  • Collections. You can use collections to group your products into various categories such as best sellers, new arrivals, or sale items. Collections make it easier for users to browse products based on their interests.

 

Optimise Instagram ads for maximum reach

Instagram ads can help you get your products in front of your target audience and help drive more sales.

Below we breakdown how to get started.

How to set up your Instagram ads campaign

  1. Choose your goal. Instagram offers several objectives for ads. These include brand awareness, reach, traffic, engagement, leads, and conversions. Choose the objective that aligns closest with your campaign goals.
  2. Target your audience. Instagram helps you target your audience based on demographics, interests, behaviours, and more. Define and narrow down your ideal audience, using relevant targeting options.
  3. Create ad content. Create compelling ad content that resonates with your audience and aligns with your campaign goals. Use high-quality photos or videos, clear messaging, and a strong call-to-action to help engage potential buyers.
  4. Set your budget. Decide on the budget for your ad campaign. Instagram will estimate the expected reach and engagement based on your budget.

 

Use product showcase features

Instagram offers different ways to showcase products and engage with customers. These include stories, highlights, reels and live videos. Each content format offers unique opportunities to captivate your audience.

Learn how video marketing can offer new ways to reach customers.

 

Drive traffic to your online store

When you create a post on Instagram, include a call-to-action in the description. For example, you may want to encourage users to visit your online store. Add a direct link to the relevant product page, collection, or landing page. Don't forget to make the link easily clickable by using a URL shortener like Bitly or Linktree.

 

Increase your chances of conversions

There are several techniques you can use to improve your conversion rate. These can include:

  • A/B testing. A/B testing can help you identify the best performing ads. It involves creating two identical ads with one difference, such as the image or call to action. You can then compare their performances and determine the most effective ad.
  • Analytics. Analytics can help you to measure the performance of your ads. Analyse your data often to identify the areas that need attention. Refine your ad campaign, target the right audience, and create better content
  • Promotions and sales. Offer promotions and discounts to encourage engagement with your brand and purchases. Consider offering a promotion or discount code that’s exclusive to Instagram users. This will give them an incentive to follow through with your desired action.

 

Grow your presence

Organic growth and audience engagement are vital to building a strong Instagram presence. Organic growth involves attracting followers who are interested in your brand and what you have to offer.

Below we discuss some strategies you can try to grow your following.

 

Use content with a visual impact

Instagram is a visual platform. High-quality images or videos can help encourage engagement.

Content should add value to your audience in some way. This can be in the form of educational posts, inspirational content, entertaining videos, or behind-the-scenes moments.

Discover how to plan effective digital content strategies.

 

Promote user-generated content

User-generated content (UGC) refers to any form of content created and shared by consumers or users of a brand. Content can include testimonials, reviews, photos, videos, or social media posts. UCG can be a form of social proof. It helps potential customers understand others' experiences of your products or services.

Consider reposting reviews or photos taken of your product onto your feed.

 

Hashtags

By using relevant and popular hashtags, your posts have a higher chance of appearing in search results. This can lead to increased engagement and attract new followers. Research the hashtags your customers use and include them in your posts.

 

Like, comment and respond

Timely responses to direct messages and comments show that you value customers and their feedback. Address any queries, concerns, or compliments promptly and professionally. This helps build trust and encourages ongoing engagement.

 

Partner with Instagram influencers

Influencers have a dedicated and engaged following, which provides an opportunity for you to tap into their audience.

If you want to use influencers, identify those who align with your business's target audience and values. This can help you build awareness of your business among potential customers.

Use Instagram's search and explore features with influencer marketing platforms to search for relevant influencers in your industry. Analyse their engagement, audience demographics, and past collaborations to ensure they’re a good fit for your brand.

Find out how you can get started with influencers.

 

Instagram could be a major opportunity for your business

Instagram provides a great way for businesses to connect with their customers. The platform has a large, engaged user base which you can use to create social networks of customers. The platform also makes it straightforward to set up your business profile, identify target audiences and start selling.

When done right, building a business profile on Instagram can create significant opportunities to drive growth and sell to more customers.

Learn more on how you can use eCommerce platforms to reach more customers or increase sales with social media.

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