Instagram is undoubtedly one of the most popular social media platforms for brands wanting to connect with their audience. The visual-led approach makes it the perfect place to showcase products, and its various shopping features allow users to buy products they’ve fallen in love with, more easily than ever before.
The stats speak for themselves…
In 2019, 60% of Instagram’s 1 billion users claim to regularly seek out and discover new products, and 130 million users tap to reveal product tags in shopping posts each month.
If you’re an online retailer that’s not making use of Instagram’s shopping features, it’s safe to say you’re missing a trick.
But don’t worry, it’s never too late! Here we’ve shared the basics to help get you started, along with some tips to ensure you maximise potential sales:
How to get started
To access Instagram’s shopping features, you must first have an approved business profile. You should also upload your product catalogue to your linked Facebook business account using your eCommerce platform (Shopify or BigCommerce). Once you’re all set-up, turn the shopping feature ‘on’ in your Instagram account.
What shopping features are available?
Product tags. You can tag up to 5 items per individual image, or 20 for a carousel post. The tags allow you to display a product’s price and directly link users to view the product on your website.
Shoppable stories. You can add one product sticker to any story. Product stickers direct users to a page where they can find out more about a product, and access your website.
Shopping channel. There’s a dedicated shopping channel on Instagram’s explore tab, where posts with product tags are featured. The content seen here is based on a user’s individual interests and posts they’ve previously interacted in. It’s a great place for Instagrammers to discover new brands they don’t already follow, and for brands to achieve exposure to new audiences. To be featured here, ensure your shopping posts are tagged, your caption features relevant hashtags and your content is posted whilst your audience is online to maximise engagement.
General hints and tips…
Remember to always tag the products in your images, and double check they’re correct. You don’t want to annoy any potential customers by sending them to the wrong product!
If there’s more than one product in a picture, ensure you tag them all. Your post may just be about a specific product, but when a user clicks on a product tag, they can also see a list of the other products tagged (never miss an opportunity to upsell!)
Invest in high quality lifestyle photography and video. This is what sells and Instagrammers have high expectations, especially if you want them to buy-in to the lifestyle your brand represents.
Use relevant hashtags. Instagrammers can follow hashtags, so it makes sense to feature relevant ones on your posts. This doesn’t just help you to find new followers, it can help you to find new customers, too! Remember the golden rules, don’t over-use the same hashtags and don’t use irrelevant ones. You can have up to 30 per post.
Set aside some advertising budget. One of the best ways to ensure maximum exposure of your posts is by sponsoring them. Your Instagram advertising strategy should include a mixture of sponsored posts targeting new users, and retargeting posts to try and re-engage previous visitors to your website.
Team up with influencers. Aside from the shopping functions mentioned above, influencers can really help to boost your brand’s sales success on Instagram. Work with the right one, and you could access lots of new users and build credibility. But beware - you should ensure the pairing is believable. The influencer should genuinely be interested in your type of product/industry for the relationship to work (and for their audience to be interested in you!). There’s lots of ways to work with influencers, but to drive sales we’d recommend offering their followers a special discount.
Use the highlights feature on your profile page to showcase new products, discounts and best-sellers.
Ensure your account has variety. Whilst we’re talking primarily about selling here, you need to ensure you don’t turn your followers off by ONLY selling to them 24/7. Make sure your posts include a mixture of great, engaging content. Ask questions, share user generated content, post regularly and be helpful.
We hope these tips help you to get started in the wonderful world of Instagram shopping! Want more social media advice? Check out this post about creating the perfect social media content plan.