Instagram can be one of the most powerful tools for selling products and services if you know how to stand out from the crowd. These tips will show you how to successfully sell on Instagram.
Instagram is now a global player in the marketplace, and in the US alone, 37% of adults use it. Instagram is a visual platform, making it the perfect place for companies selling products to showcase. There are several ways to open a store and start selling on Instagram.
How to set up Instagram purchases
If you’re eligible, your best place to start is by setting up your Instagram purchases.
To use this feature, you need:
- Be in a supported place (we are talking about a country, in Russia this function has already become available to some users).
- Sell physical goods. Sorry, the services are not supported at this time.
- Have a business Instagram account (not a personal one).
- Link your Instagram account to your Facebook page.
If you meet these requirements, you can create an Instagram store.
Set up Instagram purchases with Facebook Directory Manager
Now you will need to connect your Instagram account to an existing directory or create a new one. The first way to do this is to use the Facebook Directory Manager.
If you’ve never used Directory Manager, this is a feature in Business Manager that allows you to have a store on your Facebook page as well. Although the function is quite simple, there are many options. To start adding products, click “Manage”, a new window will open.
Now you can add products. You will be given the option to manually add each one, bulk upload, or use a pixel that updates automatically.
If you add images, they must be 500 × 500 pixels.
You will also need to add:
- Description of your product
- Link to a direct page on your site where people can buy
- Product price
Setting up Instagram purchases with Shopify or Big Commerce
Are you already using Shopify or Big Commerce for online sales on your website? Then this whole process will become much easier for you as you can directly connect your trading platform.
Whichever method you use (Facebook Commerce Manager, Shopify, or Big Commerce), once you’ve got everything hooked up, you can start creating posts for tagged products.
Using an alternative sales platform
You may have other reasons why you want to use something other than product Instagram posts.
- Are you selling outside of the Instagram supported area?
- Is your main product selling services?
- Want to try something different?
- Is your client just starting to work and does not want to spend time and effort on creating a catalog?
Another alternative is to use paid services like Soldsie or CommentSold. Both of these services work by allowing people to buy directly from Instagram (as well as Facebook) comments. Plans range from $ 49 per month and up, and you will also need to pay a transaction fee of up to 5.9%.
If you can’t use Instagram’s own settings, this might be the option for you.
What to do for Instagram sales
Maintain your brand identity. Because Instagram is a real-time visual network. This means that you are selling with an attractive image.
Take time to get your photo right. Choose a square-shaped photo (if you’re not creating stories) that is easily identifiable and free of distracting lighting issues.
Make sure your Instagram matches your brand style. Your branding guidelines should include information:
- About fonts and their use
- What specific color numbers do you use for your brand
- Recommendations for using images
- When you use photographs and illustrations
- Where to get the images if you don’t make them yourself
When you have a strong brand presence, you can see it. For example, Ben and Jerry’s have a clear set of guidelines on what kind of brand they are and who they are creating content for. This can be seen in every post.
Let Instagram Stories work for you. When scheduling posts for your feed, don’t forget the power of stories!
There are so many story options now.
- Live video
- Add music and filters
While most stories will disappear after 24 hours, you can add more views to them over time by including them in highlights of your story. For example, ZEGO Foods uses the highlights of its history to showcase all the major aspects of its brand.
Custom apparel brand eShakti uses its direct selling highlights by creating categories for the different types of products they sell.
When you click on any category, you will find posts that sell its products. The company is also using some of the additional stickers and features to boost engagement, such as this post featuring autumn colors.
Make a sale on your photos. If you’re running a sale, make it obvious! People go to Instagram to see photos. If you make captions to let your followers know about a product promotion, you can get more impact from it.
This post will help you buy! White dots are clickable links to guide you to the next stage of your purchase.
Use social proof. Instagram is a great source of user generated content. Chances are you are aware of the value of social proof that UGC provides.
So, if your Instagram monitoring found an awesome photo of your product, why not ask the Instagram user who posted it for permission to use it in your upcoming promotion?
Here’s another example from eShakti demonstrating the power of user generated content. They regularly ask clients to tag them in their photos and then share many of them. This post received over 1000 likes in just a couple of days! Like any of your other posts, you can also make this type of content available for purchase by simply adding a tag to your product.
Post ads. Now that Instagram ads are available to all users, why not explore the sponsored posts that are currently appearing in your news feed? After all, competing research is one way to learn how to sell on Instagram. Which ones are getting a decent amount of likes and positive comments? What similarities do you see in these messages?
Use hashtags for visibility and conversion. When you’re selling products, using the right hashtags becomes even more important if you want to convert your posts into sales.
Make a list:
- Hashtags related directly to your brand
- Hashtags for specific products
- Shopping related hashtags (#shoppable is great!)
Using these hashtags will help people looking for your products find them! They can also help attract a post from a specific time ago to the right audience, even if they won’t see it in your feed.
Follow the details. People don’t follow on Instagram. When they “shop in the window”, this is certainly true. But once you’ve gotten their attention with the sale, try not to ask potential customers questions by providing details.
- Specify the start and end dates of the promotion.
- Explain if the sale will be online, in-store, or both. If the customer is online, tell them which promo code to use, or let subscribers know they don’t need a code.
You can list multiple products in one shopping post. You just need to tag each directory tag for that item. For example, this hat sale has several color options and you can choose the one you like best!
Keep your Instagram sales in the context of your broader sales funnel… You don’t want your Instagram sale to be a secret, do you? Promote your Instagram sale whenever possible. If you use Facebook, please let your followers know.
Pay attention to your mailing list, especially the segment most likely to use Instagram. Not only will you increase your chances of getting people to participate in your promotion, but you will also be able to get more Instagram followers as a result!
Also, think about how your purchase messages relate to your other marketing efforts. For example, in this shopping post, when going to the website to make a purchase, a pop-up appeared to get the customer’s email address and offer them a discount coupon.
Connecting points of contact like this can help you not only make one-off sales, but also build long-term relationships with new customers.