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Selling on Instagram: Tips and Tricks to Get You Started

GUEST POST

The global presence of Instagram has become undeniable. This is why more and more brands are investing in their Instagram sales funnel.

It has become the standard for brands to at least have an Instagram account alongside other forms of social media, such as a Facebook Business Page, but there’s no better time than now to get started selling on Instagram. A full 80% of users report that they use their personal account to help them decide whether or not to buy a product or service. 

If your audience is already there and looking into their options, then your online store also needs to be ready to make the Instagram shopping experience seamless—giving your audience the fewest number of steps to the checkout button. 

We’re going to focus on best practices for your content and strategy for Instagram sales. If you have an Instagram business account, this article is for you. 

Are you ready to build brand awareness and drive your customers to the Instagram checkout? 

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How to Drive Instagram Sales in 6 Easy Steps

Did you know that you can generate Instagram sales without creating an ad campaign? 

Many small business owners are trying to attract new customers through traditional advertising, but we have put together some Instagram insights that will further help you boost your revenues.

Let’s see how you can start selling on Instagram!

1. Make Use of Shoppable Instagram Posts

First, you have to set up your own Instagram business profile, with an Instagram bio and an Instagram shop. The last one is currently only applicable if you sell products physically.

Instagram Store

When your Instagram shop is up and running, a button for the shop will appear near the top of your account profile. That’s good, since it places it front and center of the profile—but do you really want your customers to have to go to your account to access your shop?

We think a better option is to bring the shop to their feeds with Instagram shoppable posts.

The buying process is easened if you tag multiple products in one of your posts, which will automatically create a shopping bag icon to highlight each product in the post, as well as place a banner advertisement design at the bottom of the post directing users to your shop, whether on Instagram or on an external website.  

Your goal is to make the customer doing some Instagram shopping reach the Instagram checkout. And this is way easier if you tag products in your post. 

Now, anyone taking a look at your Instagram post can immediately view each individual product in the post and can simply buy them from the Instagram app—remember what we said about making the experience seamless? The shopping feature is your ally!

Shoppable Instagram Post

But if you use shoppable posts, that means customers don’t even need a clickable link to navigate to the shop. 

Our tip to bring this to the next level in creative ways: combine the shoppable post with great captioning and product photos.

You might even think about a carousel post with multiple images!

In our example from the Okayama Denim business account, you can see that they inject some of the history of the product into the caption—both educating the customer and adding to the prestige and luxury of the item they’re plugging. 

Yet, if you don’t have enough time for creating your own posts, you might seek some help from a Social Media Specialist.

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2. Create an Instagram Feed of Curated Product Posts

 Major brands like H&M know which of their pieces complement each other and they don’t cease to show that on their Instagram Page.

Remember walking through a shopping mall and looking in shop windows at beautifully arranged sets of items?

It’s actually surprisingly easy to recreate that kind of experience on Instagram. A curated product post allows you to highlight entire collections or groups of products. 

While that in itself is good, this idea goes great with other engagement-boosting tricks that you can do. Seasonal posts, holiday posts, or other themes can work great—at the end of the day, you know your own products the best, and choosing which ones to feature has to be done carefully.

Curated social media post

The only real issue to this tip is that it’s very in-your-face. Most people don’t want their feed to only be product posts, considering them Instagram Ads

And product posts with multiple items tend not to leave much room for story or educational captions. Use these types of posts sparingly—we reckon it’s best to only have one curated product post for every ten feed posts. Remember, varied content is king on Instagram. And you can diversify your content with our “content category” feature. Isn’t it easy?

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Did you know that you can also create, edit, and schedule posts with third-party tools such as SocialBee? 

Start your 14-day trial now and start diversifying your feed with the help of content categories!

3. Leverage Your Instagram Community

There’s more out there than Instagram shopping posts.

With varied content, you aren’t going for a hard sell with every post, and that’s a good thing—how then are you supposed to use each post to bring in sales? We feel the answer is through your community of followers.

A call to action or CTA is one of the most powerful things you can include in every post. Simply asking your audience to participate or purchase can be the push they need to click the “shop” button. But your CTA doesn’t need to stop there—it can be used to introduce your brand and products to new audiences, as well. 

There are tons of ways to do this: giveaways, contests, or customer content features are effective methods to promote your products without using explicit marketing posts. 

There’s a reason the “tag your friends” call to action is so widely used: it works really really well. It gets new eyes on your brand’s Instagram profile and expands your audience in a natural, organic way. 

While this type of content may not help you with selling services or goods immediately, it sets your online store up for the long run—and over time, a bigger audience also helps to bring in more sales. This approach also has other benefits: more customer-generated content to reshare and greater social proof for your business profile.

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4. Go Live on Your Instagram Account

Instagram Live

More than half of Instagram users surveyed said they eventually made a purchase of something they previously noticed on their Instagram feed. 

However, given how much content the average Instagram user sees on a daily basis, it can be difficult to even get noticed and be differentiated from competitors. 

One way around this is by using Instagram Live—this feature puts your brand at the front and center of your followers’ Instagram experience.  When your brand goes live, Instagram alerts your followers and your account is highlighted in the Stories section of the homepage. 

  • A Live video not only gets you noticed right away, it also allows you to leverage your community.
  • Answering questions and reacting to comments in real time drives user engagement like nothing else—and it allows you to get a bead on what your audience thinks. 
  • As a bonus, if you’re in a country that supports Instagram Shopping checkout, you can also make use of Instagram Live Shopping. 
  • On your Live videos—you can showcase products or collections while your account is live, and users can simply click on a featured product to purchase it immediately.

This is an incredibly powerful feature that not enough brands are using. 

You can educate your audience on product features as they consider their options, addressing pain points and concerns before they even come up. You only need two tools to go live on Instagram, a smartphone and a ring light for streaming.

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5. Maximize the Benefits of Instagram Stories

Over 80% of brand marketers used Instagram stories for video marketing. Clearly, you cannot afford to ignore Stories when selling or monetizing on Instagram in any way.

Instagram Story

You can use stories to drive views to youposts, as instructional or educational content, or even to showcase your own company culture and employees.    

One tip for your company is to use all the tools available for Instagram stories: product tags, product stickers, Q&As, or the tap business function.

All the interactions you generate matter in your Instagram sales journey. And they can also help you gather some Instagram insights about your target audience. So make the most out of interactive content if you plan to sell on Instagram!

But there are a lot of accounts posting Instagram stories—how do you get eyes on the content you really want your target audience to see?

Instead of posting stories and hoping that they’ll reach your audience, you can use the Instagram highlights feature to ensure that the most important content sticks.  

While regular Instagram stories disappear after 24 hours, a highlight stays on your profile until deleted. This is great for product catalogs, FAQs, and other key information that a prospective customer may want to know.

Don’t forget: your Instagram profile tells a lot about your business. 

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You don’t need to stop there either: recent event coverage, customer testimonials, partnerships, and other timely content can all be saved to your Instagram highlights. 

6. Sell on Instagram with the Help of Influencers

Influencer marketing has become part and parcel of social media marketing strategy—its impact is simply too powerful to ignore. And yes, it will help you sell on Instagram.

That doesn’t necessarily mean shelling out for big-name Instagram influencers with hundreds of thousands or millions of followers. Micro-influencers can be just as (or even more) effective as brand ambassadors. In fact, micro-influencers actually have better engagement rates than the big names and higher conversion rates. With potential outcomes in mind, you can run a cost analysis for hiring an influencer as well as Instagram ads cost per click to see which strategy works best for you. 

If you think about it, it really makes sense—trying to engage with large Instagram influencers is going to be a tough task when the audience is that large, and micro-influencers are simply more relatable to a vast majority of people.

Social media post influencer

@celiacouture_makeup in our example above has less than a thousand followers, but her makeup looks great and is much more achievable for the intended audience compared to something done by a pro. 

Easen the Instagram Shopping Experience with SocialBee!

While it can be intimidating to start selling on Instagram, there’s no doubt that it’s a great sales channel. Our tips should help jumpstart the process, but they’re hardly the end-all-be-all of Instagram selling. 

There are myriad ways to use Instagram to boost your sales, and SocialBee is here to help you make the most out of your social media posting. You can create, schedule, and edit posts whenever and wherever.

Make sure you benefit from the 14-day free trial and test all the features SocialBee has to offer!

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Denise Langenegger is part of the team at Instasize, a content creation toolkit for anyone editing photos and online content on mobile.

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