Learning how to sell on Instagram offers businesses of all sizes incredible opportunities to reach their target audience and drive sales.
In September 2017, Instagram announced their business community has grown to two million advertisers, up from one million advertisers back in March.
From major brands to local mom-and-pop shops, businesses around the world are driving proven results with Instagram. According to a recent report, 75 percent of Instagram users take action, such as visiting a website or making a purchase, after looking at Instagram ads!
If you haven’t already started optimizing your Instagram for sales, you may be missing out on a huge opportunity!
Here’s some tips that actually work to help you learn how to sell on Instagram:
Instagram profiles are becoming the new homepage, as more and more consumers are turning to Instagram instead of Google to search for brands. This means you should be spending as much time and effort curating a beautifully-designed Instagram feed as you would creating your website.
Your Instagram Business profile should include:
Love Crochet is a great example of a well-crafted Business profile:
Their profile includes a beautifully-designed and consistent aesthetic, eye-catching bio and and branded profile photo.
Your Instagram Business profile is your first opportunity to make a great impression and entice people to follow your business. By creating a consistent brand story and aesthetic, you can turn new customers into devoted followers – taking one giant leap closer to making a sale.
With continued changes to the Instagram algorithm and heightened competition to have your content be seen, Instagram ads will become a critical part of Instagram marketing strategy for businesses.
Once you’ve set up a Business profile on Instagram, you can then decide how much you want spend, where you’d like the ad to be seen and how long you want to run it for. Instagram allows businesses a variety of targeting options to best suit your businesses needs.
Running your own Instagram ad campaign isn’t that difficult, but it can be intimidating to many small business owners and influencers who haven’t done it before.
Fortunately, it’s not as hard as you think! The easiest way to run ads is by promoting posts you’ve shared on Instagram. Just select the post you want to boost, then hit the “promote” button once it’s posted.
Instagram will automatically pull in a “similar audience” that you can share the post to, or you can easily create your own audience in the app by choosing an interest, age range, and the genders you want to promote to.
Once you’ve set up your audience and budget, make sure to give your ad one last look over before hitting “Confirm.”
You can start with a small budget and run your ad for a few days to test things out. To track how your ad is performing, click “View Results” in the bottom left corner of your ad. Remember, Instagram Ads can take practice, so make sure you continue to tweak your boosted posts and audiences until you get the results you want!
The best Instagram ads for driving ecommerce sales includes messaging that clearly explains how to make a purchase.
Take @thebouqsco for example. In the example below, they use the call-to-action “Shop Now and save” in the caption followed by a short description of the offer. They also use “Shop Now” as a call-to-action for the button to to encourage users to make the purchase.
Basically, The Bouqs Co. simplifies the buying process. The ad makes it super clear what they are offering without any extra distraction. It’s important you keep your messaging simple, not to distract users from the goal of your post.
In March 2017, Instagram released advertising in Stories, offering brands yet another paid opportunity to reach more people. These immersive, full screen ads lets your business use targeting and reach capabilities that make your ads personally relevant to the people you want to reach.
While photo ads will likely retain their top spot well into 2018, statistics show that Instagram Stories ads will see the most growth. In fact, “30% of businesses plan to create Instagram Stories ads in 2018, while only 8% did in 2017”.
These ads pop up in between Instagram Stories of accounts you follow and can make a large impact on potential customers:
You’ll notice a small “Sponsored” tag in the top right corner and a Call-To-Action (“Learn More”) at the bottom of these ads. Again, adding an additional call-to-action at the bottom of your ad can also be helpful for those interested in learning more.
You have a choice in Instagram Ads to create either a video or a photo. Whichever you choose, make sure your initial clip is attention-grabbing. You’ll need to catch the eyes of those who quickly tap through stories.
Instagram Stories have become a great way for businesses to make deeper connections with their followers and show off their brand’s personality. In 2017 Instagram reported “one in five stories on Instagram gets a direct message from its viewers.” Instagram Stories offer you chance to connect with their followers on a daily basis, without cluttering up your feed. Make sure you’re not missing out on this great opportunity to connect with future customers!
Instagram Stories is exploding in popularity, and the feature has over 300 million daily active users, more than double Snapchat! As Instagram Stories continues to grow in popularity, it’s no surprise businesses are continuing to find new and creative ways they can sell using this feature.
Instagram Stories is the perfect opportunity for businesses to engage with audiences on a more frequent and personal basis. Many brands use Instagram Stories to capture their products in action, promote special offers or showcase new items.
In 2017, Instagram graced users with 10,000 followers or more the ability to add links to Instagram Stories, which was great news for retail brands and publishers. This is a huge Instagram trend right now, and can help you grow your email list, sell products, drive traffic, and more.
When adding a link to Instagram Stories, you’ll notice a small arrow and “See More” text appear at the bottom of your image. Since this small text may be unnoticed, you can add text directing users to “Swipe Up” for added visibility.
The Instagram algorithm now takes into account all the interactions you receive on your Instagram Stories as well, such as replies or when your stories are sent to someone.
The more that a user interacts with your Instagram Stories, the more likely your posts will show up in their feed.
A great Instagram hack to get around the algorithm is to take advantage of Instagram Stories engagement opportunities, including the polling feature or “Swipe Up” option (if you have over 10k followers).
We’ve also been seeing a lot of micro-influencers telling their followers to “DM me for a direct link to this product!” which is a great way to drive people to your inbox, build relationships with your followers, and ultimately increase the chance of your posts showing up on their feed.
These are all great tactics to drive your customers to engage with your brand and a way to make sure you stay “top of mind” with your audience.
This year you can also expect to see more of Instagram and Shopify’s new shopping feature integration, as it’s set to be released to Shopify’s wider user base in 2018!
According to Shopify and TechCrunch, “Instagram is already a ‘significant’ driver of Shopify merchant store traffic, so being able to convert said traffic right on the platform instead of round-tripping could result in a big boost of additional sales.”
Instagram’s shopping feature allows businesses to tag products that are available for sale, and then let users purchase them directly within the app. Instagram product tagging is currently in testing and only available to an initial group of Shopify businesses however once the test phase is complete, this feature will be available to everyone.
Shopify plugins like Shoppable Instagram Galleries makes it easier than ever for your business to make sales. Their Instant Purchases feature lets visitors add to cart and buy the liked items directly from images on your feed! Businesses can create a custom gallery to showcase their products, then simply add the gallery’s link to their Instagram profile bio.
Creating a shoppable Instagram feed like Later’s Linkin.bio feature is a popular strategy for businesses looking to drive sales through Instagram.
Here you can see @meundies custom URL in their bio, where they can direct users through post captions and Instagram stories:
Linkin.bio is a landing page that resembles your Instagram feed and displays your posts as clickable images that you can link directly to a product page. This makes it easy to build a clickable, shoppable feed that links your audience straight to your content. You can also link to multiple websites and and pages, all without changing the link in your bio:
When one of your followers clicks on the link in your bio, they’ll be taken to a web and mobile-optimized landing page that resembles your Instagram feed and displays your Instagram posts as clickable images. When your followers visit your Linkin.bio page, they can click on any of your Instagram posts to visit the product page that your photo is about.
Shoppers love a good sale or promotion. Instagram is the perfect place to promote a sale, new product launch or discount code exclusively to your followers. You can either add your promo information in a caption or in Instagram Stories, encouraging users to click the link in your bio to take advantage of the offer.
If you’re running an Instagram-exclusive promotion, you also can create a teaser on your other social networks to drive traffic to your Instagram business profile. Promoting exclusive Instagram-only promotions (for example, a special discount code for your followers) among your other social networks will encourage audiences to follow your Instagram account to make sure they don’t miss out on future offers.
Instagram influencers continue to be a hot topic as collaborations and sponsorships have nearly replaced traditional ads and are a huge part of a social media strategies today. Consumers today don’t trust traditional advertising — they trust people. Recent research from Nielsen shows that consumers trust personal recommendations above brand advertisements.
The easier it is for a customer to picture themselves using your product, the easier it will be to sell to them.
Influencer marketing gives brands a unique opportunity to reach a niche and engaged audience.
Although it may initially seem like a risk to invest large amounts of money into influencer marketing, it’s important to consider exactly what you are paying for.
Consider advertisers that spend upwards of $5 million (excluding production costs) for a 30-second Super Bowl commercial to reach more than 100 million viewers — who may or may not be the brand’s target audience. A series of Instagram posts by a fashion blogger with 500,000 followers and a cult-following, could sell out an entire product line within 24 hours.
If you don’t have the budget to partner with a big influencer, consider finding a micro-influencer. These influencers have a significant, but not massive following, usually ranging anywhere from 1,000 to 100,000 followers. Micro-influencers are typically much more willing to do an “in-kind” agreement, trading product for promotion. If you’re a small business, investing in micro-influencers could be a great way to help drive potential customers to your page.
79% of businesses rank engagement as the most important factor when evaluating who is an ideal influencer, followed by quality of followers (70%) and industry or niche (67%).
It’s important you spend more time thinking about your strategy and campaign goals before getting started on your influencer marketing campaign. Setting up crystal clear goals will drive initial planning decisions and help you determine the best fit for your partnership.
While working with an influencer, it’s important to make the paid partnership feel as natural as possible. Sitting an influencer in a chair to talk about how great your product is will likely come off as an advertisement and will quickly lose your viewer’s attention.
For example, lifestyle blogger Jacey Durprie’s latest partnership with Biossance aligns perfectly with her brand, as she frequently shows off her morning routine and favorite products. She keeps it conversational, asking her followers their favorite “beauty hacks” and shares one of her own:
The partnership feels very natural, without looking like a typical advertisement.
Whichever route you chose, influencer marketing is here to stay. Influencer marketing is a great way for you to tap into a niche and engaged audience, to build brand awareness and most importantly, drive sales.
Figuring out how to sell on Instagram will take some practice in order to determine what methods work best for your business