Technically speaking, it’s not difficult to use Instagram to sell products.
Nearly any brand can offer their products for sale on Instagram. But only those who take a strategic approach will end up generating profitable sales.
With this in mind, let’s dig into how to use Instagram to sell your products and grow your business.
In order to sell products on Instagram, you first need to ensure your brand’s account is set up as a Business account.
To register as a Business account, open the Instagram app. Tap Settings, then Account, then Switch to Business Account. Once you’ve done so, be sure to connect your business’ Facebook page — then fill out any additional information within the form provided.
From there, you’ll need to be approved to sell on Instagram. Companies are eligible to sell on Instagram if they:
After approval, you’ll need to connect your product catalog to your Instagram Business Account. You can do so manually using Facebook’s Catalog Manager or with the help of an eCommerce platform like Shopify or BigCommerce.
With your product catalog connected, you’re free to start tagging products in your Instagram photos, videos, and Stories.
But, this needs to be done strategically …
Before we get into the more specific things brands in different niches can do to effectively sell on the platform, let’s discuss some of the broad tips for selling on Instagram.
There are two things to unpack, here:
Regarding high-quality content, it goes without saying that your photos and videos need to look professional and presentable—this is non-negotiable.
In addition to being high in quality, your Shoppable Posts need to be aesthetically engaging, as well.
Instagram users are typically engaged most by “action” or “lifestyle” photos and videos, as well as content showing products from a first-person perspective.
Such content showcases your products as they’re meant to be used (as opposed to when sitting on the shelf, as with studio photos).
In addition to creating Instagram posts in photo and video format, you should also be creating Shoppable Instagram Stories.
Stories have alway been Instagram’s most valuable “real estate.” Promoting products within such a context leads to higher engagement and can create a sense of urgency and exclusivity among your audience — prompting them to take immediate action.
Overall, your goal should be to use any and all of Instagram’s features to keep your audience engaged and moving toward conversion.
Though not a new tactic, influencer marketing has proven to be an effective means of generating awareness and engagement — as well as spurring sales.
According to data collected by SurveyMonkey, more than one in five 18-34 year-olds say they’ve decided to make a purchase due to an influencer’s endorsement.
Using influencers in Shoppable Instagram Stories has shown to be highly effective for sales purposes. It is the go-to tactic for influencers in a number of industries:
So, when partnering with influencers, be sure to create a mix of engaging Shoppable content — while maintaining a heavy focus on Stories.
On top of creating paid partnerships with influencers, you also want to consider using user-generated content from your actual audience to create Shoppable posts.
Here, you’re looking for content that your customers may have posted on their own Instagram page that features your products in some way. In turn, you can share this content to your Stories, where you can then make it Shoppable.
For example, here’s a post from influencer Jessie Ann G featuring a dress from Revolve:
Revolve then republished this content on its own Instagram account, making it Shoppable in the process:
When digging up content created by your followers, you want to be highly selective of what you feature on your own page.
While most UGC you collect likely won’t be as high in quality as the content you create, it should still be presentable and showcase your product in the best light possible.
The content you create for and post on Instagram doesn’t need to stay on that platform.
There are a number of tools available to help make this happen. Foursixty allows you to embed your Instagram feed directly onto your website, as Pura Vida Bracelets does:
Another Instagram tool, Curalate Showroom, uses a brand’s Instagram feed to programmatically and dynamically provide on-site recommendations in real-time. Curalate also enables sites to create shoppable Instagram feeds similar to Foursixty:
By integrating your Instagram feed and data with your eCommerce site, you’ll be sure to enhance your customer’s experience regardless of which channel they use.
We mentioned earlier that selling on Instagram often generates a relatively low average order value.
When featuring multiple products in a single post, don’t link to each item separately. Rather, bundle the products into a single item order — then tag the bundle in the post.
This is known as inventory kitting: grouping, packaging, and selling separate items as a single unit. As long as your eCommerce platform is connected to strong inventory management software, the process is straightforward:
If you sell packs made up of multiple of products, you can quickly set up different pack sizes for existing products using a pack size variant.
If you want to make a product bundle of different variants (such as yellow, red, and blue watch bands), you can easily do so with bundles functionality.
You also have the option of assigning product variants to batches for tracking. This helps to ensure you have enough stock on hand of each variant.
While you may want to test tagging the individual items as well within your content, you do want to make it easy for those looking to purchase all of the featured items to do so.
Once you’ve mastered the big-picture tips … it’s time to get specific based on your product niche, which we will be covering in our next special Instagram blog.
Start managing your inventory and sales orders from one seamless platform: QuickBooks Commerce.
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