Looking to take the Instagram world by storm with your product and score your business a fresh, new online audience? You’re not alone. Just like you have lofty Instagram goals, many other brands seek out the highly visual, ever-popular social media platform to increase e-commerce sales, build up their brand and audience and transform into the online business of their dreams. However, many brands also ditch their goals too early into their Instagram strategy due to frustration and lack of results – or, more honestly, a lack of knowledge on how to get those results they desire. 

But Instagram does not have to be an intimidating space for e-commerce brands. While the platform is no doubt saturated with people to see, places to go and products to buy, that doesn’t mean there isn’t an open space for your brand to see success in sales. It’s all about learning to use the tools Instagram provides to its users in a way that emphasizes all that is great about your brand and products. Luckily for you, we’ve got the inside scoop!

Don’t let 2020 ruin your sales goals. Let’s learn more about how you can use Instagram to help you launch into better e-commerce sales numbers that last. 

Selling on Instagram – Any Brand Can Do It

As we mentioned before, Instagram is a pretty saturated platform. Instagram has recorded one billion active users worldwide daily and 112.5 million U.S. users on the platform in 2020 – an estimated 25 million of those accounts being brands. In looking at the top 100 brands, 90% have an Instagram account linked back to their business. But the best part about this social platform is the space for new accounts that fit a niche seems to be infinite. Any brand can find the audience it’s looking for with the right strategy in mind.

Selling product on Instagram comes down to finding the right audience, marketing your product well and providing easy access to shoppable links and checkout pages. The platform has been working diligently to make this a breeze for brands to put into action – the in-platform Checkout tool is still being beta-tested in the U.S., and Facebook is not far behind on becoming its own shoppable hub for brands. With the road being paved before us by Instagram, it’s time to take the right actionable steps to ensure you’re doing everything you can to increase sales for your brand on your end. 

We’re going to take you through a few of our tried-and-true tips for e-commerce brands on Instagram so you have a foolproof start-to-finish roadmap for increasing your ROI. First, let’s talk about the bread and butter of Instagram e-commerce – shoppable products. 

Maximize Shoppable Post Features

If you haven’t already discovered the benefits of using Shoppable Posts on Instagram to sell products, you’re missing out on big numbers. There’s a world of sales opportunity out there; in fact, 70% of shoppers turn to Instagram to make big decisions on what to buy. What better way to influence their decisions than making the shopping experience as easy as three steps – see, tap, shop?

If this all sounds like brand-new information, your first step should be to check and see if Instagram Shopping is enabled for your business account. Facebook has an amazing guide to figure out whether you’re eligible for an Instagram Shop; however, the steps are relatively simple. First, you’ll want to connect your Instagram business account to your Facebook product catalog (or create a new one if this is your first rodeo). Once this is complete, visit your profile settings, select “Business,” and then select “Instagram Shopping.” Follow the steps provided, and then submit your profile for review. If you meet guidelines, you’ll be approved and ready to get the ball rolling with shoppable posts! 

Tagging products in Instagram posts is similar to tagging people and the ability to do this can be found in the same area. You’ll be able to tag products that are listed within your Facebook catalog, and if listed correctly, Instagram users will be able to tap on your photo and see a breakdown of product name and exact pricing. They can then tap on this sticker to bring them to a separate photo of your product (taken from your catalog) and can then be redirected to the product via your website. It’s a simple process that helps increase buyer interest and website traffic along the way. 

However, these are just the basic bones of Instagram Shopping. Maximizing your Shoppable Posts means doing more than tagging and sitting back – there are a few different ways you can encourage a more personalized buying experience for users that may help you convert more sales. 

Save for Later/Wish List Feature

While browsing through products on Instagram, users have the ability to view their recently browsed products as well as save items to a wish list that they can shop from in the future. The feature makes remembering which products you’ve been intrigued by easy, and it can actually help brands out in the long run by pushing products to consumers long after the shelf life of a shoppable post. 

Encourage your customers and followers to use their Wish List feature as much as possible. It’s easy to use – you can save products the same way you save posts, using the bookmark tab to the bottom right of the photo. You can also move items from your Instagram Shopping Bag to your Wish List by tapping on the item in the Shopping Bag tab and selecting “Save For Later.” Encouraging use of this feature is a great way to promote product while also giving buyers the option to think it over, save their money and buy when the time is right. No more added pressure for those looking to budget in 2020!

Keeping an Updated Catalog

Connecting your Instagram to your Facebook Catalog doesn’t mean the maintenance of Instagram Shopping is over. If you want to truly see the best return on investment and conversion rate from your Shoppable Posts, you’ll need to keep that Facebook Catalog properly updated to reflect your product inventory. 

If you’re a brand that tends to have new products rolling out with each season, this is especially important. Products will not be eligible for shoppable tagging unless they have been uploaded to the catalog, whether this is manually or using a data feed tool, and approved by Facebook. Keep in mind that products that are not uploaded to the catalog properly may have issues with showing the price, product name or linking back to the product page on your website. It’s essential that you know your Facebook Catalog in and out and add new products before you plan on promoting them to your Instagram followers. 

Using Instagram Stories To Shop

Remember earlier when we mentioned one billion users are active on Instagram each day? Half of those users are scrolling through their Instagram Stories. With 500 million users to impress, Instagram has heard the cry of brands on the platform and integrated shoppable tagging into its Instagram Stories feature. That’s right! You can use your Instagram Stories as another way to attract, intrigue, and convert your consumers. We weren’t joking about the accessibility of increased sales on this platform! 

While the old method of having users “swipe up to shop” isn’t necessarily bad, it involves more steps and attention than the new way of tagging products in your Stories. Before, brands had to make sure their Stories were minimal and highlighted the swipe up feature toward the bottom of the screen. If audiences weren’t careful, they’d skim over this all together, leaving a low conversion rate for Stories that seemingly should have been effective. By using product tags within Stories, users can see the tag front and center attached to the product image, leaving less mental work to get to the products they want to purchase. 

Be sure to incorporate shoppable tags into your current Instagram Story strategy. Make space for tags to be easily seen. We suggest placing them wherever you envision your audience’s eyes being pulled in your Story design (so long as it’s related to and showcases the product). Shoppable tags on Stories allow you to filter through a few different options for tags that best fit your brand aesthetic and goal; you can choose from a shopping bag icon or a product name sticker in either rainbow, gray or transparent text. Get creative with it and showcase your product in a brand-new light!

Instagram Stories can also be used in other ways that drive sales without always utilizing the shoppable tag feature. It’s good to remember that followers do not always want product posts shoved down their throats – incorporating other lifestyle-oriented or promotional content in a less salesy manner can help you maintain a healthy following and engagement rate. Try using Stories to promote sales, create aesthetically pleasing graphics, share tips and tricks related to the interests of your consumer persona and more. You want your brand to have a well-rounded appearance that focuses on the entire lifestyle of your consumer, not just the product itself. 

Consider Affiliate Marketing for Engaged Influencers

To supplement the work you put into making your Instagram shoppable, you may want to ensure your brand is being pushed into the right hands by individuals who live and breathe your target audience. This is where affiliate marketing may come in handy for your business. 

Affiliate marketing allows you to hand select brand ambassadors to push your product to the right audience and gives them a commission-based pay as incentive. This can either be a direct amount of commission given to an individual as payment, or it can be an allotted discount on his or her purchase with your brand for every x amount of sales he or she brings in by promoting your products on their Instagram. It’s a great way to not only increase your e-commerce sales but also build up brand trust and loyalty and connect with users directly within your target market. 

This approach to increasing sales does take a bit of brand-intensive research. You should really know who your ideal Instagram audience is and which users would best tap into this market before creating any affiliate links or codes. You may also want to consider the size of the influencer you’d like for your brand. Larger influencers reach a wider market, but their reach is broad and they may expect a larger payment for their following. Micro and nano influencers have a much smaller following; however, their audience is refined, niche, and more engaged with their content. Consider your goals and ideal outcomes before reaching out with any offers to potential affiliate partners.

Affiliate marketing is great to consider if you’re looking for a refresh in Instagram audience, site traffic and hopefully conversions. It allows new eyes to view your product and gives affiliates a discount code to make their first purchase an enjoyable experience. It’s also great for brands looking to get closer to their audience and build up more of a rapport with followers.

Increasing e-commerce sales on Instagram is a feasible task if you’re studied up on your available tools and options. Work with your followers to excite them about new product releases, encourage them to save products to a wish list to purchase later, and showcase your product in the best light possible by keeping your catalog updated and your Stories dynamic. Consider affiliate marketing if you’d like to dive deeper into the world of Instagram marketing with influencers. Whatever combination of techniques you decide to use, you’ll be able to work toward your sales goals with the right information in your social media marketing arsenal.