To stay competitive in today’s market, online stores need a social media presence. In fact, the role of social media in ecommerce is rapidly gaining importance.
Being active on social media helps you develop a brand identity, promote yourself to a new audience, and form better relationships with your current customers.
Your business doesn’t need to have an active profile on every single network. However, Instagram should be one of the core elements of your ecommerce marketing strategy. Instagram has around a billion monthly users, and many are highly engaged and responsive.
All ecommerce brands can benefit from Instagram, no matter the products sold. To help you get started, here are 13 tips for boosting sales through Instagram marketing!
1. Ensure that you’re using a business account
Instagram’s business accounts have slightly different features than their personal accounts, and it’s worth making the switch. With a business account, you can view helpful information like the number of clicks or impressions.
The business account allows you to add a contact button, too, which makes it much easier for users to call or email you.
Converting to a business account is very straightforward. All you have to do is select “Switch to Professional Account” in your account settings. Instagram will then prompt you to log into your Facebook account.
Your store’s Facebook page should have your industry listed. When Instagram pulls your information from Facebook for your business profile, it’ll show your industry on your profile.
This is a great way to introduce your business to new viewers!
2. Start batching and automating your content
Posting regularly on Instagram is critical for social media success. It can be tough to keep up with regular posts, though, especially if you’re also trying to interact with your followers in the comments.
When you add all of the other platforms that you’re active on, social media marketing becomes a full-time job!
Batching is a helpful and efficient way to stay on track with posts. Instead of preparing just a single post, you can get several ready at once.
It’s often easier to set aside a larger block of time once a week or month to focus on Instagram content than it is to work on it for a few minutes every day.
You can find a variety of online tools that enable batching on Instagram. Some allow you to schedule an entire month’s worth of content in advance.
These tools can automate your posting, too, so you won’t need to log in to upload the content. You can stick to a regular schedule without having to worry about being available at a certain time to post your content.
3. Share high-quality photos of your product
Photos are the main appeal of Instagram, so this should be where most of your effort goes. Your product images should be high quality to draw the attention of people in your target market.
Pics that show your product in action tend to perform best on Instagram. By displaying the item in use, your audience can more easily imagine themselves using it.
It’s a good idea to follow the rule of thirds for staging your Instagram pictures, especially if the photo only features the product with a blank background. Imagine your photo has a grid that divides the space into nine equal parts.
Then, place the product on one of the intersecting points of the grid. You may be tempted to place the item in the center of the photo, but placing it off-center looks more visually appealing.
It’s also important to note that lighting is the most important factor when it comes to image quality. If possible, take your photos in natural lighting in the morning.
This light tends to be very rich and can bring life and warmth to your pictures. You may need to use multiple sources of light to reduce shadows and ensure that all of the item’s key features are easy to distinguish.
4. Add interesting copy to your images
Although photos are the real selling point of Instagram, your captions are a part of the browsing experience, too. When you combine high-quality snapshots with compelling copy, your engagement and follower count may soon increase.
Instagram captions are limited to 2,200 characters, but they truncate at 125 characters. The first couple sentences of your post are your chance to convince people to click to expand the text. Better yet, you can try to communicate the entire message in a sentence or two.
You may want to avail of the attention, interest, desire, and action (AIDA) method when writing your captions. Your photo should attract attention, but the caption’s job is to generate interest and desire in your brand. Highlight the value of the product, and show the viewer how they can benefit from it.
Finally, finish your post with a call to action. This may be a request to make a purchase, but there are plenty of other ways to encourage users to take action as well.
For example, you could direct them to your shop’s website to learn more about your brand. You could alternatively recommend that they sign up for your email list.
5. Collaborate with relevant influencers
Influencers are massively popular on Instagram. Those who follow them admire their content and trust their recommendations. Partnering with an influencer is therefore an excellent way to expand your following and build your credibility.
Working with an influencer can be expensive, but the return on investment is usually worth it. Small businesses tend to do best when teaming up with smaller-scale influencers. You can still reach a new audience of potential customers, but you won’t completely break the bank.
Partner with an influencer who is involved in your industry. They can speak authentically and knowledgeably about your products, and their followers are probably already interested in your niche.
In addition, let the influencer be in control of their post. They know their audience and what content performs well on their page.
Through the use of Instagram Stories, regular posts, or other formats, influencers can talk about their appreciation for your product or brand. This in turn can encourage their followers to visit your feed and start shopping!
6. Post user-generated content
Sharing user-generated content has several benefits. It shows people that you’re paying attention to their posts, and it provides an opportunity to thank them for engaging with your brand. This can then encourage them to post more pics and tag your business, which can improve your online visibility.
Acknowledging and sharing your customers’ posts or stories can also increase their loyalty to your brand. This is because it creates a more personal connection between your business and the shopper.
Other viewers like to see content from real customers. These images seem more authentic than those taken by the brand itself, so user-generated content helps your business seem more transparent.
7. Engage with your followers
Posting pics and writing captions is only half the work. After your post goes live, you should engage with your followers by responding to comments.
If possible, you may want to be available for about an hour after you post a photo to interact with your audience. Do you schedule and automate your posts? If so, try to regularly schedule time to respond to your Instagram comments a couple times per week.
You can also engage with shoppers by liking and commenting on their posts. You could interact with your existing followers or attract new ones by browsing relevant hashtags and commenting on posts that are related to your products.
Avoid trying too hard to sell your products in your comments, though. Focus instead on forming a connection with potential customers.
8. Tag products in your photos
With a business Instagram account, you can tag your products in your posts just like you can tag people. All you have to do is select “Tag Products” when posting the image, and a list of all the products you've uploaded to your Facebook page will appear. The tag will include the name of the item and its price.
Tagging images is one of the easiest ways you can encourage your Instagram followers to check out your store. It makes it clear that the item is for sale. This way, even if the viewer doesn’t make a purchase right away, they may remember the product for future shopping.
9. Utilize hashtags
Hashtags should be a key part of your Instagram marketing strategy. They assist in making your snapshots visible to a wider group of users who may be interested in your product. You can use up to 30 hashtags in each post, and it’s generally best to use a variety of broad and specific phrases.
There are several tools available on the internet that analyze the most popular hashtags at any given moment. You can find a list of the most frequently used options overall as well as the most popular by industry. Using these common hashtags can make your posts appear to more people, but the competition for these can be higher.
In addition, using a few specific hashtags can help give the viewer a better idea of what your brand is all about. However, it also allows you to target a niche market without having to compete with hundreds of other businesses.
10. Hold contests and giveaways
Contests and giveaways increase engagement from consumers and generate buzz around your brand. You could run a photo contest and ask your followers to submit their best pictures of your products in action. Caption contests for an existing photo can also be fun and engaging for your followers.
Giveaways are an exciting way for your brand to celebrate milestones. You could host a giveaway when your Instagram account reaches a certain follower count or when your business has an important anniversary.
Some businesses run giveaways by including a free item from their shop with every purchase. Others do random drawings to give away a few products to customers who comment on the post.
Make sure you use an eye-catching image to announce your contest or giveaway. Most of the information may be in the caption, but the photo is what will get your followers attention.
Use a bright color scheme and bold text, and include only the most important information in the photo so that it doesn’t look cluttered.
11. Make it easy for your followers to purchase from you
Most people have a short attention span when they’re scrolling on social media. If buying an item becomes too complicated or lengthy of a task, they’ll abandon the purchase and go back to browsing. To promote sales, make it as easy as possible for your followers to complete their orders.
This is where social commerce comes into play!
Social commerce involves shoppers purchasing products directly via social media and is a great avenue for increasing sales for your store. For instance, the easiest way to encourage sales through Instagram is to set up shoppable posts.
With this feature, users can click on tagged products in a photo and make a purchase directly from the Instagram site or app.
Shoppable posts on Instagram use your company’s Facebook catalog. For the buying experience to run smoothly, be sure that your Facebook listings are up to date.
Although social commerce has some differences from traditional ecommerce, it’s definitely something that you’ll want to consider incorporating for the added convenience of your customers!
12. Run Instagram ads
Instagram marketing isn’t just limited to your own profile. The platform offers pay-per-click advertising services, too. With this model, Instagram will deliver your ads to your target audience and charge a fee whenever a user clicks.
Pay-per-click ads are expensive, but they’re usually pretty effective. Instagram ads have a particularly high conversion rate compared to other social media ads. For this reason, they’re worth considering if you have the budget for an advertising campaign.
13. Monitor analytics
All marketing campaigns should be measurable and data-driven. Fortunately, Instagram offers analytics information to their business accounts. You can also use a variety of third-party analytics tools to measure the success of your marketing efforts.
The “Audience” tab in Instagram’s analytics feature is one of the most helpful areas to look at. This will show you when your target market is most active so that you can post at the optimal time.
Once you’ve been on Instagram for a few months, take a look back at which posts have received the most engagement and see if you can find a pattern.
Were they uploaded at similar times? What products do they feature? What message do they send? What hashtags did you use?
Use this data to fine-tune your marketing strategy. Keep what works, and make adjustments to the elements that don’t get as much attention.
Instagram is one of the most popular social media networks today, especially with younger audiences. Your brand can use the site to share pics, expand your audience, and engage with your shoppers.
A strong Instagram marketing plan takes time to develop, but there’s no need to worry about perfecting your campaign right away. As with other types of social media involving ecommerce, what’s most important is that your brand develops a strong presence on the platform.
If you don’t already have an Instagram profile, take the first step today and create one. Then, you can work on perfecting your marketing techniques as you learn about your followers!