How to Sell on Instagram

If you’re an e-commerce merchant looking for a top marketing channel for your products, you’ll want to learn how to sell on Instagram. Today, more than 90 million accounts use the Instagram Shopping feature to market their products. It’s a growing bandwagon, and more are jumping in every day. Here’s what you need to know, in a nutshell.

Shopping and Checkout: Le Plus Ultra of selling on Instagram

Instagram Shopping is a leap beyond mere advertising — it is turning Instagram into an online marketplace for buyers. As we’ve described before, Instagram’s Shopping feature enables a user to click on a tagged product. They’re then redirected to a product description page and from there, the magic “Buy” button.

They then directly access the merchant’s store, or, for some select brands, add it to a universal cart mixed with items they’ve selected from other stores. This option happens through Instagram’s new Checkout feature, where Instagram stores the payer’s information for all future purchases and handles the merchant transaction for a small processing fee. This feature has not yet been rolled out broadly to all stores, and is still in the testing phase.

For business accounts, a Shop tab can also be added, which will contain all products tagged on Shopping.

Now for the tips on how to sell on Instagram

1. Optimize your Instagram business profile.

Increasingly, consumers are turning to Instagram rather than Google to search for brands. The Instagram business profile is becoming the new homepage. Therefore it’s worth as much effort to curate a beautifully-designed Instagram feed as it is for your website.

Your Instagram business profile should include:

  • A clearly identifiable profile photo: Choose a photo that is on-brand (like a logo or well-known top seller).
  • A well-crafted bio: Your Instagram bio is incredibly important. Give a clear description of your business that tells exactly what you have to offer.
  • Link to your shop: The URL section of your bio is the only clickable link you can add to your Instagram page, so make sure you’re using it! This is a great place to drive traffic from your individual posts and stories. Creating a unique URL for this section will also give you the opportunity to track visits to your website from Instagram.

2. Use Instagram Ads to reach your target audience.

With continued changes to the Instagram algorithm and heightened competition on the platform, it’s important to use what works–and ads have worked very well on Instagram. According to HootSuite, 75% of Instagram users take action on an ad while browsing their feed.

Instagram ads continue to be critical to Instagram marketing strategies for businesses.

The easiest way to run ads is by promoting posts you’ve shared on Instagram. Just select the post you want to boost and hit the “promote” button. And, he best Instagram ads for driving ecommerce sales include messaging that clearly explains how to make a purchase.

Instagram will automatically pull in a “similar audience” that you can share the post to, but you can easily create your own audience in the app by choosing an interest, age range, and gender(s).

3. If you have a Facebook store, you can synchronize your product catalog on Instagram.

The instructions for this are pretty simple:

  • Click on “options” in your company profile and select “products”.
  • Authenticate your Instagram commercial account via his Facebook account.
  • Choose a product catalog to sync with Instagram, for Instagram Shopping.
  • When making your post, options will then mark both people and products.
  • Select “tag products” and indicate the product name.
  • Move the tag to the right place in the photo.
  • Instagram will pull all the information from Facebook’s product catalog, including a link to the company’s website from the photo. Up to 5 product labels can be added per photo. If you use a carousel, you can tag up to 20 products.

4. Learn to sell on Instagram using Instagram Story ads.

In March 2017, Instagram released advertising in Stories, offering brands yet another paid opportunity to expand their Social reach. These immersive, full-screen ads let your business use targeting with ads personally relevant to your target markets.

You’ll notice a small “Sponsored” tag in the top corner and a call to action (“Learn More”) at the bottom of these ads. This additional call to action down there gives another chance for them to click.

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 swipe through stories.

5. Use the right hashtags.

If you really want your brand to gain traction on Instagram and reach entirely new audiences, then you have to master hashtagging. One rule: don’t use too many hashtags in your posts. That can make your posts look spammy. Select them carefully: it’s much better to focus on a couple of targeted, highly trafficked hashtags.

One simple trick to finding great hashtags is to see which ones are being used by influencers in your niche. Keep in mind that many of these hashtags may have millions of posts, and hence too much competition for yours to be noticed. Find a happy medium, and aim for terms with specific relevance to your product.

6. Offer Instagram-Only promotions.

Instagram is the perfect place to promote a sale, new product launch, or discount code exclusively to potential customers who are already engaged as followers.

You can either add your promo information in a caption or in Instagram Stories. Use captions to tell users to get the offer by clicking the link in your bio. If you’re running an Instagram-only promotion, you also can create a teaser on your other social networks to drive traffic to your Instagram business profile.

Further, Instagram-only promotions (such as a special discount code for your followers) can be teased out on other social networks and help you acquire more Instagram followers, as well.

7. Consider finding some Influencers to promote your brand.

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. And, unlike better-known celebrities, micro-influencers are typically much more willing to do an “in-kind” agreement, trading product for promotion. If yours is a small business, investing in micro-influencers could be a great way to help drive potential customers to your page.

How to find Influencers for your industry: Sites like Ninja Outreach and Whalar help you find professional influencers for Instagram. is essentially a directory and portfolio site for influencers to showcase themselves. Their pricing model focuses on helping influencers promote their business, so brands like yours can use it for free.

Learning how to sell on Instagram is similar to learning how to sell on Facebook or YouTube – the basic concepts are the same across the social media spectrum. Given the explosive popularity of these channels for selling products, it’s a lesson well worth exploring.

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