So, you’ve finally found a profitable product to sell – congratulations!

After doing research and analyzing your target audience, you have a product that’s in-demand.

But, no matter how good your product is, it means nothing until you reach your potential clients who are eager to buy.

Where should you sell your products?

As a new entrepreneur, you can’t waste time trying every online marketplace.

Also, your budget is limited, so you can’t afford to make the wrong choice.

Let’s cut through the noise and reach your customers without spending much money.

The solution is simple: start selling on Instagram, one of the fastest-growing social media platforms.

According to Business Instagram, the platform has over one billion users:

  • 80% of accounts follow business accounts.
  • 60% of them discover new products on Instagram.
  • 25 million business profiles are on the platform.

Keep an eye on successful companies to learn from them and understand how to start selling:

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Remember

As you go through this guide write down any question you have. Then head to the bottom of the article and post all your questions. We want to help you understand the whole process and make sure you don't leave with doubts!

Here’s what we’re covering:

How to Optimize the Account for e-commerce

Long gone are the days when Instagram was just used for sharing selfies, food photos, and images of pets.

Today, it’s a powerful marketing channel that allows companies to connect with their target audience, deliver brand messages, and even drive e-commerce sales.

In other words, Instagram has become a full fledged sales machine with a variety of business-specific features to make the buying process easier. If you want to start selling on Instagram, you need to make sure your followers can move through the buying process with ease, and optimizing your account for e-commerce is a must.

1. Optimize Your Bio

Your bio section is your visit card: when done right, it explains to visitors everything about your business and gives your target audience a reason to follow you. All in all, your bio is a chance to hook the attention of potential followers and make a good first impression.

When setting up a business account, you can choose a category to describe your business, provide followers with contact info to connect with them, and add action buttons to convince visitors to take action.

To write a perfect Instagram bio, consider answering the following:

  • Who you are
  • What you do
  • What your product is
  • How to find out more about you
  • How to get in touch with your company

When it comes to creating e-commerce bios, J.Crew is a great example.

Using space in your instagram bio to drive sales

From selecting the right category to including action buttons, J.Crew has optimized the bio section so that every Instagrammer can get information about the company without spending much time.

Optimize Your Newsfeed

Once your product has hooked the attention of potential customers, it’s important to convince them to buy: the easier the buying process is, the more users will complete their purchases.

According to Slickdeals, the average U.S. consumer spends around $5,400 a year on impulse purchases, and Instagram is a perfect place for spontaneous buying.

So, wouldn’t it be great if you could improve the buying process on Instagram?

When you allow your followers to see your products from different angles, make an accurate price comparison, and buy on the platform, they are more likely to become your customers. 

Have you ever seen Instagram posts with a little shopping bag icon? Have you ever tapped on them?

So, back in 2017, when Instagram realized its sales potential, it rolled out shoppable posts, allowing a small number of U.S. companies to tag products in their posts. One year later, the feature became available in more than 45 countries and for some high profile influencers.

Nowadays, Instagram users can buy items they have found while scrolling the feed without leaving the app. For brands, it means sales, so it’s no wonder companies want to optimize their feeds for e-commerce.

If you have never used Instagram for business, it can be difficult to figure out how to turn on product tags. Luckily, there’s a guide on how to set up shopping on Instagram.

Want to see this strategy in action? Here’s how JackThreads, a fashion brand, has optimized the feed for shopping.

Using your newsfeed to showcase and sell products on instagram

When a user visits the account, he or she can scroll the newsfeed, see posts with featured items, and tap on them in order to find out more about the product and its price. If interested, a potential customer can complete the purchase right on the platform.

Use Instagram Stories

If you want to start selling on Instagram, you can’t afford to rely on posts that may get buried in the newsfeed. Thus, you need to know how to beat the Instagram algorithm, and publishing content on your story is the remedy.

Here’s something that will open your eyes:

With over 500 million daily users, story content gives brands a chance to reach their followers in an interesting and engaging way. Moreover, ephemeral content (Instagram Stories and Livestream) appears in a separate top row feed, so it also helps to beat the Instagram algorithm.

Here’s how it works:

Once a person creates a Story or goes Live, a colorful ring appears around the profile picture, indicating it hasn’t been watched yet. Moreover, stories last for 24 hours before vanishing, so it creates a sense of urgency as users are afraid of missing out something important.

Thus, more and more brands drive e-commerce sales with ephemeral content. Let’s take MadeWell, for example. Sharing Instagram Stories, the company adds product tags so that viewers can discover more about the featured items. Plus, they add clickable links to provide Instagram users with more information.

Sending instagram followers from stories to your website

Unfortunately, you can’t use the clickable link feature until you have 10k followers. However, you can still introduce new products, show off your items, or share time-limited offers to encourage viewers to take action faster.

Once you’ve optimized your Instagram account for e-commerce, it’s high time to understand more about boosting sales on the platform, and learning from the best companies is a great start.

3 Tips for Instagram e-commerce from Top Brands

No matter what your business is, your customer go through the same sum of experiences when interacting with your brand. Based on the majority of e-commerce brands, it’s important to remember the three main rules to encourage sales:

  1. Grow awareness: the more people know about your brand, its values, and products, the more potential clients you can attract.
  2.  

  3. Turn Scrollers into Buyers: When your potential customers are wondering whether they need your product or not, it’s important to prove that your company is the best choice.
  4.  

  5. Build brand loyalty: Once new customers have completed purchases, it’s time to make sure they are satisfied with your service. If you’re able to turn your customers into loyal ones, you can expect better customer retention, and therefore more sales.

Let’s find out how to interact with customers at every stage of the customer journey.

Growing Your Brand Awareness on Instagram

For emerging businesses, building brand awareness is one of the most important tasks.

Before you touch the right audience, showcasing your product can be a waste of time. Thus, companies want to increase the level of familiarity their potential customers have. And if you want to reach the right audience, you need to achieve alignment with customer expectations. When people share your views, they are more likely to follow, trust, and choose you.

Here are some ways on how to grow awareness:

Introduce Your Company

When you’re entering the market, people know nothing about your company. To convince them to follow your brand, you need to tell more about your brand, principles, views, and workers. And there’s no better way than posting behind-the-scenes (BTS) content that helps to humanize your brand and build trust.

Although Starbucks needs no introduction, the company takes followers behind-the-scenes to stay closer to people.

Creating a relationship between workers and customers on Instagram

Starbucks not only introduces its workers, but it also demonstrates offline events.

Use Lifestyle Images

What can make you any different from the millions of other companies showing off their products on Instagram? If you want to attract the attention of potential followers, you need to create eye-catching photos, and lifestyle photography is what you need.

The main idea of lifestyle photography is to capture everyday moments and activities your target audience may have. It’s also aimed at creating photos of people doing things they would normally do in a natural setting, so these images have a human touch.

What is more, you don’t have to hire the best photographers and models to take lifestyle photos. For small businesses, it means saving up money. People love seeing their prototypes, and H&M knows it well. Thus, it’s no wonder this world-known fashion brand lays a bet on lifestyle images:

Modeling the brand with lifestyle images on instagram

All in all, lifestyle photography hints at what customers can get with your product, so people are more likely to pay attention to this type of content.

Work with Influencers

When it comes to increasing the number of your followers fast, you can run Facebook ads or turn to opinion leaders in your niche. In fact, 70% of consumers believe that the peers’ recommendations influence their buying decisions, so influencers can promote your company among their followers.

For example, a famous British fashion blogger Jenny Plog has a solid following, so working with Shopbop gives benefits: the company is able to enter an already-established community of fashion lovers who may become their clients.

Using an infliencer to model clothes that you're selling on Instagram

When you start selling on Instagram, you can collaborate with niche-focused micro-influencers who can bring you value without charging much.

Turning a Scroller Into a Buyer

If you have interested a follower in your product, that’s great. If you have convinced him to buy, that’s a win-win. Once an Instagram user considers your product as an option, it’s high time to help him make the best choice.

During this phase, you need to prove your product is the best one among other options available on the market without being too salesy. After all, your customer should believe it was he who made the choice.

Here are some ways on how to affect customer consideration:

Show off Your Product

One of the biggest challenges for e-commerce brands is a lack of ability to let potential customers see, touch, and test your product. When people aren’t sure a product will fit them, they start doubting whether they need to buy it or not. Thus, it’s important to show off your product from different angles so that it can simplify the decision-making process.

With a multi-photo function, brands can upload up to 10 images within a single Instagram post. This way, you can showcase the details of a product without clogging the feed up with nearly the same photos. And Adidas Originals is a great example:

Highlight great product qualities to the customer to drive sales on instagram

When it comes to realizing new products, the company uses Instagram to announce customers about the launch and it posts several photos of sneakers to show more details.

Build Trust with User Generated Content

Although there are many ways to promote your product on Instagram, being too pushy can hurt your reputation. Thus, you need to find less promotional ways to demonstrate your stuff, and posting user-generated content is a must. According to Venngage, 85% of people find UGC to be more influential than professional content.

For brands, it’s also a chance to save money on content creation. However, it’s important to motivate your clients to generate content for you. Cluse teaches us how to do it – tag the author to give photo credit, bring value, and encourage other followers to do the same.

Leverage user generated content to highlight customers

Obviously, big brands have many fans, so it’s not a problem for them to encourage UGC. If you’re just starting up, you can ask your friends to help you and take some photos of your product.

Build Brand Loyalty

When a new client completes the purchase, you feel relief. You’ve been dreaming about this deal for many months, and know you have won a new client. At first blush, you’ve achieved your goal.

But:

Besides looking for new customers, make sure you think about building brand loyalty. When you focus on loyal customers, you can expect better revenue as it’s revealed that 43% of people spend more money at brands they’re loyal to.

Here are some ideas on how to build brand loyalty:

Communicate with Your Followers

Communication is a key to building a bond with your followers. As specified in Forrester research, 80% of users want to engage with brands on social media. Since your customers crave communication, you can’t afford to ignore them on Instagram.

No matter what questions your followers have, replying to them is a way to show you take care of your potential customers, and Lululemon does it well:

Communicating with customers who want to purchase from your instagram profile

Whether your followers post comments, slide into DMs, or tag your company in their posts, it’s important to provide them with good customer support, and responding to their questions is a way to build loyalty toward your brand.

Hand Out Branded Freebies

With a variety of product options on the market, users get tons of information daily, so they become picky about the content they consume. If you want followers to stay with you, they need to receive tons of value from following your brand, and running contests is a way to reward customers for their loyalty.

Moreover, it also helps to drive sales as you can hand out branded freebies so that people can test your product and decide whether it suits their needs, wants, and expectations. For example, Cellucor organizes giveaways to share their products.

Using contests to sell products on instagram

Once a contest is over, share a discount code to reward participants. However, before you slashing prices, get math help to study the elasticity of demand and supply and the marginality of your discount campaign.

Not only can it build brand loyalty, but it can also increase sales. Moreover, 72% of consumers want brands to share discounts and sales on social media.

Wrapping it Up

Instagram has become a powerful e-commerce platform that benefits both customers and entrepreneurs, and Instagram presence isn’t an option these days. Although it takes time to set up Instagram for business, the payoff is huge.

Key takeaways:

  • Optimize Instagram account for e-commerce to make the buying process easier for potential customers: from telling more about your brand in a bio section to using product tags, you must provide visitors with a solid reason to choose your brand among hundreds of other competitors.
  • Think about your followers and their needs at every stage of the customer journey. Whether Instagram users discover products, consider them as an option, or trust your brand, you need to keep taking care of them, and publishing the right posts is a must.

Now that you’ve read the article, you must realize that not only big dogs like Adidas or Starbucks can drive e-commerce sales with Instagram, and the above-mentioned lessons can help new entrepreneurs giving Instagram selling a shot.

So, are you ready to make the most out of Instagram marketing and get your first sales on the platform?

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Author

Hugh Beaulac

With 5+ years experience in digital marketing, Hugh Beaulac has decided to start his business. For now, Hugh runs the MC2 blog and he is focused on building his entrepreneurial network, so he often collaborates with startup talents to share experience and grow together.