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What You Need to Know to Sell on Instagram

Updated: Feb 6

When Instagram was first launched, it was best suited for brand awareness building and engagement for marketers. However, it was very difficult to sell because the links could not be added to the posts even though the engagement rates were higher than other platforms.

But that's not the case anymore!

In the last two years , there have been major developments on Instagram that have significantly increased the advertising and sales potential. Instagram is currently one of the best social media platforms to attract and convert potential customers.

Why Instagram?

Since Instagram doesn't (yet) have an option to share links on your individual posts, some brands see it simply as a channel to increase brand awareness. When it comes to sales, they ignore it. However, this thinking is a huge shortcoming from a marketing point of view. Because Instagram now has a lot of powerful sales options that are often used by happy customers.

In addition to ad campaigns that allow you to tag products in posts and take users directly from your image to your site, Instagram is now focusing more on shopping on the platform.

The Explore section has a “Store” tab that allows users to browse a feed of fully shoppable posts handpicked by Instagram's algorithms to appeal to them.

In this way, users can now save not only the posts they like, but also the products they are interested in. Saved products are archived where they can be accessed at any point from a user's profile, so they can review the product and come to purchase later.

If you're wondering how well these shopping features will work for you, there's plenty of evidence that they can work incredibly well. Here are a few examples of what's possible:

  • Tyme, a hairstyling company, saw a 44% increase in traffic after implementing Instagram Shopping posts .

  • Environmentally friendly children's clothing company Spearmint LOVE has achieved a 25% increase in site traffic and an 8% increase in revenue from Instagram Shopping posts .

  • Women's clothing store Lulus has been using Instagram Shopping features since they were launched in testing, and is attributing more than 1,200 product orders and 100,000 site visits to sales on Instagram.

What Types of Businesses Does Instagram Selling Work for?

All businesses, including service-based businesses and B2B businesses, can benefit from marketing and branding on Instagram. However, those who own visual, physical products will likely see more results when it comes to actually using the selling features on the platform. They are easier to represent in a clear image and this is important as Instagram is a highly visual platform.

How to Sell on Instagram?

There are several methods you can use to increase sales on Instagram . Some include shopping features, but there are a few other options that might work even for businesses that don't sell physical goods.

Let's take a look at each feature step by step:

1. Create Shopping Instagram Posts

Shoppable shipments have been central to this post so far. That's because it's one of the most effective (and cost-effective) ways to sell on the platform. There is no cost to use this feature, it just takes some time to set up.

Here 's how the Instagram Shopping feature works:

  • Users tap the image if they're interested, and when they do, they'll see a product tag.

  • They click on the tag, which may contain information such as product name and price, and are then taken to an in-app product page. This is where customers can save the product or continue to the website to review or buy there.

If you want to create Instagram Shopping posts, Instagram has some requirements:

  • You must have an Instagram business account.

  • You must have created a Facebook catalog and link your Instagram profile to the specific catalog you want to use to create product tags.

  • Creating a Facebook catalog includes each product's name, price, custom URL, etc. It involves creating a .CSV file listing the information and uploading it to Facebook's business manager. Once you have linked a catalog to your Instagram account, it will be reviewed in a few days and then you can start selling.

Other CMS systems, including Shopify, offer additional ways to create Instagram Shopping posts.

2. Create Stories with Shopping Tags

Shopping Stickers is an extension of the product tagging options and allows you to turn Stories into Shopable Stories. Again, after connecting your Instagram account to your catalog, you need to set up product tagging.

Stories are often used on the platform and users will happily watch and interact with these full-screen images and videos. Stories continue to play one after another until the user decides to click, as they can appear just like posts in the Explore section. Using these shopping tags is therefore a huge benefit and can do wonders for the potential visibility of your campaigns.

3. Post Instagram Ads

Instagram Ads was the first major selling option on the platform and is still a strong option. You advertise through Facebook's ad manager, you can take advantage of their incredible targeting system and multiple ad formats.

Instagram Ads can appear in users' feeds or Stories and allow you to add the link of your choice to the campaign. So users can send it to a specific location. This could be a lead generation form, a product page, or a longer sales video.

4. Add “Swipe Up” CTAs to Your Stories

If you have 10,000 or more followers, you can add a "Show More" CTA to your Stories. This makes it easy to send users to the site page you want. These are definitely more advantageous than the average profile bio link because you can customize it for each Story and use GIFs, visual cues and the CTA itself to help take action.

If you don't have 10,000 followers yet, don't worry. You can add links when creating paid Stories Ads that are fully available and created through Facebook Ads Manager.

5. Use Your Bio Link To Its Full Potential

There is only one link on your Instagram profile and it is in your profile bio. You currently only have one link that can be used to direct traffic to any site you choose.

It's usually a safe option to choose a page such as your home page or lead generation page as the target of the link. If you're promoting a big sale or event, you can temporarily change the link accordingly and then "Don't forget to sign up via the link in our bio!" You can share posts that contain CTAs such as All you have to do is direct users to this link and tell them what action to take. Thus, you can increase your site traffic and sales.

Tips to Increase Sales on Instagram

Having the right strategies and using the right tools on the platform is also crucial to increase sales rather than just engagement. If you really want your campaigns to be successful, you also need to make sure you use certain tactics to increase the visibility and effectiveness of your posts.

Some things you can do to make sure you're maximizing the potential of your campaigns include:

1. Use hashtags

Hashtags are the lifeblood of getting your posts seen on Instagram. Relevant hashtags are important that can help you connect with your target audience so they can discover your brand, see what you have to offer, and make a purchase.

Remember, you can't sell to them if they can't find you, so don't rely on Discover or the shopping tabs to do the work for you.

2. Don't Neglect Community Building

If you want to sell, that doesn't mean you have to forget about the social part of social media. People don't just want to see sales-heavy posts, so post content that focuses on showing off behind-the-scenes content or making sure you engage with the community.

3. Include User Generated Content

User-generated content will be useful for community building, but can also be used in content that promotes your possessions (with customer permission). So add reviews or pictures that your users have made.

4. Promote Products as Sets

Sometimes it's one of the best things you can do. Tag multiple products in a single image and present them as a “perfect pair” to offer more value to the post and increase the likelihood of purchase add-ons.

As a result, Instagram is now an important way to increase sales on social media , in addition to building brand awareness and building online communities . Because it has multiple sales features.

It became even more valuable when it rolled out new features designed to make shopping on Instagram more engaging and easier. Interested customers can save products they are considering or discover new products when they want to browse. All you have to do is make sure your posts are optimized for engagement.

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