Today everybody is obsessed with mobile photography. Something that has crazily addicted even the younger generation. So if you feel clueless about what Instagram is, don’t worry we will explain to you what Instagram is all about.
Instagram is a social networking app through which you can share photos and videos using your smartphone. This is similar to other social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter where you can create your Instagram account and have an instant profile created. Instagram allows you to post a photo or a video, which will be displayed on your profile. Other users who follow you will be able to see your post in their feed.
It’s more of a simplified Facebook version, which emphasize more on mobile and visual sharing. Similar to other social networking sites, you can follow other users, be followed by them, comment, like, share, tag photos or videos and send private messages. One can also save the photos seen on Instagram.
Instagram is freely available on Android and IOS devices. It can also be checked through the web from a desktop. However, users can upload and share photos or videos only from their registered device.
Something worth noting is that Instagram is leading amongst all social networking channels to quickly engage users with brands online. While Facebook can boost just 32% of users engaging with brands and business, Instagram can boost the same by 68%. This is one of the reasons why every e-commerce owner should know how to utilize Instagram as a marketing platform to grow the scope of your business.
Below are some stats to show why Instagram can boost your e-commerce business-
- A total of 40 billion photos have been shared till date.
- An average of 95 million videos and photos are shared every single day.
- In 2015, Instagram had around 77.6 million users.
- In 2016, the estimated revenue from Instagram accounts for mobile ad was about $153 billion
- In 2017, the estimated revenue from Instagram accounts for mobile ads was about $2.81 billion
- A total of 48.8% of brands use Instagram as a marketing tool
- Brands using Instagram as a marketing tool is predicted to increase to around 72%
So how does Instagram benefit your e-commerce business? Well, below are some points to explain this-
- Instagram involves high quality and creative product images. This gives the product a better look and is more engaging than the generic images.
- It provides consumers easy access from mobile. They can simply browse and get ready for online shopping for your products.
- It quickly reaches a larger It effectively helps you expand your product reach and improve brand positioning.
- The simple to use tricks engage the customer and assist them in buying decisions. Thereby increasing your e-commerce brand revenue.
Below are some tips and tools which can help you use Instagram more effectively for your e-commerce business marketing-
1. Switch to Business Account
Instagram allows users to build business profiles. You can switch from an existing personal account to a business account. This feature provides a professional looking profile which lets you pull contact information from Facebook. It provides some advanced analysis by providing information about the number of impressions and clicks on your post on a weekly basis.
To convert your personal Instagram account to business, follow the below steps-
- Go to your profile and tap.
- Tap on “Switch to business profile” and select a Facebook page you would like to associate your Instagram business profile. Make sure to set the profile to public. In case the account is private, you will not be able to switch to a business
- Setup your business profile page and review your business’s contact information. Click on done, to save changes.
- With this business account, you can get access to new business features and several Instagram insights.
2. Hashtag Selling
A good way to sell products is by using hashtags. You can do this by using Inselly. This has an #Inselly hashtag, an added feature. Inselly works by marking products as buyable items. This ensures users can find and purchase them easily through the Instagram Inselly can be used to sell as well as buy.
To Buy through Inselly follow the below-mentioned steps
- Go to Inselly.com using your Instagram username and password. Authenticate Inselly.
- Look for item/s you want to buy using the search bar
- Contact buyer/s for additional details such as shipping fee, details about items and expected time of arrival.
- Pay for the product.
To Sell through Inselly follow the below mentioned steps
- Click a photo of the product.
- Add the tag #inselly to the picture, and several relevant category tags
- Login to Inselly.com. click on “YOUR ITEMS FOR SALE” tab to add details about your item
It is completely free for buyers and sellers and has no transaction fees. With Inselly, you can list up to 100 items. Hashtags help Instagram catalog various kinds of images and products. Appropriate use of hashtags will help your product reach the larger targeted audience. On the other hand, an inappropriate hashtag can have a negative impact.
Hashtags also make it easier for your profile to be discovered on different social media channels. When your Instagram content is published on Facebook, the hashtags are automatically published there too. This increases the chances of your content to be found by Facebook users also.
3. Visually appealing photos
To build and showcase your brand, provide visually appealing photos. Ads should contain engaging content with attractive photos. The image size recommended for Instagram is 1080 x 1080 pixels. The character limit for captions is 2200. Below is a good example of the visually appealing product image.
4. Use of watermark images
Using watermark images can do wonders for your online business. You can use watermark images with your domain name. This helps buyers to know where exactly to find more information. Choosing the right positioning of the watermark text is equally important, so that this looks naturally embedded with the image.
5. Create a community
Creating a community and acknowledging the users, helps to convert regular customers into loyal customers. It is always good to encourage the audience and thank them for their support. Gilt decided to celebrate Women’s day by dedicating a post for all the women followers, encouraging them to also tag their own favorite women idol.
6. User-Generated Contents
Encourage customers to create their own content by making them share product photos and reviews of a product they have purchased from your store. This is a kind of referral marketing which can instantly boost sales. Several products are using Instagram campaigns as a promotional tool. An example of this is as shown below
7. Integrate Instagram Photos to your e-commerce
Having an Instagram gallery or a dedicated link embedded on your e-commerce website can help increase the sales. There are some widgets which are available-
- Instagram Widget – This is free and can be easily used to showcase photos on your e-commerce website
- Tint – It is an easily embeddable widget and lets you display your photos, as well as other user’s photos or hash-tagged This has a 7-day trial version and is a paid widget.
- SnapWidget – This is again free and a great way to display photos on your website.
- Statigram – This is a tool which allows you to view stats and analytics about your Instagram usage such as photos, likes etc. This has a trial version and is a paid widget
- Webstagram – This is a web viewer for Instagram. You can quickly check what your friends and followers are up to. This is free to use.
8. Sync Inventories across your online stores
Shopseen is a multichannel listing interface. It allows you to upload and list your products and also have them automatically uploaded to a variety of e-commerce stores such as Woocommerce, Shopify, eBay etc. Shopseen can update your products continuously and automatically across different channels. They also have a straightforward Instagram selling tool for e-commerce business.
Shopseen will create a storefront using your profile link. Once Instagram and Shopseen are linked, you can upload images of your products to Instagram and add a price with description. Shopseen will then upload the product to your shopseen page.
This has plans starting at $29 per month. This is especially beneficial for e-commerce businesses that feature their products on a variety of storefront. Shopseen aggregates a company’s Instagram photos into a feed. Followers can use this Shopseen link in the profile of your store to check out the list of products and photos. A follower can directly buy products from the photos present in Shopseen feed.
9. Sell through Comments
Soldsie allows users to purchase directly from seller’s Instagram news feed without leaving the app. This also works well with Facebook. Both buyers and sellers after registering with Soldsie will have to integrate the software with Instagram. It uses “comment selling” as its method of improving sales.
You can upload products to your selling dashboard to turn the product images into the shoppable Instagram post and include product-specific information for each. Ask buyers to make a purchase by commenting “sold” directly on the post and include any necessary information. Once buyers comment with this information, Soldsie will send emails of the invoice, so you can collect payment via Paypal or credit card. This is again a paid tool and starts at about $49 per month.
10. Increase Revenue from Instagram
Have2Have.It links in your profile will help your followers to find things on your Instagram feed. This makes it easy for your followers to shop. The Have2Have.It link will take your followers to a curated, shoppable page that will have the same look and feel as your Instagram feed.
The users can simply tap the images and discover the products they love to shop. This allows you to quickly improve your conversion. The Have2Have.It links redirects followers directly to your e-commerce website to complete their purchase and discover more products.
It has a 30-day trial period. It’s free for up to 49 clicks per month and goes up to $300 for 3000+ clicks per month.
11. Chat Online with Buyers
Letsell.It is a free app which both buyers and sellers can install. You register your products with Letsell.It and add photos and description, the app will then post it on Instagram. Ask buyers who are registered with Letsell.It to like your product image on Instagram. When this is done by buyers, Letsell.Its app will verify and complete the purchase using PayPal.
The app also keeps track of all your sales. The buyers and sellers can send private messages. This allows you to answer customer queries and assist them in selecting the products. This feature can make a big difference owing to its customer service feature. Though the apps are free, sellers will have to pay a fee when a sale is completed.
12. Create a Clickable Gallery of Product Images
Like2Buy is a selling tool. You can add Like2Buy business links to your Instagram profile. Once a user clicks it, it will take people to your Like2Buy storefront. This storefront would be an image gallery of products available for purchase.
You can associate multiple products with a single image. The tool also shows user’s likes by showing them all images and products they have liked on Instagram. As a seller, there are several benefits such as you can get a detailed analysis and can customize your storefront. You can also add an email capture to your storefront to increase leads. This is a paid tool.
13. Customer Inspired E-commerce
Candid.io is a tool that curates Instagram photos of your products based on a hashtag. In case you find an image created by an Instagram user that you would like to use, then Candid.io’s media rights management help to reach out the user and get the required permission. Once the user approves it, you can download the photo for use on your website and social media channels.
Once you link your photos to your products, you can enable 1-click shopping. Followers can click on a photo, click on the item and add to the cart. This is a paid tool starting at $199 per month.
14. Start Taking Orders
Instaorders is a tool which can help sellers take the order. To use Instaorders, sign in with your Instagram account. This will import all your existing Instagram photos. Once the initial import is synced, you can add price and descriptions of each product.
Anytime someone purchases a product, Instaorders will email the details to you. You just have to ship and collect payment. This is a free tool.
15. Creating content for your followers
To create content for your followers, you can use Canva or Pablo. It is important to ensure you have high-quality Using these tools, you can create content around hashtag relevant to your products. These are tools to provide visually rich content and have features which can very quickly create amazing photos with descriptions.
These also have some readily available templates. Both of these are paid tools.
16. Scheduling your updates
You can preload your content by using a marketing tool such as Latergramme. It will ensure you remember to update your Instagram profile with regular updates at certain predefined intervals so that you can keep your audience hooked in.
You will need to send out updates on your Instagram mobile app. This tool will not post the update. This is a free tool.
Another marketing tool is Buffer for Instagram. It can’t post directly updates on Instagram, but with Buffer, you can create an Instagram reminder on the web or mobile app when it’s time to post. The buffer will send a notification to your phone that loads a photo into Instagram with a prewritten caption which is ready to be pasted. This is also effective to do a re-post. Reposting can almost double your traffic. Buffer has a minimum free as well as paid plan starting at $10 per month.
Another such scheduling tool example is the Promorepublic mobile app. This is again a paid tool which starts at $9 per month.
17. Instagram Analytics
In case you need more analytics information, then you can use Iconosquare. This is built on Instagram and provides engagement stats, internal analytics, competitor benchmarking, geographical location analysis, follower stats, details on your community and hashtag tracking. It looks similar to Instagram profile, except for additional button which can provide some deep insights into Instagram performance as shown in the image.
You can also do a time period selection and review the stats. The analytics is displayed by Iconosquare as shown below.
This is a paid tool.
18. Yotpo to Increase Sales
Selling becomes easier with tools such as Yotpo, which can convert boring links into a clickable storefront, showcasing your products. Yotpo ads is a simple and effective way to create Instagram ads.
Once buyers are on the Yotpo powered version of the Instagram post, the social proof can make a big difference. Each tagged product is accompanied with a lot of affirmative information about the product. Once Instagram followers are on your site, the Instagram flavored social proof continues seamlessly with a slider widget displaying Yotpo’s verified customer reviews, ratings, curated customer Instagram posts to increase customer engagement.
With Yotpo the shoppable post becomes a social experience as well.
19. Announce its Shoppable
Some of these tools and techniques have revolutionized Instagram’s sales potential and eventually increasing its value as a marketing platform. No matter which tool you choose, it’s a good idea to let your customers know that your business Instagram is now shoppable. Similar to below image
20. Like or Comment on Win Contents
Keeping a contest helps in improving sales. In a contest, simply ask Instagram users to like or comment on an update. All those who do this are entered into the contest within a specific deadline and the prices are usually the products on display. Such random campaigns help to create a quick social media buzz. An example of this is as shown below
21. Email Driven Contests
Another way of organizing such contest is a combination of Instagram and email. Such campaigns are run by asking followers to enter email Id and participate in the contest. Such contest also has an advantage, since you can build an email related customer database which can be used in future. The prize could be a certain product or discount or gift cards. An example of this is as shown below
The above example makes sure the participants follow them and then head to their website where participants have to provide the email Id.
22. Tell a Story
You can include posts to tell a story about something behind your product. Similar to the example shown below
GAP celebrated Women’s Day with a video with a story of one of the women who work with the brand. Such stories create a powerful link between buyers and the brand.
23. Adding more creativity
A simple touch of creativity can make wonders for your product. An example of this as shown below-
24. Embeddable Product Galleries
A tool FourSixty integrates with Instagram and generates an embeddable grid of posts which looks similar to Instagram’s interface. While browsing the embedded gallery, the buyers can click on any image that features a product they like, and they will be taken to the relevant product.
In addition to your own posts, this also has an option that lets you curate from user-generated content. This method of product discovery is more compelling than the usual list of items and also puts in total control of your brand image. This is a paid tool and starts at $50 per month. Apart from this, it also has analytics, email integration, schedule posts, add instant likes and digital rights management.
25. Cross-Channel Collections
Photoslurp is another way to add a shoppable post to your Instagram collection. This allows sellers to create shoppable gallery links and allow users to browse products and buy them.
It identifies images of your product and adds it to a queue for your approval. For instance, if someone has posted a picture on Facebook wearing your brand jeans, then assuming the post fits your brand image, you can create a shoppable link.
It works well because people are more interested in seeing people use the product. Photoslurp has a powerful social media monitoring and image collation feature. The only downside of this tool is, you do not have to add a link to your bio and hence this decreases the likelihood of users finding your gallery. The main challenge is to make users visit your shoppable gallery. This is a paid tool.
Unlike Facebook or Twitter getting followers on Instagram is much easier. Instagram’s engagement with brands and business is much higher. It is a good platform to expand your e-commerce scope and reaching a wider targeted audience. Several techniques and tools can be integrated to effectively improve your sales.