How to Sell on Instagram: Expanding Your Sales & Business Online

If you’re thinking about how to sell on Instagram, you’re not alone – more than 2 million businesses use the app to reach their target audience. And it’s not just large, international companies who see increased sales. Businesses of all sizes can reach a wide market on Instagram. In fact, it’s estimated that 75% of all businesses in the US are using Instagram as a selling and marketing tool.

With all of this interest and investment from other organizations, there’s got to be something to it – 2 million businesses can’t be wrong! Ready to hop on the train? It’s likely your competitors are already selling on Instagram so, what are you waiting for?

This guide will take an in-depth look at how to sell on Instagram, including tips, tricks and tactics that you can use to boost your sales and build your business online.

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Why Learn How to Sell on Instagram?

Instagram offers direct access to millions of users, on a daily basis. In addition, businesses are able to target specific audiences that are interested in their products and services using demographics like location and interests.

Here are a few statistics that build a strong case for selling on the app:

  • 62% of users are more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in an Instagram story
  • 130 million users tap on shopping posts each month
  • 75% of users take action after seeing an ad on Instagram – either visiting a website or making a purchase

The ability to interact with your target market directly is a huge benefit and Instagram’s ability to convert impressions into sales is even more attractive. Selling on the app has proven to be successful, with people making purchases directly from the platform.

Social Media isn’t only a platform to increase your sales, it can also provide brand power and recognition. Learn more in How Social Media Benefits Your Business With Real Startup Examples” 

How to Sell on Instagram in 7 Simple Steps

It’s not always easy to jump right in and have people respond to you on a platform you’re new to – it can take some time to build your brand.

But, there’s no better time than the present to get started. So, here are 7 steps to help you get going on your way to a profitable business on Instagram.

1. Create a business profile

If you already have an Instagram account, make sure you have an Instagram business account. If you’re just starting out, be sure to set up your account as a business account right from the start. You’ll need an Instagram business account to access tools like Insights, call to action buttons, the ability to put links in stories, and the option to connect your Instagram profile and Facebook for a seamless advertising experience. Luckily switching to a business account is easy and costs nothing!

  1. Log in to your account
  2. Tap the hamburger menu in the top right corner
  3. Navigate to and tap the Settings option at the bottom right
  4. Scroll down and tap “Switch to Business Profile”

It’s that easy!

2.  Optimize your Instagram profile

This is where first impressions count. Your profile is the first thing a user will see – this is your chance to capture their attention and turn them into a follower and customer.

Your name, bio and profile image should all be memorable. Be sure your profile picture is clear, readable (if your business name is on the logo) and identifiable. Create a bio that is short and sweet and includes your company’s most valuable keywords.

Don’t be afraid to include some personality – this will show potential customers who you are as a brand and what they can expect from you. And don’t forget to include a link to your online store in your bio. Put a short call to action along with your link to entice users to click through to your store.

3.  Create and run ads

increase-site-traffic-for-free
Google Ads has a host of metrics and features that can be adjusted according to your budget. (https://ads.google.com/intl/en_ca/home/)

Once your business profile is set up and optimized for your target audience, it’s time to start reaching out. Paid ads can be a great way to get started. In fact, ads have proven to be successful, with 72% of users purchasing a product after seeing it in their Instagram feed.

Whether you’re new to the app and don’t yet have a large following or you’re a veteran, ads can be used to reach your target market directly with a very specific message.

Don’t shy away from trying new things – test different ads, images and copy to see what works best with your audience. You don’t need to spend a lot to get a lot. Put together a budget and monitor your success to see your return on investment.

4.  Implement Instagram shopping

Businesses can now tag and sell products directly on the Instagram app. (https://www.thedrum.com/news/2019/04/30/instagram-making-influencer-posts-shoppable)

Instagram offers a shopping platform that businesses can use to sell their products directly from the app. This shopping checkout feature is used by many companies as a way to directly sell to their followers.

Instagram shopping allows you to create posts that include product information. When a user taps on the “tap to view products” option, your product names and prices are shown. Users can then click on these tags to go to a product details page from which they can click-through to a landing page to make a purchase.

In order to be eligible to create shoppable Instagram posts and to tag your products in posts, you must have a business profile, as well as a product catalog that is linked to a Facebook store.

Set this up and make sure to share eye-catching images or videos of your products. Successful content often shows how a product can be used and the lifestyle that it provides customers.

It’s important to note that, at the moment, shopping on Instagram is only available for physical products, not services.

5.  Do some hashtag research

Hashtags are a great way to increase organic traffic and engagement – but not just any hashtag will do. In order to be successful at doing this, you’ll need to make sure you’re using the right hashtags.

Conduct your research by searching for terms that are relevant to your business. In your account, navigate to Discover > Search > Tags and start your search.

You’ll want to select and use a mix of hashtags, including a few that show a high volume of posts as well as more niche terms that have less competition. Popular hashtags are great but your post will not remain at the top of the search for long with these. The most popular hashtags can be oversaturated and using them means your content will be quickly buried under the millions of other posts that are using the same hashtag. More niche terms, on the other hand, give you a better chance of being seen by users.

Make sure to check your business insights to see how your hashtags are performing. Use this information to optimize your hashtag use.

Writing Hashtag research is much like Keyword Research. Learn how to get started with Why Keyword Research – The Complete Beginner’s Guide.”

6.  Create intriguing captions

Along with the images and videos you post, the captions you provide are what will allow you to stand out. Make your captions captivating while also getting across your brand personality.

Try using tactics like asking questions or encouraging Instagram users to tag others in your posts. This will help boost engagement, brand recognition and reach.

7.  Use common, successful techniques to reach your audience

With so many companies taking part in social media and seeing success on platforms like Instagram, there are tried, tested and true strategies that you can use to help boost sales. Try these out for yourself. Keep tabs on your insights and sales and see what works best with your audience.

Check out some of the most popular tactics for selling Instagram accounts.

Get started on the right foot by taking a look at these Why 5 Successful Social Media Campaigns to Learn From.”

How to Sell on Instagram – Techniques for Boosting Sales

With so many businesses successfully selling on the app, there are some common and proven tactics that can be used. Below are several techniques that are commonly used to boost sales. These strategies can be used by businesses both big and small to successfully sell on Instagram.

Beautiful Photos

flat-lay-photography-how-to
The contrast between the 2 halves of this composition draws the viewers focus. (https://www.instagram.com/p/BESHwqgoyxV/)

Instagram is an image-based platform. Clear, beautiful images (and videos) that capture a user’s attention are necessary if you want your business to do well. Be sure to invest in a good-quality camera or hire a professional to take photos for you. High-quality product images, as well as lifestyle and entertainment posts with captivating images or videos, are important.

Take Pottery Barn, for example. The images they post on their account are both breathtaking and inspiring – demonstrating the lifestyle consumers can expect when purchasing products for their home from Pottery Barn.

Note Box – Centered text, blue links

Writing down your goals can help you earn up to 10 TIMES more in salary. Read more in Why Writing Down Your Goals is the Key to Accomplishing Them.”

Stories

 Instagram stories have quickly become a popular way for brands to showcase their products while offering a user-friendly way to purchase them. Stories offer brands the opportunity to use Instagram to highlight their products, special offers and the lifestyle that is provided by what they offer.

Users who have 10,000 followers or more can create stories with product links in them – a great way to gain attention and encourage conversion from follower to customer.

To add the “See More” option and a link in your story:

  1. Upload content to your story. Click the link icon in the top right (the icon looks like a chain).
  2. Click “+ URL”.
  3. Type the URL you’d like to link to into the text box then click “Done” in the top right corner.
  4. Tap the “+ Story” button at the bottom right of your story to publish it. Once published, your story will have a “See More” swipe up link at the bottom for users to click on!

Promotions

Gaining attention and encouraging purchases with the help of Instagram-specific promotions works well, especially if you’re new to the app. For example, offer a summer sale and discount code to your followers. This will help you gain new followers, provide value for your current followers and boost sales! Provide the promo offer directly in an Instagram post caption or encourage users to click the link in your bio for the details.

This is also a great opportunity to cross-promote. Share this Instagram-exclusive promotion on your other social media accounts to encourage users to follow you on Instagram.

Contests

digital launch contest marketing
Contest marketing on social media can be used to generate a huge amount of engagement at very little cost. (@whitneynrife)

Contests are a great way to build your audience of followers. By building a large audience, you can increase the number of people who will see your organic posts on a daily basis.

Hold a contest that encourages users to engage with your account – prompt users to tag friends or follow you. Just be sure that your contest fits well with your target market’s interests. If not, you will just be gaining empty follows and likely see a sudden drop in your audience as soon as the contest is over. 

This technique is known as Contest Marketing, and when done correctly it could increase your online presence and engagement exponentially. Contest Marketing is commonly employed when starting a Digital Launch – generating rapid buzz and attention around the business product and/or service giveaway.

MVMT, the watch, sunglass and accessories brand, ran a very successful contest on Instagram that promoted their new line of watches. Focusing the contest on their new products helped them to get users interested in their new offering. The contest required users to follow them on Instagram, tag two friends in the comments and to visit their website to sign up for access to the new product line in order to enter. Not only did they gain new followers from this, they increased their organic reach by requiring users to tag others and added to their email list, all at the same time!

It’s important that you follow Instagram’s guidelines when running a promotion. This includes stating that your contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Instagram.

Influencers

Celebrity and influencer endorsements gets the word out fast and easily converts others to your cause (https://www.instagram.com/chrissyteigen/)

Working with influencers on Instagram is a common tactic used by businesses worldwide. Influencers have a lot of power online and if they support a brand it is likely their followers will too.

Working with an influencer can be as easy as finding someone with a large following and sending them your product for free in exchange for showcasing it on their account. In some cases, influencers with a large following will require payment for their support of your product. If their audience is your target market this may be worth the investment.

When working with an influencer, try to make the partnership appear as natural as possible. You don’t want their posts to come across as too salesy. Establish a plan and work with them to portray an organic relationship between them and your product.

Influencer marketing is a relatively new phenomenon driven by Social Media’s rapid ubiquity. If you want to begin, you’ll have to learn The Who, What and Why of Social MEdia Influencer Marketing.

User-generated Content

contest marketing how

User-generated content, or UGC, is a powerful tool. In fact, 85% of customers are more influenced by content that is created by fellow users than they are by content created by a company. Therefore, it’s helpful to focus on your customers and to encourage them to post photos and videos that contain your products.

For example, consider a customer spotlight – highlighting the posts and stories of customers who feature your product or service. This will help you engage with your followers and will encourage them to post about your business.

GoPro does a great job of encouraging user-generated content. ⁠They recently created the GoPro Awards which are meant to reward GoPro users for sharing outstanding photos and videos captured on their products. The GoPro Awards offer prizes of up to $5000 for outstanding content.

The strategies discussed above are great ways to reach your target community and encourage them to learn more about your products or to make a purchase directly. User generated content is an example of Community Marketing. When done well, community marketing can generate loyal brand advocates that’ll promote your brand for you – all without any ad spend.

Key Takeaways On How to Sell on Instagram

Instagram is a great way to directly reach your target market. When done right, use of this platform can influence consumers to buy a product – with many people making purchases directly in the app.

To get started selling on the app, you’ll need to create and optimize a business profile, run some Instagram ads, implement shopping (if you have 10,000 followers), research and use valuable hashtags, create engaging captions for your content and use several popular and successful selling techniques.

These techniques might include posting beautiful and captivating imagery, promoting your products in your story, running a promotion or contest on Instagram, working with an influencer and/or promoting the creation of user-generated content.

With the help of these steps and techniques, you can create a large and engaged audience and make selling on Instagram a huge profit generator for your business. We hope this guide has helped to answer your question of how to sell on Instagram, but don’t stop there. Establish an eCommerce website to truly take your business to the next level and beyond. 

While drag and drop DIY eCommerce website builder platforms are available, they cannot replicate the advanced integrations and services provided by a website development agency that specializes in eCommerce websites such as ours.

In addition to developing an eCommerce website, Advesa can also collaborate with you to further strengthen your branding or create a new identity entirely if you already don’t have one. 

Get started on your free 30 minute consultation today at https://advesa.com/

 

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Written By Editorial Team

Along with the blog’s editors, we’re a collective of writers aimed at providing valuable industry insights and educational resources for DIY’ers, entrepreneurs, professionals and hobbyists. We range from former scientists, research students to enthusiasts and freelancers. Have a question or suggestion? Reach us at [email protected]