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How to Use Instagram to Boost eCommerce Sales

As far as social media marketing networks and product promotions go, Instagram has become a real powerhouse with over 1.45 billion active monthly users! It’s all about posting quality images, videos, gaining followers, and getting interactions. However, what if you want to boost eCommerce sales?

In recent years, Instagram became a big player in the eCommerce space, and a major platform for product sales through adopting features such as product tagging and shopping stories.

This is extremely important, not only because of the high number of monthly and daily active users but because more than 60 percent of the user base engages regularly with brands.

In a nutshell, for eCommerce businesses, Instagram represents much more than a social network.It’s now a serious platform where you can place the products and actively promote them while engaging with your audience at the same time.

However, just like with every social media channel, a high amount of followers does not guarantee a boost in your eCommerce sales. You need a proper strategy and effort if you want to play with the big dogs of the online shopping scene and beat them on Instagram.

In case you’ve been wondering how to grow your online business on Instagram, you’re lucky to have landed on this article.

We will describe 8 actionable Instagram tips that you can use to grow your eCommerce sales.

How To Use Instagram to Grow eCommerce Sales In 8 Steps

  1. Optimize your profile.
  2. Use the right images and videos.
  3. Tag your products.
  4. Use hashtags smartly.
  5. Enhance Instagram stories.
  6. Write an effective bio.
  7. Run contests & giveaways.
  8. Build omnichannel presence.

How To Use Instagram to Grow eCommerce Sales In 8 Steps_

Start by Optimizing Your Profile

First, switch your Instagram profile to a Business account.Having an Instagram Business profile provides you with a professional profile that is wired to your Facebook page, and allows you to include Instagram shopping links and Instagram Story links.

Switching to a Business profile is easy. Navigate to your account settings, and click “Switch to Business Profile”

Optimize Your Profile

Instagram will ask you to log on Facebook within the app. Before you log in, make sure that you’re the admin of your Facebook page.

Once you select the Facebook page that you want to connect your business profile to, you’ll be asked to enter your contact information, and after that is confirmed, voilà, you have your Instagram Business Account ready.

The best features of Instagram Business Profiles are:

  • Professional. The look and feel of your account are separated from the regular accounts while allowing shoppable Instagram links.
  • Insights. Instagram’s insights include post impressions, reach, and link clicks on a weekly basis, as well as impressions and reach for posts on a daily and weekly basis.
  • Promotions. Just as you can boost Facebook posts, you can promote Instagram posts as well.
  • Selling. The Shop tab on your business account contains the posts that include a shoppable product.

4 Benefits of Instagram Business Profiles_

Choose the Right Profile Picture

You need a profile picture that is relevant to your eCommerce business, and there’s nothing more recognizable than your logo. Your logo is what people remember when they visit your online store, or alternatively, if you’re only selling one exclusive product, it can be a photo of it.

Use the Right Images and Videos

Instagram is a visually-driven social network, and this is why it is vital that your image and video strategy is well planned before you post the content. You need visuals that make your brand stand out, beautiful, but at the same time, original images and videos.

People love all sorts of posts on Instagram, including product promotions, motivational posts, tutorials, live videos, images, stories, and user-generated content as well (images/videos shared by other customers). The visual content possibilities are versatile and limitless.

According to a study, an Instagram image content should have the following qualities:

  • Lightness. Images with higher lightness can generate 24% more likes than darker images.
  • More Background. Images with a higher amount of background space can generate up to 24% more likes than the ones without.
  • Dominant Color. Images that have a single dominant color can generate 17% more likes than images with multiple colors.
  • Texture. Images with a higher level of texture can generate up to 79% more likes than those without.

Here are some tips on how to optimize your media for Instagram:

  • Add a Text. One of the best ways to spark interaction on Instagram for your eCommerce brand is to add a text overlay on your images. This can be an entertaining quote, discount announcement, or campaign news. However, don’t overdo it. Too much text overlays will make your company account look like it’s being run by a motivational speaker, and worse of all, it can derail users from your website. Use it only when you have a campaign announcement or something important to say.
  • Use Slideshows. With an Instagram Slideshow, you can upload up to 10 photos/videos combined, and it is ideal because it allows you to showcase your entire range or a set of products in one post.
  • Using Videos. When comparing images to video content, one cannot ignore the fact that videos can convey much more information to customers. However, if you want to use videos consistently, don’t forget that Instagram is used predominantly on mobile devices, which means that your videos shouldn’t be as long as your YouTube ones.
  • Discover What Works. Users love the consistency and love stuff that works for them over and over again. Therefore, if you’re looking to boost eCommerce sales with Instagram, you need to learn what works on the platform and analyze your biggest competitors. For example, if you’re selling sports apparel, check out what the biggest names in the business do on the “Gram” first. Then, open the most relevant hashtags and take note of the best-performing posts. After that, you can list them as your best competitors and maybe implement their tactics into your content while reviewing them.

Tag Your Products

The latest shopping features on Instagram allow you to tag products in your Instagram feed posts, as well as in your Instagram Stories posts.

Through product tagging, your audience can learn more about your products, and best of all, come to your shop and browse the product in more detail. This is extremely well-thought out by Instagram, and definitely increases the chances of users buying your product.

But be careful! You don’t want to tag a product in every single post and become too sales-y in the process. Keep most of your engagement organic, and build up the relationship before you tag a product in your posts.

Use Hashtags Smartly

One of the most impressive things about Instagram is it’s still unbeatable organic reach through hashtags. They’re the currency of Instagram, and how you gather impressions on the platform.

As you use keywords to rank on Google, you need to use hashtags if you want to rank on Instagram. For example, let’s say that you do an Instagram search of “Adidas Originals”.

Get the Most Out of Hashtags

When you click on the hashtag, you’ll find the two areas where images appear: Top and Recent.

Get the Most Out of Hashtags_Second

Now, if you sell Adidas apparel through your store, and you use the hashtag, it’s not very likely that you’ll take over the Top posts position from Adidas themselves. But, without a doubt, you’ll be featured in the Recent section the moment you’ll publish your post, and having a visual content that stands out among the rest can help you to be featured somewhere in the Top section.

If you’ve just begun using Instagram for your eCommerce business, you can’t expect to become popular without the usage of hashtags. One of the best places to use them is in your post description, where Instagram allows you up to 30 hashtags, and in your Stories.

Get the Most Out of Hashtags_Third

Get the Most Out of Hashtags_Third-1

There are several types of hashtags that you can use to bring more engagement to your posts and more traffic to your online store:

  • Branded Hashtags. A real brand uses its own branded hashtag. This hashtag needs to be attached to each post, profile bio, and ultimately, it should make people that want to buy from you and your customers to use it.
  • Contests. Running a contest for your customers? Come up with a specific hashtag! This will help you categorize and rank contest entries.
  • General Interest. There are hashtags such as #instagood that are popular among the majority of Instagram users. They’re excellent to give you a significant post reach and become likable to your audience if you use them relevantly.
  • Niche. Just like the keywords that you use on Google, you can use niche-specific hashtags for your posts. These are the hashtags that can get you relevant post interaction and web traffic.
  • Timely. Holidays and seasonal greetings are excellent for using timely hashtags, especially if you have a special offer for each holiday.

Don’t use the same hashtags in each of your posts. Mix things up! Have a set of hashtags that you can cycle for each of your posts on a weekly or monthly basis. This will help you to broaden your reach, and not be labeled as a spam account at the same time.

Enhance Instagram Stories

Even though Instagram technically “borrowed” the Story feature from Snapchat, today, they completely own it and eCommerce brands are taking full advantage of the Story feature.

There are countless strategies for using Instagram Stories for business effectively:

User-Generated Stories

Yes, seeing satisfied users and reposting them on your Story is always satisfying. People that have used your products and have bragged about them will be happy to see that you are acknowledging them . This tactic also saves you time and resources for the development of your own content, which is always good.

User-Generated Stories

Event Promotion

Stories are an excellent way to cover events and gatherings that you attend or organize. It’s an excellent way to boost your brand awareness and to show that your business is among the cream of the crop of your niche.

Event Promotion

Live It Up

You can broadcast live directly from your smartphone, and have your fans and followers interact with you in real time. This is an excellent way to present the faces of your company, run a Q&A session, present a live demo of your products, or interview an influencer that regularly shops on your site.

Swipe It Up

If your account has 10K followers, you can add a link to your Stories to encourage viewers to learn more about the topic of the story, or your product.

Caption It

By captioning your Story posts, and for example, breaking the topic/product/object description into several captions can help you share more details and in return, help your customers to understand better what the Story is about.

Caption It

Caption It_Second

Highlight it

Your Instagram Stories are not folklore tales that last forever. They’ll only be available for 24 hours unless you use the Highlights feature to extend that.

You can create different highlights for different topics, user-generated content, product demos and presentations, and so on.

Through Highlights, users can find the Story that they missed, or new followers can see the content that you posted before and find something else that they’re interested in.

To start adding Highlights, just click on the circled “+” icon above your gallery on the left. You can name your Highlight and select its featured image.

Write an Effective Bio

Your Instagram bio is one of the most important parts of your brand profile, and one of the most effective ways to bring more traffic to your online store. If you still don’t have 10K followers, it is the only place where you can place a link on the platform.

Utilize Your Bio to Boost eCommerce Sales

To make the most out of your bio link, you need to make sure that each element of your eCommerce website is optimized for smartphones.

According to Google, more than 60% of users won’t come back to a mobile website where they’ve experienced problems and if that’s the case, 40% of them turn to competitors. Also, mobiles and tablets generate more than 50% of all web traffic.

When the users click your bio link, they expect eCommerce websites to load fast on mobile devices. To learn how to analyze your website speed and what you need to improve on, read our guide on using Google PageSpeed Insights.

Upgrading your hosting account can do a lot in terms of speed and mobile optimization. Managed WordPress hosts like Pagely have server infrastructure and caching in place that will speed up your site tremendously.

They also allow for modern technologies like PHP 7, which is 4 times faster than PHP 5.4. Pagely also includes a CDN which can speed up your site images and other assets, and it’s very easy to use.

Run Contests and Giveaways

An Instagram contest can get you more followers, engagement, and conversion to boost eCommerce sales than any other type of post. A giveaway can’t go wrong, because everyone wants to win something for free. However, in order to really make the contest work effectively, the prize must be something that your audience really wants at that moment.

 

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Before you create your contest, make sure that you abide by Instagram’s contest rules:

  • Instagram cannot be associated with the contest directly.
  • Users should not tag themselves in a photo in which they’re not present in.
  • Do follow age restrictions, eligibility, and local law requirements.
  • State the rules for entering and participation clearly.

After you figure out what your audience wants to win from your contest, there are different types of contests that you can run from your account. One of the most effective Instagram contest formula is:

#1 – Posting an awesome graphic or a photo with a description that states clearly the giveaway and the rules of participation.
#2 – Asking from users to like your post, follow your account, and repost on their accounts with a @mention and a #hashtag.

The likes that you’ll get will bring your post immediately to the Top posts section, and the mentions and followers will only continue to expand your brand reach. Just make sure that you choose the winners ethically, and that you reward them promptly.

Build Omnichannel Presence

If you’re looking to boost eCommerce sales, it’s folly to focus on only one channel. Find out where your customers spend time besides Instagram, and make sure you expand your reach there to establish your omnichannel presence.

First, make sure you build a content strategy appropriate for each channel. This means creating blog posts, videos, and infographics tailored to the platform as opposed to using a single general approach for all.

Platforms, where you can boost eCommerce sales, include Amazon, Shopify, Etsy, eBay, Facebook Marketplace etc. All of them have their specific terms and conditions for selling.

Also, you need to optimize your website for each channel. This means having a responsive design that looks good on all devices and making sure that your content is easy to share across channels.

Finally, you’ll need to track your progress and analyze your results. This means using analytics tools to see which channels are driving the most traffic and conversions, and then making changes to your omnichannel strategy based on what you learn.

Some of the platforms for online sales have their own built-in insights (like Amazon Business Analytics), but you can always set up Google Analytics for your shop.

Wrapping Up

The above are just a few approaches on how to use Instagram to grow your eCommerce sales. If you haven’t used the “Gram” to drive more buyers to your eCommerce website, we suggest you embrace it fully and use each feature to the maximum, while engaging your audience at the same time.

Unlike Facebook and Twitter, the organic engagement rate on Instagram is still in a huge upswing. In addition, you don’t want to wait too long to start using the platform to increase your eCommerce sales.

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