Now that you understand why Instagram outshines other social media platforms for eCommerce, let’s delve into how retailers can make the most of it. While this guide covers advanced tips, it’s crucial not to overlook the basics—such as maintaining a consistent content theme and posting at optimal times.
1. Create an Instagram Shop for shoppable posts
First things first, if you’re serious about using Instagram for eCommerce, open an Instagram Shop. This gives you access to all the useful eCommerce features we’ve been talking about:
In-app shop with customizable storefront
In-app checkout for American brands
Individual product pages with multiple images and technical details
Shopping tags for both posts and stories that connect to your store page and provide product details like the price
Curated collections for gathering related products in the same place
Seamless integration with Instagram advertising
Shopping through Instagram Live broadcasts
The good news is that it’s free to sign up. However, you have to satisfy all the eligibility requirements, like selling in a supported market and owning a Facebook page. You can get started right now—just follow the instructions on the Instagram Shopping setup page.
2. Advertise directly on Instagram
Content marketing, such as social media posts, stands out as a potent form of inbound marketing. Outbound marketing, including advertising, doesn’t substitute for inbound marketing; instead, it complements it. Instagram, uniquely, allows you to link your posts or product pages directly to your ads, offering a level of synchronization not found on all social media platforms. For American brands, there’s even the option to connect ads directly to checkout, enabling complete purchases within seconds of viewing the ad.
3. Experiment with Instagram stories
Instagram Stories, inspired by Snapchat and characterized by videos that vanish after 24 hours, can be a valuable tool for the right retail brand. While not every brand will discover their audience through Instagram Stories, the platform itself is lucrative enough to warrant at least giving it a try.
This style of social media video is most effective when your brand possesses a distinct personality, whether in visual style or through a designated spokesperson. Stories provide an opportunity to directly engage with your audience in a dynamic and interactive manner, and the added benefit of linking directly to your Instagram Shop product pages.
For those willing to explore this avenue, we recommend incorporating custom Instagram stickers, especially featuring your brand logo or the logos of the products you’re selling.
4. Engage with the community
One of the biggest mistakes digital marketers make with social media is that they treat it like a promotional tool. To be clear, social media is a promotional tool—but that doesn’t mean you should treat it like one! You’ll get a better response from your shoppers if you use it as intended: for socializing and engaging with a like-minded community.
Even if you’re using Instagram primarily for business, you can still like and comment on people’s posts as you would with a personal account. This forges stronger, more human relationships with your customers, allowing you to joke around with them, answer their questions straight away, and let them feel heard.
As always, stick within your niche and engage mostly with your target community. You don’t want to spread yourself too thin with people not interested in your products.
5. Encourage branded content from customers and influencers
Boost credibility by incorporating testimonials into your self-promotion efforts, particularly on social media. In retail marketing, influencers are pivotal due to their substantial audiences and trustworthy endorsements. Leverage their impact or explore smaller-scale collaborations with micro-influencers. Encourage user-generated content through contests and giveaways, consolidating posts with a relevant hashtag to enhance brand visibility.
A new way to sell
The features of Instagram Shopping may be relatively new, but they’ve been a long time coming. People have been discussing and recommending products online since the beginning of social media, so the next logical step is buying those products right then and there. Any online retailer should welcome Instagram Shopping with open arms because it’s more in line with modern customers’ preferences—and the customer is always right.
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