With more than one billion monthly active users on Instagram, plus over 400 million using Stories on a daily basis, Instagram’s growing user base is a bonafide home for brands wanting to make a splash on social.
Instagram’s highly visual nature has made it the ideal spot for showcasing products, so when Shopping was launched in February 2018, allowing brands to tag products directly in posts and Stories, directing customers to the item they want to purchase. Plus, with the launch of a new “checkout” feature in early 2019, users no longer have to leave Instagram to purchase many of the items they discover there.
Tools to drive sales from Instagram
There’s four main tools that can be used to drive organic sales on Instagram:
- Product Tags in Posts: Product tags on Instagram allows you to tag your products in your posts (similar to how you can tag people).
- Product Stickers in Stories: This enables brands to tag specific products in Stories, similarly to a standard product tags in posts.
- The Shop tab in a Profile: This tab allows your followers to find all the products you’ve tagged in your Instagram posts, including the content that features them.
Getting started with shoppable Instagram posts
DID YOU KNOW? 130 million Instagrammers tap to reveal product tags in shopping posts each month (Instagram). So, it’s time to get started selling your products on the gram!
Before you can get up and running, there’s a few steps to take before you can start selling products through Instagram.
- Step 1: Make sure your profile is a business profile
- Step 2: Set up your product catalog on Facebook; the products in your catalog are what you’ll be able to tag in your Instagram posts and Stories.
- Step 3: Wait for your account to be reviewed by Instagram and approved for shopping.
- Step 4: Turn on Shopping features in your account. From there, you can begin adding products to your posts!
In September 2018, Instagram launched a topic channel specifically for shopping which displays content based on the user’s specific shopping interests from a variety of businesses that the user may like. This presents great opportunities for businesses, and can provide a great boost to small businesses without large followings.
According to Instagram, “Checkout enhances the shopping experience by making the purchase simple, convenient and secure. People no longer have to navigate to the browser when they want to buy. And with their protected payment information in one place, they can shop their favourite brands without needing to log in and enter their information multiple times.”
Focus on high quality images and videos
Shopping on Instagram’s product tags are a natural fit for many businesses. However, many brands find it difficult to create a compelling and unified aesthetic on Instagram, making it much more difficult to sell their products.
If you already have an album of awesome images that showcase your products, great - take advantage! If you don’t, this can be a worthwhile investment.
Your goal is to stop a consumer scrolling through the feed and encourage them to tap the post for product details. If your images are bland and uninteresting, this simply isn’t going to happen.
Sephora does a great job of using high quality eye-catching product images and videos throughout their feed that are tagged with their products.
REMEMBER: Your Instagram feed isn’t just a product catalog. It’s a more dynamic space that allows you to be creative, and show more of the personality in your brand. Using your products in action can be a great way to showcase your products without it feeling too staged.
Kathmandu does a great job of incorporating their products naturally into their posts. They often have curated user generated content of their products in awesome natural environments. Plus, their shoppable posts look exactly like any of the other images on their feed.
DID YOU KNOW: 90% of users say that product videos are helpful in the decision process. Or that after watching a video, 64% of users are more likely to buy a product online (Hubspot).
If that doesn’t make it obvious, video should be an integral part of your Shopping on Instagram strategy.
The best video content tells stories about your brand or product, as the more your viewers know about you, the more they are going to understand what your company is offering and what it can do for them. And, in turn, the more likely they’ll be to buy.
PLUS, you can add product stickers or swipe-up links to your video Stories to drive sales, and even feature them permanently in your Highlights to show them to new profile visitors.
- Keep it Quality: Everything you post on Instagram, from your product photos to the quirky caption, is integral in the buying process. In the information age, consumers make quick judgments about your brand in a matter of seconds, so it’s important that everything you put out on social is high quality.
- Let’s get visual: The possibilities are endless when it comes to ways to use Shopping on Instagram, but one of the most compelling ways is to help potential customers imagine what life would be like with your product. Therefore, use your Instagram content to show people what they can do with your product and why they need it, rather than just showing the features of your products.
- Embrace video: Video marketing is here to stay (sorry, you camera shy folks!), and it is likely to be a big factor in deciding whether your Instagram content is successful. Still not sure? Take this stat: Including a video on a landing page can increase conversion rates by 80% (Unbounce)
Shopping on Instagram is still a relatively new feature for businesses looking to boost product sales. But as more and more consumers get used to this new shopping platform, it’s time for your business to shine in this space.
If you need help or guidance with getting up and running with Shopping on Instagram, get in touch! We'd love to help.