social media how toDo you use Instagram to promote your products and services?

Interested in ways to drive sales with your posts?

A good Instagram post is not as simple as just snapping a photo, applying a filter and posting it to your news feed. To have a real impact, your posts need to be carefully crafted and shared with purpose and intent.

In this article you’ll discover how to create Instagram posts that increase engagement and drive sales.

instagram posts that drive sales

Discover how to craft Instagram posts that drive sales.

Listen to this article:

#1: Design Images to Capture Attention

If you’re posting a photo of a product on Instagram, be creative with the shot and make sure it reflects well on the product.

Find an Interesting Angle

Think about whether you should show the entire product, frame the shot a certain way or include another item to accompany the product.

Warby Parker posts creative photos of their eyewear on Instagram, often garnering more than 2,000 likes per post. Even with a simple pair of glasses, there are hundreds of ways to capture it in a photo.

warby-parker instagram post

Find a creative angle for a photo to showcase your product in an interesting way.

Once you find the most effective angle for your products, stick with that approach and be consistent. Don’t forget that your Instagram posts are also part of your brand.

Focus on Lighting

Whether photos are taken indoors or outdoors, good lighting is crucial. This may seem like Photography 101, but lighting also tells a story about your product. Even with careful tweaking and tuning, Instagram’s editing tools often can’t fix a photo taken with poor lighting.

Think about whether your photo should be shown in color or in black and white, and how to portray it best. Prada posts a variety of photos taken in unique lighting. Their exceptional professional shots speak specifically to their brand.

prada instagram post

The lighting in a photo can tell a story about your brand.

Use a Filter

Instagram realized early on that much of the app’s value and appeal was in its filters. Each filter has a unique story that it communicates. While there is some evidence that photos with no filters perform best, filters may be necessary to achieve a coherent look for your brand.

The novelty of the #nofilter hashtag excites some users, but artistically edited photos contribute to the purpose of your posts. Does the X-Pro II filter or Valencia filter present your product in a refreshing or edgy way? There is an array of filters at your disposal to communicate a particular mood for your brand and products.

#2: Tell a Story With the Caption

You can give life to a photo with the caption. Nike’s caption here is evocative and tells a story instead of merely describing the product.

nike instagram post

Use the caption to tell a story about your photo.

It’s important to identify what type of description resonates best with your audience. In Nike’s case, this photo represents the culmination of training for the Chicago Marathon.

#3: Add Relevant Hashtags

Hashtags make your photos discoverable. Use popular hashtags when they apply to your photo or your brand.

It’s best to stick with three to five hashtags at a time. You don’t want to overload your photo with too many hashtags because that can be viewed as desperation. Also be cautious about piggybacking on current trending hashtags.

Some brands create their own relevant hashtags, such as Tiffany & Co.’s #TiffanyLeather or #TiffanyAtlas, strategically crossed with more purpose-driven popular tags.

tiffanyandco instagram post

Add relevant hashtags to make your posts discoverable, but generally stick with three to five hashtags at a time.

Create a Hashtag Campaign

Regramming user-generated content is one of the best ways to promote your community and products. Create a brand-centric hashtag campaign for your followers to use.

Stitch Fix asks their fashion-forward followers to showcase their styling choices with the hashtag #StitchFixFriday. This hashtag not only fosters a sense of community, but also reaffirms who your audience is.

#stichfixfriday instagram post

To highlight your community, create a brand hashtag that followers can use in their posts.

Remember that engagement is a two-way street. Follow and pay attention to your followers, and like the posts that are strategically and aesthetically aligned with your brand.

#4: Use a Call to Action

Consider adding a call to action to your post, which prompts customers or shoppers to do something. This is a great way to gain new followers, but make sure the action is relevant to your post. It could be as simple as “Shop Now!” or “Download our app.”

#5: Partner With Influencers

Instagram is home to the new celebrity: social media influencers. Top brands like Birchbox and Madewell partner with influencers to create compelling content to promote their products.

madewell influencer instagram post

Partner with influencers to promote your products and increase your reach.

Influencers already have built-in distribution lists with large groups of followers and are trusted for their opinions on what products to purchase. By working with influencers, you harness their digital popularity to expand your follower count and boost direct sales.

Final Thoughts

In addition to creating impactful posts, you need to have a defined content strategy so your Instagram account can continuously attract followers and generate sales. Determine how many photos you’ll post weekly and set internal key performance indicators and goals to measure success.

Also pay attention to follower activity and respond to your community’s questions. Track which photos perform best so you can discover what content resonates with your audience and begin expanding your reach and driving sales.

As Instagram shifts from a visual platform to a visual marketplace, it can be a powerful sales driver for your business. Thinking strategically about your brand and how it’s portrayed on Instagram has the potential to generate leads and sales better than any other social network.

What do you think? Do you use Instagram as part of your marketing plan? Do you use any of these tactics with your account? What are your favorite brands to follow on Instagram? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

how to post craft instagram posts that drive sales

Tips crafting Instagram posts that drive sales.

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  • treb072410

    Brilliance! Thanks for sharing

  • Hi Kate!

    Thanks for your post!

    I have been trying to make my campaign successful over Instagram, which is say a “Double-Tap” contents; user will double tap the image and win the price randomly – to increase engagement over post. We have also encouraged users to ‘upload’ their most captivating image and our company will feature it and give them special vouchers, of course we have created relevant Hash Tags but when it comes to calculate the conversions, it still not benchmarking the target that we have set.

    How can we further enhance the visibility of brand over Instagram? Does it vary with the nature of business?

  • I agree on every item. Angles, filters, timing of posts… they are the small and not technical aspects… but all of that affects traffic and engagement. Cheers, Kate! Good article 🙂

  • Kate Talbot

    Thanks! Glad you are implementing the right techniques!

  • Kate Talbot

    Thanks — that’s a great start. Contests and branded hashtags do well. I would set obtainable goals, since it does vary from business to business. I would look into working with influencers and using relevant hashtags to increase engagement.

  • Kate Talbot

    Too kind.

  • Jessica Jacob

    Great article! I agree, I think Instagram has become such a powerful channel. Do you have any recommendations on the best way to find influencers in a specific industry space?

  • Great post, Kate – I think driving sales & leads via Instagram for businesses & brands has been a bit of a mystery since IG started. It’s difficult since there are no direct links for people to click (other than the one in a user’s bio), but I think all of the points you brought up do a great job in outlining how successful IG accounts create buzz, interest and engagement through pictures.

    Even though an Instagram post might not directly lead to an online sale, they definitely influence sales down the road – I think this is a tough concept for some businesses & brands to accept because they can’t directly ‘measure’ the return on their posts, but it’s an incredibly useful tactic in today’s social media marketing.

    Great write-up overall, Kate, really enjoyed it.

  • Kate Talbot

    Thanks for the nice words! There are a few direct revenue links that you can use to drive sales for Instagram like Soldsie and Curalate, but in general, most companies are using IG for brand awareness. It is a frustration for many Social Media Managers to prove to their stakeholders — but it will be exciting to see down the road how the monetization of IG comes to light. Thanks again for reading and commenting!

  • Kate Talbot

    There are a ton of tools out there. I really like Revfluence, but you can always do a Twitter or Google search for your specific vertical and find them organically.

  • This is one of the best posts I’ve read on using Instagram for campaigns. I think partnering with influencers is a great idea and something that also works really well on YouTube.
    Thanks for a great post!

  • Kate Talbot

    Wow! Thanks for the compliment. Yep, I linked out to another Social Media Examiner article that showcases brands nailing it with influencers on Instagram. Take a look at that one too!

  • Hi Kate, I just signed up for Revfluecne. Would like to connect with you ))

  • Partnering with influencers will really help you create a following. Shout out is a pretty good way to be promoted and to be visible.

  • Thanks, I definitely will check it out!

  • Earnestine7845

    If you are looking for extra payment averaging 50-300 dollars on daily basis for freelancing from your home for few hrs each day then read more here…

  • Using #tags always gives you the benefit of exposure. tags can help your product to be found easily.

  • connie.ocasi


  • Great tips! I learned a few things.

  • Kate Talbot


  • Pete Wild

    Cracking post.. and you give even more detailed help & ideas in the comments section which is great… but nothing about video?

  • Kate Talbot

    There are some new reports out there about video having more engagement than photos, but in terms of highlighting products for sales, I have seen that photos are more effective. And thanks for the kind words 🙂

  • Stephen Davis

    Thanks again to good!

  • Kate Talbot

    Glad this got shared again, so that you can enjoy the tips! Instagram is still such a new platform for marketers. Hopefully you can put these tips into action!

  • The Wellness Soldier

    Thank you for sharing these tips! I never thought of using a call to action on Instagram! I will have to implement a call to action and try a campaign as well for our site

  • Kate Talbot

    Great! Good luck with your campaign!

  • Stephen Davis

    Just to give you an update on your last post “10 Questions to ask when outsourcing a #Social #Media #Manager”. Great way to get things out and have everyone on the same page.
    Thanks again

  • suztv

    Does this work for designers and artists trying to sell their work? I have a few things online that I sell but they are digital content and only really usefull to artists who employ Photoshop, AfterEffects etc. Should I try and post images created with those elements from people who have used them? Or should I be creating illustrations etc to post?