Want to sell more of your products or services on Instagram? Looking for ideas to help increase your sales?
In this article, you’ll find out how to foster a shopper-friendly Instagram presence.
#1: Turn Your Instagram Profile Into a Storefront
The first step to turning your Instagram followers into customers is to build a creative profile that’s geared toward capturing a shopper’s attention.
In your bio, welcome customers to your store and include a clear call to action. Adding a phone number is helpful, too, so shoppers can connect with you if they need something. You may also want to share an incentive such as free shipping.
Clothing brand Liv3 showcases new arrivals in an Instagram highlight album on their profile. It’s strategically placed so Instagrammers can see what’s new when they land on the profile. Followers who like the brand have an incentive to return to the profile so they can check for new items.
The Stories lookbook shown below is a full fashion catalog and all users have to do is tap one of the three images. It’s a quick and easy way to entice consumers to explore the item and brand.
Use your Stories posts in the same way that a brick-and-mortar store uses its shop windows. Show off your products, share special offers, and so on.
Pro Tip: For inspiration, take a trip to your local department store and look at the window displays from the street. What catches your eye? How do the displays drive foot traffic into the store? Make note of any visual tricks the store is using, special offers in the window, and “This just arrived!” signage. Think about how these tactics can transfer to your Instagram business profile.
#2: Brand Your Instagram Profile and Posts for Easy Recognition
To stand out from the crowd, you should have a consistent brand message. Branding your profile is an essential part of your Instagram presence.
Shake Shack’s Instagram account is well-branded. Note the color patterns for each highlight album and the unique style of the product photos.
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Here are some ways to brand your profile and content for easy recognition.
Develop a Signature Style With Your Photos
One way you can build brand recognition is to post consistently recognizable images. Because Instagram is a visual platform, it’s worth taking the time to learn how to photograph your products or budget for a photographer to capture images of your products or services. (Some photographers run between $500 and $1,000 per day.) If you plan carefully, you can generate enough content to last several months.
Use a Branded Color Scheme
To develop a visual style for Instagram, pick standout colors to represent your profile. You might emulate your logo colors and use combination shades for your posts. Or perhaps opt for a checkerboard of color combinations to add visual interest. Blue tones work well for B2B pages and greens for eco-friendly profiles. Experiment with different color combinations to find what works for you.
Incorporate Brand Elements in Your Instagram Content
Put your followers in the scene by creating a branded company culture. I recommend building a storyboard with a lifestyle scenario. Add special branded elements that represent your company. To illustrate, Shake Shack’s imagery tells a story. The inspiring photography makes you want to bite into a burger!
Choose Hashtags That Represent Your Brand
Hashtags are crowd-unifiers and help amplify your message to a larger audience.
Put together a list of hashtags that represent your brand and then research them to gauge their popularity on Instagram. You want to pick long-tail or combined hashtags that aren’t as saturated (such as #ShakeShackBurger rather than #Burger). These appeal to a smaller, more targeted audience.
In addition to finding the right hashtags, also select branded hashtags. Branded hashtags will drive your posts and build company awareness and recognition, so use them throughout your profile. As users start recognizing your products, the hashtags should gain momentum.
If you’re not sure what branded hashtags to use, use your product’s name and add a relevant term, such as #EcoFriendlyYourName or #YourCompanyShoes. Also use hashtags that will help you to be discovered when people search Instagram for your product or service, like #HairGroomingService or #BambooBrush.
#3: Engage Shoppers With Personable Instagram Content
An Instagram content strategy and branded profile make it easier to build relationships with future customers. Because shoppers are bombarded with so many different messages, you don’t have much time to grab their attention, much less to make them comfortable. Why should they choose your business over others?
The relationship between your business and shoppers is essential to making a sale. To establish rapport, you want to make them feel at home. Your Instagram content and reputation are your best sales tools.
Develop a Unique Brand Voice
Develop a personal voice for your brand to connect with your followers on a human level. Using emojis in your captions helps make your brand more personable and approachable, like a sales professional in a store.
Also share videos of people using your products. If consumers can visualize themselves using your products, you’ll have motivated buyers and a better chance of making a sale. GIFs and videos work on any social media platform. And Instagram stories add personality to your content.
Share Your Company Philosophy and Passion
What does your company stand for? Find a meaning for your business and a reason for being. Think about what inspires you to sell your products. If you run a family business, for instance, promote continuity or family tradition.
Doing good and giving back are effective ways to connect with customers. But rather than commercialize a cause, go with something you’re passionate about. Do you love animals? Craft Instagram posts around your love for them. Showcase your products with pets and pledge a percentage of your sales to a local animal shelter. If sustainable living is your thing, go for eco-friendly posts.
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In other words, match your content to your favorite cause. You’ll find followers based on shared interests. They’ll connect with you because of what you stand for.
When you have a clear mission, it’s easier to connect on a human level with your Instagram followers, thereby building a relationship. Use your Instagram account to be that friendly salesperson.
One last note: Shy away from strong political statements and topics that can be polarizing. Keep things simple and friendly.
Support and Reward Influential Brand Advocates
Flattery will get you everywhere! Your brand advocates play a vital role in social selling; they’re the ones telling your story as they see and experience it. Reposting their content is a powerful selling tool. Not only are you sharing customer endorsements for your products but you’re also showing your appreciation by recognizing those customers on social media. It’s like a thank-you note for purchasing.
Create real-life scenarios that will encourage advocates to represent your brand and share their love for your products. You can do this by supporting them, celebrating them, and offering them perks and benefits. Giving them gratitude and consideration for who they are will get you everywhere. It encourages them not only to embrace your brand but also to amplify it to their own networks of followers.
#4: Manage the Shopping Experience on Instagram
Here are some ways you can manage the shopping experience on Instagram to turn interest into a sale.
Tag Products in Your Instagram Posts
With an Instagram business account, you can tag your products in your posts. Take full advantage of this feature by adding all of your products to Instagram via Shopify or a shopping cart of your choice. This makes it easy for your followers to see pricing and product details. Note that to enable Instagram shopping, you must set up and be approved for shopping on Instagram.
In this Simple Kneads post, clicking the shopping bag icon reveals a mini-catalog of products. Shoppers instantly have the product information at their fingertips; they don’t have to go searching for it.
Close the Sale
How do you make consumers absolutely want the item you’re selling on Instagram? Well, the tactics above will help you put yourself in the best possible position for a sale. Now you have to close that sale.
The sweet spot is offering a product that’s uniquely necessary to shoppers. What’s happening at this time of the year? Look for seasonal ideas and try to be useful. If they need it, they’ll buy! Here’s an example of a post that engages and also offers a useful item:
If you’re selling a fashion item like shoes, suggest a way for users to wear the shoes and combine them with other products you offer. A summer dress can team up with a purse and sandals for a BBQ party or happy hour for the office. Putting your buyer in the scene eases the transaction. If a shopper relates to the scenario and the product is useful, the sale comes a little easier.
Provide Contact Info
When an Instagram follower makes a purchase, you need to be available to answer questions about the transaction. Give customers a way to contact you so they’ll feel confident you’ll be there for them if they have a problem.
In Liv3’s bio below, they’ve included a phone number for orders as well as the Call action button. On your own profile, add an email or phone number to give customers additional ways to contact you.
#5: Promote Products With Instagram Advertising
Once you’ve developed your Instagram content strategy, you’ll want to market your store with Instagram ads. While you can attract buyers organically, let’s be honest: You need to pay to play!
To promote an Instagram post, open your profile and tap Promotions.
On the next screen, tap Create Promotion and pick the post you want to promote.
You’re then prompted to choose your destination. If your store is on your website, choose the Your Website option.
On the next screen, select your target audience. You can have Instagram select your targeting automatically, but I prefer to set my targeting manually.
Finally, set your ad budget and duration. If you’re a small store, start with a campaign budget of $500–$1,000 to test what merchandise your followers react to. I usually pick six posts, run the campaign for a full month, and spread the budget evenly across all posts. Instagram gives you the option to run ads for a week as well.
Instagram’s visual appeal makes it a go-to channel for sellers to reach potential customers. And it’s an ideal platform to tell your brand’s story in a compelling way.
To turn an Instagram follower into a loyal customer, it’s important to create content that speaks to potential customers in your own unique brand voice. And your products will better appeal to consumers if they can visualize using those products in their own lives.
Here’s a quick formula to remember when building your Instagram store:
Good Content + Trust + Ease of Purchase = Sale
If you know your audience, you can cater to their wants and needs and make an emotional connection that’s critical to making the sale.
What do you think? Which of these tactics will you try out to make your Instagram presence more shopper-friendly? What techniques have worked for you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.