Want to sell more of your products or services with Instagram? Wondering what type of content works best?
In this article, you’ll learn how to move people through your sales funnel using Instagram.
How Engagement Impacts Sales on Instagram
With engaging content, you can create the foundation for a successful Instagram sales funnel. Engagement is much more than a vanity metric. When you publish content that prompts your target audience to like, comment, and message, it sends Instagram a critical ranking signal.
Here are a couple of factors to keep in mind:
- If your audience regularly interacts with your content, Instagram may be more likely to show it to them. Number of recent interactions is a main ranking signal.
- If a lot of users engage with your content shortly after posting, Instagram may be more likely to deliver it to users’ feeds. Popularity is another main ranking signal.
Creating engaging content can also help you reach Instagram users beyond your follower base. Instagram recommends suggested posts to users who have connected with your account or interacted with similar content in the past. Accounts that generate a lot of engagement are also more likely to get recommended, which can expand your sales funnel.
How can you create content that’s likely to engage your target audience, whether or not they already follow your Instagram account? It’s always a good idea to use your top-performing Instagram posts and stories to guide your Instagram content strategy.
But it’s just as important to test new ideas and tools. For example, Instagram recently introduced a DM button that’s designed to help you get more messages by publishing organic posts and reels.
To leverage this button, use the Instagram app to create content that’s likely to engage your target audience. For example, you might prompt them to DM you with a response to a question or to get an exclusive promo code.
On the publishing screen, tap the Add Message Button option and confirm your button choice.
When the post or reel is published, anyone can tap the button to reply to your post and send you a DM instantly. Be prepared to reply manually or set up saved replies and FAQs to streamline engagement.
#1: Use Orders and Payments in Instagram DMs
In many cases, DMs are ideal for connecting with prospects who are at the beginning of their customer journey. You can use these private messages to answer questions, share resources, and assess whether prospects are a good fit for your brand.
But DMs can also work well for mid- and lower-funnel prospects. Have followers messaged your brand to ask about product availability or get help choosing among multiple products? You can simplify the purchase process by selling directly in DMs.
To sell on Instagram via DMs, open a message and tap the plus sign in the lower-right corner. Select Orders from the list of actions. Then create an order by entering the price and a description of the item.
Instagram automatically creates an order object and generates a number for tracking purposes. Your team can tap to view the order and customers can tap to pay the invoice. You can also review active and completed orders at any time by selecting the Orders and Payments option from your account menu.
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To keep track of customers in DMs, it’s helpful to use Instagram’s labeling system. Open any DM, tap the label icon in the upper-right corner, and choose the most relevant status. You can add as many as you like and update them to reflect the customer’s current status.
Selling in DMs can be a time-consuming process that requires manual messaging and management. But you can grow these direct sales by streamlining your ordering process and using the Instagram message button to create clear calls to action (CTAs).
#2: Open an Instagram Shop
To set up an even more straightforward system for selling, use Instagram’s shopping tools. Start by configuring your sales setup and product catalog in Commerce Manager. Note that you’ll need to choose Instagram as a sales channel for your shop.
Then open your Instagram account and select Set Up Shop from the business settings menu.
You’ll automatically get a View Shop button for your Instagram profile, along with the option to host sales and share promo codes. Keep in mind that if you enable Instagram checkout, you also get access to built-in tools like live shopping and product launches.
Whether you allow checkouts in the Instagram app or on your website, professional accounts with shops can tag products in any organic content. For example, in the Instagram reel below, @shopbando has tagged several products. Users can tap the View Products button to browse tagged products and shop the brand’s Instagram store.
Not sure how to showcase shoppable products in your Instagram content? Here are a few ways to use product tags:
- Create a story for a limited-time sale and tag some featured products.
- Share a customer review and tag a product they loved.
- Post a product demo reel and add tags to streamline Instagram shopping.
- Encourage fans to add your product tags to their user-generated content (UGC).
If you use some of the Instagram feed content ideas above, you can share the posts or reels to stories to boost your shop’s visibility. For example, the @ftlofshop story highlight below features a shared feed post. Because the original post has product tags, the story has an auto-generated View Shop prompt that allows potential customers to browse easily.
#3: Add a Sales-Focused Action Button to Your Instagram Business Profile
Because Instagram shops currently support physical products only, they won’t work for every sales funnel. If your business offers services or digital products instead, Instagram’s action buttons give you alternative options to generate and grow sales.
Similar to the View Shop button that displays on your profile after you set up an Instagram shop, action buttons appear on your profile after you configure connected apps or native tools. To access these options, edit your profile and tap Action Buttons. Then choose the most relevant option for your business:
- Order Food works for restaurants and cafés that offer meal pickup and delivery.
- Reserve is great for dining establishments that accept reservations.
- Book Now is best for consultants and service providers who accept appointments.
- Get Quote is designed for businesses that need to generate leads.
Note that the Order Food, Reserve, and Book Now action buttons all require integration with a supported third-party app. To use the Get Quote action button, you can configure a lead generation form in Instagram, complete with contact detail collection and up to four custom questions.
Once you set up these action buttons for your service-based business, they can generate sales and leads anytime prospects interact with them on your profile. In some cases, you can also add them directly to Instagram content.
Instagram Stories supports both food orders and lead generation actions. Tap to add either sticker to your story, and the app will automatically enter your lead form or food ordering app and add a CTA.
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#4: Use Instagram Ads in Your Marketing Strategy
Supporting your organic marketing efforts with Instagram ads will help you reach new customers and nurture customers through to conversion. Here are three ways to use Instagram ads.
Create Lead Generation Ads for Instagram
When you want to expand your lead generation efforts to a wider audience, sponsored content can help. Instagram gives you two options for lead generation ads: you can boost an organic post in the app or create a campaign in Ads Manager.
If you already have a high-performing organic post that’s met or exceeded key performance indicators (KPIs), consider boosting it directly from the Instagram app. You can either tap the Boost button below the post and select the leads goal or open your account’s lead generation tools and choose a relevant post.
While creating boosts can be efficient, this process does have drawbacks including limited audience targeting options. If you need to build a new target audience or upload a prospect list, use Ads Manager instead.
In Ads Manager, use the leads campaign objective and choose Instagram as the conversion location for the ad set. Make sure to accept Meta’s lead terms and opt into Advantage+ placements. Since Instagram is the conversion location, you don’t have to worry about disabling Facebook placements.
At the ad level, choose a message template. If you’ve already enabled the Get Quote action button and created a lead form, you can click to convert it into a chat. Otherwise, you can click to create a new chat with lead qualification questions.
Keep in mind that all activity from Instagram-focused lead ads takes place in the inbox. Make sure your team is prepared to engage with leads, respond to their questions, and funnel them into follow-up sequences as soon as the campaign starts running.
Run Sales Ads Using a Product Catalog
Like lead ads, you can create sales ads by boosting organic content or designing campaigns in Ads Manager. Most feed posts with tagged products are eligible for in-app boosts so you can easily promote top-performing content. Keep in mind that if you want to boost a carousel post, every item in the carousel has to have at least one product tag.
If you want more control over your sales campaign or if you want to use a retargeting audience, use the sales objective in Ads Manager instead. To automate much of the process, use your product catalog to generate creatives, headlines, and links.
Select the product catalog at the campaign level and the product set at the ad set level. Then enable Advantage+ Creative for Catalog at the ad level to optimize key elements for each person who sees it.
Don’t have a product catalog or want to use a different creative? You can save time by choosing an existing Instagram post, adding one of the preset CTAs, and entering a URL destination. You always have the option to edit specific placements so you can customize creatives, captions, and overlays.
If you omit the product catalog and use a website destination instead, you also have the option to add a call extension to your ad. When customers tap your ad to visit your website, it automatically displays a call extension that visitors can use to call and ask questions or place orders.
At the ad level, it’s also a good idea to enable the Multi-Advertiser Ads option, which helps reach more customers who’ve shown purchase intent. It also allows Instagram to display your ad alongside shopping ads for other businesses—which can boost your brand’s visibility.
Retarget Audiences to Guide Them Through Your Sales Funnel
To run a successful Instagram ad campaign, you have to get the objective, conversion, and optimization elements right. But it’s just as important to build the right target audience for your offer and funnel stage.
As you create audiences for each boosted post or Ads Manager campaign, use Meta’s retargeting tools wherever they’re available. Here are a few ideas for creating audiences that successfully retarget interested prospects and guide them through your sales funnel.
Has your Instagram account grown exponentially in recent weeks or months? You can target people who started following your Instagram account to encourage them to take the next step along their customer journey.
Have you added message buttons to Instagram content or used leads ads to get more prospects to message your business? You can retarget anyone who sent a message to your Instagram account to follow up with them and nurture the connection.
Do you have an Instagram shop or a product catalog? If you enable your catalog at the campaign level, you can use Ads Manager’s built-in retargeting tools to deliver ads to people who engaged with your products.
Have a catalog but don’t want to enable it at the campaign level? Use Ads Manager’s custom audiences to retarget people who engaged with your Instagram shop. You can deliver ads to people who viewed, saved, or added products to their carts. You can also upsell to current customers who already purchased from your Instagram shop.
#5: Use Analytics Tools to Track Results and Improve Your Instagram Sales Strategy
When you’re serious about growing sales on Instagram, you need to know what kind of content is working and what’s failing to help you meet your goals. While Meta Business Suite and Creator Studio provide some Instagram analytics, you can access much more detailed insights in the Instagram app. Here are some insights to track:
- Views and button clicks for tagged products in stories and feed content
- Leads, appointments, reservations, and food orders from action buttons
- Lower-funnel engagement like shares, saves, and comments
- Profile activity like website, email button, and call button taps
- Orders made in DMs
Do you direct prospects to your website to browse resources, make purchases, or sign up for free trials? Whenever possible, add UTM codes to your external links. You can add them directly to your Instagram bio link or you can add them to each link on your landing page. You can also add UTM codes to story link stickers to track individual stories.
To create UTM codes and track the results, you can use free tools like the Google Analytics Campaign URL Builder and Google Analytics. Link-shortening tools like Bitly also support UTM codes and analytics for streamlined tracking.
With a combination of organic and paid tactics, you can successfully sell products and services on Instagram. Using the framework above, you can guide prospects through your sales funnel and grow your sales on Instagram.
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