Selling on Instagram

Using social media accurately will not only help you build your brand, but you can also use it as a selling platform. This article focuses on the app: Instagram. Instagram Shopping is a great way to drive sales. Using the right hashtags, you can reach a larger audience. But how does selling on Instagram work?


Why Instagram?

Consumersselling on instagram use Instagram as a place to be inspired. There are many inspirational accounts for interior design, fashion or even cooking. With one billion monthly active users, it is the sixth most popular social networking platform in the world. More than 200 million users visit at least one business profile daily.

More than 200 million Instagram users visit at least one business profile daily.

This is why the platform launched its Instagram Shopping service in 2018. Many transactions occur in the online checkout daily. Using Instagram Shopping to generate more sales can be beneficial to your online business.

Looking for ecommerce software to start selling in Europe? Webador and Shopify are platforms that are well optimized for cross-border ecommerce.

Sell on Instagram with shoppable tags

To sell with Instagram Shopping, you’ll need to create a business account. After doing so, you will be able to add shoppable tags to your posts and Instagram stories (temporary videos that will be deleted after 24 hours). The tag links to a product page within your business profile. Here, viewers see a description, picture and price of your product. On the product page, there is also a clickable button that links to the product page in your website.

Shoppable tags link to your product page within Instagram.

This means that your audience on the platform can also discover your online store. Within the platform, there’s a tab where users can discover shops and products, based on accounts and hashtags they are following. By using hashtags in your posts, your shoppable Instagram posts will end up there and you will reach a larger audience.

Getting started

getting started on instagramIn order to sell your products on the app, you’ll need to have an Instagram business account. If you already have a Facebook business page, you can link it to Instagram. With a business account you get access to additional functions, like Instagram ads, statistics and swipe-up links on your stories if you have more than 10.000 followers.

Before you can add shopping tags in your posts, you will need to make a product catalogue. Products are added one by one or imported from your ecommerce platform. After that, you can tag products in your posts and Instagram stories.

Once you have a product catalogue you can start tagging products in Instagram to make shoppable posts.

There’s a maximum of five shoppable product tags per picture. If you are uploading a post with several pictures, you can tag a maximum of twenty products. After tagging nine products, a tab will show up on your Instagram profile called ‘Shop’. This is where your followers can find all your shoppable posts with tags in them. Please note that Instagram Shopping only allows sales for products, not for subscriptions to a digital product, software, or e-books.
creating feed posts for instagram

Do not use Instagram as your market stall

Though it might seem appealing to tag as many products as possible in each shoppable post, remember that you should not turn your account into an online store. That is what your website is for. Users come to their Instagram feed to look at original and new content, to be inspired.

Users want to look at original and new content.

Try to see the app as a magazine, where you can showcase your products, instead of a market stall. Make sure your content is new, targeted and balanced when you upload your posts. Go in depth on the materials of your product, or on what other customers have said in their reviews of your products.

Looking for ecommerce software to start selling in Europe? Webador and Shopify are platforms that are well optimized for cross-border ecommerce.

Advantages of an Instagram Shop

influencer marketingThere are several advantages when you sell on Instagram. As mentioned, it has a lot of users and consumers spend a lot of time on social media. It is an easy to way to reach a larger target audience. As shoppable tags are free to use, it is also an easy and cheap way to market your online store. This makes Instagram Shopping an interesting option even for businesses with a smaller budget.

Shopping on the platform is also popular with consumers, because the process is quite simple. Users do not need to close the app and open a browser, but they are guided to a browser to complete the whole purchasing process within the app.

selling through social media platforms

Disadvantages of an Instagram Shop

Despite of all of its advantages, to sell on the platform also creates some challenges. Customers will generally spend less time in your online store, because they will be directly guided to a product and then to your checkout. Instagram also saves customer data. This makes it harder to keep track of your customer base. However, the platform has also created tools for businesses to analyze followers and sales within the platform.

In some countries, users can even complete the whole purchasing process with Instagram checkout. This means they will not visit your website at all. Though paying and purchasing products becomes even more intuitive for your followers, you will have to pay the platform a fee for these sales.

Brands with an online presence benefit from Instagram.

Finally, Instagram is particularly effective for a certain type of product and a certain audience. Young people and young adults in particular use this platform to be inspired by lifestyle content. Brands that mainly have an online presence and sell products to this target group benefit from the platform. Product types that fall outside of this target group will therefore benefit less from Instagram as a sales channel.

Increasing engagement

Increasing engagement on InstagramThough there are a lot of users on Instagram, making sure that they can find you and actually engage with your content and products can be difficult. Choosing a theme or aesthetic can help. Users prefer a cohesive profile. Coming up with quizzes, tutorials, user generated content or give-aways can also increase engagement. If you ask followers to tag others in your posts, this will also build brand awareness.

Using effective hashtags helps you reach a larger audience.

One of the most important tools to become more visible on the app is the use of hashtags. With your profile, you will be able to see, on a post-by-post basis, how many views come via hashtags. But you will also see how many user accounts that you reached were not following you when they saw your post. When you use effective hashtags, both of those numbers will skyrocket, which leads to an increase of sales.

It is quite simple to discover which hashtags should be used. Head to the tab ‘Explore’, then click ‘Search’, and then ‘Tags’. Search for terms related to your niche. You will then see how many posts have used that term as a hashtag. When you use that hashtag in your post, the post is added to the ‘Explore’ queue. Combine hashtags, so that your posts will be featured on more Instagram Explore queues.

Frequently asked questions

Some frequently asked questions about how to sell products on Instagram are:

Why should I sell on Instagram?

If you sell on Instagram, you can easily reach a larger audience for your online business. The social media platform has one billion monthly active users, and more than 200 million users look at business profiles daily. Creating a business profile for the platform is free, which makes it a cheap and easy way to find new customers.

Instagram influencers will reach potential customers.

If you know how to create original content, keep your audience engaged and use the right hashtags, you will see a quick rise in order numbers. You could also try to use influencer marketing: influencers are always interested in working together with brands. Using an influencer to market your online shop will automatically help you reach a larger audience.

However, if you don’t have the time to maintain your Instagram profile, then selling on this platform will have little added value. If your customers aren’t on social media, then creating an account on Instagram also won’t be very useful for your online business.

How do I start to sell on Instagram?

If you want to sell on Instagram, you’ll need to create a business profile. If you already have a business account on Facebook, you can connect your Facebook page with your Instagram profile. Both these accounts can be managed in the same Facebook Business Manager app.

Add product tags that link to your product catalogue.

After creating an account, you can upload products into a so-called product catalogue. When you create a post, you can add shoppable product tags that link to these products in your catalogue. If users like your products, the tag will bring them to your product page. There, they will be directed to your website where they can complete checkout and place their order.