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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. With its many users, Instagram is a great way to make more sales and reach a larger audience. How does selling on Instagram work?

Why Instagram?

selling on instagramConsumers 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, Instagram is the sixth most popular social networking platform in the world. More than 200 million Instagrammers visit at least one business profile daily.

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

This is why Instagram launched its Instagram Shopping service in 2018. With its many users worldwide, there are a lot of transactions passing through the online checkout. Using the platform to generate more sales can be beneficial to your online business.

Looking for ecommerce software for selling in Europe? Lightspeed and Shopify are both platforms that are well optimized for cross-border ecommerce.

Selling on Instagram with shoppable tags

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

Shoppable tags link to your product page within Instagram.

This means that when you reach a larger audience on Instagram, they will also discover your online store. Within the Instagram platform, there’s a tab where users can discover shops and products, based on accounts they’re following, as well as hashtags. By using hashtags in your posts, you can be sure that you’ll reach a larger audience.

Getting started

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

Before you can add shoppable tags in your posts, you’ll need to make a product-catalogue. Here you can add new products one by one or import them from your ecommerce platform. Once you’ve done this, you can start tagging products in your Instagram posts and stories. There’s a maximum of five shoppable tags per picture. If you’re uploading a post with several pictures, you can tag a maximum of twenty products.

After tagging nine products, you get a tab on your Instagram profile saying ‘Shop’. This is where your followers can find all your shoppable posts with tags in them. Note that Instagram only allows sales for products, not for subscriptions to a digital product, software, or e-books.

Don’t 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 shouldn’t turn your Instagram account into an online store. You have your website for that. Instagram users come to Instagram feeds to look at original and new content, to be inspired.

Instagram users want to look at original and new content.

Try to see Instagram 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 Instagram posts. Go in depth on the materials of your product, on what other customers have said in their reviews of your products.

Looking for ecommerce software for selling in Europe? Lightspeed and Shopify are both platforms that are well optimized for cross-border ecommerce.

Advantages of an Instagram Shop

influencer marketingThere are several advantages to selling on Instagram. As mentioned, Instagram has a lot of users and consumers spend a loat of time on social media. It can be an easy to way to reach a larger target audience. It’s also an easy and cheap way to market your online store. Shoppable tags are free to use. This makes selling on Instagram an interesting option even for businesses with a smaller budget.

Shopping on Instagram is also popular with consumers, because the process is quite simple. Users don’t need to leave Instagram and open a browser, they can do the whole purchasing process within the app. This means that it’s easy to start making sales this way.

Disadvantages of an Instagram Shop

Despite of all of its advantages, selling on Instagram 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 checkout. Instagram will also save the accompanying client data. This makes it harder to keep track of your customer base. However, Instagram also has tools for business profiles to analyse your followers and sales within the platform.

In some countries, Instagram users can even complete the whole purchasing process within the app. This means they won’t visit your online store at all. Though paying and purchasing products becomes even more intuitive for your followers, you will have to pay Instagram a fee for these sales.

Finally, Instagram is particularly effective for a certain type of products and a certain audience. Young people and young adults in particular use Instagram to be inspired by lifestyle content. Brands that mainly have an online presence and sell to this target group benefit from Instagram. 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 find you and actually engage with your content and products can be difficult. Choosing a theme or aesthetic can help. Users like a cohesive profile. Coming up with quizzes, tutorials, or give-aways can also increase engagement. If you ask followers to tag others in your posts, this will also increase your audience.

Using effective hashtags helps you reach a larger audience.

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

It’s quite simple to discover which hashtags should be used. Head to ‘Discover’, then click ‘Search’, and then ‘Tags’. Search for terms related to your niche. You’ll then see how many posts have used that term as a hashtag. When you use that hashtag in your post, you add your post to the ‘Discover’ queue. Combine hashtags, so that your posts will be featured on more ‘Discover’ 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 Instagrammers look at business profiles daily. Creating a business profile on Instagram is free, which makes it a cheap and easy way to market your store.

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 does selling on Instagram work?

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 Manager app.

After creating an account, you can upload products into a so-called product catalogue. When you create a post, you can add shoppable 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.