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Instagram: The sales channel you’re yet to maximize




If you’re a follower of Instagram trends and feature releases, it’s no secret that in the past six months Instagram has made one of boldest moves into the world of e-commerce that we’ve ever seen from a social platform. Since March, we’ve witnessed the release of “Shoppable Posts”, “Shoppable Story Stickers”, and just last month, it was reported that Instagram is planning to soon launch their own standalone shopping app: “IG Shopping”

But what does all this mean for businesses, and in particular, e-commerce businesses? Well, until now, Instagram has been labeled as the “brand builder”  of social networks, great for showcasing your companies established aesthetic, but ranked low on a list of marketing resources that could drive relevant web traffic, and generate revenue. That is, until now!

In the world of e-commerce, Instagram is the sales channel you’re probably yet to maximize. However, with IG shopping, this looks set to change. Although not yet a mainstream concept, Instagram shoppable media now allows e-commerce companies to tag products within an image, and if the user decides to tap the product within that image, they will be presented with a tag that will feed them more information about the product. If they then tap that tag, it will bring the user to the “add to cart” section on that companies website. So what does this mean for the user? Well, 1. It means the days of “shop via link in bio” are gone, and 2. The experience becomes much more seamless for the user. Though adding shopping tags to your Instagram posts isn’t as simple as just clicking a button. In order to be eligible for shoppable media, you must first meet the criteria listed below. You must:

  • Have the latest version of the Instagram app
  • First, make sure you have a business profile on Instagram
  • Are an admin on a page or business manager account
  • Have a product catalog associated with a shop on Facebook
  • Sell physical goods and comply with Instagram’s merchant agreement and commerce policies

Once you tick all of these boxes, you will be eligible to enable shoppable media on your Instagram account. To find out how to enable this feature, click here.

The next thing you’re probably wondering is, “I’ve made my account shoppable, but how do I now optimize my account to ensure I get enough traffic to begin making more sales?” Look no further! Below we’ve listed 5 ways in which you can optimize your Instagram account to generate more sales.

1. Create great content

This may sound obvious, but creating high quality, HD content is the first step in ensuring that your feed looks crisp and professional, but it also heightens the possibility of people wanting to stop and engage with your content. If you’re a small business, consider hiring a part-time photographer/editor to ensure that 1. You have a large catalog of images, and 2. All of those images look sharp.

2. Explore the possibility of Influencer Marketing

Influencer Marketing isn’t a fit for every brand, but if you think it might work for you, it would pay to research who are some of the micro-influencers that operate in your industry that might be willing to promote your product and drive relevant traffic to your account. Why do we say micro-influencers? Well, working with a micro-influencer means you’ll likely reach smaller audiences, but those audiences will be highly targeted.

3. Use and engage with the most optimized hashtags

Many people think that taking the time to create a refined hashtag strategy on Instagram is a waste of time. The truth is that couldn’t be further from the truth. When using hashtags, you should be constantly thinking “how can I find and use the most community-oriented hashtags that are relevant to my industry”. For instance, if you are selling watches, using niche hashtags such as #watchfam #wristlove #watchesofinstagram, and #watchaddict could be the key to getting your content on Instagram’s to explore page twice as often. However, using these hashtags on your own images is just half the battle. To truly maximize the amount of traffic to your page, it pays to set aside time every day to engage with posts under these community-orientated hashtags. Liking and commenting on 400-500 images per day will give your brand on Instagram more exposure, and ensure that even more people visit your profile and engage with your content. Remember, the more people that engage, the more likely they will convert into a follower.

Above are only some of the tips you can deploy to ensure you build a stronger brand on Instagram and optimize your feed for more sales. However, if you can put the pieces in place to make sure users can shop your posts, execute on creating great content, partner with influencers that will spread the word about your content, and then use and engage with posts that fall under niche hashtags, your business will be in a much better place to begin maximising Instagram as a sales channel.

For more information on how to get set up with shoppable media, see the links below.

How do I get approved for shopping on Instagram?

How do I connect a Facebook catalog with my Instagram business profile?

How do I tag products on Instagram?

Michael is a Brand Manager at SelfMade, a New York City Instagram Marketing startup, where he helps e-commerce companies create a powerful and cohesive brand on Instagram and generate revenue from the platform. He was recently listed on the Sociables 30 under 30 Most Influential People in Marketing, Advertising, and Social Media, and when he is not helping e-commerce companies scale their businesses, he is writing for Entrepreneur and, and running the Talk Show Entertainment Instagram account, @talkhowents.