How To Use Instagram To Drive Ecommerce Sales?

Instagram is a marketing treasure trove for ecommerce entrepreneurs and brands.

Consider this:

15 million+ business profiles worldwide.

2 million+ advertisers share their stories and drive business results.

60% of people say they discover new products on Instagram.

75% of Instagrammers take action after being inspired by a post.

80% increase in time spent watching video on Instagram.

1/3 of the most viewed stories are from businesses.

Instagram has a huge audience. But it’s not just the size of the audience that makes Instagram a perfect platform for brands and stores. It’s the level of engagement that’s pushing businesses to leverage Instagram and drive their sales.

Take the example of Storets, a Korea based online fashion retailer. Storets uses Instagram to provide wardrobe inspiration to people by showcasing its designs. And drive people to their website. It also runs ads with photos of models posing with Storet outfits with catchy phrases. The company also uses Instagram to inform their audience on the latest in fashion.

The campaign resulted in-

  • 48% increase in unique visitors
  • 4X increase in sales
  • 53% lower cost per click

Storet is not an exception. There are many other businesses that are tapping into Instagram’s high user base and engagement. You too can use Instagram to great effect and drive your store’s success.

But you need to do it right. Spray and pray strategy won’t work.

In this post, I will give you actionable tips on marketing your ecommerce store on Instagram. I will also discuss examples to showcase how other businesses are nailing Instagram. And deriving maximum business.

 

START WITH A SOUND STRATEGY

Instagram is different from a Twitter, Facebook or YouTube. It works differently. Each platform has its uniqueness, which we must consider while building our strategy. Your current strategy may be delivering great results on Facebook or Twitter. But, using the same strategy on Instagram will boomerang. So, start from scratch and build a new strategy for Instagram.

The process of building a strategy is same. Only the details and execution changes. I will quickly list out the steps for you-

  1. Set your business goals for Instagram
  2. Know your audience
  3. Find out your marketing budget for Instagram
  4. Identify your voice and tone
  5. Define your content strategy
  6. Pick metrics to measure your performance

The above listed-steps are self-explanatory and you must have done it before. I would like to talk a little about step number 4 and 5. Identifying your voice and tone, and defining your content strategy are very important for any social media strategy.  

I’m a great fan of MailChimp’s voice and tone. Here’s how the company defines its voice and tone-


If you have not yet defined your voice and tone then this is what you need to do.

Now, comes content strategy. As with any social media platform, content will be the fuel for your marketing. Instagram is a photo and video sharing platform. So your strategy should include-

  • Type of content-photos or videos- to publish on the platform.
  • Type of information- business trends, product promotion, company news- to share with users.
  • Style guide for posts
  • Editorial calendar to plan your posts
  • Ways to promote that content on the Instagram.

Once your strategy is set, now it’s time for action.

CREATING ACCOUNT AND OPTIMIZING PROFILE

Setting up an account on Instagram is free and straightforward. You need to download the app on your mobile or tablet. Depending on your mobile phone, download app for iOS from the App Store, Android from Google Play store or Windows Phone from the Windows Phone Store. Instagram doesn’t allow you to create an account on a computer. For your ecommerce store, you need to create a business account. Creating a business account will help you put your website link in your profile. It will also give you access to analytics. These features are not available on personal accounts.

Just like any other social media platform, you need to choose a username. Then upload a good profile picture and write a short introduction (up to 150 characters) of your business. Make sure that your picture and business description are consistent with your branding. And don’t forget to add your website link to your profile.

CREATE AWESOME CONTENT

Content is the fuel for any social media platform. Instagram is no different. You need good content to attract the audience. So what should you post on Instagram? Here are few types of posts that do well on Instagram-

  • Latest Trends- Customers like to keep abreast of latest trends. So if you are a fashion store then you can create content around latest in fashion, say wardrobe inspiration for summers or winters etc.

  • Motivational- Inspirational messages also do well on Instagram. Use it to lift the spirits of your audience and motivate them to do better.

  • Offers and Coupons- We all like discounts and coupons. So, if you have coupons then publish it on your account.

  • Celebrity Posts- Find out people whom your target audience admire and posts their pics using your products.

  • Social Causes- People like brands that are associated with social causes. So if you are associated with a social cause then create content around it and share it with your audience.

  • Events and Occasions- Create content around holidays, festivals and on sports and social events like NFL, World Cup etc.

  • New products- Creating content around new arrivals in your store is also a good idea.

  • Company Information- Show how your people work behind the scenes. Share news on awards and recognition earned by your audience.

 

  • User-Generated- Ask your audience questions relevant to your business. Ask them to post their pics with your products. And post it on your channel.

TIPS FOR CREATING AWESOME INSTAGRAM POSTS
  1. Use good quality photos. Show happy faces.
  2. Tell a story using photos. Instagram allows you to create albums. Use it to tell your story.
  3. Post pics of your customers using your products. Create compelling visual experiences that excite users.
  4. Use good copy and messaging to complement your photos. Use emojis to emote with your audience.
  5. Add your brand look and feel in your posts by using an identifiable colour palette, logos etc.
HOW TO PROMOTE YOUR BRAND ON INSTAGRAM

Use Hashtags

Hashtags are one of the most powerful tools in promoting your business in the Instagram. Hashtags are searchable. A lot of users use hashtags to find the content of their interest. Using the right hashtags in your content will make it discoverable to millions of users. Even if they are not following you.

According to research by coschedule,  posts with 11 hashtags tend to do better.

How to find the right hashtags? You can simply search on Instagram to find popular hashtags trending at that time. You can also use tools like Hashtagify, Tagboard etc., to pick the relevant right tag for your posts.

Cross Promote On Other Platforms

If you have accounts on other social media platforms then cross-promote your content. Promote your Instagram posts on Twitter, Facebook etc. This will help you introduce your followers on other platforms to your Instagram account.

Collaborate With Influencers

Partnering with Influencers is a great way to take your brand to new people. There are many influencers- celebrities, experts etc., who have a huge following. There are also people from ordinary lives who have risen to popularity on Instagram through their content. You can identify influencers who are relevant to your brand. Build relationships with them and ask them to promote your brand on their account.

Learn more about this strategy here.

Leverage Instagram Ads

Let’s face it. All social media platforms are now monetizing themselves and are tweaking their policies to encourage businesses to advertise. The organic or free promotion has its limits and gestation time. So if you have the budget then leverage Instagram ads to get quick and good results.

According to AdEspresso, the average cost per click (CPC) for Instagram ads in Q3 ranged between $0.70 and $0.80 for all age ranges.

Instagram allows following ad types-

  • Photo Ads
  • Video Ads
  • Carousel Ads
  • Story Ads

Learn more about Instagram Ad Types here.

Setting up ad campaigns on Instagram is simple and straightforward. If you have run Facebook ads then it will be very familiar to you. Here are few things to keep in mind-

  • You need to have a Facebook page to run ads on Instagram. So, create a Facebook page if you haven’t one.
  • Instagram allows excellent audience targeting options. Use them to reach the right audience at low costs.
  • Instead of creating new content for adverts, use your existing posts that have been popular organically. Improve it to make it timely and relevant.
  • Don’t just sell. Tell a story, emote with your audience and encourage action.
  • Use hashtags in your adverts.
  • Use powerful call-to-actions (CTA) to encourage action from the audience.
MONITOR YOUR PERFORMANCE

You need to keep an eye Instagram Insights to learn more about your followers and the people interacting with your business. Instagram Insights provide you information on gender, age range, and location of your audience. You also get data on how your posts and stories are performing.

You can track weekly Impressions, Reach, and Profile Visits as well as at what times during the day your followers engage with your Business Profile.

Learn more about Instagram Insights here.

KEEP LEARNING

A lot of startups have made a name for themselves promoting their brands on Instagram. Established brands have used Instagram to gain new markets and connect with their audience. You too can!

Here’s a list of suggested readings to help you nail Instagram marketing-

How to Conquer Instagram Advertising Without Breaking the Bank

Instagram Marketing Strategy: How To Build One The Best Way

30+ Free Instagram Tools to Help You Grow Your Following

In addition, Instagram also offers a range of courses to help you make optimal use of the platform for your business. Learn more about it here.

After working 7+ years as a digital marketer for startups and large enterprises I quit my job to start EcommerceYogi. Here I share the exact same tactics which I have used to drive millions of users per month to e-commerce stores. Follow me on Linkedin and Twitter to stay connected.