As social media platforms grow and change, so do the ways that businesses can market on them. Instagram is no exception. You can use Instagram to connect with your target audience, build relationships, and grow your business.
Over 130 million people use Instagram for online shopping; that translates to about 44% of the total active users on the app. Instagram provides customers with a user-friendly platform, and as 90% of users follow business accounts, it is a powerful marketing tool that businesses can’t afford to ignore.
In this beginner’s guide, we’ll talk about how you can set up Instagram Shopping and start selling your products on social media.
Why sell on Instagram?
Instagram is an excellent platform for reaching more potential customers and selling your products and services to them directly. If you have an e-commerce site, adding it to your Instagram catalog can help broaden your audience and drive website traffic.
Here’s why selling on Instagram can help boost your sales:
- Instagram is one of the top 5 most popular social media apps.
- Instagram is a dynamic platform that lets you interact directly with your customers.
- With the right marketing strategy, you can get exposure to more than 1.44 billion Instagram users.
- Instagram is a great tool to engage your target market through photos and videos.
Instagram has a built-in checkout feature that allows users to make a direct in-app purchase, allowing a unique shopping experience to engage existing and new customers and boost sales. It also makes your brand more approachable and lets your story shine.
How to Sell on Instagram: 12 Simple Steps
Setting up shop on a new platform can feel like unfamiliar territory, but these 12 simple steps can guide you through it:
Create an Instagram Business Account
If you already have an Instagram profile, you can easily switch to a business account and start making money on the app. Tap Settings, go to Account, then select Switch account type. An Instagram Business account gives you access to exclusive content and insights that can help you grow your business.
Ensure your business sells physical products that comply with Instagram’s policies to avoid any issues.
You can create a Business account for free, which is easy to manage and will amplify your brand’s social media presence. Remember to link your business profile to a Facebook catalog in Business Manager.
Set Up Instagram Shopping
To set up your shop on the app:
- Go to Settings, tap Creator, and select Set Up Instagram Shopping
- Link your catalog or use a third-party tool to create a theme
- Indicate your website credentials for Instagram verification
- Start adding products to your catalog
- Review the content of your shop prior to going live
- Tag products and insights once the shop is set up
Instagram shops offer a variety of features that give users an interactive shopping experience. By visiting your shop, users can explore products and buy them directly in the app. If you’re based in the US, you can maximize the checkout feature so users can immediately pay for their purchases.
Create a Product Catalog
Add a catalog to your business account to start selling on Instagram. To do this, log in to your Meta Commerce Manager account on Facebook. This is a feature that lets you set up a Facebook Shop. Once you’re logged in, click on Add Catalog.
You can choose from e-commerce, real estate, travel, auto, or entertainment and media catalogs, based on the type of seller you are. Upload your inventory manually or by using third-party platforms like Shopify.
If you’re manually uploading your products, be sure to include relevant product information:
- Specs should be 500×500 pixel image(s)
- Product description
- A link directing to your product landing page
- SKU number
Explore Live Shopping Streaming
The Live Shopping feature on Instagram is a great way to shop and interact with other brands in real time. You can showcase products, partner with other brands, and talk to followers live. You can also save the broadcast and use it for future content to increase the traction of the video.
The Live Shopping feature also has an Add to Bag button so buyers can check out during the livestream; however, this is only exclusive to US businesses with access to Instagram checkout.
Use Instagram Stories and Reels
Instagram has many engaging features, such as Stories and Reels, that you can maximize to promote your products on the app.
With Instagram Stories and Reels, you can:
- Feature products creatively
- Highlight new features and best-selling items
- Promote discounts and special offers
- Share the story behind the brand
Owners with business profiles can also use the “Swipe Up” feature and insert links to their Instagram Stories and direct potential customers to their shops.
To add a link to your Instagram story, take a photo or video and tap the chain icon at the top right of the screen. Type in the URL and tap on the checkmark to publish the story with the added link.
After posting content on your Stories and Reels, keep followers engaged with more details about your content. Let them know what to expect, whether a new product or a discounted package.
Use Instagram Tools to Sell
Although the Instagram Shopping feature is exclusive to US businesses, there are still ways to monetize your account and grow your business. There are many third-party tools available that allow you to sell products on your account.
Some creative ways include:
- Adding a link to your e-commerce page in your Instagram bio and patterning the same theme to your Instagram feed
- Posting product images to encourage users to comment “mine” or ask for more information about the product
- Incorporating hashtags to help potential customers find your shoppable content easily
- Including affiliate marketing and partnering with creators who will get a commission after every successful purchase from their unique link
Reach Out to Instagram Influencers
Influencers can help promote your brand and products to their community in exchange for money, free products, or exposure. Instagram is one of the first apps to integrate influencer marketing, making it a great platform to sell your products.
Most influencers are expensive, but there are also nano- and micro-influencers who can help small businesses sell to a targeted audience.
Leverage User-Generated Content
User-generated content is a great way to promote your products and connect with your audience. It’s authentic and organic, and it helps you reach potential customers who might be interested in your brand.
Bonus Tip: You can also encourage more user-generated content by hosting giveaways on Instagram. You can secure email sign-ups, plus posting about the winners can count toward additional content for your brand.
Run Instagram Ads
To capitalize on the growing mobile e-commerce industry, create Shoppable Instagram ads with product tags that make it easy for buyers to identify product details such as the price.
You can target potential customers with your ads by using a custom or lookalike audience. These audiences can be found on feed or Explore pages, and your ads can be in the form of a single image, carousel, or video.
Get the Most Out of Your Bio
Make sure your Instagram bio includes a clickable link to your website. This way, whenever new customers find you on Instagram, they can easily click through to your site. Use a custom URL shortener to make the link more accessible and easier to remember, and make sure to update it regularly.
You can also add a CTA (call-to-action) in your bio to let users know what they can expect when they click the link.
Use Instagram Hashtags
Hashtags can help expand the reach of your posts by driving the conversation to the right audience and making shoppable content more discoverable.
When you use a hashtag on a shoppable post, the shopping bag icon appears in the feed, letting users know they can make a purchase. Make sure to use relevant and popular hashtags to get the most out of your posts.
Sell In Instagram with Instagram Checkout
The Instagram checkout feature allows users to buy products directly from the app. This can be done through Live shopping, Shopping for Creators, or direct product catalogs in your account. If you’re using third-party e-commerce platforms like Shopify, you can enable the Instagram and Facebook checkout features by going to the Facebook channel integration.
More people continue to find convenience in online shopping, and adapting your business to the Instagram platform is a great way to increase your sales and brand credibility among new customers. Instagram offers plenty of user-friendly features that make buying and selling on the app seamless.
Selling on Instagram can:
- Build brand awareness and widen your reach
- Target the right audience for your business
- Help maximize free tools and exposure available
- Establish credibility for your brand
What are you selling on Instagram? Let us know in the comments section below!