10 Strategies to sell on Instagram with your online store and generate more engagement

Do you have an online store and are you planning to start selling on Instagram? Do not you know if it will be worth it or in the end it will be a waste of time?

Well, the answer is pretty simple. And yes, it is so worth it.

The facts speak for themselves.

So, it’s clear that this is a valuable platform for your social media strategy.

But watch out.

Each social network has its peculiarities and the queen of the photographs was not going to be less.

So in this post we explain what are its advantages and disadvantages and how you can use it to increase the sales of your online store.

Do the photographs sell?

Obviously, yes. But, how exactly?

Now let’s find out.

Why should you sell on Instagram? Advantages and disadvantages

As we said at the beginning, each social network has its peculiarities. That’s why, before you start working with Instagram, you have to assess whether this is the best channel to achieve your goals or if there are better ones.

But let’s start with the positive side.

Nº1: overwhelming growth

For you to get an idea, in June 2018, Instagram reached a billion active users per month.

Only 3 years later (in 2021), such number surpassed 2 billion users, regardless of the strong competition generated by the appearance of TikTok —which has grown remarkably since 2020.

Only by this point is a social network to be taken into account.

Nº2: the one that most engagement is going to give your brand

Having followers to have them is of no use. If you want the repercussion of your store to grow, you need people to really interact with your content.

As above-mentioned, if you compare the engagement rates of different social networks, you will see that the instagramers are much more committed to the brands than those of Twitter or Facebook.

This will make it much easier for you to grow your community. In fact, you can design Instagram stories that promote interaction, running polls or quizzes that encourage audience participation and heighten brand engagement.

Nª3: humanizes the brand

Through the photos and videos you can show your work or your products in a more relaxed way.

You must think that consumers empathize more with the brands that they see more real.

What kind of photos can you take? We give you ideas:

  • Your offices or the surroundings.
  • A video of how you package the product.
  • The tools you use to work.
  • The team members.
  • Etc.

Give free rein to your most creative side, you will see how your audience thanks you.

And now, yes, we are going with the less beautiful side of this social network. Let’s see what you have to keep in mind.

Nº1: very limited pc version

​​This is one of the harshest criticisms Instagram has taken since the beginning.

Being an app that works by uploading pictures from your smartphone, its desktop version still lacked some flexibility.

And we say “lacked” because that’s all changed now.

It looks like the people in charge of Instagram’s UX finally listened to their users. In November 2021, the app released a desktop version with brand-new interface with many more features.

What can you do from Instagram web now?

  • Log in with your username: check your feed, stories and notifications. Besides, you can also interact with other users’ posts and stories (this feature was available since the beginning).
  • Publish videos and images: one of the best-received novelties because up until 2021 you could only do that from your mobile version.
  • Send DMs: this feature was added a little earlier, in 2020.
  • Watch live broadcasts: since 2021, it’s also possible to watch Instagram live broadcasts on laptops, and not just from smartphones (whose small screen turned out insufficient). This is a novelty that had been long-claimed by users.
  • Pause videos with just a click: you can also do that on the smartphone version if you press and hold the screen. It’s easier on the desktop version.

And yet, Instagram web still lacks a few details to meet the app’s expectations.

And they’re pretty important details:

  • To begin with, as of today, it’s not possible to post reels on the desktop version. This feature works exclusively on smartphones.
  • In addition (and crucially for eCommerce stores), Instagram Shopping —which allows users access your website or shop on the app— is not available in the desktop version.

Taking into account their importance, it’s expected they end up being included in the desktop version.

Nº2: may not be safe

All data you provide to Instagram will be on the Internet. If your servers were attacked by hackers, your information would run the risk of falling into the wrong hands.

Therefore, it is recommended that you enable two-step authentication.

Nº3: There is no way to sort photos

When the user arrives at your profile he has to see all the photos at once. It would be more practical and would improve the user experience to be able to group them thematically.

The only step Instagram has taken in this direction is that it now allows you to create story groups highlights, but it’s still a limited feature.

Nº4: very limited to derive traffic to the web

Maybe this is the worst of them all. Instagram only allows you to include a functional link (that of biography).

That greatly limits the chances of the person visiting your store.

The good thing is that there are some available solutions to make up for this:

  • The first and most evident one is generating a ‘link tree’. It creates a ‘main link’ –the one on your Instagram biography. By clicking on it, users land on a special website with many links. You can easily get this done with a tool like LinkTree.
  • Also, you can post links to product cards, blog posts, landing pages for offers you’ve launched, etc. on your stories.
  • And you can also activate Instagram Shopping and link the images on your profile with your website’s product cards.

By the way, here’s a little something for you to see how ‘tree links’ work:

If you click on the link on Le Coq Sportif’s bio, you’ll see this screen with different links to their website and the rest of their social media.

See how simple it is to solve this issue?

10 tips to sell by Instagram

Have you decided to use Instagram to sell your products? Well then get ready because now we tell you 7 tricks to squeeze the maximum potential of this social network.

1. Show your product in action

We all know how to take photos of our products, but as we explained in this post, it is not worth taking photos in any way.

If you want your product to stand out over the rest of the competition, take photos while you’re using it.

Do a test. Search Google images of running shoes.

Do not you go more eyes to the photos where people appear running or tying their shoes?

In addition to being more striking photos, we are attracted to see the article in a real context.

If you want to deepen your knowledge on this topic, here’s a post in which you’ll learn how to use your store’s pictures and videos to increase conversion.

2. Tell a story with your articles

This point is a variant of the previous one. In addition to showing photos in which you see the article “working”, you can make what surrounds you tell a story.

For example, imagine that you are selling clothes by Instagram. Let’s take the concrete case that you have a T-shirt shop.

In most shops, you will see the model with the garment on a white background.

But, what if instead the model appeared on the beach with friends making a bonfire?

If your buyer persona fits that age and values ​​the friendship a lot, that photo will impact you more because it shows an idyllic situation for he.

With that kind of photos you will establish an emotional bond with the person and you will have more options to retain it.

3. Use the hashtag

The hashtags are words that we accompany with a pad (#) to tag the photo that we are uploading.

What is this for?

So that people can find your content easier (which will lead to greater followers and therefore future customers).

We give you several rules to use correctly:

  • Investigate which ones the competition uses. This way you will have more options to reach your target audience.
  • Do not put more than 5 or 10 hashtags. It’s ridiculous to see 2 or 3 lines of comments and then a whole paragraph of labels.
  • Put the ones that interest you most (for example, those of your brand) in your first message. The hashtags that you place in the 2nd will be hidden as soon as you leave a comment.

You can also use tools that tell you which are the most popular hashtags in your subject. For example, Display Purposes.

4. Facilitates the purchase to the maximum

One of the handicaps that Instagram has is that you can only incorporate a link to your website. And of course, this makes it very difficult for the user to access the product quickly.

We give you several tools so you can solve this.

  • Like2BuyThis application allows you to create a special landing page with all your products that you will access from the bio link. From there, they will be able to buy everything they want. Brands like Victoria’s Secret use this app.
  • Liketoknowit: ideal for bloggers who want to sell clothes by Instagram. If you register in this app, only with the user (also has to be registered) give a “like” to that photo will receive an email to buy the item.
  • Soldsie: another very interesting tool to sell products on Instagram. With this app, the user only has to leave the word sold and his email in a comment. After this they will receive a message so that they can finish the purchase.

The easier it is to put the transaction to customers much better. Each click that they have to give of more is an option so that they leave.

5. Make competitions and promotions

This is one of the best ways to give visibility to your brand on Instagram and improve the level of customer commitment.

The steps to create a good contest or promotion are as follows:

  1. Create a unique and simple hashtgag that identifies your brand.
  2. Make it clear what the prize is.
  3. Explain the rules. For example, it is customary to ask your followers to upload photos of the product tagged with the hashtgag that you have created.
  4. Once you have a winner, make a publication congratulating him and mentioning his user.

The competitions everyone likes, take advantage of his pull to gain popularity.

Do you also have a fan page? Then, read this post on how to make contests on Facebook.

6. If you have a physical store, geolocate your photos in it.

If you have a physical online store you have to make it clear. Think that many people still have problems buying online, so it will be easier to decide if they can see the product.

When you upload the photo, you only have to add the location. Remember that also work very well the photos in which you show your place or where you work.

7. Use photos of your products made by your followers

The Internet has changed the rules of the game in terms of selling. The information now flows smoothly over the network.

However, consumer 3.0 has included a new factor in deciding whether to buy or not: the opinions of the rest of the users.

Seeing what has been the experience of other users, can transmit the necessary confidence or have you completely discard the purchase. That is why many e-commerce now use a system of comments and scoring by stars.

Encourage your customers to upload photos of your products with discounts or special promotions. Another good strategy is to incorporate these photos of your customers into the product cards themselves. Thus the feeling of “social proof” will be emphasized.

8. Instagram Shopping: turn your profile into an extension of your eCommerce

We’ve mentioned this concept throughout this post, but it’s finally time to fully address it.

Instagram Shopping allows you to create ‘shoppable posts’; that is, they allow your followers to click on the product they have on screen and buy it.

This kind of posts stand out because on the bottom left corner, they include a small icon of a shopping bad enclosed in a withe circle.

By clicking on the image, a new tab pops up containing:

  • The product’s info: price, characteristics, etc.
  • A small description (if you’ve added it): which you can use to put all this advice into practice to write up product cards. 😉
  • A button with the product card on your website: for the user to complete their purchase.

Here’s an example:

Besides, Instagram now allows you to activate in-app payments so that users can complete their purchase without leaving the social media.

The problem with that?

Well, at the moment, in-app payment options are fairly limited. For example, you can’t pay with PayPal (and as you know, offering few payment checkouts can affect customer experience).

On the other hand, if you redirect users to your web, it’s likely they’ll sign up as a customer.

This way you can keep in touch with them and put different customer loyalty strategies in practice so they keep on buying from you for a long while.

Are you confused about how to activate Instagram Shopping in your profile?

Don’t worry about it because Facebook’s Business Manager guides you through the whole process.

 9. Get the full potential out of videos

Instagram was born as a social network in which pictures were the protagonists.

But videos have been growing strong lately —partly because of the pressure exerted by TikTok.

And that’s good news for your eCommerce, keeping in mind the potential in videomarketing when it comes to sales and generating trust. 😉

Right now, this social media offers different options to showcase your products in videos:

  • Regular posts: you can upload videos to your feed, which will appear next to your pictures.
  • Stories: short posts (less than 15 seconds) visible for only 24 hours. If you want to upload a longer videos, it’s common practice to split it into many consecutive stories. Read this post on how to optimize Instagram stories.
  • Reels: one of the most recent novelties on Instagram. They are short videos (from 2022 every video shorter than 15 minutes is labeled as a reel). You can use the to offer useful advice for your audience, showcase products, announce catalog novelties, introduce your team, give sneak peaks of your business’ ‘backstage’… the possibilities are endless. Clearly, this type of content tends to work best when you have rather short videos (less than a minute) for rapid consumption.
  • Instagram Live: Instagram also introduced live broadcasts a while back. Many stores are already making the most of this feature for live streaming their products.

Now you know: pick up your camera (or smartphone) and start making videos for increasing your sales.

10. Collaboration makes strength (ally other brands)

Collaboration between brands is a powerful strategy to reach new audiences.

Instagram know this and that’s why they’ve launched collaborative contents.

In other words, posts that are published simultaneously on different accounts.

How can you benefit from this?

Well, there are many options, but the two main strategies involve collaborations with:

  • Influencers: look for profiles with many followers and an audience similar to yours, and reach an agreement for them to advertise your brand. Here are some tips for working with influencers. In this other post, we address the benefits of working with microinfluencers.
  • Other brands: you can also reach agreements with other brands that address the same customer profile as you do. For example, if you sell sports products for elite athletes, you can collaborate with a personal coach who works with this kind of athletes and so create collaborative contents. As a results, you’ll both gain each other’s audiences.

Now that you know this, let’s get that networking rolling so you can make your eCommerce bigger.

Are you ready to start selling on Instagram?

As you have seen, using Instagram to sell your products may be interesting despite the disadvantages of the platform.

And that is not to say that it is a social network that is growing like foam and that allows you to approach users in a different way. We recommend that you read the following article on social commerce for more information.

Do not waste the power of the photographs and start selling by Instagram!

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