Instagram Shopping for Businesses

Instagram’s growing popularity makes it the ideal social media platform for businesses. With the latest Shopping feature added to Instagram in February 2018, businesses can ensure higher conversions from their Instagram followers, get more Instagram likes, and experience growth. With more real Instagram followers, you can show off your brand to the right target audience and engage in meaningful interactions with them by tagging products that direct your Instagram followers to make a purchase.

The Checkout feature, added in 2019, makes it possible for users to buy directly on the platform. Sixty percent of users have been found to seek out and discover new products on Instagram, with 130 million people wanting to learn more about a product by tapping on a shopping post.

It’s worth utilizing Instagram Shopping for your business, and here’s everything you need to know to turn your Instagram followers into your customers.

What is Instagram Shopping?

Instagram Shopping allows users to directly shop for products they find on the platform through tagged post products, allowing you to gain exposure by offering an opportunity to showcase your products to 500 million daily users of the platform. There are different types of Shoppable posts your business can benefit from:

Feed posts

Instagram’s Shoppable feed posts allow you to tag up to five products in the photos to your store’s catalog.

Carousel posts

With Instagram Shopping for carousel posts, 20 products can be tagged in your images, making it easier for you to showcase your entire product range. When posts on your feed are tagged with your product, they’ll appear on a separate shopping feed, and your Instagram followers can see all of your tagged products on it.

Tagged products in Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories are hugely popular and allow you to link your online store for users to swipe up and shop from. You can even add product stickers to your Instagram Stories to promote shopping and allow your Instagram followers to see product details, even if you’ve got lesser than 10,000 followers.

Why use Instagram Shopping posts?

Experiencing business growth through the conversion of your Instagram followers to customers is just one of many benefits of Instagram Shopping. Other benefits include:

Making the shopping process easier for your Instagram followers

Once you’ve managed to grab the attention of users, you can also provide them with the information they need to make a purchase using Instagram Shopping. The “Checkout on Instagram” option allows users to shop directly on the platform.

Serving as a virtual shop front

Shopping posts on Instagram, whether on your feed or in your Stories, fit in perfectly well with your brand’s aesthetic, so the videos/images selected can maintain your editing style without compromising the brand personality.

Connecting with an engaged audience

When you use Instagram Shopping, you’re reaching out to your Instagram followers, which is an audience that’s already engaging with your brand and products/services. All your Instagram followers need to do is click on the shopping bag icon of the post to know more about the product.

Setting up Instagram Shopping for your business

Meet Instagram’s requirements

Instagram’s requirements for utilizing the platform for shopping make sure only authentic retailers and e-commerce businesses can make sales through Instagram.

Connect your business account with a Facebook catalog

There are two ways to do this:

  • By adding a shop section to your Facebook page
  • By using a product catalog on Business Manager

Instagram’s review of your account

When you’ve completed the first two steps, you need to sit back and wait for Instagram to review your account before you’re granted access to make use of its Shopping features.

Once you receive approval from Instagram to use its Shopping features, you can begin to use product tags in your stories and posts to engage your Instagram followers.

Product tags in posts

You can include product tags in your images (five items per image or 20 items for a carousel post), with the option “Tag Products” appearing below “Tag People” with shopping enabled. Items to be tagged will be pulled from the Facebook product catalog created, and when these posts are shared, a shopping bag icon will appear at the top on the right side so that your Instagram followers are notified.

Shoppable Stories

Product stickers or swipe up links may be used in Stories to generate more sales. You can set up Stories using different types of stickers- shopping bag icon, translucent text, product name sticker in rainbow/grey color.

Shopping in the Explore tab

The Explore tab has over 200 million visitors daily, and in 2018, a separate topic channel was launched by Instagram for shopping, which is based on the shopping interests of users. Optimizing your content to appear on the Explore tab can boost sales greatly through brand exposure.

Boosting sales with Instagram Shopping

Tag images with multiple products

You can get better value for your photos if you tag an image/carousel with your products. By tagging multiple products in a particular post, you increase the likelihood of grabbing the attention of your Instagram followers. When multiple products are tagged, they also appear together on a product page, and clicking on a tagged item displays other tagged items as well under “Also Featured in This Post.” You should also make it a point to space out product tags on posts so that the information is clear when clicked. Remember, Instagram is largely used through mobile phones, and the screen space on mobile phones is much smaller, so for your Instagram followers to be able to read the tags, they need to be spaced out.

Tag the right products

Your posts should contain tags of items that are already in your Facebook product catalog. If your products have similar names, make sure to tag the right one in your posts so that you don’t make the user’s shopping experience difficult.

Use product photos/videos of high quality

Instagram, being a visual platform, necessitates that high-quality product photos /videos are uploaded to the platform to grab the attention of your Instagram followers. You cannot compromise on this aspect of your selling strategy.

Maintain a consistent shopping experience

Let the transition from an item click on your shoppable post to your product page be effortless. The products displayed in your posts and Stories must be true reflections of the item in terms of details like size, color, as well as functions displayed on product pages.

Promote on other platforms

By promoting your Instagram account and store on other platforms like Facebook or Twitter, you can increase your number of Instagram followers. You can even add pictures of your most shoppable posts in your newsletter, with a Call To Action encouraging shopping on your account. Running contests across social media platforms with the entry requiring people to follow your account is one way to gain more Instagram followers and encourage shopping.

Learn about how the Instagram algorithm works

With a thorough understanding of how the Instagram algorithm works, you can ensure that you’re keeping up with the latest changes so that your content can be discovered.

Make use of descriptive hashtags

Since it’s now possible to follow hashtags, making use of descriptive hashtags can increase your brand’s visibility and help you gain new Instagram followers. Be sure to research the hashtags being used by your competitors and other influencers so that your posts have a wider reach.

Showcase your products at work

It isn’t enough to just have a pretty picture of your product upon your platform. Make your posts dynamic by showcasing your products from interesting angles and depict them at work so that you can keep your Instagram followers engaged. While you’re at it, though, make sure your shopping posts don’t disrupt the overall aesthetic of your Instagram account. Ensure you’re still keeping them in line with your other posts by maintaining the same tone, filter, or editing style. Taking advantage of user-generated content in your shoppable posts are also a great way to let your customers speak for your brand.

Educate/entertain your Instagram followers

While you feed is generally reserved for showcasing your best content, making use of Stories on Instagram can help you add a more genuine, personal touch and communicate your brand’s personality. Don’t just pitch a robotic sales message; focus on how you can create a more personal connection with your audience by educating and entertaining them. With Stories offering a swipe up feature (if you have over 10k Instagram followers) as well as allowing for the addition of product stickers, you can help your audience make purchases more easily.

Use Instagram Analytics to track your Shopping Posts

It’s pointless to use Instagram Shopping without having a way to assess its impact on your business. You need to know if your Instagram marketing strategy is working as you wanted it to or not, which is where Instagram Analytics comes into the picture. Using Analytics, you can keep track of strategies that work so that you can use more of them, as opposed to ones that don’t. To track Analytics, you can make use of Instagram Insights for your Stories, as well as feed posts, to see the level of engagement generated. You can even make use of UTM trackable links to measure the amount of website traffic generated through Instagram shopping links by pairing it with Google Analytics.

Getting the Most Out of Your Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories, introduced in 2016, has grown massively on the platform and is being used more by users in comparison to their feed posts. The popularity of Instagram Stories is evidenced by the fact that Instagram Stories have more than 500 million daily users, with 1/3 most-viewed stories being from business accounts.

Stories appear for 24 hours and can be used to achieve business growth in a variety of ways. Not only can stories help you increase the number of your real Instagram followers, but they’re also extremely useful in driving engagement, building awareness about your business, and can even result in sales conversions. The resulting increase in the number of your Instagram followers can translate into more Instagram likes for your account and the growth of your business.

Knowing how you can best utilize Instagram Stories for your business to get the most of this Instagram feature is crucial, and here’s your guide to getting it right.

Have an Instagram Stories strategy in place

A strategy for your Instagram Stories can help you control and put into effect several ways of using Instagram Stories to optimize your business reach and growth. Posting between 1 – 7 stories each day has been found to achieve greater story completion rates of over 70% as compared to a greater number of stories. Posting consistently to build relationships with your viewers at the times that they’re most active is necessary to see a rise in the number of your real Instagram followers and get more Instagram likes. Your Instagram Stories strategy should focus on the following areas:

Using Instagram Stories to drive sales

Stories can be used to grab viewers’ attention, get them interested, achieve a sales conversion, and see a growth in the number of loyal customers your business has. Sales conversions can happen through stories in several ways. Even if you haven’t got 10k Instagram followers, product stickers, which are added as tags to particular items in your stories, can help your viewers shop for your products. Color and transparent variations of the product stickers also ensure that it goes well with any aesthetic of your Instagram Stories.

Adding links to your Stories can also be a massive growth driver and serve as a clear Call To Action for viewers to engage in. Whether you make use of text or give verbal instructions, asking viewers to “swipe up” is a great way to encourage conversions. Including “swipe up” motivating GIFs is also a great way to direct your viewers to the link. If you’ve got less than 10k Instagram followers, you can direct their attention to the clickable link in your bio through stories. Putting a countdown sticker in your Stories is also extremely effective if you’re looking to hype up product launches or other upcoming brand events. Viewers can even be encouraged to click on the sticker to stay informed of when the countdown ends.

Instagram Stories Ads are also an extremely effective way to drive business sales and can be targeted to the audience of your choice based on interests, location, demographics, and behavior. They also increase the likelihood of business growth by presenting your brand and its products/services to an already engaged audience.

Using Stories to showcase user-generated content and positive press can also be a great way to put out testimonials for your brand without letting the quality of the video/photo taken by users affect the aesthetic of your Instagram feed. Positive press showcased through Stories can, in turn, capture the interest of another viewer and get them interested in your brand, which could potentially result in a sale, furthering business growth.

Boosting engagement through Stories

Instagram Stories offer a great opportunity to engage with users and make it a more interactive experience, fostering a community sense. Authenticity is also maintained via the sharing of ‘behind the scenes’ footage and snippets from events hosted, leading to a sense of personalization.

Engagement can be boosted through several features of Stories. Polls can be used for viewers to choose between two options, questions can be sent in by viewers that are then answered, quizzes on interesting topics or even your brand can help arouse viewer curiosity, and even the use of emoji slider stickers can offer a sentiment reaction to a story posted. Chat stickers were also recently introduced to allow for a 32-participant chat forum to join the chat, which is a great way to get a focused group discussion going on a topic relevant to you or your business. Going live is another great way to increase engagement through Instagram Stories, not only because your Instagram followers are notified when you go live, but also because it gives them an opportunity to ask questions, make comments, and even engage in live discussions.

Getting more views through Stories

Hashtags and location tags can be included in stories to help your Stories be viewed by a larger audience. They can also be resized or blended into the background so as not to affect the overall aesthetic of the Story. Hashtags and location tags allow your Instagram Story to be viewed by more people by adding them to similar content posted by others. Location tags work well, especially for food and travel accounts, because people looking to travel to a place may just seek some inspiration from already existing content about the place. Posting consistently also helps to get more Instagram followers for your account, generate more Instagram likes for your posted content, and boost business growth.

Disclosing sponsored stories

Proper disclosure of sponsored content is necessary where there is a brand association, whether it is for a paid partnership or gifting. Disclosures can’t be hidden under other text/stickers, and need to be legible during the length of your story, in writing, as many verbal disclosures may go unheard by viewers who click on stories with the sound off. Disclosures not only help you meet the needed requirements, but are also beneficial to both parties involved in the brand association, increasing the likelihood of Instagram followers of each account ending up following the other account.

Scheduling Instagram Stories

Scheduling your Stories for Instagram can save you time and ensure you’re still consistent when it comes to Story postings. Several scheduling tools now make it possible for you to select the image/video you want to post as a story, plan your caption for it, as well as select the stickers you’d like to use with it and choose a date and time for when the posting should be made to your Instagram Stories. By carefully planning and scheduling your Stories, you’ll be able to ensure that your Instagram followers aren’t left wondering why you’ve suddenly gone quiet if you don’t have the time to make a Story, as the scheduling tool will do it for you.

Designing brand-aligned Instagram Stories

Your stories can communicate your brand’s personality, and so, having stories that align with your brand can be extremely helpful in putting across the impression you want. Design app templates, as well as Instagram’s very own built-in design tools, such as layout mode, numerous filters, brush tools, text options, GIFs, color picker, and even boomerang, can help to develop brand aesthetic aligned Stories on Instagram that can further business growth.

Using highlights the right way

Highlights on your profile on Instagram can help to save your Stories beyond just the 24 hours that they usually last, but that doesn’t mean you should be saving all your Stories to your Highlights. Typically, saving Stories that direct the most traffic to your website and other business links, Stories that include a Call To Action, or a shop-able link, should be saved as Highlights to allow viewers to access it even after 24 hours. Having a unique cover for your Highlights will also help to attract more Instagram followers and promote business growth by lending a unique brand aesthetic for your business that your viewers can’t help but be drawn to.

Use the right ‘Stories sizes’

The video/photo aspect ratio for Instagram stories is 9:16, while the maximum length of a video is 15 seconds, although Instagram does post longer videos to Stories as consecutive 15-second segments. The video or photo size requirement for Instagram Stories is 1080 x 1920 pixels. Adding text/stickers to stories while staying within the given blue lines allows the content to be visible to viewers.

Benefiting from Instagram Stories analytics

Insights can be generated for your Instagram Stories just as it can be for your posts, and making use of analytics on Instagram as well as insights from Analytics tools can give you access to information such as reach, impressions, exits, replies, taps back, profile visits, taps forward, follows, next story, shares, swipe away, and so much more. Insights from Instagram Stories analytics can help you evaluate your strategy and assess what’s working and what isn’t so that you can work towards improving your strategy and witness growth.

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