Selling on Instagram Decoded: How to Earn More in 202017 min read


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The days when Instagram was just an app for sharing photos with your nearest and dearest friends are over. Nowadays, the platform is a powerful tool for connection and engagement, especially for businesses and brands. Whether you want to generate leads, drive traffic to your website, or begin selling your products – Instagram makes it possible!

However, unlocking sales on Instagram can be a little confusing if you’ve never done it before, or used many of the popular tools and features that make it possible! 🤔❓(Don’t worry, we’re here to help!) 

Buckle in, because we’re decoding the mystery of selling on Instagram, and all the tips, tricks, and tools you need to know about to drive incredible sales in 2020. 🕵️‍♀️

Ready to stop puzzling and start profiting? Let’s get to it! 💰

Want to make driving sales from Instagram easier than ever? Set up your FREE Smart.bio tool! Smart.bio by Tailwind is an advanced link in bio tool allows total brand customization, a mix of static and post links and in-depth analytics to help you turn your followers into customers with ease. 

Why Should I Be Selling on Instagram, Anyway?

Why, indeed! We mentioned before that Instagram has evolved over the nine years since it was first created. Not only has the app evolved with new features and functionalities, but people also use it differently!

Let’s look at some statistics (we love statistics! 📊)

In 2019, Facebook surveyed thousands of users to determine how they use and interact with content on Instagram. The results are jaw-droppingly positive for e-commerce brands and retail companies. Here they are:

Facebook Survey - how instagram helps users find products and how it can help you in selling your products on instagram

  • 83% of users say Instagram helps them discover brand new products and services
  • 81% say they research products or services on Instagram
  • 80% ultimately decide whether to buy a product or service with Instagram’s help

So what does that mean for you and your selling potential on Instagram exactly? 🤔 

A majority of users not only expect to find and learn about products and services on the platform but also make buying decisions from the content they find! 

But wait! There’s more (statistics, that is)!

After seeing a product on Instagram, those surveyed users took the following steps:

  • 79% searched for more information
  • 65% visited the brand’s website or app
  • 46% made a purchase online or offline
  • 37% visited a retail store
  • 31% followed the brands account online
  • 29% talked to someone about it

Fascinating, right? And here’s the really cool part about knowing what users typically do next after they see your product: you can build a strategy around those actions to make selling on Instagram more effective for your business.

In fact, we already have one for you (and Tailwind for Instagram will make it easier than ever!)  Drum roll, please… 🥁

Here’s your new end-to-end strategy for selling on Instagram in 2020:

  1. Grab more visibility for your products with careful hashtag research
  2. Provide product information in your Instagram content
  3. Showcase your website and post links to make checkout a breeze
  4. Use Shoppable Posts and Stickers For Selling on Instagram
  5. Build engagement on Instagram to remain top of mind for potential customers

Keep reading for the full breakdown!

1. Grab More Visibility For Your Products with Careful Hashtag Research

If you haven’t considered hashtags as an important tool when selling on Instagram yet, it’s time to think again. Hashtags are crucial to putting your Instagram posts (and products) in the search streams where people are looking for them! 

When you pick the right hashtags for your product posts and Stories, you have a chance to appear to brand new accounts who follow that hashtag, use it or simply search for it often!

Plus, if your post or Story lands in a coveted top spot for a hashtag, it’s likely to be seen by even more users who could easily become customers. That’s why strategically researching and choosing your hashtags is so important.

The thing is, hashtag research isn’t hard… but it can be time-consuming. 😪

You’ll need to sift through all the available hashtagged keywords that relate to your product or service. You’ll also want to look for hashtags that relate to people and interests that might go with your product and note how popular they are (and how much traffic they get in search).

However, Tailwind’s Hashtag Finder offers you a neat little shortcut!

How to Use Tailwind’s Hashtag Finder

We created Hashtag Finder to help our members save time on the day-to-day drudgery of hashtag research and get back to doing what they love – connecting with people on Instagram! 🤝

Gif of Tailwind for Instagram hashtag finder

Plus, Hashtag Finder is built seamlessly into the scheduling workflow within the app, so you never have to miss a beat.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Upload your post into Tailwind and begin typing your caption.
  2. Suggested hashtags based on your caption will appear in real-time!
  3. Check out the competitive level of each hashtag quickly through a handy color-coding system.
  4. Select a mix of competitive, niche, good and best hashtags for ultimate visibility!

Psst… The ratio we suggest for your hashtag mix is 70% “Good” and “Best” hashtags, 20% “Competitive” hashtags and 10% “Niche” hashtags.

Tailwind for Instagram Hashtag Lists

As if Hashtag Finder wasn’t convenient enough, you can also save up to 30 hashtags in labeled Hashtag Lists!

When you post the same type of content frequently, this is super handy. You can drop in your hand-picked hashtags with one click!

Want to try Hashtag Finder, Hashtag Lists AND our new Hashtags In First Comment Feature for yourself?

Get a free trial of Tailwind for Instagram – no credit card required! 😊

2. Provide Product Information in Your Instagram Content!

From the statistics above, we know that about 79% of Instagram users who see a product on Instagram go to find more information about it. You can boost the likelihood of closing a sale if you leave that handy information about your product within easy reach!

There are three features within Instagram that you can use to educate your potential customers without them having to leave the app. These are your Instagram Stories, post captions, and your IGTV channel!

Here’s how to use all three to educate your followers on your products:

Use Stories to Highlight Your Product

Instagram Stories is the perfect place for quick, easy-to-digest video content and images, which you can use to your advantage when featuring your products and driving sales. Here are some ideas on how to use Stories for selling on Instagram:

  • Film yourself talking about product benefits. Keep in mind that Instagram will divide your video into 10-second segments, and you’ll cap out at 1 minute – so keep it short, sweet and actionable!
  • Repost user-generated content like product reviews, pictures with your product, and content that your previous customers have posted.
  • Include a swipe-up Link or directions to your Link in Bio The handy thing about Stories is that you can directly link to your product page (if you have over 10,000 followers that is!). If you don’t have 10K Instagram followers just yet, you can tag your profile and direct viewers to the link in your Instagram bio. Get the full tutorial here!
  • Post a frame-by-frame explanation of key benefits – Check out the example below from Biossance! In a four-frame Story, they introduce their product, explain key ingredients, use and how it works.

Use Your Prime Real Estate for Selling on Instagram – Post Captions!

Having the perfect caption is just as important as having a great image when you are selling on Instagram. Plus, you have plenty of space to highlight important product information like:

  • Key benefits
  • Product uses and instructions
  • What’s included
  • Pricing information

Think of it this way: the image you choose in your post catches your audience’s attention, and your caption educates your audience and invites them to take action.

The perfect caption supports your efforts to sell products on Instagram by artfully explaining exactly why they should purchase your product. More importantly – it should explain how they can purchase your product!

When creating your captions, keep in mind that the first 120 characters count the most – because it’s the most visible in the feed. After that, your user will need to click “more” in order to read the rest of the caption.

You can keep your audience invested and tell them everything they need to know about your product by incorporating these attention-grabbers:

Pepper In Those Emojis 🧂

Did you know that using emojis leads to higher engagement on Instagram? 😍

That’s crucial for selling on Instagram, and reaching more audiences who could benefit from your product!

Plus, emojis make for great line-breakers, so that you can list out information about your amazing product without creating a wall of text.

For example, you can create bullet points with emojis or symbols to highlight key features!

Tailwind’s built-in Emoji Picker is a lifesaver when it comes to adding as many emojis as you want to your caption (no more searching on your keyboard!)

Here’s how it works:

  1. In Tailwind, visit “Publisher” and click the “Create New Post” button (or open an existing draft to edit)
  2. Put your cursor in the caption where you want to add your emoji
  3. Click on the smiley face in the bottom right-hand corner to pull up your emoji menu
  4. Search for your emoji by using the text search bar, clicking on the categories or just scrolling through the menu!
  5. Click your emoji and watch it appear in your caption. You can keep selecting emojis- there’s no limit!

Speaking of bullet points, line breaks, and caption formatting, Tailwind’s emoji picker also has another key benefit that shaves time off your caption creation!

How to Space Your Captions with Tailwind

When you add an emoji to your caption directly from your phone keyboard, it automatically includes a space after the emoji. Doesn’t seem like a big deal, right?

That is until you’re trying to format your caption, and it appears as a jumbled mess with no spaces or line breaks once you publish on Instagram! 😰

That’s because Instagram reads those extra spaces, and they cancel out the line break. 😱 To properly format your caption with spaces and emojis, you need to carefully remove all the extra spaces that come after your emojis and after the end of each sentence.

You could spend time carefully doing this every time you post to Instagram, or you could use Tailwind for Instagram! Your caption font formatting is preserved perfectly in our tool, so you never have to worry about picking out extra spaces or frantically editing your once-beautiful caption after posting.

Start a Free Trial of Tailwind for Instagram!

Sign up with Instagram

Add Fun Fonts to Highlight Key Features in Your Captions

At Tailwind, we’re invested in your Instagram success- whether your goal is selling on Instagram, driving traffic to your web page or just growing your following! That’s why we build key features to make it as easy (and fun!) as possible. 😎

One of our latest features does just that!

Introducing the Caption Font Formatting Tool, which allows you to add bold, italic, bold-italic, Serif and cursive fonts to your caption with the click of a button! 🤩

How does this help you with selling on Instagram?

Easy! You can now highlight keywords and phrases describing your product in your caption. This enables even your most impatient readers to quickly scan your caption and make an informed buying decision. 🛒

Sell Your Products on Instagram with a Call-To-Action (CTA)

A whopping 87% of users said they took action after seeing product or service information on Instagram. That’s amazing, right? To keep that momentum going, help users take the next steps.

When they finish reading your caption, do they know what to do next? Make it really simple by adding a quick CTA! Examples of straightforward and effective CTAs are:

  • “click the link in our bio”
  • “watch our Instagram story for more details”
  • “swipe up”
  • “leave a comment below”
  • “double tap if you agree!”

You can use a CTA to get more engagement or direct your users to where they can find more information or buy the product. Usually, that’s your website and product pages!

Let’s dive into optimizing your link in bio to make finding product pages, brand information, and resources as easy as possible for your followers!

3. Showcase Your Website and Post Links to Make Checkout a Breeze 💨

We’ve talked about finding new audiences, optimizing our approach to providing product information. Now, it’s time for the fun part: closing the sale! 💳

As of now, Instagram does not allow links in captions. That means to do our best selling on Instagram, we need to find another way to direct our audiences to where they can complete a purchase.

When it comes to closing the sale, you have several different options, like those Link in Stories we mentioned. However, the option that has the most customization and ability to link to multiple products and resources is your link in bio!

Include a Link in Your Instagram Bio

link in bio highlighted in instagram bio to make selling on instagram easier

Adding a link to your Instagram profile bio is an easy way to get people clicking over to your sales page! Instagram only allows you to include one link in your bio, and most businesses and brands automatically link their website in this spot.

However, there are some cons to this approach. When you just link your website, you can’t track traffic from your Instagram to your website to see what you’re doing right!

If you don’t link the specific product page, you also run the risk of your visitors getting lost on your website and giving up before they find the product page they’re looking for. That spells trouble for selling your products on Instagram! 😰

Good news! There are ways to effectively link to more than one URL from your profile, without having to switch your link out multiple times a week.

Especially with a link in bio tool like Smart.bio by Tailwind! 😍

Use Smart.bio By Tailwind to Link to Products, Landing Pages and Blog Posts

Smart.bio is a new, easy-to-use dynamic landing page for all your featured products, as well as links you want to feature for a long time (like your website, newsletters and blog posts).

When you set up your smart.bio, you can create a branded URL with your company name or website. It looks like smart.bio/yourusernamehere!

Wellness for Womanhood smart.bio - an easy way to sell products on instagram/ selling on instagram

If you’ve ever seen or used another link in bio tool before, you know that you usually have to choose static button links OR Instagram post images to link all your content. With Smart.bio, you can choose both!

“This is simply PHENOMENAL. You guys have truly outdone yourselves. I’m convinced this is the best bio tool out there.

It combines the best features of all the ones I’ve seen, and the setup was effortless. Easiest and best thing I’ve done for my social media marketing so far. ❤️”

@shavonnemorrison, Wellness Blogger

Your static links will appear at the top of your landing page, while you can link individual product pages in the posts that talk about them. When you add a link to your Instagram post, it’ll automatically appear on your smart.bio landing page!

Why You’ll love Smart.bio For Selling on Instagram:

  • Drives your viewers to long-lasting links like your website through static links featured prominently at the top.
  • Automatically updates your page with new post links as soon as they go live on Instagram (when you schedule posts with Tailwind for Instagram)!
  • Shows real-time analytics on clicks to your links, visitors to your page AND your average click-through-rate (CTR!)
  • Fully customizable, with a custom title, clean page design, and button links that can be changed to any brand colors
  • Offers customizable calls to action underneath each post image.
  • FOREVER FREE!

Most advanced link in bio tools with customizable elements and in-depth analytics are gated by a monthly fee, but our tool is the most advanced currently available on the market, and it is free now and forever!

Plus, setup is so easy it’s unbelievable!

“Done. It was soooo simple and I was looking for more steps 🤦🏾‍♀️🤦🏾‍♀️”

@mum2baby, Children’s Online Retailer

Your link in bio tool makes all the difference in driving traffic from your Instagram posts to your website. There’s also another handy tool you can use when selling your products on Instagram.

Shoppable Posts and Stickers are officially here, and you can use them if you’re approved for Shopping on Instagram! 🛍

4. Try Shoppable Posts and Stickers

Shopping on Instagram is now global, and it’s easier than ever to set up shoppable posts on Instagram so your customers can complete their buying journey in-app!

To nab this feature for yourself, you do need to meet some eligibility requirements:

  • 1. You must be in one of the United States, Canada, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, or Australia
  • 2. You need an Instagram business account
  • 3. You must be on the latest version of the Instagram app
  • 4. You must sell physical items that comply with Instagram’s merchant agreement and commerce policies.
  • 5. Your business profile must be connected to a Facebook catalog. This can be created and managed on Business Manager, directly on your business’s Page on Facebook, or through Shopify or BigCommerce.

Setting up a Facebook store allows you to sell directly from your business’s Facebook page. If you don’t have a website but still have products you’d like to sell, this may be a viable option for you.

Once you set up your Facebook Store, you’ll click “Get Started” next to Instagram. This pushes your account to Instagram for review, which may take a few days.

You can add a link to your Facebook shop in your smart.bio, to add another way for users to access your available products!

5. Build Engagement on Instagram to Keep Top of Mind for Potential Customers

There’s no doubt about it – growing your following will help you in selling your products on Instagram. Simply put, with more followers, you’re increasing the number of potential customers who are regularly viewing your products!

In order to do that, you need to increase follower engagement as much as possible – in other words, the likes, and comments you receive!

The key to unlocking engagement lies in developing a deep understanding of your audience, what they like to see and what is going to make them slow their scroll when they see your latest post in their feed!

Review Your Past Content To See What Resonates Most

You can start getting some valuable clues about what your followers are already responding to by visiting Tailwind’s Post Inspector in your dashboard.

sell your products on instagram by monitoring posts with high engagement - Tailwind's post inspector

Post Inspector allows you to view and sort your past posts by the number of comments, likes, type of image and even the filter you used!

Using these insights, you can determine what type of content your followers are liking the most, and the types they’re scrolling by. That’ll help you make a strategy around producing content that your followers will engage with – and help you sell your products on Instagram!

Use Attractive Images to Entice Your Followers to Engage

According to AdEspresso, there are several types of Instagram images that are performing well on Instagram, and the trend is likely to extend into 2020. These 9 types of images are:

  • User-generated content
  • Behind the scenes photos
  • DIY and how-to content
  • Artfully composed images
  • Influencer images
  • Motivational pictures and quotes
  • Contest and giveaway promotions
  • Seasonal or on-trend images

You have a lot of flexibility and room to get creative – it’s simply important to note that grainy, poorly lit or low-quality images won’t elicit as much engagement as high quality or artfully composed shots will!

In fact, a study devoted to the image qualities that can help increase engagement revealed the recipe for an engaging picture on Instagram:

  • lots of background space
  • one dominant color/hue (blues and cold shades often fare better!)
  • low saturation
  • texture (such as shadows or ridges)
  • increased brightness

Try experimenting with different styles of imagery to see what appeals to your audience and receives higher engagement!

Want more tips on taking quality photos for social? Read our post on “How to Create Gorgeous Lifestyle Photography!”

Main Takeaways

With Instagram users 25% more likely to be in the top income quartile, businesses and brands like you are trying to figure out new ways to capture the attention of their audience and perfect selling on Instagram!

With our five-step strategy (and Tailwind for Instagram’s time-saving features), increasing your sales is totally achievable! Let’s recap the plan:

  1. Grab more visibility for your products with the right hashtags – Tailwind’s Hashtag Finder makes research a breeze!
  2. Provide product information in your Instagram Stories and captions so curious shoppers don’t have to wander far to find out what they need to know
  3. Showcase your website and post links with Tailwind’s free advanced link in bio tool – Smart.Bio! 🎉
  4. Apply for Shoppable Posts with Instagram to make selling your products on Instagram easier than ever
  5. Prioritize engagement on Instagram so that you always stay top of mind (and top of feed!) for potential customers

Pin It For Later 📌:

Selling On Instagram Decoded: How to Earn More in 2020 - Follow this five-step strategy to maximize selling your products on Instagram - based on the actions real users take after seeing a product or service! #sellingoninstagram #sellingtips #Instagramsales

Do you sell products through your Instagram? Let us know in the comments below.

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