As an online retailer, when you think of Instagram, what first comes to mind? Do you think of a buzzing marketplace full of potential buyers, all ready to pull out their credit cards to buy the product you are selling?
Because if that’s not what you are picturing, it’s time to start!
Instagram is more than just a collection of pretty, styled images, and with 800 million users, the platform serves as an excellent spot to cultivate a community around your brand.
Beyond the pretty images and active social community, Instagram has the potential to increase your sales by turning your followers (and even those who aren’t current followers of your account) into customers. In fact, 60% of Instagram users discover new products because of Instagram.
How People Find Products on Instagram
When a person searches for something to buy in a search engine, they use keywords to search for and find your products. But on Instagram, there are two ways for potential buyers to come across your products.
First, if they already follow you, they may see your posts directly in their feed, whether you are sharing a photo, video, doing an Instagram live or posting a story.
Because of Instagram’s algorithm, it can be challenging to make sure your content is always seen by your followers. But don’t worry, there are things you can do to maximize the number of followers who see your content so it doesn’t get lost in the mix! Stay tuned.
If someone isn’t following you, they may find you as they search hashtags, which is why it’s so important to have a strong hashtag strategy for Instagram.
At Tailwind, we have created 3 easy steps to help you sell more on Instagram.
Step 1: Grow Your Reach for More Sales
Growing your reach will help you sell more of your product on Instagram. If you increase your reach, you also increase the number of potential customers who are viewing your products.
In order to do that, you need to maximize engagement – the likes and comments you receive.
To increase your reach, try hard to develop 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 photo in their feed!
Determining what your audience likes best is as easy as going back and calculating the number of likes and comments for each post, and see which posts are the most popular.
If that sounds tedious and time-consuming don’t worry! Tailwind’s post inspector compiles the number of likes and comments for every photo on your account to make it incredibly easy to see what posts did the best and which ones performed poorly.
Just sort by likes and then sort by comments to see what conclusions you can draw. What similarities are shared between posts that have performed well? Conversely, what has fallen flat?
Start a Free Trial of Tailwind for Instagram!
- Auto post your scheduled updates at optimized times for the highest engagement.
- Get more engagement with our SmartSchedule and Hashtag Finder
- Easily Regram with our browser extension
- Save hours with our intuitive desktop & mobile apps
- Post smarter with profile and post analytics
Step 2: Create Instagram Posts That Sell
Images That Sell
Great news for product sellers using Instagram! 65% of the top-performing Instagram posts are product photos, meaning Instagram users want to see photos of your products.
When selling on Instagram, your images need to appeal to your followers to help you grow your reach and increase engagement, which can help you land on the explore page and get within the top posts for your chosen hashtags.
Gorgeous, professional-quality photos are a must on Instagram. Resist the urge to post anything that isn’t clear and beautifully lit.
Aside from posting high-quality images, there are also certain image qualities that can help increase engagement such as:
- lots of background space
- one dominant color/hue
- 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!
Featuring your product on Instagram doesn’t necessarily mean sharing only straight-on photos of your products against a white background (although you can do that, too!). There are many different (and fun) approaches to photography which helps draw your audience in.
Let’s talk about different ways to feature your products with creative photography.
The Flat Lay
A flat lay is a styled arrangement of items shot from directly above. Not only are flat lays trendy, they are also a visually appealing way to organize multiple products and catch your users’ attention. NYX Cosmetics has managed to feature the names of 10 different products above through one photo. If you have many different items that piece together, you can feature all of them through a flat lay.
Lifestyle and Product Combination
Lifestyle photos account for 43% of the most-liked photos on Instagram, so why not combine a lifestyle photo with your product and showcase how it can be used in real life?
IKEA has created a cozy atmosphere with their photo above, which features many of their products effortlessly. The photo tells a story of comfort and the caption compels the audience to visit the link in their bio.
People and Product Combination
Instagram photos with faces get 38% more likes. Adding people in your posts will bring your product to life and show how it can be used in real-life situations.
Instagram Captions that Sell
Having the perfect caption is just as important as having a great image when you are selling on Instagram. The caption invites your audience to take action, artfully explaining exactly why they should purchase your product, and more importantly – how they can purchase your product!
Along with your caption, you must select a list of high-converting hashtags. This will be necessary to reach a larger audience to sell your products to.
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.
Ensure your caption will be compelling by incorporating the following:
Emojis can lead to nearly 43% more engagement on Instagram when used in your captions. And remember – more engagement leads to greater reach! Experiment with emojis and see whether or not you benefit from adding them to your captions.
Always Include a Call-to-Action (CTA)
Seventy-five percent of users on Instagram have taken action after seeing a business’s post. When your user finishes reading your caption, do they know what steps to take 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!”
Close the Sale
As of now, Instagram does not allow links in captions, which means we need to find another way to direct our audiences to a place where they can complete a sale.
When it comes to closing the sale, you have several different options:
- including a link in your bio
- setting up a Facebook store
- using shoppable posts
- using the “swipe up” feature in Instagram stories (currently limited to accounts with over 10 thousand followers)
Including a Link in Your Bio
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. But, there are ways to effectively link to more than one URL from your profile.
Linktree allows you to create a page with links to multiple pages (no coding required). When a visitor clicks on your Linktree link, your selected links appear, making it easy for you to promote various items at once through one link in your bio!
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.
To direct your audience to your Facebook store from your Instagram, all you need to do is include the link to your shop in your bio.
Utilizing shoppable Instagram posts is an intuitive way to tag your products and allow users to shop directly from Instagram.
When a user clicks on any of the product links within your post, they are taken directly to the checkout page.
Currently, shoppable posts are only available to users with a Facebook catalog or Shopify and BigCommerce members.
Swipe Up Feature
If you have at least 10 thousand followers, you can benefit from Instagram’s “swipe up” feature in stories. Those account owners can add a link to their stories, which is activated when a user “swipes up”.
Similar to shoppable posts, the swipe up action can take your followers directly to a checkout page, which can greatly increase your sales!
Step 3: Maintaining Consistency
Our study shows posting to Instagram every day is the key to higher engagement and growing your followers – both of which are essential to increasing product sales.
Posting daily at the optimal times and with the proper hashtags has been made easy with Tailwind for Instagram.
If you are finding it difficult to create enough content for each day of the week, consider using a weekly schedule with themes for each day:
- Sunday: ask a question
- Monday: behind-the-scenes
- Tuesday: product feature
- Wednesday: quote
- Thursday: new arrivals
- Friday: flay lay
- Saturday: wildcard
Generating ideas for daily content can be challenging, which is why we have created 30 days of content inspiration with our Instagram Jumpstart Challenge!
With Instagram users 25% more likely to be in the top income quartile, it’s no surprise that businesses are trying to figure out new ways to capture the attention of their audience and increase their sales.
With our three-step plan, implementing a sales strategy in conjunction with your Instagram account is easy and achievable!
Let’s quickly recap the steps you need to take to sell on Instagram:
- Grow your reach to increase your sales – identify what works! Evaluate older posts to see what has been successful in the past.
- Create posts that sell with creative photography and actionable captions.
- Maintain consistency by posting daily – start with our Instagram Jumpstart challenge!
Do you sell products through your Instagram? Let us know in the comments below.
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Dana is a self-taught graphic and web designer who now lives in a small town in Denmark and works with clients from all over the world. She helps clients define their brand in order to attract and retain their ideal customers and also teaches businesses how to grow their presence through online marketing and SEO.