Instagram is arguably the most popular Social Media platform on the planet, and being that it has the largest user base of all networks aside – well, aside from its parent company Facebook, of course – using it to sell your products and services is a huge opportunity for businesses. So with that in mind, we’re going to break down six simple ways you can use Instagram’s native features to market your wares and sell on Instagram to your followers and beyond.
Now, as always, if you prefer to watch rather than read, you can take a look at our video below:
OK, it’s go time. First and foremost, get yourself a Business profile. Not sure how to do that? Go to your Instagram profile, hit the three lines at the top right, choose Settings, then hit Account and Switch to Business Account. Follow the prompts, fill out all your info, and you’re good to go.
In addition, you’ll need to make sure your profile is optimized. If you haven’t already done that, don’t sweat it, we got you. Take a read of this blog post or watch this video:
Now, on to the ways you can sell on Instagram:
Link In Bio
One of the only clickable links across all of Instagram is the link in your bio, and for that reason it’s the most well known so you need to make sure you’re using it right. You would direct users to hit the link in your bio via your captions in your posts, and also in your Stories if you’re unable to use the Swipe Up function.
We’d recommend that you use a trackable link service like bit.ly to provide additional analytics on link clicks, and specifically we highly suggest you run with a service like Linktr.ee or LinkInBio to provide a digital tree (landing page) of key links for your users to access. This way, you just need to add the latest relevant link to the top of your Linktr.ee or LinkInBio link, giving access to all of your key links to your followers versus constantly replacing the link in your bio every time you need to change it, forcing you to lose traffic to the previous links.
No matter how much trash talk Influencer Marketing gets thrown at it, the fact remains that it works. Sure, there’s always a few rotten apples in the bunch but overall, it’s a fast growing field and you need to take advantage whenever possible. It’s a great way to get users interested in your product by having someone they trust vouch for it, showing them how it can be implemented in their lives by an Influencer they look up and relate to.
In order to engage an Influencer, you’d need to do some research and create a list of accounts who would be a good fit for your product / service in that they already post about similar products, or they would likely have an audience who would be interested in what you do. You could approach nano or micro Influencers (with less than 50,000 followers) and offer an exchange of value where you send them the product / offer the service and they post about it. Alternatively, if you have the available budget, you can either approach larger Influencers to expand your reach (as they would require a fee), or perhaps arrange a more in-depth campaign with a smaller Influencer who may have a more targeted audience.
For more information on influencers and selecting the right ones for your business to sell on Instagram, we’ve written blog posts on how Influencers can trick you into sponsoring them, and how to tell if an Influencer is actually influential. Start here, as the last thing you want to do is invest time, money or resources into working with someone who isn’t being honest about their reach and impact.
Of all of the methods here, this is the most sure fire way to break the algorithm, as we say and sell on Instagram. Paid advertising is pretty much omnipresent at this point due to the way Instagram (well, Facebook) is set up so they don’t really leave us much of a choice. We’d suggest you run traffic and conversion ads, utilizing concise and engaging copy with clear CTAs (call-to-action), high resolution, high quality images that capture attention, and drill down on your intended audience so that you’re reaching the right people. Do a lot of A/B testing, double down on the ads which perform the best, and take those learnings and apply it to future ads via warm audiences.
Instagram introduced a feature last year that allows brands to add product tags to posts, and once you’ve posted 9 shoppable posts, you’re actually able to create a store inside your Instagram account. This is a key feature that Instagram seems to be heavily investing in, and it’s becoming more and more popular of late. Many e-commerce sites have an integration already, such as Shopify, but even if your e-comm platform doesn’t have one there’s a way to manually do it so everyone can play. You can read more about it via Instagram’s Help Centre.
The Close Friends Feature
This is one of the more innovative options, and to date we still haven’t seen any brands take advantage of this. Make a Close Friends list on Instagram Stories of previous clients, superfans and key customers that you can directly send Stories to. This Close Friends list would act somewhat like an email newsletter where those included will receive offers and updates on new products / services, promotions and more. If you make access to this list somewhat limited, it’ll immediately enhance its appeal. You could go ahead and make a list based on key individuals, and when you’re ready to either make a new list or grow your current list, post about it via your feed and Stories and encourage people to DM you or comment to join. If you try this, let us know how you go!
If you haven’t been doing this already, then you’ve really been missing out. Stories is, at this point, more important than the feed so it’s truly where all the action goes down. The Swipe Up function is super key, so if you have more than 10,000 followers or your account is verified, ensure you’re making good use of it and ask users to swipe up to shop any chance you get. If you don’t currently have that option, refer them to the link in your bio as it’s the only other clickable link to bring them to your website.
You also should be recreating your product catalogue, or your menu, or your range of services, in Stories. For those with the Swipe Up option, post the Story, ask users to swipe up to the item on your website, and then create a Highlight on your profile with all of your items catalogued and arranged logically so followers can see everything in one place, and then swipe up to shop. If you don’t have the option, you can point users to the link in your bio and ensure you’re using one of the landing page services with all of your key links permanently included.
Those are the ways your business can set yourself up to successfully sell on Instagram. If you need further assistance turning your Instagram followers into paying customers and clients, we’re just an email away.