9 Easy Steps to Grow eCommerce Sales From Instagram
With over 800 million active users every month, Instagram is more than just a lifestyle. For business people, like you, it’s a marketing platform that has grown exponentially. The good thing about Instagram, unlike other platforms, is its simplicity. Being a no-brainer, this photo and video sharing social media hub has been used by companies to connect to their audience and increase their reach.
Why does Instagram marketing work?
Instagram is basically a social media site, which allows you to connect with your audience.It’s a site for personalized images of people, places, and products, which appeal more to users than traditional ads.We humans are visual creatures. We pay attention more to images than to text. We would rather look at pictures of products than read articles about them.Instagram allows entrepreneurs and consumers to interact with each other. Being a top social media platform, Instagram encourages engagement and increases your reach.
It doesn’t matter whether you just started a business and you’re looking to attract your first customers or you’re a seasoned business owner who wants to capture a new audience. You can build a robust brand image on Instagram and convert lurkers to actual buyers. Question is, how can you make Instagram work for your business?
Well, here are 9 smart ways!
1.Plan your posts
Before you even start snapping pictures of your products, sit down and ask yourself what you want to achieve, who you want to reach, and what you theme is. It’s not just about uploading some random stuff. It’s about making each image count.
How do you make each image count? That depends on your business, your goals, and your target audience.
Are you a sports blogger? Then you have a specific audience who is interested in sports gear, active wear, athletic footwear, and so on. Don’t just shove products down their throats. Use your images and videos to talk to them and show them what you can do.
You want to sell, but don’t forget to inform, educate, and inspire your followers.
Use apps and tools!
You can manage your time online with the help of apps. For example, you can use a management tool like Latergramme to manage and schedule your posts, so you don’t have to log into your account every day to upload new photos. You can upload your content in advance and schedule posting, removing the need to check on your account every now and then. On the other hand, planning tools like Planoly also allow you to arrange your feed by simply dragging photos and setting them up in an organized layout.
Just use apps and tools that are compatible with Instagram’s terms and conditions.
2.Post quality images
As we’ve said, we humans are visual creatures. We love a good visual experience. So that’s what you’re going to provide your Instagram audience. Look at what popular brands are doing. Look at the kind of photos they’re uploading. You’ll notice a common thing.
They are posting high quality photos. You can tell they are investing in professional photography to put their products out there in good light literally!
You don’t have to buy the latest DSLR camera to start taking pictures of your perfume line, customized wedding souvenirs, or holiday cupcakes. But you certainly don’t want to use your old smartphone with scratches. If you want people to take your business seriously, invest in good equipment.
But how do you take great pictures?
This is not a photography blog, so we’ll make it quick by just citing the basics.
Invest in good lighting. Check your camera settings, especially your ISO and exposure settings to avoid bleakly dark pictures or blown out images.Check your composition. Make sure there’s no clutter in the background. Make sure your subject is in sharp focus. Edit your photos. Sometimes simply adjusting the brightness, contrast, or saturation can vastly improve an image’s appeal.Keep in mind Instagram displays photos in square format. Keep this mind when you’re composing your shots.Watermark your images to inform people who you are and where they can find out more about your merchandise. Also, watermarks prevent other people from stealing your images.Write compelling captions to add value to your posts.
3.Add product tags
This is a crucial step in Instagram marketing. Tagging products makes them shoppable, essentially making the buying process for your customers simple. First, on your latest version of Instagram app, convert your account into a business profile. Go to Settings, tap Account, and then tap Switch to Professional Account. Choose Business. Choose your business category and add contact details. Finish off by tapping Done.
It takes a while before Instagram approves your request to convert your account to a business profile. This process can take a few days, maybe longer. But once approved, you can then enable product tagging.
Consumers discover your products using tags. To tag products in your Instagram posts, go to your profile, select a photo, and tap the products in the photo. Put in the names of the products, and tap Done. Then share that image with your followers.
4.Keep a list of hashtags handy.
Aside from product tags, the classic way to find someone or something on Instagram is by using hashtags. Hashtags are your way of connecting to your audience, people you share interests with. If your post has hashtags that customers use, then it has a good chance of being found on the platform.
However, you have to be mindful of the hashtags you use. You won’t be posting the same type of images every day, so make sure your hashtags are relevant to the images.
One day, you may post products. On another day, you may have to post company photos. These two different sets of photos won’t use the same set of hashtags. And one way to annoy your potential customers is lure them with a hashtag that’s irrelevant to your post.
Sometimes, it’s hard to keep track of the important hashtags to use. That’s true if you have different sets of images or different categories of products. What you can do is make a list of hashtags for each category or each set of pictures. Update your list from time to time. You may have to include trending hashtags that are relevant to your business or products.
Just a piece of advice: Do not flood your posts with hashtags!
Adding random hashtags won’t improve your marketing strategy. It may be counterproductive to your mission of reaching out to potential customers. Your hashtags should be specific. They should be related to your campaigns. They should connect to your audience. They should be trendy as well.
If you’re not sure what hashtags to use, look at your popular competitors on the platform. Look at the hashtags they use on their popular posts.
5.Interact with your followers
One of the worst things you can do on Instagram whether you’re an influencer or a seller is to ignore your followers. When you post something interesting, people will naturally comment on it. Take time to respond to these comments. It makes your followers feel good, and if they feel good, they’re more likely to become customers.
Allocate a specific time of the day to respond to comments. If you can’t do this because you’re either too busy or there’s always an overwhelming amount of comments, consider hiring a customer service representative or a social media marketing assistant.
Any social media marketing strategy involves engagement. If you just started a business account on Instagram, you most probably will have to spend the next few months building an audience by following some of them and liking and commenting on their posts. Hence, it pays to identify your audience, so you won’t be randomly following people who will never become your followers.
The principle here is easy. People tend to reciprocate. So when you follow them, they tend to check you out -- and follow back if they find you interesting enough. If you like their posts, they tend to check out yours. If you comment on their posts, they tend to check out your profile. Some people will ignore you, but over time you’ll see a handful of people following you back and becoming your loyal audience. That’s where it starts.
Never buy followers for the sake of artificial clout! Companies that sell followers to businesses looking to grow their following overnight have dubious account farms. You’re not winning here. You can convert fake accounts into customers, and your account can suffer from a setback once the social media platform rolls out algorithm changes that result in deletion of dummy accounts.
7.Build relationships with influencers
Instagram is a popular hub for influencers, people who can help your business grow. Influencers are regular users who keep making interesting, fun, and relevant content that makes them an audience magnet. These people can use their influence and authority to put your brand out there before their loyal audience. We call it influencer marketing, which is essentially the social media version of word-of-mouth marketing.
Identify influencers in your niche and work with them to enhance your brand’s visibility.
Don’t mistake your popular competitors for influencers. They certainly are not interested in your brand.
If you’re baking wedding cakes, consider working with popular food lovers or wedding planners on Instagram. If you’re a fashion designer, consider collaborating with models who can post photos of them wearing your designs.
Remember, when you work with an influencer, blogger, or vlogger, your brand’s image becomes more compelling to audiences, who may just want to check out your products. In a way, you’re taking advantage of an influencer’s reputation and their followers’ trust.
8.Host a contest, maybe?
People love contests. They want to join because they want to win free products and get gifts. Contests make you more fun and interesting, and when you’re interesting, people gravitate towards you. This is an easy way to increase your reach and engagement on the platform.
Don’t just make a random post about some contest you just came up with while you’re stuck in traffic. A worthwhile contest demands planning. Plan the concept, guidelines, duration, and prizes. Start giving teasers a month before the scheduled date. Give rewards and gifts as you’ve promised or lose the trust of your audience.
Aside from contests, you should also give special offers, promos, and discounts from time to time. The best time is during holidays and company anniversaries when consumers expect the best deals.
9.Use analytics to see if your strategies are working
Checking your Instagram analytics gives you an insight into whether your marketing strategies are working or not. It tells you which posts get the most likes and comments, so it tells you what type of posts work. It tells you the peak times for engagement, and so you can plan to post your images during these peak hours. Basically, what analytics provides is an insight to the collective preference and behavior of your audience, allowing you to fine-tune your strategies.
Lastly, track your sales. Eventually, what matters is whether you’re converting your audience into customers. If not, then it’s time you reevaluated your approaches and redirect your efforts into doing something new.
Is your Instagram marketing strategy working to drive sales? Let us know.