Your Guide to Leveraging Instagram Ecommerce for Business

Your Guide to Leveraging Instagram Ecommerce for Business

Instagram is one of the biggest channels you can start promoting your online business on, so it’s only natural that you would want to leverage Instagram ecommerce to monetize your activity there as part of your Instagram marketing efforts.

As a reminder, Instagram has 1 billion monthly active users and 500 million use the platform daily, and 75% of U.S. adults ages 18 to 24 use Instagram

There are several ways to make use of Instagram to sell online. One of these ways is through Instagram Shopping.

To make use of Instagram you need to set it up properly for ecommerce. If you haven’t turned on Instagram Shopping in your Instagram account yet, you want to first check if you’re eligible for doing that. Next, add your product catalog. To ensure this happens without a hitch, take care of the following factors:

  • Your business must be in a supported region
  • It should be retailing physical goods like say washing machines.
  • The business should follow Instagram’s policies.
  • You also need an Instagram business account for this to happen.

In addition to this, you need to connect your Facebook account with your Instagram account.

Create a catalog and connect it with Instagram

Once the above steps are taken care of you need to sync your Facebook product catalog to your Instagram business profile. Here are two methods:

The first method is to simply go to the catalog manager on Facebook and choose the ecommerce catalog option.

The second method is by using an ecommerce CMS like Shopify or BigCommerce. You could do this on autopilot with plugins available on Shopify to connect and sync the catalog together with the Instagram account.  Complete the steps and submit the account for review. Now it’s time for you to wait until the process is complete. Once the account is approved you get an in app notification on Instagram. 

Get Instagram shopping

Once the Instagram account is synced with the catalog, go to Instagram account and sign up for Shopping.

To do this follow this path: Go to profile. Access settings. Choose business and you’re ready. Again there’s a bit of an approval time for Shopping as well. Submit your account for review and wait a few days. Once approved you get a notification from where you can finalize the settings and tag products.

Start tagging products

Once you’re done and over with the above steps you need to tag products on both your feed and Instagram stories to start selling more products.

To do this successfully, remember that you can choose 5 products per image post or video post.

If you have products on the catalog featured before, you can also tag those to get more sales.

Use Instagram Checkout

Checkout is another recent feature on Instagram. It was initially available only to big brands but now is a feature available to businesses of all sizes.

Presently Instagram checkout is only available for organic posts but I’m hoping that it’ll be soon rolled out for all kinds of posts even for ad posts. With Instagram checkout, customers have the benefit of purchasing a product from a shoppable post. They only need to enter name, email, and address once. Shopping doesn’t get any easier than this. These posts look like organic shopping posts and keep the users within the Instagram app. This makes shopping faster and checkout more intuitive. 

Now you are ready to leverage Instagram ecommerce. Here is some advice to help you generate more business from your shopppable posts, and it is all going to be surrounding one of the most effective Instagram marketing strategies today: leveraging user-generated content (UGC).

Post-user-generated content

A great way to appeal to your community and generate more Instagram ecommerce is to involve them by posting user-generated content. With UGC you reach out to more people and drive additional sales. If you don’t have anything right now here’s what you can do:

Reach out to current customers with a thank you card and use the opportunity to ask them to review your products. Ask them if they can share a photo of your product with a hashtag you give them. That way it’s easy to reshare the post on your profile while crediting them for what they did. This makes customers feel special. You get more views as well.

It’s also free content for you. Instagram, Facebook, and other channels need a steady fodder of high-quality content for you to develop a positive brand image.

UGC helps you be authentic

Consumers are increasingly becoming distrusting of brands. Customers are more likely to view UGC as authentic rather than brand content. Brands get a boost to their credibility because chances are people don’t trust the content you create.

There are several examples of this. Here’s one.

Amid rising concerns of self-esteem that heavily edited photos of women bring to the fore, certain brands have been instead promoting a healthy body image. Aerie, a brand selling bathing suits online, stopped editing photos of models promoting its bathing suits. In addition, they encouraged Instagram followers to post their unedited photos in bathing suits with the hashtag #AerieReal. For every such pic uploaded they donate $1 to the Association of  National Eating Disorders.

With this stroke, they brought a reason for people to get involved. Such authentic images as the one Aerie shared pick up thousands of likes. Compare the same with a model and it would have reeked of distrust. 

Create trust with UGC

Be it the product service or experience, people want to know what they will get.

Millennials don’t visit restaurants or shops if the reviews and images of the establishment chalk up to their sense of worth.

They don’t trust the experience if there aren’t reviews and authentic photos of the business and what it sells. They are always checking and comparing the establishment with that of others.

Trust is the most important factor. People trust recommendations and reviews online.

Drive purchasing decisions with UGC

Whatever we do with UGC, the ultimate goal is to get more sales in our favor.

The good news?

79 percent of consumers dub UGC to have a big impact on what they choose to buy.

Instagram stories can help. UGC driven Instagram stories are short-lived. That’s the reason they create the impact they do and help marshall purchase decisions.

With these stories and using the highlight feature you can compel people to stay on for longer.

Here’s an example of a brand that has several UGC content examples. The Horse’s Instagram profile shares user-generated stories on their profile. They have more than 70 examples in their carousel.

With the carousel of user-generated stories they highlight the brand in a positive light and create a desire for it. Just remember to keep your website and stores mobile responsive.

UGC is a powerful manner of conveying how people can better off when using your products. Instagram scenes are beautifully showcasing the experience your brand can provide.

The same strategy can work for you if you’re showing the experience your brand can deliver.

Analyze Your Instagram Ecommerce

If you’re posting, tagging products, and driving traffic back to your store that doesn’t necessarily mean the efforts are always paying off.

To know how successful you are here’s what to do:

Go to the business account. Access the profile section and click on insights. This is the center point where you see all your Instagram analytics all in one single place. With this, you can see your likes, comments, and purchases made on the account. Measure how Instagram posts perform and the traction stories are gaining on the account. You get valuable insights into understanding exactly what’s ticking with your audience and you can use that as the starter material to decide what to promote and what kind of products to sell.

You also get detailed analytics on demographics like gender, age of people visiting the accountant. And you can target them effectively with Instagram ads.

Concluding thoughts on Instagram ecommerce

Instagram marketing has come a long way. Originally misunderstood as the platform that won’t allow you to link back to your own website in your own postings, Instagram now offers any company that goes through the process outlined above a chance to make the type of shoppable post that provides a unique customer experience to the Instagram user.

The challenge for most businesses will be encouraging sales through doing what you should have been doing all along on Instagram: building community, engaging with your followers, and being truly creative and authentic with your content. I believe that the shortcut to building an engaging following and creating great content is through simply leveraging user generated content.

If you need to incite word-of-mouth for your product in order to generate user-generated content, the best way to do that today is through influencer marketing. This combination of leveraging Instagram influencers combined with utilizing fan-made Instagram user-generated content is a winning combination to generate Instagram ecommerce for your business.

What do you think about these Instagram ecommerce tips? Any others to add?

Photo by Laura Chouette on Unsplash 

If you're looking to use Instagram ecommerce to generate sales from your Instagram followers, you'll want to check out our guide with lots of juicy tips!
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George Mathew
George Mathew is an expert on Instagram Marketing. George is an SaaS marketer who's worked with several brands like CrazyEgg. He's contributed to dozens of blogs and has been writing for the web for more than 9 years now.
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