If you are running an eCommerce store then promoting your products on Instagram should be a top priority. Instagram has now grown to 600 million active monthly users, all viewing, posting, and sharing photos and images. This helps make it an ideal platform to advertise your online store.
Being present on Instagram will help your brand reach a wider audience. Instagram will also enable you to create a community of followers that you can display your products to. Ultimately Instagram will help you generate leads and increase your eCommerce sales.
However, as with all social media channels, there are no sure-fire rewards. The time taken to become a major player on Instagram can be extensive. It can also be hard to track just how effective Instagram is at increasing your eCommerce sales. So, what is Instagram best practice if you are looking to truly make an impact on your online store revenue?
In this article, we will discuss actionable tasks to help you use Instagram to increase your eCommerce sales. We will look at how to get started on Instagram, how to get your images to stand out from the crowd and what hashtags you should be using. We will then consider how to create a real Instagram presence and how to use advertising to increase Instagram traffic to your WordPress website.
Getting Started with Instagram
Instagram is quick to set up. Simply download the app for your smartphone from Google Play or the Apple Store. After a quick sign up you are ready to get started. It’s as easy as that!
Choosing a Profile Picture
Once you have set up your account you need to upload a profile picture. Choose something relevant to your eCommerce store, ideally your logo. Always make sure it is something that people recognize and will remember. If you are the face of your business it could be a picture of you, or if you sell one main key item, it could be a photo of that particular product.
Adding a Bio
Your bio is important because it tells your audience about your business, who you are and what you sell. The bio is only 150 characters long, so you need to pack as much information as possible into a short number of words. It is here you can add a link to your website, so make sure you add this at the end of your bio. This will help drive traffic to your WordPress site.
Upgrading to a Business Account
After you have completed your profile you should upgrade to a business account. This is straightforward to do and free of charge, but you will need to add some contact details for your business and have a Facebook business page.
Although upgrading to a business account isn’t essential, if you are a serious eCommerce store then it is definitely advised. A business account allows you to display more information about your WordPress website and the products you are selling. Other benefits include insights into posts and followers, as well as the option of promoting images to drive business objectives.
Once your business account is set up it is time to start adding images…
Make Your Images Stand Out
Instagram is an image driven social media channel, so it is crucial that your images are well thought out and top quality. Your images need to stand out from the crowd, so think about posting a combination of beautiful, original, fun and thought provoking photos.
Let’s have a look at what to consider when posting images, and what tools you can use to make them that extra bit special.
Don’t Go for the Hard Sell
Instagram isn’t about the hard sell so don’t just display an image obviously advertising products. Think about how you can subtly show your products in use. Displaying the lifestyle your product creates is an effective way of quietly advertising your products.
A great example of subtle lifestyle advertising on Instagram comes from Nike. The majority of images uploaded by Nike show athletes in action. It isn’t until you look more closely that you notice that all of these athletes are wearing Nike. Here Nike is selling not just their products, but the lifestyle their brand inspires. And who doesn’t want to be a famous athlete at the top of their game?!
Add Text to Images
Adding a text overlay to images is a great way to engage with your audience. Add an inspirational quote, ask a question, share news, or state an opinion on a photo. Adding this extra information to an image will encourage viewers to stop and consider your post.
When using text overlay, bold and bright text is good, but make sure it doesn’t detract from the image. Adding text sharing your WordPress website URL, a discount coupon code, or a sale, can be an effective way of driving traffic to your website. However, use this tact sparingly. Too much advertising on images will probably lose you Instagram followers.
Create a Collage
Creating a stunning collage is another way to help your images stand out from the crowd. Telling a story through a collage can be an effective way to captivate your audience and generate interest in your products.
The free app Instagram app Layout allows you to create unique collages. These can then be uploaded and shared with your followers and potential customers.
Upload a Slideshow
In February this year, Instagram Slideshows came into being. Instagram Slideshow lets you upload 10 photos or videos to play as a slideshow on Instagram. This is ideal for an eCommerce store as it allows you to show a range of products across one slideshow. With slideshows still being a relatively new concept on Instagram, it is well worth taking advantage of this display option.
To really make an impact on Instagram it is important to publish a variety of media to appeal to your audiences different tastes and to hold your follower’s interest. Creating videos is another great way to appeal to your viewers and help set you apart from your competition.
Instagram lets you add up to 15 seconds of video per upload. Use video to demonstrate your product in motion, being used, solving a problem, or in some other relevant, fun or interesting way.
Top Tips for Using Hashtags
Hashtags can be hard to get right. It is important to use a number of popular hashtags to get your images seen by a large audience. However, hashtags that are too vague will end up attracting people who don’t actually have any interest in the products that you are selling.
Trending hashtags are also constantly changing, so make sure you research related hashtags every time you post a new image. Here are a couple of ways to find the right hashtags for your images…
Search for Related Hashtags
Two great places to look for appropriate hashtags are both within Instagram itself. Firstly, the search function in Instagram will give you a list of all relevant hashtags for your niche, eCommerce store, or product. Simply type in your keyword, and it will show you what related words are being searched for.
Secondly, check out what hashtags your competition is using on Instagram. You are looking to attract the same audience as your immediate competitors, so see what hashtags they are using to pull people in… and then use them too.
Use a Third Party Tool
A third party tool, such as the Focalmark app, will help you find relevant Instagram hashtags for each photo you post. Simply identify the focus of the image you post, and Focalmark will give you a list of popular hashtags for that subject. Choose the hashtags that are most suited to your eCommerce store and products in the image.
Establish Your Own eCommerce Store Hashtag
As your eCommerce store grows, you want your brand to be searchable via your own unique hashtag. This hashtag should be added to all images you post, making all your photos instantly searchable. You should also share your unique hashtag with your audience by adding it to your Instagram bio.
Create a Presence on Instagram
So far in this article, we have discussed how to set up an Instagram account, add a variety of show-stopping product images and media, and how to correctly label them with hashtags. However, just posting your own images is unfortunately not enough if you want to use Instagram to increase your eCommerce sales. So what else do you need to do?
Creating a schedule of when you are going to post, and sticking to it, is important. Images should be posted regularly to maintain a constant presence on Instagram.
Using a scheduler like Later is an easy way to stay organized and up to date with your posting. Later enables you to visually plan and schedule Instagram posts, so you can see what will be published when. By managing your Instagram account in a professional way, you will be able to compete with the big brands in your industry.
Add Calls to Action
If you have added appropriate hashtags, then you will be getting traffic to your images. So how do you go about getting this audience to follow you?
Under each image that you publish add a call to action to get people to interact with your photos. Ask them a question about the image and encourage them to share their thoughts. The more people engage with an image, the more likely they are to follow you.
Occasionally you can ask them to follow you, push a sale, or direct them to your WordPress website by adding the URL in the comments. However, don’t do this too often as you don’t want to appear too sales driven.
Follow, Love, and Comment
As well as regularly posting and commenting on your own photos, you need to spend time liking and commenting on other people’s images. Target images and users in your niche so those in your industry will start to recognize you as an expert in the field.
Ask questions in the comments, or add thoughtful opinions to engage with those posting the images or reading the comments. If people see you as adding value to a discussion then they will see you as someone worth following. This will help you build up an Instagram community that you can promote your eCommerce products to.
Advertise on Instagram
Advertising on Instagram can be a very effective way of driving your Instagram traffic to your WordPress website. There are a number of ways to advertise on Instagram. You can create a photo, video, or carousel advert, as well as choose from numerous business goals.
When setting up your adverts, you firstly need to select the main objective of the advert. If you are looking to use Instagram to increase your eCommerce sales then your adverts aim needs to be ‘Conversion’. Opting for ‘Conversion’ will enable you to add a Call-to-Action (Shop Now) button to your Instagram adverts. When clicking on this ‘Shop Now’ button, your audience will be taken to a page of your choice on your WordPress website.
Through the Call-to-Action button, you create a way for your audience to directly access your site and products. This button is only available with paid adverts, and it is an option that eCommerce stores should definitely consider.
Use Instagram with Your Website to Increase Your eCommerce Sales
Lastly – it’s important to feature your Instagram account or posts on your website. There are a few ways you can do this, but the easiest is to simply use a WooCommerce ready theme that already includes a custom Instagram section or widget.
The New York blog and shop WordPress theme is an excellent choice since it includes an awesome Instagram footer and full support (with custom styling) for the WooCommerce e-commerce plugin. But the theme doesn’t stop there – it also comes packed with features and options for colors, fonts, layouts, advertising and easy CSS tweaks (thanks to the included Yellow Pencil premium plugin).
But if you already have a theme you love that’s lacking Instagram integration you can always embed your Instagram posts manually or grab a plugin from the WordPress repository to add your feed. We have a whole article on how to add Instagram to WordPress you should checkout to learn more!
It is important to know whether your hard work is paying off and if Instagram is actually helping you to sell products. Iconosquare offers in-depth insights into your Instagram activity, audience, and conversions. Track your analytics carefully to see what is working and what needs improving. And always keep in mind the end result… increasing your eCommerce sales.
What do you need to do to improve your Instagram presence and help increase your eCommerce sales? Please share your thoughts in the comments below…