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Instagram E-commerce Strategies That Will Boost Your Sales

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Social media has long been a favored tool for promoting and growing businesses. And with the recent appearance of Instagram Shops on the radar, the eCommerce world is taking their game to the next level. Regardless of which of the platforms was used to build your online store, Shopify, BigCommerce, or Magento, there are many ways you can gain from Instagram sales.

On this page, we introduce you to Instagram Shopping and its importance to the eCommerce sphere, give tips on where to begin, and share the best practices of running the account.

Instagram Shops: An Introduction

As stated previously, Instagram is yet one more way for you to reach out to your prospects, speak about your brand, and sell more. One of the greatest things about Instagram Shopping is that it not only boosts the visual side of your digital storefront but also helps potential customers to check out the things that you have on offer without leaving their favorite application.

How do Instagram Shops look?

That said, just by posting and making Instagram Stories, you may display images with your products and place tags/product stickers on them. Those viewing the content can then tap on the picture to see a short overview of the item (or items) as well as their prices. And when clicking on “View Products”, the product page leading to your online store will be shown. On the images below you can see how Forever21 uses Instagram Shopping on their official account.

So how does all of this work?

Instagram Shops can be set up only if your business Instagram account is linked to your Facebook Shops. In this case, your Facebook catalog plays the role of a mediator, connecting your online store with your Instagram Shop. If you’re not sure about how to handle the integration, it’s wise to turn to the professionals for assistance; as such, Magento consulting services will provide you with expert help to integrate your Magento store with the catalog on Facebook, and have your Instagram channel running in no time.

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Moreover, it is important to note that Instagram Shopping isn’t available from the desktop, it only works from the downloaded application on mobile devices.

Is Instagram Shopping available worldwide?

What’s for the global scale of Instagram Shopping, already more than 60 countries all around the world can use it. As such, it’s available if the account was registered in the USA, Canada, Australia, Brazil, the UK, or in one of the countries on the list. Mentioning the checkout functionality, currently, it can be used in the USA and for some shortlisted businesses.

→ Importantly, in case the account registration is handled from a country that’s not among the list or in case you’ve decided to work around the rules and opt for proxy or VPN to take advantage of this functionality, this may lead to you losing your opportunity for product tagging whatsoever. Therefore, it’s best to play by the rules.

Which business types are Instagram Shops suitable for?

Predominantly this solution is a great fit for those companies that have physical goods on sale. Thus, eCommerce and Instagram Shops are “meant to be”.

Getting Started with Instagram Shops

Some of the things you’ll need to get started with Instagram Shops include:

  • a Facebook account to which your store’s catalog is connected to (i.e. a functioning Facebook catalog);
  • the latest version of the Instagram application;
  • an account on Instagram that is switched to “Business” and is tied to your store’s Facebook account.

In order to get the features of “Instagram Shopping”, your account needs to get reviewed and approved. When you’ve made certain to follow the requirements, go to your Instagram account: Profile → Settings → Account → Switch to Business Account, and wait for the approval. Generally, expect it to be reviewed within several working days.

Tips on Filling Your Instagram Profile

1. Begin with the bio & don’t forget about “highlights” circles

One of the things to not overlook is the bio of your account. Make sure to state all of the key information about your business in this area of the page. Make use of all the capabilities it offers to the most. To be specific:

  • don’t overdo it with too much text, keep the phrases about who you are short;
  • make sure there’s a link to your official website;
  • optionally, you can add a link to your location, use hashtags, and CTAs.
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What is more, after you’ll have enough Stories in your archive, make sure to break them down into categories and add them to your “Highlights” section (displayed in circles). It’s wise to create special-made Instagram highlight covers, often these are icons or single-style images.

Take a look at the bios and Highlights sections on the official Instagram pages of Shiseido and Hermes.

2. Choose what to post about & Post on a schedule

Selecting the products to be featured is a matter to be considered seriously. Apart from the photos, their quality, and touch-ups, it is also important to think ahead. That said, planning the sequence of your posts, which texts to use, and when to post them is important. Here are some tips:

  • Have a content plan and make use of layout tools that are handy to visualize how your pictures and videos will look like together on your grid. As such, the official Instagram preview App can be a good choice.
  • Making posts on a regular basis is also important. Consistency counts and your followers will be happy to see your products and new arrivals via Instagram.
  • But don’t post too often, overcrowding the newsfeed of people following you can lead to irritation, and they’ll unfollow you. Once per day is more than enough for posts, and up to 5 Stories per day is okay.
  • Plus, it makes sense to use tools for scheduling your posts and even automating the postings. This can save you time, some tool examples can be Hopper HQ.
  • Speaking of time, research the top “prime-time” frames when it is best to make posts based on your eCommerce field and customer location for better results and engagement.

3. Stick to a style & tag your products

Another great trend revolves around the style of your account. Having separate post images connect into one appealing piece is something to consider. It may not be easy to do, of course, but the results are often very nice!

Also, don’t forget to tag your products on the pictures. After all, that is the point of doing this, right?

An outstanding example of what “sticking to a style” means is the official Instagram account of Pandora:

4. Hashtags, location & alternative texts

Use hashtags wisely. Too many hashtags won’t do you good. Likewise, combine them in a smart way, i.e. use:

  • hashtags that are specifically relevant to your product or brand;
  • those that are considered popular or target your audience.
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Keep location in mind. This is especially relevant if you have one or several physical shops. Alternatively, you can attach different locations based on the areas to which you deliver your products. In any case, by adding a geotag, you can tell your customers that you’re near and available.

 

Fill out alternative texts. After you’ve posted, press the three dots in the top right corner of the post to edit it. On the image, there’ll be an opportunity to add an alternative text, keep it short and narrow it down to a keyword or phrase. It is good to have such alt tags in terms of SEO and it will help you to reach out to a broader audience.

5. Make use of Stories & IGTV

As mentioned a couple of times already, Stories are one more powerful Instagram move. You may also tag products in Stories, inform about new posts, and share a lot of what’s hot and happening. Take a look at how Chanel uses Stories on their official Instagram account:

Similarly, if you have large videos to share, why not use the IGTV channel? You can upload videos, shoots, and ads there, the latest news. Well, basically, any video content that’s relevant to your business.

What else can be done?

Another way you can get “the best of both worlds” is by getting your hands on user-generated content. By running contests and giveaways, you may both attract new users and engage the audience that you have. Brainstorming helps, so don’t be intimidated by experimenting.

Repost various content that you like. Team up with your partners for cross-linking. Put together combos with the client feedback and comments of your customers on your products. There’s so much you can do!

Analyze the behavior of your followers. What kind of content do they like? Which items have they bought more from your Instagram Shop? Do your analytic homework and work out your own best practices that are effective for your target audience and buyers.

In conclusion, the opportunities of using Instagram for uplifting your business are very broad and are constantly growing. There are many ways you can sell more of your goods and get more clients if you’re running your Instagram account properly. And this is twice as true for eCommerce!

Maria Arinkina is an experienced contributing writer and editor at Onilab. Enchanted by the digital world of IT, eCommerce, and Marketing, she strives to share the latest findings, trends, and expertise with those interested in the subject. When she’s not online, this avid travel enthusiast is out exploring new destinations around the globe.

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Secret Sauce for Creating the Perfect Facebook Ads Funnel

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Is your Facebook ads funnel producing the conversions you’re looking for? Are you targeting your end-user audience at the right stages of their buying cycle? 

If you can answer these questions in the affirmative, you’ll have a sales funnel that not only creates awareness at the top of the funnel and converts to a sale at the bottom; you’ll have repeat customers as you nurture existing relationships and build interest and engagement for the long haul. 

That all sounds pretty tasty doesn’t it? Whether you’re trying to build a Facebook ad funnel for eCommerce or just trying to drive traffic to your storefront, this article will share the secret sauce that will make your social content on this platform much more appetizing, filling, and tasty.

Understanding the Facebook Funnel

If you’re using Facebook to help your sales team capitalize on today’s consumer buying journey, the first thing is to understand how your marketing and sales funnels work in light of today’s consumer buying trends. Facebook typically has four primary stages for the customer buying funnel:

  1. Awareness of your product
  2. Consideration of your product
  3. Purchase, when the conversion happens
  4. Upselling and maintaining awareness of your brand

If you’re using Facebook in the right way and you have the right mix of products or services, you’ll have a sales funnel that perpetually fills itself as you both grab new customers and nurture existing clients into purchasing more of your products. You can use free and paid content to reach these goals. However, if you’re only selling one product, then your funnel will really end after step three.

Organize Your Account by Funnel Stages

To keep your campaign channels organized, consider structuring your Facebook Ads account by funnel stages. Targeting, optimization, settings, bidding, and your budget should all be different for each campaign, of course. But if you’re following the Facebook funnel stages, your ad campaigns could be segmented like this:

  1. Campaign 1 – Awareness – Top of funnel
  2. Campaign 2 – Consideration – Middle of Funnel
  3. Campaign 3 – Purchase– Bottom of Funnel
  4. Campaign 4 – Upselling – Sends existing clients back to the top for a repeat or new purchase. This could start a new campaign cycle called Campaign 1a. 

Then you can set your Facebook objectives to fit each stage of the funnel.

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Each of these campaigns represents a different type of audience and messaging. It will be important to select the right naming conventions to keep your account and KPIs organized. This next section will tell you what advertising techniques are important at all four steps.

Creating a Facebook Sales Funnel

Now we can get to the fun part; creating the copy that drives engagement at each of the funnel stages. Remember that Facebook ads are designed to create awareness and not just passively wait for the customer to find you. Here are some strategies to engage at each funnel stage.

Campaign 1 – Awareness – Top of funnel

This target audience has not made a purchase but has a potential interest in your brand. They are the Look-Alike Audiences that simply aren’t warm enough to buy from you yet. 

You can use the Facebook Custom Audiences tool to help you reach people who have previously interacted with your brand but not converted. 

You can use several strategies to target these end-users, but the goal of each should introduce your product and why it’s needed:

  • One thing to keep in mind: You’re not trying to sell your products just yet. Your top-of-the-funnel audience will turn away from something that tries to get them to buy right out of the gate. At this stage, you should focus on providing content that they’ll find interesting or valuable, even if they never convert.
  • You could also do the same thing with a video. 
  • You can use social proof to validate your expertise. For example, your copy could mention awards you’ve won or a client testimonial. 

Remember your goal is awareness, not the conversion, so your CTA should be to “find out more” on your website or with a downloadable.

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For example: Consider a problem your audience might have. During the COVID-19 crisis, people who were no longer commuting to work weren’t using their cars for extended periods of time, and they may not know how to care for long-term parked cars. An eCommerce company specializing in car covers put out an infographic / blog post explaining how to care for long-term parked cars. 

There’s no hard sell there. Even people who never buy their car covers find value in this post, and might share it, or be primed for a later purchase down the line.

Campaign 2 – Consideration – Middle of Funnel

This target audience has engaged with your brand before. They may have liked a previous Facebook post. This ad should appeal to some sort of pain points and reinforce why the prospect needs your product to solve their problem. In the example we used above, the pain point is related to people who have to store their cars long-term without the benefit of a garage.

At this stage in the funnel, you should list the specific benefits and features of your product or service to tell people why they need to buy it.

Campaign 3 – Purchase – Bottom of Funnel

This is where the rubber meets the road, so go for the close. These customers know your product and its value. This is a good place to leverage Facebook’s dynamic ads to create content tied to the exact product the prospect viewed. To close the deal, offer an immediate incentive to purchase. That nudge toward the close could include:

  • Running a discount or special offers such as 15% off or free shipping off your order. 

  • Create urgency with a countdown to the end of a sale, “Only 24hours left!”

  • Target specific use cases for the products they’ve been viewing. Going back to the car cover company, a hypothetical ad could ask if the prospect is worried about street damage from long term quarantine parking and offer a first-timer discount—boom! Done.

Campaign 4 – Upselling 

This sends existing clients back to the top for a repeat or new purchase. This could start a new campaign cycle called Campaign 1a. Or, call it what it is—remarketing.

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The point here is that the journey shouldn’t be over once the first purchase is made. Everyone knows the acquisition cost of a new customer is greater than keeping old customers—so maintain the relationship at this point by kicking the current just-purchased customer back up into the funnel. 

Your goals should be not just for the repeat purchase, but also to capture new customer referrals, and even to drive up the average spending amount per customer. 

Even though technically, the customer goes back to the top of the funnel, it’s more like a slide straight to the middle; they already know your company, so from an ad perspective you can skip the awareness stage. (Unless you’re trying to make them aware of a different product in your service line.) Some Facebook ad strategies could include:

  • Retargeting with a loyalty perk; thanks for your business, here’s $10 off your next purchase. 
  • Mention your referral program: “Invite a friend and get free shipping on your next order.”
  • Ask them to review your product and offer a thank you bonus incentive. 
  • This is also a good place to run an ad campaign based on their unique purchase history. You can set up carousel ads to vary the versions of the products they may be interested in, interspersing the ads with products that are a slightly higher price point to drive up their purchasing averages.

If you take the time to create the perfect Facebook ads funnel you will be able to sit back and watch the conversions come in. If you build it, they really will come, but the trick is to match the prospect’s specific buying stage with the exact strategy to increase your conversion rates. When you’re done, the Facebook sales funnel will work like a machine, benefiting your bottom line with new and repeat business.

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How Big Brands Use Digital Marketing for Building Customer Relationships

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Consumers in the modern digital world have a perception of a brand based on the experiences they have with the brand. These moments are created across multiple channels enabled by the rise of the digital world.

Social media made it possible for brands to connect with their customers on an intimate level which was not possible before.  According to Gartner, a decrease in engagement by up to 15% is observed for businesses that fail to respond to messages on social media.

That’s how powerful social media is for companies, especially for big brands.

Crafting meaningful relationships on social media

With the emergence of Facebook and Twitter, social media has boosted like never before. It has impacted the lives of people in more ways than one:

  • 91% of people believe in social media’s power to connect communities
  • 78% of consumers want brands to help people connect through social media.
  • 76% of respondents were more likely to buy from a brand they felt connected to on social media than a competitor.

(Source: https://sproutsocial.com/insights/data/social-media-connection/)

These numbers speak for themselves.

The times are changing and big brands aren’t ignorant. They understand the importance of engaging with their audience and thus are reaping the sweet results. The better the relationship is between a brand and a consumer, the higher the chances of him/her returning to the same brand.

Not just that, if the consumer feels there’s a connection between the brand and themselves, they’ll gloat about it endlessly – in front of friends, family, coworkers, neighbours and every person who might ask them about the brand.

Do you know what that means? Absolutely free advertising which happens to be genuine as well.

So, how do Big Brands do it?

There 7 ways Big Brands use Social Media for building customer relationships

  1. Being Responsive

Responding to customer queries or comments is the reason brands are on social media. It’s extremely important for brands to respond to their customers and big brands know that. 

This is especially true about Twitter where things can get real messy real soon. It takes minutes for something to go viral on Twitter and big brands make sure that they respond to any tweet that might tarnish their image.

And not only critical comments, praises from consumers should be responded to in a way that the consumer feels valued. Brands like the fast-food outlet Wendy’s have understood Twitter far better and come up with creative tweets for their customers (or haters).

  1. Offering Promotions
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If there’s one thing customers love more than a brand is that brand’s promotions and sales. They look forward to any kind of promotion that might save them some bucks which is why it’s important to share promotions on social media.

Giving the customers what they expect is a sure way to have a healthy following on social media and which sticks around. Big Brands promote their sales, promotions, contests, and other offers extensively on social media, even urging the customers to share them which further accentuates the engagement.

  1. Providing Educational Content

Educating customers about a brand is one of the most effective ways of building a strong customer relationship. The more a customer knows about a brand, the bigger the chances of them returning now and then. 

Some brands take it a notch higher by educating their customers about a cause they stand for or support. It could be something they do as part of their CSR activities or educating customers about something important (the way Brands are regularly posting precautionary recommendations about COVID-19 is a good example.)

  1. Being Humorous

Make them smile and they like you, make them laugh and they’ll fall in love with you. Being funny or humorous in social situations acts as an ice-breaker and helps people connect which is why big brands use it to tell their customers that there are people behind those names too.

This makes the brand seem more humane and the perception in the customer’s mind softens a little, opening up ample opportunities for building relationships. 

However, this takes wit and a great sense of humour which is why only some of the brands are able to pull this off. Frankly, if you aren’t funny, you aren’t – there’s no point in faking, it’ll make things worse.

  1. Exclusive Content

Sharing exclusive content with your followers on social media is another way a brand tells them how much they are valued. This is the reason those followers stay because the feeling of being part of an exclusive group of people who love the same brand makes them feel good about themselves.

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It also tickles the primal desire of a human being – the desire to be accepted and to belong. This sense of belonging to an exclusive group or club makes the relationship with the brand a little intimate – so intimate that it almost feels like cheating when buying from a competitor.

  1. Behind the Scenes

People have always wondered and have been curious about how things happen. Whether it’s a movie or the construction of the world’s tallest building, people want to know how it’s made. 

Big brands stimulate this curiosity by sharing behind the scenes images and videos on how they make the products that their customers love so much. This also helps build trust and connection between the brand and the customers as they realise the people behind the brand.

  1. Challenging Competitors

Like being funny, this is something not everyone can pull-off. The rivalry between big brands is not a new thing but social media has made it more visible with brands having one-off on Twitter about who’s better.

This is risky because when a brand tries to challenge a competitor on social media and the competitor responds in a much better way, the whole idea falls flat on its face. The brand itself becomes a victim of its mockery. 

However, friendly banter between brands can benefit them both.

Why is it important for brands to be on social media

A brand-customer relationship is like any other relationship in the world and the key to all successful relationships is communication. The days of broadcasting advertisements might not be over yet but in the near future, it might.

People aren’t looking for one-way communication from brands anymore. They want a conversation, they want to know they are heard when they post a tweet, write a comment, or give a review. They want to be a part of the ideas that transform the brand from what it is to what it will become.

And this drive to hear has become public with social media where one tweet or post can become easily viral and not responding to it might become rude. It’s not like the victorian era where the sender of a letter was still worried if the letter reached the person it was intended for. 

It’s the digital world and anyone anywhere would instantly find something on the internet that’s meant for them. You cannot just ignore what your customer has posted, you have to reply to them.

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Moreover, it helps increase your business. As more and more people fall in love with your brand, they’ll not only keep returning but also talk about you to everyone they know and word-of-mouth is hands down the best form of advertisement and absolutely the most genuine which is why it is the most effective.

That’s why big businesses are so keen on making a mark in the social media circles and they are succeeding. But then, is social media only for the big brands? Should a small business use social media to garner attention, especially when they are starting from scratch?

Should small businesses be on social media too?

Big brands have been doing it pretty well but there’s no reason a small business shouldn’t. Even a regional store with a very local audience can have an amazing social media presence where the sense of belonging is even more intimate because of geographical proximity.

Even a startup can become an overnight sensation on social media if they could plan a campaign that resonates well with intended audiences. The story of @worldrecordegg stands as proof that you can instantly become a social media rockstar within days with an interesting idea.

More importantly, there’s not one but enough social media platforms to make space for all kinds of businesses. There’s Facebook for “friendly-stuff”, Instagram for pictorial or visual stuff, YouTube for videos, Twitter for sass and wit, and then LinkedIn for professionalism. 

Based on the kind of business you have and the audience that you are targeting, you can choose the platform you want to be on. You could also have different posts on different platforms for showing a more 360-degree view of the brand.

The more engaging your content on social media is, the more likes, shares, and comments you’ll receive after which it’s a snowball rolling. It all boils down to how well you know your audience and how you make them tick with your words. If you manage to do it well, you’ll have an amazing following on social media.

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