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.
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.
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:
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.
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!