Instagram for Ecommerce: How to Get the Most Out of It

Instagram is a must-have for ecommerce brands.

The highly visual platform makes it the perfect place to promote your products and spread the word about your brand. And there are currently one billion users active on the app.

To make the most of Instagram you need to be doing more than just posting pictures of products. You need a strategy that promotes your brand and attracts followers.

In this blog, we’ll dive into nine tactics you can use to engage your followers and successfully grow your audience on Instagram:

Get the most out of Instagram

Switch to an Instagram Business Account

To get the most out of Instagram, the first thing you should do is switch to a business account.

Making the switch will make your Instagram account look more professional. It can pull your contact information from Facebook while keeping Instagrams shoppable links.

The business account also comes with advanced analytics on your page such as:

  • Clicks to your page
  • Impressions
  • Reach
  • Engagement rate

The additional perks don’t stop there. With a business account, you’ll be able to promote posts as ads and add links to products on Instagram stories. However, you won’t be able to set your account to private.

 

Apply for a verification Badge

Next, to take your credibility even further, your business should consider applying for a verification badge. It assures your customers that you’re the real deal and not some bogus account.

Here’s an example of what a verification badge on your profile looks like from Peak Design’s Instagram page:

Instagram Verified
 

 

Collect User-Generated-Content from Customers

Collecting user-generated content (UGC) is one of the best ways to promote your brand on Instagram.

The reason why you want to do this is that UGC is considered 2.5X more authentic than branded content. After all, who’s better to judge your products than your own customers?

Check out this great example from top beauty brand Glossier:

User generated Content

 

They often feature pictures from their own customers on their Instagram page. It’s a great way to boost social proof and invite customers to become brand advocates for your business.

You can even include some of your UGC content from Instagram onto your website homepage for instant credibility. It’s something that Onzie does on its homepage, under the “Styled On Insta” section:

 

showing social on website

 

Tap Into Influencer Marketing

Another tactic that is related to UGC is collaborating with an influencer to promote your products.

There’s a reason why some companies are willing to invest millions of dollars for celebrity endorsements. When people see someone they admire promote a product, they’re more likely to buy it themselves.

It's something that Daniel Wellington does regularly with their hashtag #DWPickoftheDay. They select the best influencers that use their hashtag and republish their picture on their own Instagram profile:

User generated content example

 

When it comes to finding the right influencer, follower count isn’t everything. You also want to take a look at their engagement rate: if an account has 100K followers but only 100 likes per post, you can already know that something is suspicious.

You don’t need to spend a ton to find influencers that are willing to work with your business. The first step is to research and find those that align with your brand and have a similar audience that you’re trying to reach.

Once you’ve targeted some people that fit that description, reach out and ask about their process for working with brands. Influencers that want to be paid up front for promotions are common; if you’re considering one of these, ask for numbers about past posts and what kind of return you should expect.

The best kind of influencers only work with brands they believe they can sell - so they will ask for a commission or percentage of the sale. This is a great way to collaborate - they are motivated to move your product and you are only out the cost of samples and pay when sales are made.

If you know the cost you pay to acquire customers through Facebook or other sales channels, then agreeing to 10 or 15% commission will make sense if you would normally pay more to run ads.

Most brands will want samples, so make sure you create a memorable unboxing experience for them as well! While it is a lot of work finding the right ones to work with, it can be very lucrative if you’re able to cement a long-term relationship that works for you and them.

 

Set Up a Click-Able Storefront

With Instagram, you can integrate your product catalog seamlessly with Instagram Shop. Users will be able to explore your products directly from your Instagram page without landing on your website.

Here’s an example of how it looks like from Watch company MVMT:

Instagram shop instructions

 

All the customer has to do is click on “shop” to get instant access to the various watches MVMT promotes. It makes shopping easier for customers and creates a better online experience overall.

To make things better, you can even tag your products in Instagram pictures. Customers will be able to click on the product link right away as they browse through your posts.

 

Use Instagram Ads

Instagram is a great platform to run targeted ads to promote your products. According to recent statistics:

One thing that makes Instagram ads so effective is that they look just like any shared post on the platform. As a result, they come across as less spammy to the customer.

Instagram ads get run through the Facebook Ad platform. You can run ads for sales or just to raise brand awareness - either way you can leverage the options on Facebook Ads to match your goals. For example, you can ask Instagram to find people that are similar to your existing customers.

 

Use Instagram Ads

 

Use Broad and Unique Hashtags

Using broad hashtags that apply to your brand and industry will make you come up in more searches. Including hashtags means you want to be found for that particular keyword. But don’t just use anything - make sure the hashtag actually works for what you’re trying to post.

Unique hashtags means that anyone looking at your posts will recognize your content for yours. Having a single, unique hashtag that no one else uses will pay off in the long run as your brand awareness grows.

 

Organize Contests and Giveaways

A fun way to grow your following and generate new leads is to run contests for your audience on Instagram.

Contests and giveaways have been a classic business tactic for a long time. Now with social media, it’s never been easier to run competitions that engage followers and make you stand out from the crowd.

By making your offer exciting, you’ll be able to reach new people who’ve never heard of your brand before. Here are some of the different types of contests that you can run on the platform:

  • Like/comment to win: This one of the most common contests and the easiest to implement. Simply ask your followers to like or comment in exchange to win a prize.
  • Tag a friend: Another simple contest to run that consists of asking followers to tag their friend in the comment. This type of giveaway is great for spreading awareness and let people know of your brand.
  • Photo caption: Use this contest to test the creativity of your audience. Post a picture and ask them to drop a caption. The follower with the best caption wins!
  • UGC: You can invite customers to share UGC content with your product to win a prize. After a specific deadline, you can select the follower with the best picture and offer them your gift.

Need an idea of what a great Instagram contest looks like? Check out this great example from BlackCat Motorcycles:

Instagram Givaway example

 

During the coronavirus pandemic, they launched a simple tag a friend contest to promote a giveaway.

What’s great about this example is that they used a trendy topic for their contest. You can do the same by running special giveaways during dates such as Memorial Day or Valentine’s Day.

 

Keep Track of Analytics

Lastly, to make sure you’re getting the most out of Instagram, you want to keep track of how your page is growing over time. That includes keeping track of things such as follower base, likes, which photos get the most engagement, etc.

By keeping track of analytics, you’ll be able to identify which form of content works the best with your followers. You can then start publishing high-quality content consistently to boost your engagement.

 

Final Thoughts: How to Make the Most out of Instagram

There you have it! With these nine tips, you should have a solid idea on where to go with your Instagram strategy. Now it’s all up to you to try these tactics out and see what works best for you.