With over 300 million daily active users, Instagram marketing has to be on your radar.
It’s not as noisy as Facebook (ahem, 2 million daily users and counting), which means you stand a better chance of getting your stuff noticed by the right people.
What’s more, nearly 68% of Instagrams users love talking with their favorite brands through the platform (compared with Facebook’s measly 32%). And by talking, we mean giving you deeper insight into their preferences than you may have thought possible.
This guide shows you how you can start turning Instagram into Instasales.
Use Image Branding to Build Trust
Instagram is a highly visual platform. It’s taken the lead as the measurement to which all photos are assessed, with phrases like “Instagram worthy” being a common utterance.
You can post photos of products from your ecommerce store in your feed, but take it a step further and choose photos that convey your brand image.
Your brand isn’t just the products you sell. It’s who you are at your core, and you should take strides to let others see the real you. Using consistent imagery throughout your Instagram account gives people a glimpse at your brand, what you stand for, and most importantly, if you’re trustworthy.
To many people, being consistent is a sure sign of trustworthiness. When you’re using a consistent color scheme or other visuals in your posts, you score big points in the branding department and can start to generate recognition with your content - even if your business name isn’t the first thing people see.
Instagram is famous for its hashtags, but these things are far more powerful for marketers than you may realize.
In case you weren’t aware, hashtags are designations that place your image in a group of other images that share the same hashtags. Hashtags are jet fuel for increasing your post reach because they act like miniature search engines. They’re like Google keywords, but specifically for Instagram.
You’ve got a few options for using hashtags:
The first is applying hashtags that are created by you. For example, you might turn your business name into a hashtag (think #Nike, #mcdonalds, #wholefoods).
When people are searching for your business’s hashtags, Instagram shows them all the images that use that specific hashtag. The second option is to use popular hashtags that weren’t created by you.
For example, if you’re posting an image of a new model of bicycle you just got in stock, you might apply popular travel-related hashtags, such as #biking or #instatravel. When you apply these hashtags, your image will appear alongside other images that also share these hashtags. In addition, they will also appear on the feeds of users who are following these accounts.
This can take a little research and creativity to find the most impactful hashtags to use. To speed things up a bit, you can connect your Instagram account to Iconosquare and search for relevant and popular hashtags.
Once you start getting some quality traffic through Instagram, you might consider enabling your posts for on-site buying. Platforms like Pixelshop let you sell straight from Instagram so that your viewers can make a purchase while in the moment and give you a bigger chance for conversion.
The biggest drawback, however, is that by doing this your shopper isn’t directed to your website. You miss out on the chance to upsell or cross-sell, but you also reduce the risk of shopping cart abandonment. You’ll have to determine which one is preferable to minimize your loss of conversions.
Turn Blog Posts into Insta Content
Social media, especially visually appealing platforms like Instagram, can’t simply be about selling. If you’re pushing nothing but promotions in your followers’ faces, eventually they’ll start tuning you out (or stop following you altogether).
You’ve also got to add some value to your posts. Some sources recommend making your content 80% helpful and 20% promotional, but do what works for you.
If you’re having trouble coming up with non-salesy content ideas, look no further than your eCommerce blog. Add an attractive image to your blog posts with a catchy caption, then share it with your followers using relevant hashtags.
Using your blog posts to fill your Instagram feed gives you nearly endless content to share, so you can keep your page fresh and up to date.
If you don’t have a blog for your eCommerce store, you should really consider it. Blogs are extremely helpful in driving store traffic and highlighting your products, plus blogs are easy and inexpensive to outsource.
Automate Your Strategy for Insta-Posting
To pull these elements together and maximize your time and resources, you should highly consider automating as much of it as possible. No store owner has time to post to Instagram all day, yet some days it can feel like you’re doing exactly that in order to move the needle.
You can use tools like Hootsuite to schedule posts at whatever date and time you specify. Scheduling tools can also give you in-depth analytics at how your posts perform so you can further tweak your strategy.
Doing this also lets you batch your content to save even more time. You can sit down one time, research hashtags and create content for the whole week (or even month!), then let the autopilot do its thing.
Analyze, Analyze, Analyze
Creating an Instagram motion machine is a never-ending process. There will always be some sort of involvement required of you, especially when it comes to analyzing your efforts. It’s important to see how your posts are performing, both in the moment and over time, to get a feel for your impact and how you can make your posts stronger.
Once you can gauge the types of images your audience is most interested in, you can post more images with the same look and feel, and even better tailor your product offering to their liking.
You might even print some of their favorite onto on-demand items for a win/win you’ll both enjoy.
Author: Alli Hill is a freelance writer for NoStop.net, helping clients grow their business through SEO and digital marketing. When she’s not at the keyboard, Alli enjoys exploring new places with her two toddlers and experimenting in the kitchen.