With billions of active users, it’s no wonder that Instagram is a top destination for marketers and advertisers.
After Facebook took direct control of Instagram’s software last year, it has started shifting a variety of Facebook’s features to the platform. Many of those features have focused specifically on adding ways for brands to boost audience engagement.
Today, Instagram Stories, feed posts, and video advertising represent some of the most lucrative arenas in the industry.
Facebook says ecommerce will be a focus for Instagram over the coming year, and sales activity has already seen a huge boost from the recent addition of in-app purchase checkouts.
So, what methods can your brand use to stand out in the feeds and increase your Instagram sales numbers?
Using Instagram Feed Posts to Boost Your Sales
While Stories and other features are growing in popularity, marketing via basic feed posts remains the best “anchor method” to build an Instagram strategy around. The app’s visual nature makes photo and video advertising an organic fit for boosting marketing ROI.
Here are a few tips to increase your sales using feed posts:
1. Using Product Tags
In previous years, it was often necessary to include off-platform links and other product tags in your brand’s profile bio. Today, it’s better to include product tags directly with the post, especially when you include easy links to purchasing pages or Checkout prompts.
Keep your tags succinct but descriptive, so your audience can tell at a glance what’s being sold, why they want it, and how to get it immediately. Take a look at how @quayaustralia uses product tags on each individual item in their pictures in the example above.
2. Using Checkout
Once you’ve got a user interested, Instagram now lets you immediately capture the sale by using Checkout, the in-app purchasing feature. Checkout provides a big advantage by letting users buy your products without having to leave the app or navigate via a separate browser.
This means your buyers can instantly act on the urge to complete a purchase, without any of the usability roadblocks that can make shoppers abandon a sale.
In many cases, it’s better for a brand to view Checkout as the primary sales method on Instagram and plan accordingly. The feature’s ease-of-use is likely to overcome the benefits of even the best designed off-platform website when it comes to boosting sales metrics.
3. Using Relevant Hashtags
It’s important to remember that hashtags aren’t a one-size-fits-all scenario.
Many brands keep their hashtags generic or even identical across products, and that’s a big mistake in a world where niche- and personality-based advertising drives success.
The best use of hashtags is to populate each post with a set of tags that specifically appeal to the buyer persona you’re trying to reach with that post.
This example from @potterybarn shows how they used specific hashtags that described the product and brand hashtags to reach the right audience for this post.
Even when creating posts and ads intended for a wider audience, you should take every opportunity to include tags pitched toward your brand’s most lucrative persona categories.
Good use of hashtags has the added benefit of boosting brand awareness organically, since other users who fit your buyer personas can come across the content and get drawn in by well-targeted tags and messaging.
4. Running Ads on Instagram Feed
Beyond Stories, Instagram ads come in three primary flavors: photo ads, video ads, and carousel ads. Photo and video ads are familiar advertising tools, while carousel ads let you include a number of visual assets that users can scroll through within a single ad space (like the one from @cratewedding featured above.)
In each case, it’s important to remember that an ad’s first roadblock is always visual. If users don’t notice your ad—and do it with interest—they won’t click, and none of the content you’ve created behind that click will ever be seen.
Accordingly, always use visual assets that instantly grab the attention of targeted users and are fully integrated with your persona and messaging tactics.
Using Instagram Stories to Increase Sales
Stories are a swiftly growing category on Instagram, so it’s important to learn how to leverage them to boost sales. Here are a few tips:
5. Using Product Stickers
Product stickers are similar to the product tags you use in feed posts, but they let users view more information about a product by clicking on the sticker.
6. Using Highlights
Highlights let you pin a Story to the top of your brand’s profile page, where they will remain until you remove them (unlike regular Stories, which expire after 24 hours).
Because of their prime placement directly below your profile bio and above the main feed, they offer the perfect opportunity for brands to set up a collection of curated content.
Many brands use Highlights to create product sub-pages, with a different Highlight for each product, like @100percentpure does in the example above.
There are a variety of ways to categorize your Highlights. By doing this, you are making it easier for your audience to find products they’re interested in.
7. Running Ads on Instagram Stories
Stories ads run between regular Stories, giving users an opportunity to quickly swipe up and navigate to your landing page.
It’s important to remember that this type of ad requires you to instantly grab the attention of a user before they navigate to the next story or another page. Check out how @pacsun, @hungryroot, and @bioreus use captivating images in their Stories ads.
It’s usually a good idea to segment Stories ads as much as possible, so you can maximize your chances at instantly hooking a potential customer via persona targeting.
With billions of users in prime demographics, and a swiftly growing set of tools for boosting marketing ROI, Instagram is a prime location for all ecommerce brands. Through smart targeting and good use of visual assets, you can start making Instagram one of your top sales-generating platforms.
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