Feb 11, 20199 min read

6 Ways to Create an Effective Social Commerce Strategy on Instagram.

Jordan Dooley headshot

by Jordan Dooley

More and more consumers are purchasing products based on a brand’s social media. Here are six ways you can create an effective social commerce strategy on Instagram.

Instagram has become one of the largest, most engaged online communities to date, far surpassing other photo-sharing platforms like Facebook and Snapchat. Whether your feed is filled with pictures of your BFF’s favorite matcha latte or their adorable new puppy, one thing is for certain: more and more people are turning to Instagram to share their daily lives with the world and connect with a growing community of friends and strangers alike.

Retailers are jumping on the trend and are using the popular visual platform to increase their sales and boost customer loyalty. It makes total sense. Social commerce is changing the way people shop online, with 78 percent of consumers making purchasing decisions that are influenced by a brand’s social media.

How to Create Valuable Selling Opportunities on Instagram

Instagram continues to enhance their social commerce tools, making it easier for brands to promote and sell their products. Don’t know where to start? No worries. We’re giving you an inside look at how to create valuable selling opportunities on the channel.

1. Optimize Your Brand’s Profile

The way you present your brand on Instagram is just as significant as the way your brick and mortar storefront or ecomm website presents your brand to the world. 30 percent of Instagram users have bought an item that they first discovered on the platform. Shoppers aren’t only turning to traditional shops to browse inventory – they’re searching hashtags and drawing inspiration from photos flooding their feeds.

Take Desenio for example, a Swedish retailer that sells gorgeous prints online. Like the aspirational ethos every home decor junkie craves, Desenio’s Instagram is highly-curated and specific. Their posts feature a consistent colour palette and engaging captions that establish a visual identity for the brand.

Designing the perfect account takes time, but there are certain steps you can take to ensure that what you post feels uniform. From the filters you choose to the time of day you post, maintaining consistency will not only help convey your unique style and tone, but it will also help establish brand recognition and build trust between you and potential customers. Carving out some time each month to create a schedule of Instagram content will guarantee your feed is well thought through and authentic to your business.

2. Find Your Target Audience

It’s not always easy to find your clique, especially on a social platform that boasts 1 billion users (in 2018). But spending some time upfront sifting through those active profiles to find your target audience will help your business in the long run. It might be daunting to know where to start. Using the right hashtags will help you get your products in front of the right people – people who could turn into potential customers. Think beyond broad terms; find more niche hashtags that will help you streamline your audience and convert.

3. Make Your Instagram Shoppable

Consumers want a simpler way to shop, and Instagram has created a seamless shopping experience for its users. Enabling Instagram shopping and creating a clickable feed is the number one way to increase your brand’s selling opportunities on social. It’s quickly become one of the most effective methods of social commerce, with 90 million accounts tapping on a shopping post every month.

With your Instagram sales channel set up and your product catalog imported, you can immediately start tagging posts on Instagram and give your followers quick access to product pricing and details. The best part – it’s as simple as tagging your friends in a photo! Not only can you tag products in your feed, but you can now also tag them in your story with Instagram Story Stickers. Given that 500 million people are using the Instagram Story feature every day, it makes sense that sales-driven brands are jumping on this trend.

4. Create Valuable Calls to Action

While Instagram is making it easier to sell on their platform, it’s still important to send people to your website so they can sign up for your email list, read blog posts, view more products and make purchases. That’s why adding a call to action to your post will help move people to where you provide the most valuable information – your website! Not only should you add a call to action to your posts – like “click the link in bio for more info,” or “shop the link in our bio,” you should also add a call to action in your Instagram Stories.

As Instagram Stories continues to grow in popularity, with almost double the amount of people using the feature from just one year ago, it’s no surprise businesses are continuing to find new and creative ways they can sell using this feature. The “Swipe Up” or “Learn More” call to action can help you drive traffic and sell products with ease. Just know, it’s best to keep your Instagram Story ads short and sweet. If you’re creating a video, keep in mind that viewers drop off after 4 seconds, so make it quick and catchy! Plus, make sure you tag your Instagram Story posts with a location and audience-specific hashtag to increase your visibility and end up on the platform’s Explore page.

5. Get Your Content in Front of the Right Audience

Sometimes organic posts aren’t enough to get the job done, especially with 100 million new photos and videos being shared by users every day. Paid Instagram ads should be an essential part of your marketing strategy. Like any strategic advertising plan, you can serve ads to a target audience that will benefit from your product or service. And now, advertisements not only appear in a user’s feed; they’re also popping up in Instagram Stories, making a larger impact on potential customers in a non-intrusive way.

When it comes to creating ads that fit seamlessly into your follower’s feed, it’s important to remember your audience and platform. The posts that do well on Instagram are lifestyle images featuring people: photos with faces get 38 percent more likes than those without. Overwhelming your audience with obvious product photos will only turn them off. Instead, show them how your product can fit into their daily life, rather than what it looks like devoid of any personal context.

6. Partner with Influencers

We see it every day. A seemingly normal photo in our feed that ends up being #sponsored. That person you know sporting a #danielwellington watch on their arm – they’re a micro-influencer, and their post is just one of 2 million that has contributed to the company’s tremendous success.

This collaborative way of advertising is quickly becoming the norm and replacing traditional referral marketing strategies. That’s because consumers trust personal recommendations above brand advertisements; 75 percent of Instagram users visit a website or explore a company’s shop after seeing a branded post. Spend some time finding influencers in your field who can help share and promote your brand or service.

Once you’ve found the right person, your influencer campaign can play out in many different ways. One of the most popular ways to partner with an influencer is to trade a product for promotion. 77 percent of businesses offer influencers free products or services in exchange for sponsored posts, rather than paying them a flat rate. Influencer marketing can be as simple as asking an influencer to post a picture with your product and tag you in the photo.

Ester Beds asked ordinary people to become their brand influencers. To attract and convert new customers, the online bed store let Instagram users pay using followers as currency. By sharing a post of their bed and tagging the company with their handle and brand-specific hashtags, consumers received a price reduction. Not only did this initiative help Ester Beds expand their reach and create buzz around a product, but it also benefited the buyer.

More involved campaigns can include a unique promotional code that gives followers a discount on their purchase. No matter how you choose to run your influencer campaign, including major players in your promotional strategy is a sure way to convince customers of your value and drive traffic to your page.

As long as you deliver a consistent and user-friendly experience for those looking to shop on Instagram, you’ll garner a loyal following and exponentially increase your selling opportunities.