Instagram is one of the worlds’ most popular social media platforms, with over 1 billion active users and growing. And since 2020, it now offers businesses the opportunity to create an ecommerce shop right on Instagram.
In Instagrams’ own words, “People can visit a shop from a business’ Instagram profile or through feed and Stories. Once they’re at the shop, people can browse products, explore collections and purchase products – seamlessly through our in-app browser or without leaving the app from shops with checkout. With shops, we want to give people a place to experience the joy of shopping versus the chore of buying. Collections in shops let businesses customise the shopping experience and curate products into themes that tell their brand story.”
Why should your business sell on Instagram?
Well, did you know that 80% of Instagram users follow at least one business on the platform, and 70% of users are more likely to purchase via mobile? That could very well be your business enjoying those sales!
This lucrative ecommerce channel is plentiful in opportunities that can help drive more sales and revenue for your business.
How to set up Instagram Shopping
If you haven’t set up your Instagram ecommerce storefront, you will first want to check your eligibility and complete account set up before we move on to your product catalog.
But first, you need to make sure:
a) Your business located in a supported market.
b) Your business sells physical goods.
c) Your business complies with Instagram’s commerce policies.
d) Your Instagram account is set up as a business account.
e) Your Instagram account is connected to your Facebook business page.
- Go to your business’s Instagram profile
- Select “Edit profile”.
- Under the “Public business information” section, select “Page”
- Choose a Facebook Page from your Pages that you’d like to connect.
- If you don’t have a Facebook Page, select “Create a new Facebook Page”.
- Note: Facebook Page Shop is not required, only a Facebook Page.
Once you’ve completed the above checklist, follow these steps to complete your Instagram Shop setup:
1. Create and connect your catalog
Once you have completed and checked off the above steps, you need to get your Facebook shopping catalog synced up to your Instagram business profile using one of two methods, depending on your preference. As a heads up, while set up typically doesn’t take long, processing time from Facebook’s Catalog Manager and Instagram Shopping may take a few days, each, so if you can, get started on this as soon as you can, especially if you have a new product launch or a special promotion coming up.
Do it yourself with Catalog Manager
Don’t have a catalog yet? Create one! Have one already? Let’s get you connected!
If you are starting from scratch, head over to Facebook’s Catalog Manager and choose the “E-Commerce Catalog” option, unless of course, you work in real estate, auto, or travel and one of these other options better suit your business. For more details on how to create a new catalog, view Facebook’s Catalog set up details in their help section.
Get a hand through Facebook partners
As a small business owner, your time is valuable and while setting up shopping on Instagram is important, running your business tends to take higher priority. If you would rather have an assist compared to the DIY version above, Facebook’s certified partners, Shopify or BigCommerce can help simplify the process for you.
To do so, add your business Facebook account that is also connected to your Instagram business account to one of these two partners. Instructions on how to connect your Facebook account to one of these certified partner can be found here for:
Once that is completed, submit your account for review and check back in a few days, as the process can take some time. Once the review process is complete and everything is approved, Instagram will notify you within the app.
2. Sign up for Instagram Shopping
Is your Instagram account and catalog now connected? If so, head over to the Instagram app to sign up for Shopping. To do so, go to your profile > Settings > Business > Shopping, as seen in the following 2 images:
Once your account is submitted for review for Shopping, it may take a few days. Once approved, Instagram will notify you so you can finish setting up your Shopping settings and begin tagging your products in your various posts and stories.
3. Tag your products
You’ll want to tag your products in both your feed and in your Instagram Stories to sell more products on Instagram. Here’s how:
Tagging products in your posts
When tagging products to feature in your posts, you can tag up to five products per image or video post and up to 20 products on multi-image posts or carousel posts. If you have products still available in your catalog that you have featured in past posts, go back and tag those, as they could help drive some additional sales.
Tagging products in Stories
At this time, when tagging products in Stories, you can only tag one product per story. If you have more products you want to entice users to click through and purchase, create more Stories. One great way to do this is to do a series of three, featuring some new product lines, products, or designs. You can also customize the tag by changing the text and color of product stickers.
How to engage your audience with organic and paid posts
Now that you’re up and ready on Instagram ecommerce, you need to engage your community with more than just Shopping content. Paid promotion is a great way to expand your reach, but organic posts helps build trust and establish a community with your customers. Here’s how.
Post user-generated content
A great way to appeal to your community is to involve them by posting user-generated content. Not only will this help expand your reach and potentially drive some sales, it will also establish trust for your brand. If you don’t have anything yet, get started by reaching out to customers and ask them for a review of the product and if they can share a photo on Instagram you’re your business account tagged. This way, you can easily reshare it on your profile and give credit to the customer. This will not only make the customer feel special, but it will help you look trustworthy, involved with your customers and community, and draw in more views.
Plus, it’s “free” content. This will help better manage expectations of others as they relate to your products and your brand and will leave a positive impact on your followers. Another way to get more user generated content is to invite people in your bio to “tag us to be featured!”
Try using Instagram Ads
Organic reach is limited, but you can expand your reach and visibility further by investing some of your dollars in Instagram Ads. If you want to reach your target audience based on interest, behaviors, and other demographics, paid promotion on Instagram is an excellent and effective method of doing so.
How to measure Instagram ecommerce success
You’re posting, you’re tagging, but how do you know if your efforts are successful? Hop into your Instagram business account, click through to your profile, then the Insights tab to check out your Instagram analytics, including the likes, comments, and purchases. Once you’re able to tell how your Instagram posts and Stories are performing, you can garner some valuable information on what types of posts and products are popular with your audience, what you may want to promote more often, and what kind of inventory you should stock up on.
In addition to the above insights, you can also use this area of your Instagram business account to learn more about people that interact with your posts and the people that follow you, such as viewing gender, age range, and geographical details. Once you begin running Instagram Ads, you can also view activity based on reach, impressions, and more on the go if you’re not on your computer to have a larger scale view in Facebook Ads Manager reporting.
Remember, keep your finger on the pulse
Like all social media platforms, Instagram is constantly evolving. A lot of these changes are minor, but others have big implications for advertisers and ecommerce businesses. Here are a few big changes coming down the Instagram ecommerce pipeline.
Instagram Checkout is currently only available to eligible US businesses, however, they say they are planning to roll it out worldwide in the future. So stay tuned.
These posts look like organic shopping posts, but they keep users within the Instagram app by not sending them to your ecommerce site, thus, making the shopping experience much faster and more seamless for users. These posts appear in the Feed, Stories, and the Explore tab. There will be a selling fee that charges merchants, rather than consumers, so that there is more incentive for users to easily shop your posts and should result in higher conversion rates for you as the business owner. The selling fee amount is undisclosed at this time, but I imagine Instagram will initially make it affordable and worthwhile for ecommerce brands.
If you want to know when Instagram Checkout is available to more business accounts, you can let Instagram know, here.
Another thing to keep an eye on is using Branded Content on Instagram. While it is only available to selected businesses as it’s still in it’s trial stages, it is on Facebook and tends to work very well in ads. Branded Content is an excellent want to further maximize your exposure and to gain trust with potential customers using posts from other brands that tag you. For example, say you are a new tool company and you partner up with a larger home improvement retailer that is well established and well trusted by consumers. If one of these larger retailers post about your products for a special promotion and tags your business in the post, it will display in the Branded Content tab. You can then easily select the post you are tagged in and promote it as an ad to your target audiences. .
Instagram rolled our Branded Content to influencers for testing and, as of recently, they’ve begun rolling it out to more accounts, so keep checking back in with yours.
The above information should give you all the tools you need to get selling on Instagram. Now that all of your Facebook and Instagram assets are connected, your catalog is up and running, begin strategizing your Instagram posts and Instagram advertising effort so you can launch when you’re ready. By combining organic and paid content, you will be on your way to driving more sales, increase revenue, and better understanding your customers. Have fun, get creative, and maximize the current and upcoming opportunities available for your ecommerce business by using Instagram!
If you need advice or help with setting up your Instagram Shopping or Ads, just get in touch with us for a no obligation consultation.