Selling products with instagram shopping (and instagram shopping for instagram stories)

60 percent of Instagram users search for and discover new products there. Since the introduction of Instagram Shopping, brands can now also tag products directly in posts.

If Instagram were a TV show, I’m sure they’d already be shooting season 10. The visual social media network is visibly programmed for success. Instagram is the number 1 social media platform for young target groups. Instagram use has also increased significantly in Germany: according to Statista, from 9 percent in 2017 to 15 percent in 2018 (as of October 2018).

With more than a billion users worldwide, Instagram is clearly the new home for brands looking to make an impact on social media.

The fact that the network places special emphasis on clean, high-quality images makes it ideal for product presentation. And lately, you can also shop on Instagram.

60 percent of Instagram users (that’s 600 million people) search for and discover new products there. Since the introduction of Instagram Shopping in February 2018, brands can now tag products directly in posts and immediately direct their customers to the desired product for the purpose of purchase.

Then, in June 2018, the platform offered another option for businesses: Instagram Shopping for Instagram Stories. With more than 400 million users a month viewing Instagram Stories, this new feature should prove to be an even more valuable source of visual inspiration and discovery.

In this article you will learn:

  • How to set up Instagram shopping to increase sales and connect with customers
  • How to optimize your posts with shopping options for maximum engagement and impact
  • How to set up shopping for Instagram Stories

Bonus: Learn how to create a social media strategy and optimize your social media presence with Hootsuite in our step-by-step guide.

How to set up shopping for Instagram posts

You need to perform a few steps before you can sell your products via Instagram.

Step 1: Set up a business profile on Instagram.

Only companies can sell products on Instagram. Currently, you can only offer physical items that meet Facebook’s merchant agreement and commerce guidelines.

Step 2: Set up your Product catalog on Facebook with Shopify or BigCommerce a.

You can feature the products in your catalog in your Instagram posts and Stories. Once you have the catalog set up, you can add a store on Facebook.

Step 3: Wait until your account Has been reviewed and confirmed by Instagram.

This process can take a few days. Once your account is confirmed, you will receive a notification from Instagram.

Step four: Activate the shopping features in your account.

From now on, you can add products to your posts and Stories on Instagram.

Here’s how to add products to your Instagram posts

Step 1: Upload your image or images.

You can add up to five products in posts with one image, or up to 20 products in posts with multiple images.

Step 2: Add the caption and tag your products.

After you’ve added the caption to your post (as you normally would), select "Tag products". This option will appear under "Tag people" once you have enabled Shopping in your company settings.

Please note that you can only tag products or people in a single post, not both.

Step 3: Start typing the name of the product you want to tag.

Instagram automatically selects merchandise from your Facebook product catalog that matches the words you type in. So you can tag any product you have added to the catalog.

Step 4: Share your post.

Once you’ve tagged your products, you can also share the post already. Posts tagged with products will show up in your feed with a small shopping bag icon in the top right corner.

Here’s how to set up Instagram Shopping for Instagram Stories

Instagram Shopping for Instagram Stories launched globally in September 2018.

Businesses that have been approved and have Instagram Shopping set up can Add a product sticker Add (with configurable text color) to any Story. When a customer taps the product sticker, they are taken to the same page with product information that they would be taken to by tapping a Shopping post in their Instagram feed.

On this page, users will see additional product images from your catalog, accurate product information, similar products, and a link to your mobile site where the purchase can be made.

Here’s how it works in detail:

Selling products with instagram shopping (and instagram shopping for instagram stories)

Step 1: Add your story (video or photo).

Step 2: Tap the sticker icon in the upper left corner and select the "Product" option.

Step 3: Add the product (only one per story). As with a post, you can also find any item from your product catalog by typing in its name. At this step, you can also change the color of the sticker.

Selling products with instagram shopping (and instagram shopping for instagram stories)

Step 4: Tagged products in your stories are recognizable by the shopping bag icon. Users can tap this icon to get more product information, just like they would with a post. Tapping on the product will then take them to a page that looks something like this:

Selling products with instagram shopping (and instagram shopping for instagram stories)

Instagram shopping in the Explore feed (trial phase)

Instagram’s Explore tab is a powerful tool. It is accessed by more than 200 million users every day, who use it to discover new content and follow their interests more intensively by browsing themed channels that the Instagram algorithm has curated especially for them.

Since September 2018, Instagram has been testing a themed channel there that is directly focused on shopping. This channel is tailored to a user’s specific buying interests and presents shopping posts from different companies that the user might like (but doesn’t have to follow yet).

Integrating with this Discover feed could prove to be a huge benefit, especially for smaller businesses without a large follower count.

The new feature is expected to be available globally before the end of 2018.

9 Tips for selling products with Instagram Shopping

1. Tag a single photo or multiple photos.

Tagging one or more photos is the perfect way to get value out of your photos. If you’ve invested in a high-quality lookbook or product catalog that makes your products look their best, then take advantage of it!

Make sure your tags are very clearly attributable to the product in question by keeping enough spacing between products. This way, users will immediately know their way around your post and won’t get confused.

2. Tag multiple products in one post.

This way, you encourage your followers to browse your online store and also increase the value of each post. More products also means more chances to catch the customer’s eye.

Another advantage of tagging multiple products: they are all grouped on one product page. When a user clicks on a tagged item, the other products are also visible under the caption "Also tagged in this post".

Bonus: Learn how to create a social media strategy and optimize your social media presence with Hootsuite in our step-by-step guide.

This way, you increase the visibility of each tagged item and thus increase the chances that your product catalog will be browsed and something will be purchased.

Selling products with instagram shopping (and instagram shopping for instagram stories)

3. Make sure your tags are associated with the right products.

Products you tag in your posts must be included in your Facebook product catalog. Brands with products that have very similar names should make sure that the tags always pertain to the product you’re looking for.

Shopping via Instagram is so appealing because it works instantly. However, if your customer is redirected to the wrong product, they will see this as an annoying nuisance.

Speaking of disruption, your product names should be descriptive and unique. Come up with a naming system that allows you to effortlessly identify each product.

For example, Oak + Fort uses a unique number for each of its products.

Get in the habit of double-checking every product tag, just like you double-check spelling in your captions. (You always do, don’t you?)

4. Create a consistent buying experience.

Instagram is becoming more and more of an extension of your e-commerce platform. Therefore, you should make sure that your customers are becoming more and more natural with it as well. Switching from tapping a product in one of your shopping posts on Instagram to the product page itself should be seamless and easy.

With this in mind, you should also make sure that your Instagram posts and Stories show the product in question exactly as it looks in real life. Size, details, color and features should be consistent in the tagged post and on the product page. If they don’t, you’ll confuse or annoy users – and miss out on a purchase.

5. Promote your Instagram "business" on other platforms.

This is a proven way to find more Instagram followers – and it works just as well for attracting more Instagram shoppers.

If you send out a newsletter, include in it snapshots of your best shopping posts on Instagram and a call-to-action to store directly on your account.

Promote your Instagram feed using cross-promotion on Facebook and Twitter.

Host a contest across all of your social media channels. Only let users participate who are followers of your Instagram account.

By making your Instagram account more popular, you’ll help your followers and fans on other platforms find your posts and purchase directly from there.

6. Familiarize yourself with the Instagram algorithm.

Your posts will be more visible on Instagram – both in your followers’ feeds and in the coveted Explore tab – if you crack the Instagram algorithm. That is, follow best practices for posting and sharing good content that your fans will enjoy interacting with.

7. Use meaningful hashtags.

Instagram users, after all, can now follow hashtags – meaning they have even more opportunity to discover your products. When you use hashtags effectively, you increase your visibility and can reach new customers. Find out what hashtags competitors and influencers use and add them to your posts as well.

8. Concentrate on high-quality photos and videos.

For Instagram, the following always applies: "The visual impression counts." Therefore, make sure your posts and stories are eye-catching and captivating. After all, that’s exactly what makes a user pause while scrolling and tap your post to get more product information.

The quality of your photos clearly counts more than the quantity of product images you put online. If an image doesn’t look good or doesn’t match your brand, your followers won’t click on it either.

Woodlot, a home and beauty products company in Vancouver, Canada, incorporates its products into its posts in an inspiring and very natural way. The shopping posts of the brands look just as good as the other high quality and beautifully edited photos in the Woodlot feed.

9. Show off your products in the real world.

Your Instagram feed is not a product catalog. Therefore, it should also not look like a mere string of images of all the goods you offer for sale.

The feed is rather a dynamic space where you can exercise your creativity and present surprising sides of your brand to your followers. That’s why it’s also the perfect place to show your products from new and interesting angles.

Glossier, a new beauty care brand, shares photos on Instagram showing how customers use their products in real life. Images like these are very compelling when you’re faced with a purchase decision, and give a brand a stronger connection to everyday reality.

Another benefit: lots of diverse photos showing your products "at work" make your feed more visually interesting and stimulating for your target audience. This promotes interest and engagement. People don’t want to see the same thing all the time – and once you bore your users, they will stop following you.

Instagram shopping in posts and stories offers excellent opportunities for more sales. The new feature makes it easier for your customers to discover and fall in love with your products. Explore how this new option can benefit your brand and increase sales!

Save time and manage your Instagram presence with Hootsuite. Schedule and post photos directly to Instagram, interact with your audience, measure the performance of your posts, and manage your other social media profiles – all from a single dashboard. Try it now for free!

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