A guide to Instagram for ecommerce businesses
You can use Instagram to promote products, run contests, boost brand awareness, keep an eye on competitors, and chat to customers. And very soon you will be able to sell products directly within the app (Shopping on Instagram is currently in development). Watch this space!
Here’s six tips to help you get your gram on.
1. Create an Instagram for Business profile
Earlier this year, Instagram rolled out business profiles for the first time. If you’re still using a personal profile, it’s a good idea to make the switch. You can do this under Options > Switch to Business Profile
Once you have a business profile, be sure to take advantage of the following features:
- Connect your Instagram account to your Facebook page (and run advertisements across both platforms).
- Add your contact details, such as phone number, email address, website, and location (so people can get in touch with the click of a button).
- Pay attention to Instagram Insights (tap the bar graph next to the settings button). Here, you’ll find an overview of weekly impressions & reach, website clicks, profile views, and your top posts.
You can switch to Instagram for Business without spending a cent on advertising. In fact, many businesses enjoy excellent organic reach thanks to Instagram’s hashtag culture.
2. Make a Game Plan
Instagram users may give the impression of capturing real moments in real time, but if you look closely most popular accounts are highly curated. Photos are edited to perfection, profiles have a consistent look and feel, and hashtags are always #onpoint.
To compete in this space, you’ve got to have a game plan.
- Create a schedule and plan out posts at least a week in advance.
- Try to post once or twice a day (aim for consistency so your followers know when to expect new content).
- Research popular hashtags in your niche and include them in a comment below your post (you can use up to 30 hashtags per photo).
3. Keep posts ‘on brand’
As tempting as it might be to post pictures of cute cats or what you ate for breakfast, ask yourself this: ‘is it on brand?’ If the answer is no, save those images for your personal Instagram account. Or – if you absolutely can’t resist – delete off-brand images a day after posting so your feed looks clean and professional.
Other questions to ask yourself about your Instagram brand include:
- What are my Instagram goals? For example, you might set yourself the goal of getting 1,000 followers in 3 months. Choose a target and adjust your strategy accordingly.
- Is my target audience on Instagram? If so, what hashtags are they using? Spend some time researching successful accounts and experimenting with different hashtags.
- Am I the best person to post on Instagram or should I ask someone more creative to manage my account? Instagram is very time consuming – it may be a good idea to delegate this task.
- >What are my competitors doing? How can I do this better and/or differently? Try to find ways to stand out from the crowd and add value to your target audience.
In a nutshell: spend some time ‘lurking’ on Instagram before you start posting, so that you can get your account off to a flying start.
4. Learn how to take beautiful photos
Instagram is all about visual content – so if your photos are poor quality, you might struggle to grow your audience. You probably already have some gorgeous product images to share, but try to get into the habit of taking photos at every opportunity so you always have extra images up your sleeve.
- Plan a photoshoot day. Set aside one day per month to take photos. That way, you can concentrate on composition and getting the lighting right without feeling pushed for time.
- Use editing software. If you don’t get the perfect shot, don’t worry – chances are it can be fixed with some basic editing software. There are plenty of free apps on the market now, most of which are incredibly easy to use. Check out this list by CNET:8 apps for editing photos before you post to Instagram.
- Post quote graphics. Many people find success posting inspirational quotes and graphics. You can create these graphics yourself on Canva or repost quotes from other accounts (just be sure to credit the original account in your caption).
Tip: It’s okay to recycle photos every few months if you use different hashtags.
5. Run a product giveaway or competition
A great way to boost your followers is to run an Instagram competition. You can get as creative as you like, but here are a few simple yet effective ways to encourage people to enter:
- Like to win
- Follow to win
- Tag a friend to win
- Regram to win
The aim of the contest should be to generate a buzz around your products, so try to give something away that will get people excited. Before you start, make sure you read Instagram’sPromotion Guidelines.
6. Engage with other accounts
For the best results, spend at least half an hour every day interacting with other accounts. Like and comment on other people’s photos and reply to every interaction you get on your own posts. Not only will this increase your following, it will also show customers that you’re accessible and ‘real’.
Moustache Republic is on Instagram – we’ll see you there! @moustacherepublic