Instagram is not the simple photo sharing app it had intended to be in its 2010 start-up days. With over a decade of constant, competitive evolution: from functionality updates, platform redesigns and a Facebook acquisition, the social networking site has become an industry leader not just in the market of social content, but, naturally for Ecommerce and advertising too. Now that Instagram is prioritising shoppable content with a freshly launched Instagram shop tab, there’s no better time to adapt your social.
With 500 million users on the platform every day, and 80% of users reportedly making purchase decisions based on their personalised feeds, Instagram is the key social media channel connecting brands to their consumers. If you’re not staying in the know, your sales potential might suffer for it.
Instagram rolled out a shiny new feed in late 2020, replacing the usual posting and activity functions with a ‘Reels’ and a ‘Shop’ tab. As Adam Mosseri, head of the platform, defines it, the Instagram shop tab is “a better way to connect with brands and creators and discover products you love”.
A monumental shift for the way we engage with our social networks, the new on-platform shopping experience is a showcase of personalised, buyable items within an entirely separate shopping feed. With targeted recommendations, a new @shop channel, featured videos and listed ‘guides’, the platform is fast becoming one of the most important spaces to showcase new products and up and coming brands.
So, as social platforms continue to evolve, let’s make sure you’re keeping with the times by perfecting that social strategy. For all we know, Instagram could be the online shopping destination.
Set Up Shop
You’ve got your products, a website, and the Instagram account to prove it – but, to get the most out of Instagram’s new shopping function we have to get the admin stuff out of the way first.
Check your Eligibility
To make sure your business is eligible to sell from Instagram, ask yourself the following:
Is your business located in a supported market?
Does your business sell a tangible product?
Does your Business comply with the Merchant Agreement and Commerce Policies?
Does your business own a website domain?
Convert to a Business Account
Marketing your brand with a dedicated professional Instagram account is the easiest way to let potential customers know that you’re open for business!
A professional account gives access to important features, allows you to promote high-traffic posts and offers in-platform insights and analytics. So, to start selling your products directly from Instagram, you first need to convert to a professional account.
Head to your Profile and select the Navigation tool
Under the Account section select Switch to Professional Account.
Select a business category that best defines your product.
Toggle ‘Display on Profile‘
Link your business account to an accompanying Facebook page
To access all of Instagram’s marketing capabilities, you must first link your professional account to a dedicated Facebook page.
Head to your profile
Select Edit Profile
Under Public Business Information, select Page
If you don’t have a pre-existing Facebook business page
Select Create Facebook page and navigate through the set-up steps.
Or, to link your business account to a Facebook page that has already been established, select Connect existing page.
Upload a Product Catalogue
To start tagging posts as sellable products, you first need to assign what you’re planning to sell. The Instagram shopping function pulls product information from your Facebook store, so you’ll need to sync a product catalogue from an already established page.
either manage your catalogue manually through Facebook Business Manager
or, connect your product catalogue to Facebook through an Ecommerce Platform Partner you might currently be selling from, such as Shopify or BigCommerce.
Submit your account for review.
Once the facebook product catalogue is linked to your Instagram profile, your store needs to undergo a verification process before you can start selling through the shopping channel. To submit your account for a review:
Head to your Instagram profile and select the navigation tool.
‘Sign up for shopping’
And follow the steps to submit your account for review.
Instagram may take some time to conduct the background assessment, so to check the status of your account review visit Shopping under Settings.
Activate shopping features.
Once you’re verified, you’re in! To start selling on social the last point of action is to link that fancy new product catalogue to your Instagram account!
Head to your Instagram profile and select the navigation tool
Tap business and then shopping
Select your product catalogue
With all the admin out of the way, you’re ready to conquer the new face of Ecommerce! But with a brand-new business account up and running and a product catalogue ready to be snatched up by a new market, it’s important to understand that Instagram’s shopping feature is a whole new ballpark to the way we usually do things.
Here are our tips and tricks for making the most of this new eCommerce wave.
Categorise your Content to Conquer the Algorithm
Now that customers can poach your products right from their 7am Instagram scroll, make sure to sell yourself with purpose.
The new Instagram shop tab will automatically display your tagged posts to the loyal fans already loving your work. However, if optimised the right way, this new feature has the potential to put your products on blast.
A browse of the Instagram shop tab will give users exciting, personalised recommendations based on the accounts they already follow, and the products they’ve already shown interest in. So, when launching your brand into the social sphere, head in with a game plan that will get your products seen by a new, targeted pool of customers.
While drafting that ideal shoppable post, make sure you’ve got everything covered to organically reach the market you’re gunning for.
Select ‘Tag products’ and pull from your linked product catalogue. Once you’ve got the customer’s eye; they will be appropriately directed to your store with the click of a button.
Use relevant and targeted hashtags that just hit the sweet spot. If you use hashtag streams that are too competitive, you might risk drowning out your post in the sea of content. But, if you’re going too specific, it might never be seen! Collate a list of hashtags that your competitors are using to get a share of those eyeballs.
Applying alternative text to your images is also a great way to get your post picked up by the algorithm. Under advanced settings, then Alt Text, use this feature to describe and define the content of your image.
Additionally, tagging your post with your location is an important way to refine your online presence, while also beaconing out to a local market.
But don’t limit yourself – with an ever-expanding platform like Instagram, the potential knows no bounds. You can tag your products in Stories and Reels too!
Connect and Collaborate.
To expand your audience and make yourself known, it’s important to establish your brand within all the relevant communities and social circles. You might have already reached out to influencers, promoters, and trending bloggers for alluring sponsored posts, user-generated content, and native marketing campaigns.
But now with Instagram’s new focus on eCommerce, collaboration can go just that step further.
‘Guides’ is the new function that not only features prominently on the Instagram shop tab but is also designed to put content, organisations, places and products on the forefront.
Set out as individual albums collated by the user, content creators can publish guides that highlight:
Places: Your store location, as well as existing content linked to it.
Products: The products you’ve tagged as ‘shoppable’.
Posts: Any additional content you’ve posted to your account.
Guides is an exciting avenue that, if promoted by those with access to the appropriate market, can reshape how the customer reaches your doorstep.
Polish Your Copy: But Don’t Give a Sales Pitch
While Instagram has been zoning in on shoppable content, it’s important to remember that the platform is still a social networking site. What might work for your E-commerce site won’t translate here – because no one wants to hear your boring, repetitive sales pitch!
What’s important to focus on when transitioning to social is building your engagement and establishing a sense of relevancy.
Instagram’s algorithm will work in your favour if you’re able to keep your audience interested – so the more active followers, interactions, comments, shares, direct messages you’ve got, the more visible your products will become.
To work an organic, engaged audience, what you put out there should be worth listening to in the first place. So, take creative angles when working your social strategy: provide your audience with interesting, unique content that will keep them invested in what you have to say. Don’t view your copy as a technique to sell, but as a tool that will allow you to build a socially connected relationship with the potential customers sitting behind the phone screen.
Take Vantage of Audio-Visual
Instagram is a visually focused platform, so make sure that your marketing collateral aligns with the ‘language’ of social.
With a multi-modal feed consisting of photos, video, IGTV, Reels and Stories, the potential for your social strategy is limitless. However, to keep the conversions going strong, produce content, and establish a grid that appeals visually to eye and maintains aesthetic cohesion, all while communicating the brand image you wish to convey.
So, when looking to promote your products through Instagram’s shopping channel your priority is to keep your images visually interesting, to catch the eyes of potential customers.
Optimise your Web for Mobile
Instagram’s shopping channel supports multiple points of action that lead directly to your website or Ecommerce store. Therefore, it’s imperative that the journey from first contact to purchase is made as seamless as possible for the consumer.
Since Instagram users will be directed from the app to your webpage, you must account for how your site functions on mobile.
Test your web on mobile to ensure that it takes on a responsive design, adapting to a range of devices. Make sure users can navigate your pages with ease, and that the platform affordances are directing consumers where you want them to go. No matter how effective your social media strategy is, functionality issues, or a horribly designed website will be enough to completely turn consumers off their purchasing decision.
For useful information on optimising your webpage, check out some of our previous blog posts:
Although it’s still early days, Instagram Shop has the potential to shape the way your customers are going to search for products and discover local businesses online. Therefore, to ensure that your online store has the potential to thrive in this growing market, it’s important to adapt with the times. By setting up for Instagram Shop, you will be well on your way to expanding your online presence.
If you need the guidance to kick start your social strategy in 2021, Contact us! Here at SEO Company Melbourne, we are the SEO company Melbourne trusts for your Digital Marketing, Social Media and Ecommerce needs.