Instagram has come a long way since the days where it was primarily used as the new trendy app used mostly by a younger age demographic. With the platform now near the 800 million marks for users, it has become a potential gold mine for small businesses trying to generate more sales online.
Instagram is unique in the sense that it reaches the millennial demographic more effectively than any other social platform. And because of this phenomenon, it has given brands a successful way to reach new potential customers and market to a younger age demographic.
As a small business, there has never been a better time for you to take advantage of Instagram as a free marketing tool to drive your sales, especially if you have an eCommerce store and sell products online.
But as a small business, where do you start?
In this article, we will cover 6 successful tactics that your business can use to kickstart your Instagram sales funnel, and set you off on the right foot for online success.
Use Instagram Ads
Instagram ads have proven themselves to be extremely useful for businesses of all sizes. Because of the way that content is displayed on Instagram, Instagram Ads can be placed seamlessly into your audience’s feed and appear to be just another post from someone that they are following. Only at the second glance will they realize that it is a paid promotion.
The best part about using ads on Instagram is that nobody ever seems to care about ads as much as they would have if they were on a different social media platform. Since ads are generally non-intrusive and target audiences that would be interested in what the ads are presenting, most audiences aren’t bothered by having ads displayed in their content feed.
If your business opts to give Instagram ads a try then you should make sure that your ads are designed well and are attractive to the audience you’re trying to reach. Remember to keep the ads minimalistic so they can slip into content feeds as easily as possible.
Use your Bio as a call-to-action
On Instagram, your bio is a golden opportunity for you to convert your followers into customers. Utilizing this space to create a compelling call-to-action is one of the first things your business should do on Instagram. Because the app doesn’t allow many other places to post links throughout the platform, you’ll really need to find a creative way to use the room for a website URL that they do give you.
The URL in your bio is really the only way that you can get your followers from Instagram to your online store or website. Because of the Instagram feature that limits your links to your bio until your account has over 10k followers, and once you pass that milestone you will be given the option to add links to your daily stories as well. So you should make sure that you use this link space wisely.
Promote through Influencers
Marketing through Influencers on social media has become extremely lucrative for both the brands and the influencers. While there are restrictions put out by Instagram that ensure that sponsored content is kept transparent, the masses of followers still listen to these Instagram Stars and what they have to say about the products they promote.
By using the right strategy you will be able to use Instagram Influencers loyalty to help drive your conversion rates higher. Because your audience (Influencers followers) will see these products being promoted from a place or person that they trust, your ads will hardly seem like an ad at all.
While Instagram influencers are a great strategy to get started selling on Instagram, there are some things you’ll want to be careful about when choosing the right influencers to promote through.
Just because an “Influencer” has a lot of followers or charge a large fee doesn’t necessarily mean that they are famous or that you will get a lot of impressions for your sponsored posts.
Some of the main things that you need to be on the lookout for when choosing the right influencers are
Real Followers (not fake followers that have been purchased)
High Engagement on posts
Influencers audience are interested in products like yours
Sometimes the right influencers for your business aren’t the biggest influencers in the world. There are many advantages of working with micro influencers as well because these influencers tend to have a more targeted audience that is relevant to their niche.
If you are still unsure about whether or not a certain influencer is a right fit for your company, then ask for them to send a screenshot of their audience demographics and monthly impressions to get better insights into whether they are a good fit for your brand.
If they have high numbers of followers but fake followers, it will show in their engagements and the number of monthly impressions.
Use Customer Generated Content
One of the main reasons that many Instagram users started to use the app was the hopes of becoming popular and gaining a much larger audience. Your business can use this knowledge to your advantage to generate more engagement around your business on Instagram.
The best way to do this is to encourage your audience and customers to share their own photos of them at your business, or using your products in their daily lives in exchange for a chance to have their photo featured on your brands Instagram profile.
By doing this you will create hype around your products and business as well as show off your products in the real world. Meanwhile building a community of customers around your brand.
When you repost content that is generated by your customers you will entice other customers to get involved and try to get featured as well. This will drive engagements and allow your brand a better chance at becoming visible for even more potential customers.
Use Links in your Instagram Stories
Instagram stories provide your business the ability to drive more traffic from your Instagram account to your online stores and can be used to help boost your sales online. While the ability to add links to your Instagram stories is only unlocked once you have over 10,000 followers, there are ways to get around this by using Instagram Ads.
This is a fun way to post information such as
Behind the scenes looks at your business
Contests and giveaways
Because Instagram stories only last 10 seconds and disappear after 24 hours, it’s a great way to post about the things that aren’t permanent and otherwise wouldn’t get posted on your profile.
Try to use hashtags in your Instagram stories, because this will give you the chance of being seen by people following those hashtags. Remember to always keep your hashtags relevant and specific to your business so that anyone who finds your posts would be interested in what you’re trying to sell.
Use Shopify Integration to Boost Sales
The fact that Instagram is so profitable for Instagram sales has to lead to the development of “Shoppable” Instagram posts through the E-commerce Platform Shopify.
Because of streamlined, product friendly content streams that are product friendly, Instagram has turned into a highly functional sales option for any businesses using Shopify. This feature makes shopping through Instagram extremely convenient for customers and is an ideal way for you to boost your sales online if you use Shopify.
The feature allows Shopify Merchants to tag their products directly into their posts, which allows their Instagram followers to “Tap to See products” and open up your Shopify store directly from Instagram. Once you tap the post, little boxes with product links and the prices of the products will pop up for the viewer to make it simple and easy for them to convert and even easier for you to make the sale.
Here’s an example of what this would look like on Instagram.
(Photo Credits: Instagram @UniqueKidzShop )
It’s actually quite a simple setup if you want to Integrate your Instagram with Shopify to make buying your products more convenient for your customers. And as you can
Instagram is no longer just a platform used by trendy teens, it’s a goldmine for small business’s (Especially anyone using e-commerce) and should be optimized to generate sales for your brand.
The methods we looked at are proven ways that you can use today to kickstart your Instagram sales as a small business. By implementing them into your business’s overall strategy, you can expect to see better brand loyalty and more conversions as a result.
About The Author:
Caleb is the Co-Founder of Artiiseo, a digital marketing agency in Winnipeg Canada. He’s an avid reader of anything marketing and loves to share his knowledge of successful marketing strategies with business owners through writing. You can find him here on Twitter, Instagram and on Linkedin.