With over 300 million users and no clear defined path to stand out from the crowd, Instagram presents a very confusing puzzle for eCommerce marketers.
The platform is massive, and it continues to grow rapidly, but there are no advertisements, little room for content, and no specific business account differences beyond getting a verified badge for your brand page.
This explains why, in a recent survey by Rival IQ, 38% of marketers stated that Instagram was not important and 20% said it was only somewhat important.
So what are these marketers missing out on and how can you tap into Instagram’s huge popularity to grow your eCommerce business?
Leveraging Instagram’s potential requires a level of understanding as to what sets it apart from other social media platforms, what kind of posts will get more engagement, and how to bring in outside platforms for selling products in a place that has no eCommerce integration.
Today, I’d like to share a few of my latest Instagram marketing tips that will open up Instagram as a viable visual marketing tool that you can start using right away with real results.
#1: Recognize The Value of Instagram for eCommerce
Social media in general is great for growing your eCommerce business and driving overall awareness. One of the main reasons that Instagram is rapidly growing in popularity is because it doesn’t conform to the standard social media format.
Today, Facebook and Twitter are considered for the “older” crowd and Instagram is home to a younger audience with a different style of communicating.
Instagram is 100% visual, with almost all text being written in the form of hashtags.
The visual nature of Instagram can cause a significant impact on your business.
For example, my Instagram data across three brands shows that the the engagement rate is higher than all other marketing channels, including other social media platforms, email and search traffic.
For this reason, it’s important to have more than one post a day, evaluate how you want to run ads on Instagram, and implement many different kinds of images.
Create a jaw dropping photographs, share pictures of how customers use your products, post a picture with a text overlay asking followers to use your hashtag, show off behind-the-scenes activity at your office, and so on.
You want to appear in a user’s feed as much as possible because not all posts will capture everyone’s attention.
#2: The More Hashtags, The Merrier
With Instagram, you can’t ignore the hashtag.
Successful Instagram posts are ones that are very hashtag-heavy.
For example, a recent study from Quicksprout revealed that posts with at least 11 hashtags get nearly 80% interactions versus posts with 4 hashtags which get only 31%.
You are not supposed to be posting useful content in your description like you would on Facebook. Your goal is to round up users who may be searching for your product or related topics.
#3: Use Third-Party ApplicationsFor eCommerce integration
As mentioned before, there is no natively integrated eCommerce solution on Instagram available to all users at this time.
However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t easily convert Instagram users into customers. There are quite a few third-party applications that allow you to sell through Instagram.
My personal favorite is “Yotpo’s Shoppable Instagram” which creates an Instagram shop version of your account so followers can easily find your featured products.
#4: Leverage Instagram For User-Generated Content
You should always be using Instagram as a source of user generated content across multiple platforms.
Prominently displaying user-generated pictures that include your product will build confidence in your brand for a new visitor – because it’s instant visual proof that others use and like your products.
Aside from sharing favorite user pictures from Instagram to your Facebook or Twitter accounts, you should also integrate their Instagram pictures onto your website for a steady stream of fresh content.
My tool of choice for doing this is called Tagboard, which will automatically display a newsfeed style stream on your website of everyone that has made a post on any social network with a specific hashtag you define.