How Instagram helps to grow ecommerce business

Mar 20, 2018 | Instagram marketing, Make Money, Marketing

Updated 20.09.2018

Google a product you want to buy.

What comes up first in your search engine results?

Probably Amazon, eBay, Zappos, and other big brand name departments stores.

It’s nearly impossible to get your ecommerce name out there if only the big names come up in search engines results.

As an ecommerce website, you have to go beyond using the right keywords for search engine optimization, you have to think outside the box.

Even if you have a unique and great product to sell no one will see it if they cannot find it.

That’s where social media steps in. Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube are great options to choose from. Each one has a different purpose and people engage with them differently.

Social media has the power to:

  1. Reach clients and potential customers in a place where they normally visit.
  2. Snatch your client’s attention with eye-catching pictures to make them aware of your brand and store.
  3. Give yourself an advantage over big brands such as Amazon who may not have a huge social media presence

For those few reasons you should care about social media and use it as part of your marketing and ecommerce plan.

If you don’t know where to begin your social media campaigns, Instagram is your best bet!

In this piece, I’ll outline why Instagram is the number one choice for growing and sustaining your ecommerce business and how to use it.

Also check out this infographic – Social Networks and Their Importance in eCommerce Gateways .

Don’t get me wrong, Facebook is still a useful platform to use as part of your social media marketing campaign.

Since Facebook is full of marketers and ecommerce giants such as eBay and its offers, Facebook’s team decided that brands need companies to pay for advertisements and outreach. This means the reach to existing and new followers is becoming less organic.

Other ecommerce companies have turned to Instagram since it grabs the attention of new customers. Additionally, Instagram users engage and interact more with content on Instagram than any other social media platform.

On Instagram, you don’t have to pay for advertisements and outreach meaning that you can create an unlimited amount of organic reach.

Moreover, Instagram isn’t only useful for ecommerce business. I found this Instagram guide for restaurants and bars, that you might want to check out as well.

What Makes Instagram Unique to eCommerce?

Many brands have turned to Instagram to help grow their ecommerce business.

The platform has around four-hundred million users who love to engage with interesting content, which makes it an effective place to begin a social media campaign.

If you’re hesitant to jump on the Instagram bandwagon, consider these reasons:

Instagram is Built for Ecommerce Businesses
This platform is built for your ecommerce business. The platform offers a blend of creativity with high-quality social environment. All these effects generate inspiration for its users and it’s often their first step before making a purchase.

Instagram Centers on Ecommerce Businesses
Instagram advertising was a concept that was grasped early in Instagram’s creation. Instagram’s team realized that ecommerce businesses could easily use it as a business tool.

Instagram advertising is effective for creating and generating brand awareness, traffic, or increase mobile downloads.

Facebook users are starting to tune out advertisements while the ones on Instagram are still effective since it focuses on innovation and superior content which makes it blend in with the other posts.

Instagram Goes Beyond Advertisements
You can be an effective Instagram user without using advertisements so long as the post engages and interests your followers.[/vc_column_text]

Why Instagram is the Best Tool?

Instagram updated its app and platform so it has become one of the strongest tools for ecommerce businesses.

Btw. if you haven’t already here’s how to create an Instagram business account.

Let’s go over a few of the new updates:

Instagram’s “Shop Now” Button
Instagram announced in 2016 it would come out with a “Shop Now” button which has transformed the way users shop.

As an ecommerce business, you can link your shopping cart to your Instagram account. When people see a high-quality photo of one of your products, they can buy at the same moment.

shop now instagram(Source: Shopify, 2017)

Instagram’s Stories Feature
Remember, selling a product takes time. You need to explain the product and create a level of trust between you and the potential buyer.

YouTube, SnapChat, and blogs make it easy for brands to create an intimate and personable relationship with their followers since it creates context for them.

Instagram’s ‘Stories’ feature does exactly that: it creates context. Users can understand what the product is through relatable and interesting stories.

instagram stories(Source: Techcrunch, 2016)

Instagram’s Links within Stories Feature
Take advantage of this feature since it helps you share your content with other users.

Current followers will be able to share your content with their friends if it’s engaging and high-quality.

In your stories, add a link to your webpage. Create a story that introduces and explains your product and then link it so that they can buy it easily.

Instagram’s Influences Its Markets
Influencer marketing helps brands grow almost exponentially.

Even if your page gets more traffic, at the end of the day, it’s the conversion rates that matter the most.

Most of the marketing in Instagram is focused on increasing brand awareness.

It’s become even easier to track different metrics and conversion rates. Big Instagram influencers can tag a brand in their stories.

So if a fashion blogger is paid to feature certain brands, he or she will tag the brand and promote it to his/her own followers.

instagram influencers(Source: Later, 2016)

Instagram Helps Ecommerce Businesses Be Discovered
On Instagram’s Explore feature, it allows people to see stories and new brands based on their interests.

This puts less work on you since you don’t have to actively search for new users since Instagram will help through its Explore feature.

Instagram is Concise
Compared to other social media platforms, Instagram is concise and relatively clutter free.

It focused solely on the visual appeal and it was built for smartphones and tablets. Since users mainly use it on their phones, it’s hard for them to switch between tabs and windows. They have to look at what’s in front of them.

How to Use Instagram for ecommerce?

Now that we’ve discussed why Instagram is a good platform, we can move on to the “how”.

In this section, I’ll discuss different strategies to help grow your ecommerce business.

Not all will guarantee an instant growth, but I hope to help to generate some ideas.

instagram posts

(Source: Bannersnack, 2017)

Use Consistent Images to Build Trust
In general, people like consistency, which makes brand images important especially on Instagram where everything is visual.

To consumers, consistency creates a level of trusts. People are more likely to buy from brands which they trust already or have a positive interaction with.

Here’s how to create a consistent image:

  1. Look at your competition and figure out what works for them.
  2. Use and search your competitors to get a better idea of their strategies.
  3. Keep track of what you like. After looking at other businesses’ Instagram profiles you’ll be able to pull from theirs and use your own personal touch.

Inspire Your Followers Through Posts and Pictures
Everyone likes taking a picture and people love good pictures. A good picture engages the audience and evokes an emotion in them.

Instagram is built on images so you need your images to speak for your business. This is especially important for brand awareness and engagement.

For your business, it’s more than just taking a picture and posting it. You need to make a captivating one.

Fortunately, there are free apps that allow you to make your picture pop.

Try apps such as:

  1. Canva
  2. PicMonkey
  3. Snappa

These apps help you edit your photos in unlimited directions and create unique color schemes for each of your Instagram posts.

Hashtags Reach More People
Instagram is a great place for organic search versus paid advertisements to boost reach. It serves primarily as a social media platform for sharing photos and also as a search engine.

Keywords are used for big search engines such as Google and hashtags are used on Instagram.

To take advantage of hashtags, focus on a popular hashtag that’s famous enough to get your post on the search results, but not too popular where you’ll have to compete to get a spot.

Connect Instagram to Other Social Media Platforms
Starting a fan base on Instagram is a good start, but you’re limited in what you can post on there. Your images get people interested and if they want more information, you need to link them to either your website or Facebook page.

Iconosquare Tracks Your Results
You won’t make any progress on your social media marketing campaigns if you don’t know what’s hindering it.

That’s where Iconosqure comes in to help you out. You can get basic information on your social media campaign and also more critical data.

Iconosquare provides the following information:

  1. Rolling Month Analysis: An in-depth analysis of how your Instagram account is doing each month.
  2. Content: This allows you to view how many posts you’ve made, which days and hours you post the most, your more popular hashtag uses.
  3. Engagement: You can view which posts has the most likes and engagement.
  4. Optimization: Similar to engagement, you can view which filter you used and which ones got the most likes and increased number of your followers.
  5. Community: This gives you a profile of who your followers are and keep track of who you follow as well.

Use this data to figure out which type of posts had the most likes, which filters were favored more, and what time of the week and day creates the most engagement.

After reviewing data, you can use Instagram more effectively to grow your ecommerce business.

Hire a Photographer
If you really want to stand out from the crowd hire a professional photographer.

This doesn’t have to break the bank. Hire a freelancer or a family friend whose kid is in high school or college who wants to build their portfolio and get their name out there.

Whether you hire a freelancer or a family friend’s kid, you’ll get professional looking photos. What’s more, the photographer probably has her own Instagram account and can repost photos she did for you. This helps spread your name and boost brand awareness.

Post Often
How often do you keep in contact with your best friends or classmates?

Probably very often and consistently.

What does this do?

It keeps you memorable and people get accustomed to hearing from you.

The same principle applies to posting on Instagram.

People want to follow someone who posts regularly. Otherwise, they’ll lose interest and possibly remove you from their “following” group.

Instagram Contests
Running contests is a great way to boost user engagement since it compels people to either like or comment on your posts.

Here are a few different contests you can run:

  1. Like Contests: You ask your followers to like your photos to enter your contest.
  2. Comment Contests: You ask your followers to comment on your photos to enter the contest. Usually, commenters will write why they want to win the prize.
  3. Regram Contests: Ask your followers to repost your content and tag your brand in it. This allows your image to be shared with other followers on your account and the reposter’s followers as well.
  4. Photo Challenge Contests: You ask your followers to post their own creative photos related to your business and tag you in it.

Shoppable Instagram Gallery
Instagram doesn’t have a direct buy option on its platform currently.

To get around this set up a shoppable Instagram gallery in your Instagram’s bio.

The link takes followers to an extended version of Instagram’s “homepage”, which has clickable images that lead to product pages.

You can also put links to your shopping cart in caption of each of your images.

shoppable instagram

(Source: Techcrunch, 2015)

Use Instagram Ads
Strategically place ads on Instagram as a way to get more traffic in addition to organic reach you create through your posts.

Use product reviews and user generated photos.

A review boosts your credibility and authenticity.

A user generated photo doesn’t stick out from the other posts, but it is still more informative than a regular user’s post.

Instagram Ads

(Source: Adstage, 2017)

I hope these tips and reasons are enough to get you started on your Instagram account!


Now it’s your turn!

If you have any questions, be sure to leave me a comment down below.

Sign up for ConvertKit and start monetizing your Instagram followers.

(Full disclosure: some of the links on this website are affiliate links. I’d appreciate it if you use my link when making a purchase. I will get a small bonus from that, which will support this blog and help me create more content in the future).

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Johannes Kanter

1 Comment

  1. Anne

    I hope to get there but for now Instagram hasn’t been a big referrer, only get 2-3 people a day land on my store from my Instagram account.


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