After months of testing, Instagram announced a big change to the user interface in late 2020: replacing the Activity tab with the Shop tab, the social platform’s latest move to become more business-friendly.
It’s a big upgrade from where the feature was just a few years ago. Nowadays, it is infinitely easier for users to buy branded products without ever leaving the app.
How exactly does the tool work and how can you use it to generate revenue? The following sections cover everything you need to know.
Why your business should sell on Instagram
Thanks to the Instagram shoppable posts feature and other supporting tools (like the product wish list, product launch reminder, and shopping sticker on Instagram Stories), users can walk the entire journey of the shopper from discovery to checkout.
Social media platforms are typically viewed as excellent brand awareness tools. However, Instagram’s new integrations have made it a huge sales driver.
A 2019 Facebook study found that 54% of respondents bought items right now or some time after viewing a product or service on Instagram.
And it’s not just direct-to-consumer brands that can benefit from Instagram’s shopping capabilities. A report from HootSuite for the fourth quarter of 2020 found that 36.2% of B2B decision makers use the app to source new products and / or services.
Shippable posts are marked with a clickable shopping bag icon that shows product information and the call to action “View Products” to visit the brand’s store page.
This creates a seamless experience for the user and allows you to promote your products without being too promotional.
How to Sell on Instagram
- Meet the eligibility criteria.
- Upload your product catalog.
- Submit your account for review.
1. Meet the eligibility criteria.
There are a few terms and conditions that you need to check off before you start selling on Instagram. You need to:
When you have met the above requirements, follow the steps below.
2. Upload your product catalog.
Your catalog is a file that contains the products you want to sell and their information such as prices and description. There are two ways to upload your product catalog:
- Take the do-it-yourself route through Facebook Business Manager by manually adding the items.
- Connect with an ecommerce platform partner like Shopify or BigCommerce. A full list of compatible partners can be found here.
How to manually upload your products
To create a catalog through Facebook, you must first have a Facebook Business Manager account, which is different from a Business Page. From there, go to Commerce Manager and set up your catalog.
You can find step-by-step instructions here.
It is very important that your product catalog stays in sync with your Instagram page and that your product descriptions and prices are correct. Whenever you make a sale or promotion, you will need to update your product catalog accordingly.
How to upload your products via an e-commerce platform
A second way to connect your Instagram business profile to a Facebook catalog is to do it through an e-commerce platform. Here are the steps with two popular platforms.
Before you begin, you need to have the Facebook sales channel (included with all paid Shopify plans) installed on your Shopify store, which will create a store tab on your Facebook page.
For full details on how to connect your Facebook Page to your Shopify account, see the Shopify Guide here.
Once you’ve followed the steps above, it’s easy to add the Instagram sales channel to your Shopify store, which connects the products from your Shopify page to your Instagram business profile.
To do this, go to your Shopify administrator and click the “+” button next to the “Sales Channels” heading.
Then, in the Add Sales Channel dialog box, click Instagram, then click Add Channel.
You need to log into your Facebook account page to authenticate your Instagram account on the sales channel.
As soon as the Instagram Sales Channel is installed, you can activate the function in your settings on Instagram.
First, open the Channel Manager in your BigCommerce account and click “Get Started” next to Facebook.
On the next screen, confirm that you are using a compatible currency, sign up for a Facebook account (if you don’t already have one), review the product requirements, and click Get Started.
Next, enter your details on the configuration page, including your company’s contact email address, phone number, and the Facebook page you want your shop to appear on.
You can find the full BigCommerce guide on how to do this here.
Once Facebook approves your catalog, go back to the Channel Manager, click Get Started next to Instagram, and confirm that your store meets the requirements.
3. Submit your account for review.
Once you’ve linked your product catalog to your Instagram account, you’re ready to submit your account for approval.
1. Go to your professional dashboard. There, click on “Set up Instagram Shopping”.
2. On the setup page, click Get Started.3. Select your catalog.
4. Review the details and click Submit for Review.
The approval process can take a few days. You may also need to provide additional information, such as: B. Domain verification.
How to tag products with shippable Instagram posts
Once you’ve got access to shoppable posts on Instagram and you’ve followed all of the steps above, it’s quick and easy to add tags to your posts.
1. Upload your picture and click “Next” when you have finished editing.
2. Click on “Label Products”.
3. Tap the item in your picture that you want to mark.
4. Find and select the product.
5. Click Done and share the picture.
Do you have an older post that still has good traction but doesn’t have a shoppable tag? You can tag products in new and existing posts from your Instagram business profile, up to five products per post with a single picture, or 20 products per post with multiple photos (or carousels).
How to optimize your posts for shoppable purchases
1. Create posts that feel natural to the Instagram feed.
While selling on Instagram is easier than ever, remember that your audience shouldn’t feel like they’re being sold to them. You should stick to the current content strategy and include shoppable tags in photos that naturally fit your profile.
2. Use the influencer content.
A great way to organically add shopping tags to your post is to leverage posts from consumers. Studies show that consumers trust influencers a lot more than brands, and these posts serve as social evidence, i.e., credibility and validation for the brand.
For example, Fe Noel recently republished this post from a fashion influencer and added the product tag.
You can also optimize your Instagram sales strategy with the help of influencer posts. Influencer collaborations and sponsorships have almost replaced traditional ads and are now an important part of social media strategies.
55% of fashion buyers bought a fashion item after it was advertised on the platform. This is evident from a 2020 post from Instagram’s creator account.
The following shows the popular model Michelle Dee with a Herschel Supply case in the brand profile:
An Instagram influencer’s seal of approval goes a long way and is a great strategy for increasing the sales of your shippable Instagram posts.
3. Optimize your post with multiple tags.
Adding multiple shopping tags to your photos will help your audience quickly explore and browse your products. You can also try adding shopping tags to carousel posts to test their performance against single photo posts.
4. Activate the shop page in your Instagram profile.
Create at least nine shoppable posts to activate the Shop tab on your Instagram profile. This will bring all of your shoppable posts under one tab for easy shopping and product discovery.
Measure the results of your shoppable posts
Instagram business accounts have access to analytics for their shoppable posts, including data on how many people viewed product information and clicked on the product page. This information can help you determine what type of products are resonating with your Instagram followers and spot gaps in the buyer’s journey.
As with all of your social media marketing efforts, measure performance metrics to determine what is getting the best results (and why) and use that to inform future posts.
Once your business sells on Instagram, keep experimenting with images, copies, shopping tags, and other factors that can add to your sales.
Regardless of the type of products you’re selling, doing your analytics can help you understand what your target audience wants, improve your content, and ultimately generate more traffic and sales.
Selling on Instagram is a unique opportunity to reach users through a seamless experience at all stages of the buyer journey.