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For many online sellers and businesses, Instagram provides valuable opportunities to build engagement with customers and to complement your digital presence and independent online store. Ninety percent of users on Instagram follow a business account, with 70 percent of shoppers using the platform to discover new products. In our current socially-distant social landscape, consumers are increasingly turning their attention to Instagram to stay connected with the outside world and to engage with businesses.

In this article, we discuss how ecommerce merchants can use Instagram alongside their website to drive sales, increase demand, and build their brand during this new era of online shopping.

Set Up Your Instagram Ecommerce Shop

With the launch of Instagram’s shoppable posts, selling directly on the social platform became easier than ever. Sellers can tag products within their Instagram posts, enabling a “Tap to View Product” feature that allows customers to buy items without having to leave the app. This new functionality not only allows you to reach new customers but also effectively moves shoppers through the entire buyer journey and turns casual followers into active customers.

The action doesn’t end on Instagram. After seeing a product or service on the Instagram app, 65 percent of users visit the brand’s website. An Instagram ecommerce shop can both drive sales and direct high-intent traffic to your website, opening new opportunities for you to engage your followers and provide a memorable online experience.

Increase Visibility for Your Brand

What makes Instagram an effective platform for marketing your busines is its emphasis on visual content. Instagram is where you have the opportunity to communicate your brand, display your products, showcase your unique value proposition, and describe the problems you solve. The elements you choose to display on your profile—the images you post, the stories you share, and the details you place in your bio—will influence how your followers view your brand and impact how much traffic you generate. 

To succeed, focus on creating unique and consistent imagery to communicate what your brand is about. Craft content that addresses the needs and interests of your followers and leverage relevant hashtags, keywords, and paid ads to distribute your marketing message. With proper optimization and creatives, Instagram can delight users and generate traffic.

Post Content from Other Users

On Instagram, it’s important to publish content other than self-generated images of your products and services. After all, Instagram is a social platform—users seek authenticity and connection, encouraging brands to add a human element to their content.

Consider collecting user-generated content from your Instagram feed and publishing it on your feed and website. This adds that level of authenticity to your brand and provides valuable social proof. As a kind of referral marketing, user-generated content can boost trust in casual users, making them more likely to return to your business. This makes it easier to attract new followers, boost shares of your content, and expand your online community—both on Instagram and on your website. You can also partner with other content creators and influencers and connect with their networks, which can create meaningful interactions with your ideal customers and boost your brand awareness.

Ensure a Seamless Website Experience

While Instagram can help enhance discovery and drive sales, having a spectacular web presence should be your first priority. People who visit your site from Instagram will expect a seamless experience that is consistent with your image on the social platform. It’s important to invest in your ecommerce site when selling on social or on a marketplace to captivate visitors and keep them interested in your business.

Think of Instagram as a complement to your website—while it can help people discover your products, learn about your brand, and potentially even buy from you, it’s your unique website experience that will keep shoppers engaged and coming back to your business. A combined social and ecommerce experience will keep your business competitive, relevant, and profitable in the years to come.

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