How to Sell on Instagram and Jump Start Your Business

Instagram recently updated their platform by replacing the “Activity” tab with the “Shop” tab. This was in an effort to make Instagram more business-friendly. The new feature makes it easier for people using Instagram to shop for items they see in their Instagram feed directly from the app. Let’s take a look at what this feature can do for your business and how to sell on Instagram and jumpstart your business with it.

Why Sell on Instagram?

With the new shoppable Instagram feature, and other tools that are included in it such as wishlists, shopping stickers, and product launch reminders, users can go through the complete buyer’s journey all in the Instagram app.

It’s no secret that social media is a great tool for increasing brand awareness, and boosting sales, and Instagram’s new shopping features are no exception.

Many Instagram users have reported buying a product after seeing it appear on their Instagram feed, so why not make the process easier for them by shopping directly from the Instagram app?

This benefits not only direct-to-consumer brands but B2B brands as well.

When an Instagram post is shoppable, it is marked with a clickable shopping bag icon which shows the product information and includes a call to action to view the products, which will take the user to the Instagram shop page.

How to Sell on Instagram

This is a great way to advertise your products on Instagram without Instagram ads.

Steps to Selling on Instagram

Shoppable Instagram Eligibility Criteria Must be Met

In order to start selling on Instagram your account must meet certain criteria.

  • Your business must be located in one of these markets(link)
  • Your Instagram business profile must be connected to your business’ Facebook page
  • Must sell physical goods that are approved under Instagram’s commerce policies(link), and merchant agreement(link)

After ensuring your Instagram business profile meets the requirements, you can move to the next step.

Uploading Your Product Catalog to Instagram

Your product catalog is a file that includes the products you wish to sell on Instagram as well as their descriptions and pricing info.

You can upload your product catalog to Instagram by either manually adding items through Facebook Business Manager, or by using an ecommerce platform partner like BigCommerce or Shopify.

We will go over these options in a bit more detail.

Uploading Your Products Manually

In order to create a catalog through Facebook, you must have a Facebook Business Manager account. This is not the same as a Facebook Business page.

After creating a Facebook Business Manager account, you will use the Commerce Manager feature to set up your catalog.

How to Sell on Instagram

It’s vital that your product catalog is synced with your Instagram business profile, and that your prices and product descriptions are accurate. So if an item you sell on Instagram is on sale, make sure you are updating your product catalog to reflect the changes.

Uploading Your Items Via an Ecommerce Platform

You can use an ecommerce platform to connect your Instagram Business account to a Facebook catalog. Shopify and BigCommerce are two popular options.

Shopify

To use Shopify you will need to have the Facebook sales channel on your Shopify store. This will create a “Shop” tab on your business’ Facebook page.

After setting that up, you can add the Instagram Sales Channel to your Shopify store, which will connect your Shopify and Instagram business account.

This is a quick and simple action. Go to your Shopify admin section, and click the “+” button which is located beside the “Sales Channels” heading.

instagram stories

You will see an option to “Add sales channel”. You want to click “Instagram”, then “Add channel.”

It will direct you to log into your Facebook account in order to authenticate your Instagram account for the sales channel.

After that is completed, you can go to your settings on Instagram and enable the feature.

BigCommerce

Go to BigCommerce and select Channel Manager on your account. You’ll start with Facebook and select “Get Started.”

After selecting a compatible currency, you will need to review the product requirements, and select “Get Started.”

You’ll fill in the details of your business such as phone number, contact email, and your business’s Facebook Page.

After Facebook approves your product catalog, you’ll go back to Channel Manager on BigCommerce, and you’ll see an option for Instagram. Click “Get Started” and confirm that your business meets the requirements.

Time to Review Your Instagram Account

After connecting your product catalog to your Instagram account, you will submit your Instagram account for approval. We will break down how to do this below.

  • On your professional dashboard, click “Set Up Instagram Shopping.”
  • Click “Get Started.”
  • Select your catalog
  • Make sure all the details are accurate, then click “Submit for Review.”

Please note that the approval process does take some time, usually a few days, and you’ll want to keep an eye out for any prompts from Instagram. There are times when Instagram may need additional information from you.

Tagging Products on Instagram With Shoppable Posts

Once your account has been approved for Instagram shoppable posts, you’ll need to add tags to your post. This is the easy part!

  • Start by creating a post. Select the image you want to use and click “Next.”
  • Select “Tag Products.”
  • Click on the item in your photo that you wish to tag.
  • Select the product that corresponds to the item
  • Click “Done” to finish the post.

If you have an older Instagram post that you want to add a shoppable tag to, you can add these as well.

It’s important to note that there are limits on the amount of tags you can add to an image. The limit is five product tags for a single image, and 20 product tags for a carousel post.

Optimizing Your Posts for Instagram Shopping

Make sure your posts fit in with the Instagram vibe.

Making an Instagram post that is a blatant ad will not get you far on Instagram. The content should feel natural. You’ll want to focus more on aesthetics than the product itself.

This is where user generated content with photos and videos really shine.

how to sell on instagram

Connect with an influencer

Working with an influencer is a great strategy when selling on Instagram, as consumers are more likely to trust influencer marketing.

When you feature user generated content on your Instagram feed or Instagram Stories, meaning real people using your products, you build trust and credibility for your brand, which does a lot to boost sales on Instagram.

Influencer marketing has almost completely replaced traditional Instagram ads, and play a vital role in social media marketing strategies.

Instagram users are much more likely to purchase items after seeing it promoted by an influencer on Instagram, and other social media platforms. This is especially true for the fashion and beauty industry.

But shoppers are smart. They can spot influencers posting inauthentic product reviews.

You want an influencer who doesn’t just add aesthetic appeal to your brand, but who communicates the value of your products.

Choosing the right influencer for your brand is important, as many influencers work within specific niches.

When working with influencers, you’ll want to have a plan in place so that both you and your influencer know what is expected.

You’ll want to make sure you are checking Instagram analytics frequently to ensure the relationship is beneficial for you.

Use multiple shopping tags

By including multiple shopping tags in your Instagram posts, you will make it easier for users to quickly browse your products.

We recommend trying out both single photo, and carousel Instagram posts in order to see what works best for your brand.

selling on instagram

Activating the Shop page

After creating at least nine shoppable posts on Instagram, you will be able to activate the “Shop” tab on your Instagram business profile.

This is a fantastic feature which will group your Instagram shoppable posts together in one tab for users to easily discover and shop for more products on Instagram.

How to Measure Results

instagram business profile

You can use analytics for Instagram shoppable posts. This will include data on how many users have viewed your post, product info. You can also see if users have clicked through to check out your products on the product landing page.

Use your analytics to see what items are more popular with Instagram users. You can also see where your page may be lacking in the buyer’s journey.

After seeing what works and what doesn’t, you can more effectively plan Instagram posts that will resonate with your audience.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with this. Use a variety of copy, tags, and images.

No matter your industry, it’s helpful to pay attention to your Instagram analytics to better understand interests what your audience. This will ultimately help you improve your content, traffic, and sales.

Selling on Instagram is a fantastic way to grow your business. This may seem daunting at first. Once you get the hang of it tough, you’ll be on your way to growing your brand.

As always, we are here to help. If you need assistance in improving your sales on Instagram feel free to reach out.

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