Everyone knows that Facebook marketing (specifically Facebook ads) is a powerful sales and branding channel for ecommerce stores. With great targeting and accurate user data, Facebook is an ecommerce social media powerhouse — but so is Instagram!
Instagram is not only about a sleek ‘grammable’ aesthetic and influencers promote their glamorous lifestyles, but it’s also a place for brands to connect with customers. Popular, easy to use, and with an engaged user base, Instagram is the perfect place for store owners to grow their customer base.
Using some of the same great features that Facebook offers (and more), here is how your ecommerce store can succeed on the gram in 2020…
Create a grammable brand
If you’re going to make it on the gram, you’re going to have to commit to the right kind of brand aesthetic.
Integrate Instagram into your brand from day one.
Step one: invest in great photography and hone your brand story. Instagram users will want to see a well thought-out aesthetic that reflects your brand. Think about how colors, phrasing, and product placement all interplay to create a coherent visual story.
Step two: use granular competitor research to get an idea for what others are (and aren’t) doing on Instagram to help inspire you. Create a loose editorial strategy inspired by the most successful post formats. For example, you might find that a weekly giveaway or a daily customer story works well in your niche.
Enable shopping on Instagram
Once you have set out a plan for what you want to post, you need to ensure that your brand meets Instagram requirements.
Without this, you won’t be able to enable the shoppable posts feature that will bring people straight from Instagram to your Ecwid store. Automatic product catalog synchronization means that you won’t have to install a separate tool or API — just enable shopping on Instagram and your customers will do the rest.
Ensure that you always balance shoppable and ‘shop the look’ posts with different content types like quotes and lifestyle shots.
Post great content consistently
The key to a successful Instagram content strategy is to post consistently great content. On Instagram, there is a lot of background noise to cut through. Tapping into your customer base means posting a wide range of content that intersects with their lives on multiple levels — not just plugging your products.
When speaking of products, focus on stand-out features and use-cases, and save the more blatantly promotional messaging for Instagram ads (and new customers who are firmly in the brand discovery phase).
Remember: your Instagram content ideas don’t have to be overcomplicated — consider going behind the scenes at your brand for the dat, tagging products in an inspirational lifestyle shot, or sharing an insightful quote guaranteed to inspire — plenty more ideas here. The key is to test out different ways to tell your brand story in order to avoid ‘post fatigue’.
Tell your brand story through Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories are a really engaging content format that allow you to create high quality ephemeral content for your online store. Great for brand storytelling, contests, and product reviews, learning how to use stories is a surefire way to nail your Instagram strategy.
- Create and rotate story highlight reels that you can pin to your page in order to maximize content ROI
- Use the polls features and other engagement tools to encourage people to respond to your story
- People often re-share stories they are tagged in themselves, so encourage reciprocal sharing and always tag customers, influencers, partners etc.
Run ad campaigns
Instagram has excellent ad targeting options, and is an especially good place for people to discover new brands.
Use Instagram ads as a low-cost way of acquiring new customers (similar to what you would do on Facebook).
- Seasonal sales are an obvious thing to tap into with an Instagram ad campaign — people will be out looking for bargains. Keep seasonal ad campaigns short and sweet, and stick with simple ad creatives that quickly highlight your main offer
- Organic campaigns like giveaways can run alongside targeted ad campaigns to help boost overall brand engagements.
Engage with customers on Instagram
The best ecommerce brands don’t just post pretty pictures of products or run ads, they engage with their customer community through giveaways, contests, and commenting.
- Always thank, acknowledge or re-share an engagement. It’s important to reward interacting with your brand
- Big up positive social proof and gamify your strategy using user-generated content. Get people excited about whether their content will be ‘picked’ up by your brand and encourage influencers to co-create content
- Be transparent about any paid or influencer partnerships — mishandling a disclosure has backfired on Instagram before.
Develop an Instagram sales strategy
Instagram is a great place to share beautiful content, but if you want to succeed and bring sales through to your store, you need to create a sales strategy for this social network.
- Create a realistic sales target, but don’t forget that social media can be a slow burn. Ad campaigns should bring you immediate results if you get your targeting and creative right, but it can be awhile until you start seeing regular sales from social
- One way to attribute value is to use tracking and attribution to help determine where (and how) social engagement on Instagram influences purchase decisions
- Always embed a ‘shop this product’ or ‘shop this look’ link where you can, and make it your mission to share inspirational content that still has a commercial context.
Make the most of ECWID’s Instagram integration and sell your products, and your brand, through a varied and engaging Instagram content mix.
About the Author
Rodney Laws is an online entrepreneur who has been building online businesses for over a decade. Rodney uses his experience to help fellow entrepreneurs start and run their own companies. Find out how he can help you by visiting EcommercePlatforms.io or heading over to @EcomPlatformsio.