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Quick and dirty guide to Instagram Shopping

September 30, 2021


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You’ve already heard it a thousand times—the pandemic changed the way we shop. Today, customers are much more likely to look for a product online, than to make the trip to the mall and search store shelves. One of the consequences of this change is an increased interest in ‘social commerce’, a newer way to shop that’s been gaining constant momentum since lockdowns were announced.

Now, almost all US companies (93%) are looking at selling with social, in order to address the nearly half of adult consumers (44%) who use social to shop. Which is why in today’s article, we’ll help you take advantage of the trend with a few quick and easy tips for selling on Instagram Shopping, one of the leading social commerce platforms.

1. / Build a great catalog

To start, you’ll need to set up a product catalog. This is the foundation of Instagram Shopping and is where you’ll store all the information you need to sell through the app. Populate your catalog with all the details customers need to make a purchase, plenty of high-quality images, and keep pricing and availability information up to date. You’ll also want to ensure your products are eligible to be sold through Instagram.

If you’re on Shopify, you can import the majority of this information by syncing your Instagram Shopping account with your Shopify store.

  1. From your Shopify admin, click Facebook sales channel > Overview.
  2. Click Set up to start in the Instagram Shopping section.
  3. Connect the required Facebook accounts to the Facebook sales channel.
  4. Review and accept the terms and conditions, then click Request approval.

Alternatively, use this guide to quickly import your products from another source. 

2. / Promote your products with tags

Naturally, the more you post about your products, the more interest you’ll generate from potential customers. At the same time, make sure you’re adding product tags every time you post. 

This reduces friction, as customers can quickly purchase a product directly from their Instagram feed, without needing to hunt for the item in your store. It’s also a great way to figure out what kind of content is the most lucrative—you can see exactly what people are clicking on and adjust your strategy to match.

3. / Create drool-worthy content

The great thing about Instagram Shopping is your ads don’t have to look like ads. Because users can purchase any tagged product in any video/photo, you can experiment with different ideas. Try telling stories with your content, showing how products are made, or working with other accounts on collaborative content.

Additionally, once you have a catalog set up, you can easily leverage user-generated content. Any time someone posts about your products, reach out and ask if you can share it from your business account. This is also a great opportunity to drive a second purchase—offer these customers a small discount or free shipping on their next order in exchange for allowing you to post their content.

4. / Use Guides to drive sales

Instagram Guides work like mini-product catalogs that you can customize with your best content. Kind of like those seasonal catalogs you get from brick-and-mortar stores. By setting them up on Instagram, you can help drive cross-sales by showing how all your products work well with one another.

Another great way to use Guides is to set up themed gift-buying catalogs for upcoming holidays and events. For example, you could have “For Him” and “For Her” Guides for the holiday season. Or perhaps a “Under $50” Guide targeted towards customers shopping for stocking stuffers.

5. / Move customers into the rest of your funnel

Once you’ve set up Instagram Shopping, promoted your products, and started to see some sales, it’s now time to start thinking about lifetime value. How can you turn one-time buyers into repeat customers

Ideally, you’re looking to get an email address at this point. Reach out post-purchase and ask how everything went. What can you do to improve? You can create a short survey and collect responses by email. You could also ask if they’d be open to posting about your products on Instagram in exchange for a small discount on their next purchase, and ask what email to send the discount to.

Next steps… tying your Instagram strategy into your overarching goals.

Instagram Shopping is just one channel you can use to drive eCommerce sales growth. However, once mastered, your next steps are to start thinking about how to plug Instagram into the rest of your D2C machine. By thinking about your long-term business goals, your target market, and all the other social commerce channels available to you (TikTok, Amazon Live, Pinterest, etc.), you can create long-term customers from users who perhaps may have never heard of you before.

We’re currently helping D2C brands across all kinds of industries sell more through social commerce and traditional eCommerce storefronts. If you’d like help tying social commerce into the rest of your D2C strategy, book a free call with our team and we’ll help you get started.

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