Since the creation of this social media giant in 2010, Instagram has changed the way we use the internet. After they took the internet’s social scene by storm, now with Instagram Shopping they are charging boldly forward where few social media platforms have gone before; seamlessly merging the social world with the commercial.
If you’re a consumer who enjoys online shopping and enjoys seamlessly navigating from your social media accounts to online stores and back again, this makes it so much more convenient.
But, if you own a small business, whether it’s web-based or brick-and-mortar, that primarily specializes in selling products to end-consumers: THIS. IS. HUGE.
Read on to find out how you can take advantage of this cutting edge feature to boost followers and sales.
What is Instagram Shopping?
Instagram Shopping is a feature that allows business owners to add an online storefront component directly to their business Instagram account.
Customers can view and share your featured products by means of your organic posts and Stories. They can also find your products in the Instagram Search & Explore function.
Links in those posts and product stickers in Stories will take the potential client directly to the product description page. Here they can find:
- The image of the product from your post (and additional ones if you choose to add them)
- Product details
- A direct link to your webpage, where they can buy your product
Why is this so great? Shopping on Instagram is already available in 44 countries. That means your customer base just expanded exponentially.
With text-based ads on the out and visual media advertising – especially video – here to stay, Instagram is the perfect platform to market just about any product. Plus, this first version of Instagram Shopping is almost certainly a stepping stone to a fully integrated shopping feature that would allow users to make purchases in-app.
If that is the case, getting in on the ground floor is monumental for small businesses.
Businesses have been using Instagram as a marketing platform for almost as long as it has existed. With the new account type designated for businesses and the setup of a storefront, it makes it easy to keep track of your catalog and product posts.
In order to take advantage of this innovative ecommerce market, there are a few things we should double check before getting started:
- Make sure that your business is based in an area supported by Instagram Shopping
- Use a business account, not a personal account
- You sell physical goods, not just services
- Make sure the content and/or products you want to post and sell comply with Instagram’s commerce policies
- Connect your Instagram business account to your Facebook business page
Once we have double checked these five things, it’s time to connect your product catalogs. If you already have a catalog on your business Facebook page, you are one step ahead! All you need to do now is connect it to your new Instagram business account.
If you don’t have a catalog yet, you can set one up through Facebook’s Catalog Manager.
For each of these two steps, it may take a few days to be approved. So, don’t fret if it doesn’t notify you within minutes that you are up and running.
Shoppable Instagram Feed
Now you have your business account set up and your catalog connected. Now what? Making sure your products are accessible to consumers is the next important step.
The key to staying relevant on any social media platform is regular, well-timed posts that go online when you need them to, no matter your schedule – which as a business owner is undoubtedly hectic. If you need help setting up regularly scheduled posts that take one more thing off of your plate, check out what our team can offer.
Posting time aside, how can you streamline your feed to make it more shoppable and easy to navigate for consumers?
One way is by tagging your products in organic posts. Instagram Shopping will allow you to tag no more than five products in a single-image post or 20 products in a multi-image post.
You can tag a product in your images just like tagging a person, as long as you are logged into your business account and not a personal one. Here’s how:
- Start by generating a new post – it could be a photo or a video with any effects, filters, and/or stickers you want
- Touch the area on the post where you want to place the tag
- Type in the name of the product you want to tag and it will appear in the list of options
- Hit ‘Done’ and then ‘Share’. You’re finished!
Follow the same steps to tag an existing post.
Another way to generate organic content for your feed and boost participation is to advertise for your followers to tag you in their Stories to be featured on your page. Then, you can upload their posts and tag your products! Free advertising.
This feature will allow users to buy products in the app without having to deal with a bulky or sluggish internet browser.
Unfortunately, it is still in the beta stage and is only currently available to a handful of established brands inside the US. However, with the great reviews they have received, we have no doubt that it will soon be available to all users.
For now, linking products in your catalog to your posts via tags will allow users to tap that link, which will take them directly to the product page on your website. From there, they can add it to their shopping cart and purchase it right away!
Give it a try and start selling on Instagram!
The best way to learn to manage a new tool, especially with technology, is to just try it out. In this post we have covered the basics to get your Instagram business account up and running, complete with a startup checklist, linking your Facebook business page and your Instagram business account, and finally, making sure you have a user-friendly, shoppable feed.
Now, go play! And don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Our Social Media experts can handle any question you throw at them.