Using Instagram, you must have scrolled by ads, sponsored posts, and shoppable content. All of these are newer additions to Instagram over the years. When Instagram began, the platform was only an image-sharing social media space. Now not only is Instagram open to many diverse types of content sharing, but it is also a buzzing space for commercial and change. You can now opt to create a personal or business account here and use the platform for building brand recognition, consumer loyalty, and social proof. Professional account holders are often found to indulge in paid social signals and buy Instagram likes, shares, views, comments, and followers to hasten their brand-building exercise. With profit and sales-driven end-goals, both large and small businesses make Instagram their happy home for daily social commerce activities.
Social Commerce: What Does It Mean?
You have probably heard of terms like e-commerce, digital commerce, and social commerce. Sometimes they are also used interchangeably, but they have some technical differences.
E-commerce is an umbrella term for all digital shopping and marketing experiences. In layman’s terms, eCommerce is the online shopping experience of using a brand’s website or app. Usually, these sites are accessible through both desktop and mobile devices. The sales funnel here is driven mainly by marketing strategies like ads and promotions, and Amazon and Shopify are popular e-commerce sites.
Social commerce is, by definition, a sub-type of e-commerce. In this commercial transaction, sellers use social media platforms to directly connect with their clients and sell their products and services. While social media marketing is only about advertising and building brand credibility, social commerce allows buyers and sellers to use the social media platform as a marketplace where they can communicate directly. Buyers can browse through goods and services, pay for what they want, and continue to have a seamless shopping experience without leaving the social media platform. There is usually no traffic diversion to a third-party platform for shopping. However, in some instances, links may lead to the retailer’s product page or a booking site for completing the purchase.
As a social commerce platform, Instagram offers a mix of both types of social selling. You can buy directly from vendors if product tags are enabled, or you can complete purchases on third-party sites through swappable links and click-to-action buttons on the seller’s bio.
How Does Instagram Fare as a Social Commerce Site in the USA?
Instagram is one of the leaders in the world of social commerce. With over a billion active users, shopping is popular on this platform. Many IG users turn to Instagram for product discovery, customer opinions, and other sales-related information. Sellers are increasingly using Instagram as their primary cloud shop for various wares.
Now, E-commerce has been growing popular over the last two decades worldwide. However, with the world shutting down during the Covid -19 pandemic, there was an enormous growth in online marketing, shopping, and sales. Instagram and Facebook’s use of product tags helped these two sister sites to jump into top slots on leaderboards when it comes to making it big in the social commerce scene from 2020 onwards.
2020 saw a 30 percent jump in social buyers in the USA. Instagram has reported that “50% of Instagrammers have visited a website to buy a product/service as a result of seeing it in Stories.” The site confirms that more than 90% of account holders on the platform follow at least one brand on the social network, and of this, nearly 70% of the shoppers use the platform to decide what to buy next. Regarding sellers’ use of the space, more than 70 percent of US companies already have an account on Instagram. Instagram’s US ad revenues have risen exponentially. They are predicted to reach around$33.25 a billion by the end of 2022.
How Can You Drive Sales on Instagram for Your Business
Instagram is a versatile marketing space. You can use this social media platform to create eye-catching advertising campaigns, find meaningful engagement that builds client relationships and sell your ware at the same place. It makes it one of the ideal social commerce platforms in existence today. So, what can you do to drive up sales? Here are a few suggestions:
1. Create and organize your product catalogs
To sell on Instagram, you need to activate Instagram Shopping on your business profile. Instagram Shopping is linked to your Facebook Shop, so you are essentially managing the same “shop” via the two social networking platforms. Once you fill out the necessary details and enable the Shop, you can create a product catalog with tags. When you develop shoppable posts and add titles, they will bring your visitor to this product catalog and streamline their shopping experience from you.
Use these tags in all your posts as you never know what might catch your visitor’s eye and prompt them to buy from you. You can add them to older posts as well.
As with any shopping experience, it is an excellent idea to neatly organize your product catalog by keywords and keep it clutter-free so that if the visitor chooses to stop and look at your other products, they are not turned off by your presentation.
2. Ensure your Instagram profile is complete
When people want to buy anything, they want to be sure that the seller is genuine and that their products will be of high quality. One way to build store credibility and social proof is to have your complete business details on your profile. In addition to a clear profile photo and your company name, your profile page must have:
- A welcoming bio that mentions what you sell and what is your niche industry.
- Phone number, email address, and your business’s physical address (if any).
- Any incentives you offer (like free shipping, ongoing seasonal discounts, loyalty programs).
- Click-to-action buttons if you need to use a third-party site to secure bookings.
3. Use your Instagram page as a storefront display
Shops with attractive display windows tend to get passers-by to pause and look at their products. The same is the case when you run a virtual shop. Your followers can run into active clients and bring you direct revenue if you keep your page display organized and attractive. Some ideas here:
- Use segments of a large photo to create a visual photo grid. You can also turn your display page into a storyboard.
- Use highlights to secure Story posts about ongoing sales, incentives, new arrivals, and offers.
- Use highlight albums for different product types and any reviews or feedback you have received.
4. Use visual brand recognition elements
Create a consistent brand image visually to stand out from your peers. To do this, you can:
- Add your logo to each post you create.
- Use a consistent color pattern to format borders, visual lettering, and stickers. Many eco-friendly businesses, for instance, stick to earth tones of greens and browns while developing their color scheme, and brands catering to children’s products aim for brighter color palettes.
- Develop a style of presentation in your posts. It may take a little research and training. Still, it is worth investing in to understand how minor details like lighting, photography angle, etc., can become your signature without the need for watermarks and logos.
5. Spruce up your hashtag selection
While you can add up to thirty tags in a post, different types of content limit how many titles you can use. It is always a good idea to keep a choice of hashtags that best represents your products and your brand ready at hand for frequent and consistent use. Make sure your hashtags:
- Detail your product, so go for longer and more detailed tags like #silverhandcraftedearrings rather than just #earrings.
- Unique titles that have your brand name incorporated in them.
- Tags make it easier to find a top spot in Search result displays.
6. Communicate and create consumer relations
Creating an environment that fosters brand loyalty is very important. After all, you want maximum conversion and a long-term sustainable marketing plan. Consider why IG users should choose to shop from you over your competitors and create content accordingly. I detract from those who leave any form of engagement on your posts. Respond to queries and take feedback seriously. Hold live sessions to engage with your followers and potential customers. How you develop your relationship with your clients can determine how well you can grow your sales. While aiming for profits is essential, do not forget to aim for brand loyalty and high consumer retention.
7. Always use Alt-text and subtitles
If you want to maximize your client pool and sales, then aim to make your posts all-inclusive. Instagram is primarily a visual platform. However, many who cannot browse through with a complete visual experience also use the forum. Use Alt-Text to make your post accessible to this audience pool.
Likewise, it is always a good idea to subtitle your videos (in addition to using well-worded captions) so that the content is meaningful even without access to the audio component. Many IG users cannot use audio features either because of a physical disability or because they are in environments where they need to keep their phone sound muted. Keeping subtitles on makes it easier for everyone to follow your content.
8. Do not underestimate CTAs
If you need any form of engagement, the best way to find it is to ask your visitors directly. Same with sales. Apart from adding clickable links in your Stories and product tags on your posts, ask your visitors to click on the mentioned buttons and URLs and buy your product. You are more likely to have people buying from you when you let them know they do not have to leave the site to make the purchase, and all they have to do is click on the buy now button or Shoppable tag!
You can add incentives like free shipping, discounts on sales over a particular amount, loyalty rewards, etc.
9. Use Instagram ads prudently
The tactical use of Instagram’s inbuilt ad options will surely bring you better audience reach and impressions. You can create an entirely new post or promote an existing one. The ads manager lets you specify your budget and the duration you want the ad to run. You can also customize your target audience and provide a URL to divert traffic for sales if necessary. Use shopping tags and stickers on your ads to give visitors a direct sales experience. Further, enhance the conversion possibilities by adding CTAs.
In a Nutshell
As a leader in social commerce, Instagram is the perfect space for any business to have a professional account. Growing Sales on Instagram is all about a skillful integration of advertising, brand building, and keeping alive great client relationships. Of course, content is still king, and you must ensure that all your uploads are top quality and your captions are proofread. Present yourself as a brand of worth as first impressions are often the last impressions for passers-by who flick by your account with a scroll of their thumb. At the same time, humanize your brand and give yourself a unique signature that puts you apart from the thousands of competitors you have vying for the same consumer attention. Aim for client retention and an active fan base for the best conversion avenues. You will soon see your sales rocket up on Instagram.