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How To Use Instagram To Grow Your eCommerce Business

  • Written By Chris
  • Posted July 3, 2018
  • 6 minutes Read Time

As an eCommerce business owner, anything you can do to drive more people to your store is worth considering. Promoting your brand to new customers is one of the cornerstones of building towards success, even though it might seem challenging or even impossible in the early stages.

Huge brands have locked out the top search results on Google so it’s unlikely you’ll have much luck there, especially when you consider the sizeable resources these brands have. So what can you do to get your eCommerce business in front of the right audience?

The Answer? Social Media Of Course!

When run correctly, a targeted social media campaign can bring new users in by the hundreds or even thousands depending on your niche. One of the most popular social media platforms in 2018 is Instagram and if you don’t already have a presence on there, we’re going to explore the reasons why you should – in particular, the specific ways in which you can use it to bring traffic to your store and ultimately increase sales.

Instagram has seen its popularity accelerate rapidly over the last 8 years. Back in 2010 when its app became widely available, there were just 1 million global monthly users on its books. Fast forward to 2018 and that user base has topped 1 billion, and that figure is still growing.

Social media, and in particular Instagram, can help you level the playing field when it comes to taking on the bigger brands and growing your own audience. It’s clear that social media is here to stay so it makes sense to consider it in the same way as you would a Google AdWords campaign or ongoing SEO changes. It can form a reliable and effective revenue stream for your eCommerce store if managed correctly.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can use Instagram to your advantage and build a following without investing any money in advertising.

Social media, and in particular Instagram, can help you level the playing field when it comes to taking on the bigger brands.

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Keep All Your Posts On Brand

Instagram is almost totally image-focused, so your posts need to be all about the aesthetic. If you want a feed that looks great, every image needs to be crisp and clean. It makes sense to sit down and think about what your feed strategy is going to be – you can then publish the right images accordingly.

For example, some companies will alternate between a real-life photograph and then a picture of one of their products. Others will only post inspirational quotes using one filter that they use consistently. Whatever you choose to do, you need to ensure your feed tells a story and conveys the message you want the audience to notice.

The Rule Of Thirds

Keeping your Instagram feed looking balanced is very important, especially when it’s representing a brand. You want it to convey a message to your followers, but not seem too sales-y or promotional.

To do this, you can obey the rule of thirds – this simple rule ensures that your feed doesn’t get overly cluttered with one style of content:

  • Conversational Posts – these should encourage your audience to comment and get a conversation started in some way; you could ask a question or hold a giveaway for example.
  • Sharing Posts – these should cover relevant news in your industry and interact with other similar pages in your niche like bloggers or influencers.
  • Promotional Posts – this is where you can do a little self-promotion by highlighting something that is related to your company; just don’t go overboard!

It’s unlikely that you’ll strike up the perfect balance right away, so keep learning and refining your content strategy until you get things working correctly.

Tag Posts To Make Them Shoppable

One of the newer features that have been added to Instagram in more recent times is the ability to tag shoppable products within posts, similar to how you tag people. Once this is set up, customers that see something they like within one of your posts can click through directly to your store and make a purchase.

The setup process for this is quite straightforward and should allow you to convert your Instagram business account into a sales funnel. Find out more on Instagram’s help page here.

Collect Popular Hashtags

The power of hashtags has never been greater on Instagram – they’re the perfect way of reaching out to new untapped audiences and attracting followers. If you don’t know already, hashtags can be added to posts which allows them to appear in search results within Instagram.

If you’re regularly posting the same sort of content targeting a specific niche, then investing some time in hashtag research could save you a lot of time. Collate the most popular hashtags into a note on your phone or somewhere they are easily accessible, then all you have to do is add them to each post when you upload. Don’t forget to check what’s trending that day to ensure you don’t miss out on an even bigger audience.

You’ll want to go through your hashtag list occasionally just to ensure they are still popular and relevant to the posts you’re uploading. You can use up to 30 hashtags on each post so you might as well take advantage of all of them.

Use Other Apps To Craft Perfect Posts

Managing a social media account can be quite time-consuming, especially if you’re taking the time to craft posts that are always high quality. With that in mind, using additional third-party apps can help you manage your time effectively and plan ahead.

Using social media planners like Later gives you the power to arrange the look and feel of your Instagram feed thanks to simple drag-and-drop functionality. Get things exactly how you want them before they go live on the platform.

Using additional third-party apps can help you manage your time effectively and plan ahead.

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There are some rules that Instagram impose on using third-party apps so it makes sense to familiarise yourself with them and only use approved apps in line with Instagram’s terms and conditions.

Review Your Business Analytics

Instagram wants you to use their platform to promote your business over all other social media channels, so they’re keen to make everything straightforward. One additional feature that is really handy for business accounts is the analytics feature.

One look in there and you’ll find plenty of useful information that you can use to tailor your account and increase engagement. Use the ‘audience’ tab to see exactly when your followers are logged on and browsing Instagram, then plan your future posts at these peak times.

Also, take the time to review which of your posts have gained the most engagement – you may want to post similar items again.

Summary

If you want to grow a targeted online audience that has a real affinity towards your brand, Instagram is a fantastic place to start.

Its fantastic hashtag feature and strong focus on the importance of your imagery makes it a great social media platform for businesses, especially if your brand works with products or services that are particularly pleasing on the eye.

With the right approach and a little patience, you can transform your Instagram business profile into a targeted eCommerce sales funnel.