How to Sell on Instagram – The A-Z of Running Your Business on IG

It’s hard to ignore the fact that Instagram has become a popular platform for online businesses to boost their sales. However, just having a storefront on Instagram is not enough to guarantee sales. In this article, we will discuss some tips and tricks that can help you increase your orders on Instagram.

With millions of users scrolling through their Instagram feeds daily, there’s a high chance that users may make impulsive purchases based on the products they like. It seems like everyone is jumping on the bandwagon, but success on Instagram requires more than just having a presence on the platform.

If this isn’t an indicator enough that you should sell on Instagram, there can’t be a more prominent sign.

Just think about it: A study reports that out of over 1 billion people that use Instagram, 44% of the world’s total Instagram users shop the products they stumble across weekly.

Imagine the sales you could make if even half of the Instagram users with a purchase intention reached your website. We’ll leave it up to you to do the math.

Contents

Why Should You Sell on Instagram?

While it may seem like a good idea to set up your store on numerous platforms to enhance your brand’s visibility, why is it not recommended to do so? For a small or emerging business owner, creating a presence on multiple platforms is crucial to increase brand awareness.

1. That’s where your target audience is

Instagram is the 4th most used social media network worldwide. And that’s the biggest reason you should have an Instagram store: To showcase your products to its active user base of over 1 billion.

The level of exposure that an online store can achieve is far beyond what a physical store owner can even imagine. Even if a significant number of online visitors are not interested in making a purchase, the value of creating brand awareness and familiarity is immeasurable.

2. Its algorithm pushes similar products to customers

Social media algorithms push similar content based on a user’s interactions. This creates a great opportunity for businesses to increase their visibility to potential customers who have shown interest in similar items.

3. Sell with minimum bearable investment

The feeling of getting something for free is unbeatable, and that’s precisely what it costs to create a store on Instagram. Running your business on Instagram doesn’t require any additional investment apart from the money you might want to spend on promotions. Additionally, you can leverage Instagram shopping, shoppable posts, and other features. As a result, many entrepreneurs create an Instagram storefront as an extension of their eCommerce store. We’ll delve deeper into this later.

How to Sell on Instagram – Complete Guide

Selling on Instagram is not child’s play. You need to deploy strategies and tactics to lure customers to your page. This article breaks down the steps you need to take, alongside tried-and-tested tips to help you sell on Instagram successfully.

1. Pick a profitable niche

Source

To put it simply, a niche refers to a group of people interested in purchasing a specific product or service. By focusing on a narrower niche, such as “cruelty-free” or “organic” skincare instead of skincare in general, it becomes easier to attract potential customers who share a common interest. This results in a higher chance of standing out and reaching your ideal customer, as opposed to trying to sell to a larger but less targeted audience.

Pro tip: When deciding on a niche to focus on, consider your personal interest in the same. When you sell something you can inclination towards, you’ll sell it better.

2. Set up a business account for your business

Source

Well, this one is a no-brainer.

Instagram revolutionized how people sell products on the platform when it launched “business profiles” in 2016. This change came with a bunch of extra features that made doing business on Instagram a cakewalk.

Selling on Instagram with a business account compared to a personal account gives you the following perks:

  • Access to insights
  • Create sponsored posts
  • Run Instagram ads
  • Send instant replies
  • “Swipe up” feature and story links
  • Instagram shopping and much more

Your business account on Instagram serves as your virtual business card, giving your account a professional and branded appearance while also fostering a personal connection with your customers. Without a business account, operating on Instagram is akin to bringing a knife to a gunfight. In a highly competitive platform, not having a business account puts you at a significant disadvantage.

3. Create engaging content for your business

Once you have identified your niche and set up your business account, the next step is to create compelling and interactive content for your Instagram feed. The challenge lies in how to capture the attention of people scrolling through their feeds and make them engage with your posts amidst the sea of competitors.

The solution is simple yet effective: consistency and quality.

Your content shapes your brand identity, so it’s crucial to present your best visual foot forward to stand out. Consistently producing high-quality content not only attracts people to your profile but also helps convert them into loyal customers.

Here are a few handy tips for building an aesthetic feed:

  • Stick to a particular theme/ aesthetic: Instagram is a visual game. Cohesive and eye-catching feeds outshine others and are more effective in luring people to the profile. Plan out details like the tone, font, style, etc., in advance. Photo editing apps like Adobe Lightroom and Canva can help maintain visual consistency in the feed. Additionally, you can also use apps like Later and Plann to curate your IG feed.
  • Experiment with IG creative tools: The sky’s the limit when it comes to experimenting with your grid’s posts. Make the most of IG apps like Boomerang, Layout, Hyperlapse, etc. to populate your feed with variety. Even a carousel can be used to post a mix of videos and photos together in one post.
  • Post quality photos & videos: When it comes to the “does and don’ts” of uploading on Instagram, stick to this tip. Always upload content that reflects your brand’s message, and never post shaky/ grainy images. Take your time with the images, get the lighting setup right, and ensure your product emerges as the hero of your image. It’s also beneficial to post images showcasing your audience using and interacting with your product.
  • Gamify your content: Predictability is boring; both in real life and on the gram. Spruce up your content by throwing in quizzes, polls etc. Your engagement is bound to skyrocket if you keep your audience guessing about what you will post next.

Take a look at Jack Morris’ impressive Instagram feed, where he has also linked his store in the bio.

Pro tip: Focus on the shareability of your posts. If your content compels your audience to share it with friends and family, you’ve hit the bull’s eye. Better, think of it as free publicity.

4. Write a strong bio with an impactful call-to-action (CTAs)

If you are running a business on Instagram, you simply can’t copy a quote from Pinterest in your caption and call it a day. Captions for businesses serve a very specific purpose.

Creating a great caption involves two key elements: a powerful hook and a viable call to action. Both these components go hand in hand. A powerful hook will motivate your audience to click “read more”, while the CTA will encourage them to take the desired action. (send a DM, leave a comment, like a post, etc.)

It’s no secret that Instagram promotes your page more if your audience interacts with your post. Bringing your a-game to the table when crafting captions for your Instagram business page is vital. Great captions bring in engagement, so don’t settle for anything less than the best.

Make it a habit to keep your captions short, crisp, and to the point. Tempting as it may be, don’t give in to the urge to become a modern-day Shakespeare. Everyone on Instagram is in a hurry; always present the most important information right at the beginning to the people as concisely as you can.

Here are our best tips for writing amazing captions:

  • Format your captions properly. Add line spacing, bullets, numbering, etc., wherever needed.
  • Focus on readability. Don’t unnecessarily use fancy words like “transfixing” or “utilitarian” when “fascinating” and “helpful” can do the job.
  • Don’t forget to use action words like “tap”, “hit” etc. to boost engagement.
  • Spruce up your captions with fun emojis to keep the readers entertained.
  • Hashtags in captions go together like bread and butter. Leverage them in your captions judiciously.
  • Pose questions or initiate discussions in your captions to build engagement.

The Gem Goddess’ IG profile is a perfect example of how to write an eye-catching and concise bio.

5. Leverage hashtags efficiently to increase your reach

Hashtags play a crucial role in increasing the visibility of your posts, even if you have high-quality content. They serve as the linking factor that connects your content to the audience actively searching for it.

By using the appropriate hashtags, you can effectively enhance your brand’s exposure and recognition, making it more discoverable to potential customers. Think of hashtags as a powerful tool that helps build a bridge between your business and broader brand awareness.

Here’s how you can step up your hashtag game:

  • Create a branded hashtag for yourself. It helps solidify your brand’s identity in the mind of the customer.
  • Use a combination of high and low hashtags to cover all your bases. If you are selling vegan hand creams, you should use both #[Brand Name]VeganHandCream and #VeganHandCream. This way, you’ll be able to target customers in all stages of the sales funnel.
  • Be smart with hashtags. Use them sparingly. If five hashtags can do the job, there’s no point in cramming all thirty in your caption.
  • Only use relevant hashtags. If you are selling scrunchies, there’s no need to add #ShotOnIPhone just because it is trending.
  • Use hashtag tracking tools like Hashtracking, Brand 24, etc., to monitor your hashtags’ performance.

We would strongly advise you to use hashtags with your shoppable posts. It would make your content discoverable and convey that the products are available for purchase.

If this sounds overwhelming, fret not, for there are generators like Tag Blender, All Hashtags, etc. that lend a helping hand in finding the trending tags in your niche.

Pro tip: Mirror the hashtag tactics used by your competitors to gain visibility. Evaluate what’s working for them and what you can do to rank higher from them.

6. Utilize the URL in the Instagram profile bio

On Instagram, there’s only one section where you can add an external clickable link, and leaving it blank would be a missed opportunity. This URL section in your profile is a great way to introduce your business to people who are discovering your Instagram profile for the first time.

Although Instagram lacks advanced eCommerce functionalities to scale a business and convert it into a brand, it can still serve as a secondary storefront for many big brands and growing businesses. Adding a link to your products or services in your IG bio can help direct traffic to your store, which can significantly improve your conversion rate. This also eliminates the hassle of searching for the store or the product, making it more convenient for potential customers to purchase from you.

Here’s how you can leverage the space to the maximum:

  • Rather than linking to your business’ homepage, connect it to a specific product or service you want to highlight.
  • Place a CTA above the link so that the users don’t enter the site blindly.
  • Do not add long links. Use apps like Bitly or Tiny URL to shorten them.
  • Use “Link in Bio” in your captions to direct people’s attention to the link.
  • There’s no harm in switching the link when you are doing promotions, offering goodies, etc.
  • If you need to add more than one link, use apps like Link Tree to bundle them all together neatly.
Source

Take a look at how well David Maison has used this space by linking it to his Dukaan-powered store.

7. Make your Instagram posts shoppable

Rather than waiting for your target audience to stumble upon your products on Instagram, you can proactively grab their attention by transforming your regular posts into shoppable ones.

To create a shoppable post, you simply tag your products in the same way you tag people on Instagram, but with the addition of a link to the product. This makes it easier for your followers to discover and purchase your products directly from your Instagram page.

It is the perfect tool to showcase your products to potential clients and followers alike. Statistically speaking, 46% of people report buying a product after seeing it on Instagram.

Shoppable posts can take on various formats, including normal feed posts, videos, or reels that feature product tags. These tags serve several purposes, such as displaying the product name and price and allowing users to add the product to their cart or visit the company’s profile to purchase.

You can easily identify a shoppable post by the small shopping bag icon in the lower left corner and the “visit shop” banner at the bottom of the post. These indicators encourage customers to engage with your post by tapping on them, leading them directly to your shop or product page.

When creating shoppable posts, it’s important not to come across as too pushy or “sales pitchy”. Instead, focus on making the shopping experience enjoyable for your customers.

To strike a balance, follow the 80/20 rule by using 80% of your posts for shoppable content and the remaining 20% for regular posts.

To make your shoppable posts stand out, choose content that creates the most impact and showcases your products in the best way possible.

8. Use Instagram stories & reels for brand awareness

Before delving deeper into user stories and reels to increase your business’ brand awareness, here are some figures to put things into perspective.

Statistics reveal that 500 million accounts view Instagram stories daily. 58% of IG users say they bought products after seeing them in the brand’s story. Might we say anything more to emphasize the importance of uploading stories on your business’s Instagram profile?

Here are the cool things you can use Instagram stories for:

  • Promote discounts and ongoing offers.
  • Give sneak peeks of new products.
  • Interact with the audience using polls, posing questions, putting up quizzes, etc.
  • Motivate your customers to buy your products and services by creating a sense of urgency. Use marketing tactics like limited-time sales, last pieces left, few slots available, etc.

Reels have the power to quickly spread your brand’s popularity on Instagram like wildfire. With a 90-second format, you can express your brand’s message and values in an engaging way. The exposure that Reels can generate is unparalleled compared to other formats available on the platform.

In fact, it’s difficult to achieve the same level of reach with images and videos as Reels and stories can provide.

You can use Instagram reels for the following:

  • Weave a story around your brand: Showcase the face behind the brand, what it stands for, and what it aspires to be.
  • Showcase your products in action: Show what your products can do, not just in terms of functionality but what value it adds to the life of the customers.
  • Humanize your brand: Give your customers a glimpse of what goes into creating your product or the thought process behind the service you render. And what’s a better way to do this than by showing the behind-the-scenes of your business’ everyday operations?

Pro tip: If you have 10k+ followers on Instagram, use the “Swipe Up” sticker in stories to advertise your products and services (using the product page URL) directly from the story itself.

9. Partner up with Instagram influencers

Influencer marketing is a great way to boost your brand’s popularity. By partnering with an influencer in your niche, you can tap into their loyal following and get exposure to your products or services. Big brands often use high-profile influencers and celebrities to promote their products on social media.

Collaborating with micro-influencers can be just as effective as working with big influencers, especially for small or new businesses that may not have the budget to work with high-profile influencers. Micro-influencers with a smaller following may have a more engaged audience and can still help bring exposure to your brand. Even partnering with someone with under 1000 followers can introduce your brand to a new audience and boost your credibility through their endorsement.

Curious about the benefits of influencer marketing? Read on:

  • Run promotional schemes like giveaways, lucky draws, etc.
  • Present your product to the right audience.
  • Build consumer trust.
  • Attract new customers from the same niche.

Pro tip: Once you find the right influencer to partner with, plan out the terms of the deal in detail. Discuss everything from the frequency of posts to the format of the posts.

10. Enable Instagram shopping

Instagram shopping provides a seamless and interactive shopping experience for customers without leaving the app. By creating an immersive storefront, customers can browse products, explore curated collections, and make purchases all within the platform. The setup encourages customers to discover and purchase products, as well as browse for similar items in the collection. However, it is currently only available in select locations.

Wondering what makes Instagram shopping great? Here’s the rundown on what it offers:

  • Create collections for your business. (Curate collections for new arrivals, trending, fresh on discount, best-selling products, and more). This way your customers can directly go to the product they are interested in rather than scrolling through the entire store.
  • Create single product pages that contain product images, descriptions, a CTA button, and a section of similar recommended products.
  • Tag products on the stories and reels you post and live sessions.
  • Run ads on Instagram using product tags to boost their sales.
  • Increased chances of getting featured on the “shop” tab on Instagram’s homepage. (selectively available geographically)

Setting up Instagram shopping is easy, but it comes with a lot of prerequisites.

Here are the commerce eligibility requirements for setting up Instagram shopping

  • Your business needs to fulfill the platform’s commerce eligibility requirements.
  • You need your website’s domain to set up a store on Instagram.
  • Your business should be located in a supported marketplace.
  • Only a business or creator account can be used to set up Instagram shopping.
  • You must create a Facebook page for your business and connect your Instagram business profile to it.

Pro tip: Create an online store for your business before you turn on Instagram shopping. Because Instagram shopping has many features that require a storefront’s link to access.

You can create your online store using SellKer, a highly intuitive and user-friendly eCommerce platform. It comes with a plethora of advanced eCommerce functionalities, in-built tools, and integrated plugins needed to run and scale your business.

11. Try live shopping

With Instagram Live shopping, US-based businesses can sell products from a predefined catalog during a live broadcast, allowing for one-on-one interaction with the audience. Sellers can tag products for easy purchasing, and customers can complete the checkout process within the platform. Businesses can host the live session themselves or have an influencer conduct a live shopping event as part of a sponsored deal, with high engagement leading to increased discoverability through Instagram’s algorithm.

Take a look at all the benefits of hosting live shopping broadcasts here:

  • Convince prospects to try/ invest in your services or products.
  • Save your live videos to recycle content.
  • Provide social proof of your product’s authority.
  • Instant viewer interaction and query addressal.
  • Launch new products.
  • Explain the uses of your products.
  • Pin your best-selling products on live to raise awareness.

12. Get the most out of Instagram advertising

Instagram ads can help your product posts gain more visibility and have a high ROI when executed properly. They offer customization options, including objectives, formats, durations, and CTAs like “Shop Now.” Setting up ads is easy within the app

There are two ways of setting up ads on Instagram:

  • Using the “promote” button under your posts.
  • Using the ad manager on your business’ FB page.

You can set up Instagram ads in the following formats:

  • Photo ads: Either in square or landscape format.
  • Video ads: Up to 120 seconds in square or landscape format.
  • Stories ads: To foster engagement with followers.
  • Carousel posts: Highlight the features/USP of your product using a set of 10-12 photos.
  • Explore tab: Boosts discoverability and encourages views to shop. These ads appear on people’s feeds with similar interests and search histories.
  • Collection ads: A mix of photos and videos to rile up the viewer’s curiosity about your business.

Before creating ads, research your market to see what your competitors are doing. Analyze the formats they use and how long their ads run. Then create ads that stand out and entice your audience to take action.

13. Interact with your followers

Tale as old as time, this one needs no explanation.

Interacting with customers is crucial for businesses. Responding to queries, liking comments, and replying to DMs shows that you care, which can improve sales.

Another tactful way of engaging with your followers is by repurposing the content generated by the user. If your customers are enjoying your products/ services, they’ll surely be posting about it on social media.

By reposting your customer’s content and tagging them, you can build trust, establish product authenticity, and provide social proof. It’s a great way to showcase your business and give others a glimpse of how your products are improving customers’ lives.

Inkbox’s Instagram feed is the perfect example of repurposing user-generated content.

14. Start selling in the DMs

If you want to sell through Instagram, you’ll have to do it manually by accepting orders via direct messages. (DMs)

There’s a method to selling via Instagram DMs. You simply can’t start negotiating the sale with the customers.

Here are a few things you need to take care of when selling through Instagram:

  • Never get directly to selling. Exchanging pleasantries and being cordial go a long way in converting a curious customer into a loyal client.
  • Send potential customers links to other products that they might like if they show interest.
  • Even if the sale falls flat, be courteous with your client. Make sure you thank them for their interest.
  • Work towards deepening your bond with the client, not just making a sale.

Selling on Instagram through DMs is time-consuming and complex. Customers must be informed that orders can be placed via DM, and payment and order status must be planned. Sorting through queries, tracking conversations, and providing details repeatedly to all clients can be confusing and tedious.

There’s a major downside to selling on Instagram. All the hassles of selling via DMs are bound to distract you from spending time strategizing and scaling the other important aspects of your business. And this is exactly why business owners prefer to sell using their own online store, created using eCommerce platforms like Dukaan.

Problems with Selling on Instagram

There are a lot of loopholes with selling on Instagram. While we have already covered some aspects so far, let’s list down the major ones that can act as a roadblock:

1. No detailed analytics.

Instagram business does not give an overview of how your store is performing. Moreover, they are platform-dependent. At the moment, it is only available for mobile users.

2. Accounts with 10,000+ followers gain swipe access.

Instagram’s “swipe-up” feature, which helps boost sales, is only available to accounts with 10,000+ followers, making it challenging for new businesses to access this premium feature.

3. Bad product descriptions can ruin your sales.

Instagram does not offer any business tools to assist with product descriptions and images, even though they are essential to selling on the platform.

4. “Checkout” is only available at specific locations.

Selective availability of the checkout feature on Instagram defeats the purpose of selling conveniently as customers tend to abandon their cart if they have to switch pages. Also, live shopping cannot be broadcast without checkout enabled.

5. Selling without a store/website is not feasible.

Instagram shopping can only be enabled with a pre-existing online store/ landing page. So, even if you don’t want to sell using your own eCommerce platform, you still will have to purchase your own domain name and create an online store or a website for the product catalog.

6. “Shoppable post” feature is not available everywhere.

Product tagging on Instagram posts is limited to certain locations, and if your business isn’t in one of them, it can negatively impact your sales.

As evident by the pointers mentioned above, Instagram shopping is not without its own set of incompetencies.

Instagram is a great platform to sell, but only if you have no future plans of upscaling your business.

We’re making this bold statement for a reason.

Instagram lacks the necessary business tools to manage and grow an eCommerce business, making it challenging to maintain a client base and track store growth. Entrepreneurs need to manage their businesses through their own stores for long-term success.

Final Words

Instagram has become an excellent platform for entrepreneurs to grow their businesses, regardless of size or niche. However, it’s not enough to solely rely on Instagram to run and scale your business. The best approach is to have your own online store as a primary sales channel, with a link in your Instagram bio for added exposure.

FAQs

1. Do I need a website to sell on Instagram?

Yes, you do need a website/ online store if you want to sell using Instagram shopping. You can start your online store with Dukaan, and then link it with your business profile on Instagram.

2. Is selling on Instagram profitable?

Although selling on Instagram is free and easy to set up, it may not be a complete solution for growing your business. It’s best to link your own online store to your Instagram profile and enable Instagram shopping. Dukaan is a great platform to launch your eCommerce store.

3. How to sell products on Instagram?

You need an Instagram business account to sell products. You can either sell directly on the platform or integrate your eCommerce store with your business account for maximized profits.

4. How to sell art on Instagram?

To sell art on Instagram, all you need is a business/ creator account, a solid marketing strategy, and an online store to manage your incoming orders efficiently. Remember to leverage hashtags fully to increase your account’s visibility. You can also check out this article for more details.

5. How much does it cost to sell on Instagram?

Nothing! Selling on Instagram is absolutely free. You only need to invest money if you plan to run advertising campaigns on Instagram or promote your posts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *