Written by Jodie Pride
7th April 2015 • 8 min read
Instagram is a veritable treasure trove of potential customers, so it’s no wonder why retail brands are flocking to the picture sharing site to market their goods. With millions of users, young and old (but mostly young), and a billion photos “liked” every day, you’d be mad not to take advantage of Instagram’s marketing potential. Here’s how you can take advantage of Instagram to market your ecommerce store.
First of all, you need to set up an account. Use your business’s name if you can, but if that’s already taken, use something that is instantly recognisable as your brand.
Next, you’ll want to connect your new Instagram account with your Facebook as the two are owned by the same company, and you can use them together – make an instagram tab on your Facebook page so you can share your Instagram snaps with your Facebook followers.
Feature your products
This might seem obvious, but the main reason you’re using Instagram is to showcase your products, so of course you’ll want to feature them. But remember, you should try to be creative with this – this is a site full of hip, young people who want to see cool pictures.
Say you’re selling on eBay and have a standard picture of a dress you sell. Well, on Instagram, a standard snap of a dress isn’t going to cut it – use filters, text overlays, and try showing your products in use as well: this gives context to your products and shows authenticity.
Better yet, get your customers to take pictures of your products – you can’t get more authentic than that.
Add Instagram onto your webstore
Depending on your webstore – eBay, Shopify, Amazon etc – you could have access to Instagram-centric add ons. People who use Shopify, for example, can use Instagration, which is a tool integrating Instagram with your store, and to use your customers Instagram images of your products to increase engagement (this could work for a Shopify Amazon integration too).
Engage with your customers
Show your customers how much you appreciate them by liking and sharing their pictures – we all love it when a big brand responds to us; it makes us feel important and acknowledged, so do the same for your customers. You should also take the time to respond to their comments – engagement is key to an active and popular social media account (the clue is in the name: you need to be social!).
These are a major aspect of Instagram and are used to categorize posts and help users can find you through their mobile Instagram searches. Unlike the hashtags you use on Twitter, you’re not limited by character count with hashtagging on Instagram.
You should include a few tags to make sure your posts are well connected, but don’t use too many (you will seem desperate!). For example, if you’re a fashion retailer showcasing some sunglasses you could use #fashion, #sunglasses, #summer #sun. If you’re an Amazon seller, you can add the hashtag #Amazon.
You should also check out trending hashtags and use them in your posts to maximize your audience. Another idea is to create an Instagram hashtag contest. If you get enough interest, you could even end up trending yourself.
Identify key players
Do your research. Find influential Instagram users, follow them and engage with them. Celebrities and big brands are the obvious choice, but a great idea is to identify influential bloggers. These are people who often have hundreds (thousands, and even millions) of followers who trust their opinions.
Get one of these guys to feature one of your products and you’re in luck – you could tap into a huge base of potential customers. You could send them products and hope that they like them enough to review them, in which case the will most likely share their pictures on Instagram.
Show who you are
Humanize your brand by posting snaps of your employees having fun around the office. This will make you look like a cool, fun company – something which will appeal to the young user base of Instagram – and also put a face to brand. It’s nice to see the people behind the products and also shows your customers that they’re not dealing with a bunch of robots.
Share exclusive content
Try making your Instagram a little more exclusive than your other social media sites. Make some images unavailable on Facebook and Twitter so your customer shave to go to Instagram if they want to see your cool new products.
Find similar brands and see if you can strike a partnership with them. No matter how big or small your business is, you can always benefit from building relationships with other brands.
Engage with your partners, get them to share your content (and vice versa) and you could open yourself up to even more potential customers, especially if you choose a brand in the same industry as yourself (ideally with lots of followers).
Clear calls to action
A picture paints a thousand words, so don’t waste your post caption describing exactly what the picture shows – you want to use it to complete the picture. You want to use this space to drive traffic to your site, so instead of saying “Brown boots on sale at our store” say “Brown boots, now 10% off, get ‘em while you still can – go to Mystore.com and enter #insta123 as your voucher code”. Remember, the whole point of this is to drive traffic.
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