Social media platforms have been growing in popularity every year.  Instagram especially has shown exceptional growth over time but only recently added their Shopping on Instagram features. The platform started with 90 million active users in 2013, and it has since grown to nearly one billion monthly active users in 2017.

Not to mention Instagram’s engagement numbers are through the roof with a 58% higher engagement rate than Facebook and 2,000% higher rate than Twitter.

While it all sounds like sunshine and daisies, social media often gets a bad rap when it comes down to sales.

Social media sales don’t happen, right? That’s what most people will tell you.

But Instagram is a different beast.

eCommerce brands all around the world have been finding massive success with Instagram marketing.

But when you only have one or two places to use for links, it’s difficult.

Does this sound familiar: “see bio description for the link.”

Even that converts!

Now imagine the possibilities when you can contextually link your images directly to your products for purchase…

Thankfully, Instagram is on it with Shopping on Instagram.

The end goal is to produce a native shopping experience that allows businesses to tag their images with products, allowing users to shop without leaving Instagram.

Here’s why and how you should be selling with Shopping on Instagram, plus everything you need to know about how to get this going on your Instagram account.

Why You Need to Be Selling on Instagram

Instagram’s user base has been steadily growing for the last five years, and it has become a gold mine for reaching new customers on social media.

Instagram User Growth

(Image Source)

And Instagram is much more than just a notable, buzz-worthy social media platform.

It’s an amazing place to sell your products.

Its visual-specific content is great for showcasing new items to your target market.

You can depict everything from the product itself to the best use of your product.

For example, showcasing specific styles that your product would cater to:

Shopping on Instagram - Styles

Shopping on Instagram - Styles

Image Source

It’s great for cultivating a brand that’s positioned in the mind of consumers.

You can bring your brand to life with beautiful photos.

And the most important part is:

It’s actually a selling machine.

Around 33% of Instagram users report that they’ve purchased items after browsing products on the platform.

Another 38% of consumers say that they frequently buy products showcased on Instagram.

On top of that, users are 60x more likely to interact with a brand on Instagram than on Facebook.

Instagram is a great place to sell. And though it lacks link locations, you can work around that with diverse integrations.

Here is how to sell on Instagram by connecting your products to your Instagram account.

Shopping on Instagram Is Here To Stay

Instagram did not used to have any full-fledged shopping options. This was certainly a shame considering the platform’s visual nature, which enticed users to buy items.

Ecommerce accounts are prevalent on the platform, but Instagram provided limited areas for sharing links. The one clickable link users get in their profile is usually allotted to the main website. In the past, users that wanted to purchase items had to find their way to them on an ecommerce website, which disrupts the buying process and can be a hassle.

This is unlike platforms like Facebook where you can quickly set up a shop directly on your profile:

Facebook Shop - Pura Vida

Facebook Shop - Pura Vida

Image Source

On that shop, you can enable checkout without leaving Facebook, too:

Facebook Checkout

Facebook Checkout

This makes the buying experience seamless. It removes just about any unnecessary objections or time-consuming tasks that would typically make a user reconsider.

It removes the hurdles to convert, making sales easier than ever before.

The same is true on Pinterest with buyable pins.

You can view products on Pinterest and buy them directly on-site, adding them to your bag.

You don’t have to leave your Pinterest experience to purchase them.

And that’s why these platforms excel.

People browsing social media aren’t looking to buy. It’s not the intent behind using social media.

It’s merely a side effect or a secondary action that some users take while using the platform.

This means that experiences that stay within the platform will likely produce better conversions, allowing the user to return to their social browsing without hassle after their transaction.

You can already see this feature with a handful of business and brand accounts on Instagram.

It’s revolutionizing the platform to help brands take advantage of its selling potential.

It allows you to take existing stores and integrate them with Instagram through the Facebook Business Manager. Initially, it was only available to US merchants. Now, this feature is available to Instagram business accounts in over 44 countries and growing!

Previously, you could only put links in your bio and stories. But now, with Shopping on Instagram, you can effectively tag photos and posts with links.

Take Reebok for example.

When you view their account on Instagram, you can see little shopping bag icons on each shoppable post:

Shopping on Instagram - Reebok

Shopping on Instagram - Reebok

Tapping on these images will allow you to get a deep insight into the exact products showcased in the photos:

Shopping on Instagram 2 - Reebok

Shopping on Instagram 2 - Reebok

When users click on the product details and tags, Instagram will open up a new window allowing you to buy on their website or even customize the product, read descriptions, and adjust the order quantity and color (depending on which product they sell).

Shopping on Instagram 3 - Reebok

Shopping on Instagram 3 - Reebok

Want to start using a Shopping on Instagram? Make sure you satisfy these requirements and you can integrate a product feed ASAP:

  1. Check to see if Shopping on Instagram is supported in your country.
  2. Sign up for a business account on Instagram, not just a personal account.
  3. Ensure that you have admin status on your connected Facebook and Instagram pages.
  4. Create a shop on Facebook with a product catalog.

You’ll need all of these items to start linking your products to Instagram posts.

Once you’ve connected your accounts and created a product catalog, head to your Instagram profile.

From there, click on your Business profile settings, then click on Shopping. From here, you can start tagging posts on Instagram with your products to make them discoverable by users around the world.

Read on to learn how LemonStand store owners can integrate their product catalog into a Facebook product catalog to get this going today.

How LemonStand Store Owners Can Integrate Their Product Catalog to Facebook and Instagram

While LemonStand doesn’t yet offer a built-in shopping integration for Facebook’s product catalog, don’t worry, you can still connect a LemonStand store and its products to a Facebook shop, and from there to your Instagram account as described above.

If you have a small number of products, you can just manually create a product catalog in your Facebook Business Manager account, which can then be connected to Instagram and tagged as shoppable posts. Facebook recommends this approach if you have less than 50 items in your catalog.

If you have a bigger product catalog, it’s a bit more involved, but still fairly easy to set up a dynamic product feed template in your LemonStand store that you can use to bulk import your product catalog into a Catalog in Facebook Business Manager and automatically update on a regular basis. We’ve outlined the steps to do this below.

Step 1

Head on over to the Facebook Catalog Manager and click on the Create catalog button as shown below.

Facebook Catalog Manager

Facebook Catalog Manager

Step 2

Click on the E-commerce category to create a catalog for the products you’re selling online in your LemonStand store, as shown below, then click the Next button.

Facebook Catalog Creation

Facebook Catalog Creation

Step 3

Give your catalog a name to identify it and click the Create button. Once your Catalog is created, click the Add Products button.

Facebook Catalog Name

Facebook Catalog Name

Step 4

Choose the Use Data Feeds option and click the Next button.

Facebook Product Feed

Facebook Product Feed

Step 4

Add a Facebook compatible product feed to your LemonStand store’s theme. You can read the in-depth guide on how to do this from our help docs here.

Step 5

Click on the Set a Schedule option and then add the URL for the product feed you set up in your LemonStand store’s theme in Step 4 above. No username or password should be needed, so leave these blank.

Then set up a schedule for how often Facebook will pull updated product information from your LemonStand product feed. If your products and/or inventory levels change frequently, use a shorter interval. A happy medium that should ensure things stay up to date for most stores is a Daily schedule, which we’ve chosen for this example (see screen capture below).

Next, give your data feed a name to help you find it later. This can be very helpful if you’re managing multiple product catalogs in your Facebook Business Manager.

Finally, choose the default currency for your products pricing from your store’s data feed. This currency should match up to the currency you’ve set up as your base currency in your LemonStand store’s currency settings.

Facebook Feed Fetch

Facebook Feed Fetch

Step 6

Click on the Start Upload button and voila! Facebook will pull all of your product catalog items from your LemonStand store into your Facebook Catalog to create it initially and then will automatically connect on the interval you defined in the previous step to keep your catalog in Facebook up to date with your catalog in LemonStand. Once your catalog is enabled in your Facebook account, you can start tagging posts on Instagram with your products as described previously.

By connecting a dynamic product feed from your LemonStand store to a Facebook catalog, you can easily turn your store’s Facebook and Instagram accounts into a multi-channel powerhouse of selling.

Customer Example

Check out how Beau Undies, a LemonStand customer, has added their products to a Facebook catalog to enable Shopping onInstagram below:

Beau Undies Shoppable Post Shopping on Instagram

Beau Undies Shoppable Post Shopping on Instagram

(Image Source)

To engage with a post and shop on Instagram, it works just like any other integration: you simply tap the image to pull up product and shopping data.

Beau Undies - Shopping on Instagram

Beau Undies - Shopping on Instagram

(Image Source)

How to Optimize Your Shopping on Instagram Posts For Ecommerce Sales

Once you’ve set up your account to support tagging products from your catalog, you can now start selling products on Instagram and can quickly make any normal post a sales magnet.

To begin the process, all you have to do is upload a regular Instagram image that you want to post and promote.

For example, the latest shot of your product in use.

Begin the upload process like you would for any other photo. If you’ve got Shopping on Instagram set up, you’ll have a new feature called “Tag Products” on your post during the captioning process:

Shopping on Instagram - Tag Products

Shopping on Instagram - Tag Products

Now you can tap the portion of the image that you want to tag specific products with.

Currently, you can tag up to five different products with one post, and up to 20 products in a multi-image post. You aren’t allowed to tag other accounts in product posts.

When you publish your new Instagram post, the product tagging will naturally appear on your image, ready for users to convert.

For maximum sales, it’s important to optimize your posts when you tag them with products.

Focus on these best practices for big sales:

  • Always tag your own store or local area as the location: if your ecommerce store has a local brick and mortar store, tag that as your location to give you extra selling power and local relevance.
  • Limit your hashtags to only relevant terms: while it’s tempting to spam hashtags to drive more views, people find too many hashtags annoying. Keep them relevant and trending and include keywords if possible.
  • Captions: write captions for your products that don’t focus on selling the product. When a user clicks on your photo and product detail, they will see a product description. Don’t waste precious caption space on product descriptions, instead, use compelling copy to build brand awareness.

Ecommerce Success With Shopping on Instagram and Advertising

Since Instagram introduced the tagging posts with products to a select number of retailers in March 2017, then opened it to other US businesses later in the year, there are now many testimonials and case studies that demonstrate the efficacy of the feature.

Brands like Natori saw Shopping on Instagram bring in 1,416% more traffic to their website from Instagram, and Magnolia Boutique reported a 20% increase in revenue.

Instagram isn’t the only effective way to get in front of internet searchers with shopping intent, and driving traffic to your website. Google Adwords, a pay per click (PPC) online advertising medium, can also be configured to drive website traffic based on intent. Long tail keyword phrases contain many clues about a person’s end goal for the information they’re seeking.

Currently, other companies are offering shopping integrations that aren’t as naturally integrated but still get the job done without leaving Instagram.

With or without Shopping on Instagram, businesses can still find success selling on Instagram. Recycled Firefighter used Instagram to market their brand—which was critical for them in building a six-figure business!

Recycled Firefighter achieved Instagram success through the intelligent use of hashtags, which allowed them to zone into their niche market and attract followers through giveaways. In addition to this, Recycled Firefighter attributes their achievements to a consistent posting schedule. Truly, it’s a simple, no-frills Instagram strategy.

SpearmintLOVE, who sells baby apparel, is another excellent Instagram success story.

Started by popular mommy blogger Shari Lott, SpearmintLOVE uses Instagram and Facebook to test ads retargeting customers that didn’t purchase. Then, they used dynamic ads which shows products from the company’s catalog and encourages them to buy.

Spearmint Love - Shopping on Instagram

Spearmint Love - Shopping on Instagram

Image Source

Through this social media strategy, the company was able to achieve a 33.8x return on ad spend and a 47% decrease in cost per purchase.

Final Thoughts on Instagram Shopping on Instagram

Instagram is a powerhouse social media platform that can sell.

It’s more than just a fun place to browse photos from friends.

People interact with brands on Instagram more than they do on Facebook.

And that’s great news for companies looking to drive sales.

Currently, there aren’t that many companies taking advantage of direct sales on the platform itself.

Most will put a link to their shop in their bio.

And while that’s a great start, you can provide a better shopping experience promoting your products directly on the platform.

Shopping on Instagram is available for a growing list of countries, but you should check to make sure whether it’s available in your country yet.

It’s currently one of the best ways to create a full-scale shopping experience without forcing users to leave the app.

Take advantage of Instagram’s selling power today.

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