Ecommerce via Social Media platforms is not headline news – Facebook rolled out the Facebook store some time ago already. But just when Facebook may have become a glorified market-place and a zone for your mum to show off her latest chicken pie, Instagram is swooping in and it is fresh, and it is big, and it’s converting new customers.
Thanks to the powerful visual appeal of the Instagram universe, your customers are not just seeing marketing display shots of your produce, they’re being transported into the lifestyle that surrounds your brand. The result is high conversion rates and lower Cost per Lead (CPL) with significant ROI on your advertising spend.
Before you start: 5 Things you should know before Instagram Marketing
You need to have a business Instagram account, and you need to spend time in the space. Instagram is all about telling a story. You won’t be able to do that without your own business account and you need to spend time in your news feed to get a feel for what Instagramers want to see.
You still need a Facebook Page. Because the two platforms are linked through Ads manager, you can’t run ads on Instagram unless you have an active Facebook page for your business.
You still need a well-designed and User-friendly website. Although you can load your product to your Facebook store, you ultimately still want to drive traffic to your website where you can show off your full range, using all of your sales tactics from good UX to machine learning to ensure that your customer is being served the products they are most likely to want to purchase.
Instagram works for distinctive brands and products. It’s not enough to push out wishy-washy generalized images. Instagram is a friend to those brands and products that make a bold and definite statement, one statement at a time.
Instagram is all about the visuals. You cannot run an Instagram campaign without decent images. Not only do you need to ensure high-quality visuals through the use of light, contrast, backdrop and composition, but you also need to make sure that your subject matter is well-planned and preferably, evokes an emotional response.
Selling on Instagram
Instagram changed the game for social media commerce when they introduced shoppable posts.
Basically how it works is that you, the brand, post a photo that showcases your beautiful brand’s beautiful lifestyle, and then tag products in that post which are “shoppable”.
Your customers view the product details on Instagram, getting all of the information they need, before clicking through to the Ecommerce cart landing page to complete the transaction.
At least that is how it started.
Now, thanks to Facebook marketplace and Facebook business stores which link directly to your Insta-store, as long as you are selling physical products (not services) you can actually do so within the app itself.
What do you need to sell on Instagram?
✓ You need to sell a physical product
✓ You need to have Instagram on your phone
✓ You need set up an Instagram business profile
✓ You need to have a Facebook business profile
✓ You need to connect to your Facebook business profile via Business.Facebook.com
✓ You need to connect your Facebook and Instagram accounts
✓ You need a product catalogue on Facebook.
Once you have a product catalogue on Facebook, tagging your products on your Instagram account is as easy as tagging a place or a person.
There are also many website plugins and apps that you can make use of to connect your Ecommerce store catalogue to Instagram if you prefer not to use Facebook commerce. The advantage here is that you will be pushing traffic to your Ecommerce website, giving you the opportunity to push more products and services.
Getting Set Up
Once you have all of the above listed factors in place, Instagram will review your account before approving you for a shoppable profile. This process can take several days of waiting around while the Instagram admins get to your request.
As soon as your shoppable business profile has been deemed eligible and is approved for product tagging, you’ll receive a notification on your business profile itself. So, make sure you keep checking back into that account frequently!
Getting Started: How to start product tagging when your Instagram shoppable account is approved
Once you’ve been through all of the steps above and your shoppable business profile is approved, it’s time to start using your new social media tool to convert the audience into happy customers.
Your account needs to be approved before you can move on to the product tagging stage.
Before you Start Product Tagging:
✓ Go to your Instagram Business profile and find the alert on the top of your profile that says “Get Started”. Tap it.
✓ Don’t worry if you don’t see the “Get Started” alert. You can always tap the gear wheel to open up your settings and work from there.
✓ Go to “Products” and tap “Continue”.
✓ Select the appropriate catalogue from your Facebook pages and select “connect to business profile”.
✓ Tap “Done”.
Now you can start posting your images and tagging the products in them as easily as if you are tagging a person or a place.
Creating Shoppable Posts on Instagram
Now that all the pieces of your Instagram store are in place, you can finally start creating beautiful images for your brand that can generate direct sales and leads.
✓ As always with product photos, you want to ensure that you have everything planned before you start.
✓ Decide which products you want to promote first and create a short list.
✓ Make sure that you have everything you need before you start “shooting” the pictures.
✓If you have a model or an assistant, make sure they are well briefed and know exactly what your creative objectives are.
If you are not sure what your creative objectives should be, try spending some time on Instagram browsing similar brands to yours, as well as the kind of lifestyle each product fits in with. This should give you an idea of what kind of images people are expecting to see on Instagram.
✓ Set up your shots to show off your products in the kind of setting where they might usually be found.
✓ Choose two or three filters that work for your products and try to be consistent with them.
✓ Once you have your photos uploaded to Instagram, add a caption, and tap “Tag Products” on the share screen.
✓ Your product list will come up. Tap the products you wish to tag in your post.
✓ Add in the names of each product.
✓ Tap “Done”.
✓ Tap “Share”.
Like Facebook, Instagram business profiles do keep track of your “insights” for you. This is your all-valuable analytics that will help you to keep tabs on your best selling products, which images work, which images don’t. As you already know, your analytics data is incredibly valuable to you as a marketer as it allows you to make informed business marketing decisions and ultimately maximise your ROI.