Instagram is more than pretty pictures. With over 600 million active monthly users, Instagram holds endless possibilities for engaging your customer base. The Instagram engagement rate beats not only other social media channels, but also every other traffic source — including YouTube and email.
Instagram’s phenomenal engagement rate doesn’t mean you can simply upload a few images and wait for your paycheck (we were disappointed to hear this too). Since the typical Instagram user misses 70% of the posts from the accounts they follow, having a defined eCommerce marketing strategy for Instagram is key.
7 Ways to Increase Sales with Instagram
1. Post high-quality images.
This should go without saying, but we’re going to say it anyway: post high-quality images. Images that could be considered photojournalism, fashion photography, or fine art. Aim for a mix of product shots, lifestyle shots, different angles, and pops of color.
The recommended image size for Instagram is 1080 x 1080 pixels.
For example, our client Ennea and their beautifully curated Instagram feed. Quick tips for Instagram imagery:
- Pick a theme for your feed and stick to it.
- Post consistently. Aim for quality over quantity.
2. Use more #hashtags.
Unlike Facebook and Twitter, where using more than two hashtags decreases engagement, hashtags are the lifeblood of Instagram. Every image needs to be supported by relevant hashtags to be seen and discovered by your target audience. Hashtags make your profile easier to discover across other social platforms when your content is shared on other channels.
Instagram has a limit of 30 hashtags per post. Try to use as many as possible while remaining relevant. If you’re unsure of what hashtags to use:
- View your follower’s profiles and see what hashtags they all have in common, or build on the hashtags that brought them to your images. Look for patterns.
- Check out other companies selling similar products with a large following on Instagram. See what hashtags they have been using consistently.
- Start with this list of 100 most popular hashtags from Webstagram and use the website to discover new hashtags and niches relevant to your business.
3. Leverage Instagram videos.
In case you haven’t heard, video is the way to engage in content marketing today. The platform makes a strong argument for leveraging video’s power. Instagram’s video engagement outpaced other social media platforms at 16%. Video engagement on Facebook comes in at 1.6% and YouTube at 0.3%. Learn more about Instagram videos.
For a behind-the-scenes look at your company or business consider leveraging Instagram Stories. Like SnapChat, Instagram Stories disappear after 24 hours and won’t appear in your feed. The stories are only visible to people who already follow you. Use them to show off a new product ahead of marketing, announce a customer loyalty giveaway, or give followers a peek an exclusive event.
4. Always respond to comments.
Because videos receive more comments than images on Instagram, we thought this would be a good time to address engagement — our absolute favorite word at Social Styles! The “social” part of social media involves engaging your audience. This is why it’s important to hop on your account regularly and engage other users in your customer base.
You should be commenting on their images, but also responding to comments on yours. Comments indicate that people are taking an interest in your brand, so take an interest in what they have to say! It’s important that you wait no longer than 24 hours to respond to a comment if you can.
Pro Tip: If you are overwhelmed by the number of comments you have to respond to each day, consider hiring a virtual assistant who has done this type of work before. Engagement is that important.
5. Run UCG-centric contests.
While there are a number of ways to run contests on Instagram, the most successful tend to be those that focus on user-generated content (UCG). This type of content and sharing provides you with a direct way to engage your customers. Ask them to show off the products they purchased, tagging the company and including a prominent contest-specific hashtag (be sure the hashtag is unique). This will inspire others to follow your Instagram account. Additionally, the UGC posts act as a testimonial or product review, showing their followers that your business has their seal of approval.
6. Develop relationships with Instagram influencers.
Engaging with influencers is a popular strategy for growing an eCommerce brand’s sales on Instagram. Influencers have massive followings on Instagram and their base relies on them for product reviews (user-generated content), helping you improve your conversion rate.
Influencers need to be chosen wisely. The internet is ripe with scammers and Instagram is no exception. Some influencers have paid for their following verses growing their following organically. Check their posts and see how engaged their following is by seeing not only how many likes each image has, but how many comments each image receives and the quality of the comments.
Key advice for successfully managing an influencer relationship:
- Offer them a variety of products to try. When you send them, include a note that explains why you think the products would be a great fit for their following.
- Let your influencers decide on what content to post. They know how to keep their own audience engaged. Decide on a mood board that they can follow as they create the campaign.
- Ask influencers to share promo codes. This benefits you both. The influencer’s audience will be happy with the deal, the influencer will gain more followers, and you reap the benefits of sales.
7. Advertise on Instagram.
Instagram has all other social media networks beat on active users and user engagement, so it’s no surprise that advertising is no-brainer. Instagram’s ads blend in seamlessly with the content. If the image is engaging, the user will engage.
Users are 58 times more likely to engage with Instagram’s branded content than with branded content on Facebook, and 120 times more likely when compared to Twitter. According to this study from eMarketer, the estimated revenue from Instagram accounts is $2.81 billion in total mobile and ad revenue.
More than half of all Instagram users around the world use the application daily, providing you with numerous opportunities to engage with new customers globally. Learn more about eCommerce marketing for lifestyle brands with these strategies for increasing sales with Facebook.
For more ideas and advice on how elevate your marketing strategy, visit Social Styles on our blog or Facebook.