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How to make the most of Instagram

Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms with over 1 billion active users each month. If you’re not already on Instagram or lack a digital presence, this is a great place to start. 

Instagram has developed from being a simple photo sharing platform, all without overcrowding a user’s newsfeed with memes, fake news or irrelevant advertising. The recent developments of this incredibly user-friendly platform have made it a more attractive tool for businesses, especially retailers. Many new businesses or entrepreneurs take to Instagram, as a way to share their businesses and products at no cost, but with a lot of opportunity to reach millions of consumers. 

The recent developments of this incredibly user-friendly platform have made it a more attractive tool for businesses, especially retailers. 

What is behind a ‘shoppable post’? 

To begin, a business user on Instagram must also have a business account on Facebook. These accounts must be linked in order to operate on Instagram. The purpose for this is to verify the business as legitimate. If a business has a shoppable post, it means that an Instagram user can directly purchase the goods that are tagged in that post. It will be obvious to users which posts are shoppable and which posts are not. Users will see a white shopping bag in the bottom left corner of an image, which they can tap on to view details of the products for sale, such as the price. A double tap on a white shopping bag will take a user to the website from within the Instagram platform, where a user can buy the item  directly and securely, thanks to Shopify. 

Instagram shoppable posts present an exciting opportunity for non-traditional retailers, entrepreneurs and e-commerce only businesses who might not have an extensive advertising or marketing budget. 

Instagram has something that other platforms don’t 

Instagram is a cleaner and simpler social platform than Facebook. Consumers are often turning to Instagram instead of Google, especially Millennials and Gen Z consumers. This means businesses should put a large amount of time into cultivating their Instagram profile. This includes not only the photos shared on their page, but also their ‘bio’ to share some more information. Images on a retailer’s Instagram account should be compelling and enticing to users, while captions remain short. Instagram is intended to be a visual experience and it is worthwhile putting in the time and money to achieve this instead of bombarding users with lengthy captions. 

Other than the Shopify system, there are other ways to sell on Instagram, including promoted ads, promoted stories, links in stories or swipe to shop links.  wipe to shop links are unique because they can only be done if a business account or user has over 10,000 followers. Unlike Twitter and Facebook, Instagram does not allow a user to include links in posts. 

If shoppable posts are not for you, there are other ways to sell on Instagram 

Instagram shoppable posts are not suitable for every business or brand, but there are still other ways to make use of the platform, especially if a retailer or brand is just starting out and trying to get traction. As mentioned above, user promoted content is one of the best forms of word of mouth advertising and can be little to no cost to a business. User promoted content is something that is hard for people to see on Google but is easy for consumers to find on Instagram. This can be in the form of stories or posted images with details in the caption. It can be especially easy to find information thanks to hashtags and the tagging feature, which allows users to search things that are relevant to them or to find information.

User promoted content can also be achieved by pairing up with influencers. Influencers are Instagram users who have a significant number of followers and should be someone you would want publicly associated with your brand. 

Finally, do not neglect other sales platforms for Instagram alone 

Instagram is a great social media tool, and Shopify makes it easier than ever before to sell on this platform. However, other social media and sales platforms should not be ignored so that Instagram can shine. Consumers are more digital than ever before and are likely to still turn to Facebook, Google and a website for reviews, products and more information about a brand or business.

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