Ask any eCommerce store owner about using social media for business and they’ll tell you Facebook is the key to success. While it’s true that Facebook can be a gold mine, using Instagram to get eCommerce sales is a strategy wrongfully ignored.

Instagram recently reached the 600 million users milestone. Most importantly, 400 million of them use the app daily.

But there’s a number that’s even more relevant for eCommerce businesses: 68% of Instagram users engage with brands regularly. On Facebook, only 32% of users engage with brands.

That alone is a reason compelling enough to get you to start using Instagram to get eCommerce sales. Here’s how to begin:

  1. Create a Clear Strategy to Help You Use Instagram to Get eCommerce Sales

Instagram is a bit different than your usual social network. And by usual I mean Facebook.

Even if visual content is king everywhere, in Instagram this is undisputable. Without proper photos, you won’t get too far, no matter how much you invest in paid ads. However, there’s no reason to panic if you’re not a Photoshop guru. Pablo by Buffer and Canva are two websites that can help you create stunning photos with 0 photo editing skills.

Because Instagram is a different type of playground for marketers, you will need a different social media strategy for it. Plan ahead and think about ways to shoot innovative photos of your product.

Always start with defining your buyer persona. Note that it may not be identical to your “generic” one. Try to create a buyer persona that is specific to Instagram.

Research hashtags on a weekly basis (at least) – you need to see what people are interested in so that you can join the conversation. If you want to use Instagram to get eCommerce sales, thorough research is your stepping stone.

Next up, schedule a month’s worth of posts in advance. You can use tools like Buffer or Sendible for this. Note that the Instagram API doesn’t allow third party apps to push posts directly to your feed. You will have to manually post them, but scheduling tools will help you remember to post every day and save time by scheduling in bulk.

Even if you’ve scheduled your posts, it doesn’t mean that you don’t need to log on to Instagram daily and see how your account is doing. Browse your reports, check engagement rates and look into your analytics account to see how many websites visits your posts generated.

The good news about Instagram marketing is that it’s not overcrowded yet. A whopping 93% of marketers use Facebook, but only 36% use Instagram.

  1. Drive Action through Captions

Hashtags are incredibly important in Instagram marketing, so be sure to use plenty (of relevant ones) in each of your posts. However, when it comes to using Instagram to get eCommerce sales, things get a bit trickier because Instagram doesn’t allow clickable links in posts.

You have two options:

  1. Post a link and encourage people to copy-paste it in their browser.
  2. Use the already popular #LinkInBio hashtag on your posts. This lets users know they can click on the link if they visit your profile page.

Obviously, the first option is a bit risky. People have to really want your product in order to go through the ordeal of copying a link, opening another app, then pasting it. Yes, in the mobile era it is an ordeal. Still, if you post a lot of different products, you can’t keep up with changing the link in the bio every time. Plus, people could land on an older post of yours and be directed to the wrong link. Thus, it’s advisable to add links to posts even if they are not clickable.

  1. Showcase Your Products in Real-Life Situations

You must have heard about models who get paid tens of thousands of dollars for a single Instagram post that features a sponsor’s product. Do you know why they can charge so much? Because their posts are aspirational.

They don’t simply shoot a skirt on a hanger. They wear it to the beach, the mall, the mountains and they look fabulous while doing it.

Using Instagram to get eCommerce sales is mostly about showing people what kind of life they can liv if they buy your product. So don’t showcase them on a white background. Take them to the beach, the mall, the mountains – wherever they may fit. And make sure your products are being used by happy, confident people in all your Instagram posts.

  1. Always Engage with Your Followers

Remember that Instagram is a social network, not just a place for you to display your products. Be sure to allocate at least one hour per day to respond to comments and messages.

Ideally, you should respond to every follower who engages with your brand in two hours or less. If that is not possible, don’t let more than 24 hours pass.

Additionally, you can also engage with other brands, especially those that have products that are complementary to yours. For instance, if you sell running clothes, you could always tag brands like Strava (the running app) in your posts.

You can also comment on such brands’ posts. Just be sure not to make your comment too advertorial – it’s unethical to piggyback their marketing efforts without warning.

  1. Never Ignore Paid Advertising

Following Facebook’s lead, Instagram is bound to make it harder for brands to reach people without paid advertising. Yes, you can still use plenty of hashtags and get followers the organic way, but you could really strike gold with paid advertising.

The good news is that Instagram advertising is still relatively cheap, so $100 could get you more than 1000 relevant followers. And, since an engaged follower typically places a $65 order, you can see how this could work to your advantage.


Want to use Instagram to drive eCommerce sales? Our social media specialists have helped dozens of online stores boost their ROI through Instagram. Join them!

Boost your ROI with Instagram

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