Instagram Shoppable Posts: How to Sell Products on Instagram
by Ron Dod
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Instagram is one of the most promising social media platforms for eCommerce retailers to utilize for consumer engagement. Let alone the channel’s massive audience of over one billion monthly active users, the platform also houses one of the most brand-oriented followings across all social websites.
This assertion is rooted in the fact that 90 percent of Instagram users follow at least one business and “130 million accounts tap on shopping posts to learn more about products every month,” according to Instagram. This type of company-to-consumer engagement makes Instagram one of the most auspicious destinations available to online merchants.
Instagram Shoppable posts are a powerful tool for sellers to directly promote products to potential customers on the site. Through this offering, users can easily browse and buy a seller’s merchandise directly through Instagram.
The fact is that a full 81 percent of Instagram users leverage the platform to research products and services. Therefore, the ability to showcase items in a user’s feed naturally cultivates an environment rich with the potential for increasing sales.
Moreover, the seamless experience provided by Instagram Shoppable posts eliminates nearly all sticking points in which a buyer might abandon a purchase.
Given how meaningful this feature can be for eCommerce sellers, we will be exploring Instagram Shoppable posts in-depth and revealing how retailers can use these posts to the fullest.
Instagram Shoppable Posts: An Introduction
It is not an overstatement to say that Instagram Shoppable posts are altering the way that buyers research and purchase products online.
Whereas previous iterations of Instagram only allowed brands (and all other users) to place a link in the page’s bio to drive traffic and sales from the site, Shoppable posts provided a newfound ability for merchants to turn their account into a digital store. This feature enables sellers to feature products, tag them in a photo and include information about the item as well as links to the product page.
When viewing a Shoppable post, a shopping bag icon appears in the corner of the image. If a user taps on the image, the product tag populates, showcasing the label and price. From here, users can click on the tag to access additional information or click through to the product page.
This format creates a streamlined and straightforward shopping experience that allows shoppers to quickly buy and get back to browsing posts with minimal interruption.
While advertising on Instagram has been (and still is) an excellent option for online retailers, Instagram Shoppable posts can be just as effective (if not more) and require no financial investment.
“Through features like product tags and a ‘Shop’ tab on profile, discovering and buying products on Instagram is now easier to do. For businesses, tagging a product is as simple as tagging a person in a post. And for shoppers, a shoppable post’s tags get rid of the guesswork and allow for easy access to a tagged product’s information.”
In other words, Instagram Shoppable posts heighten a merchant’s ability to convert followers into customers. However, to utilize this feature, there are some eligibility requirements that sellers must meet, including:
Connecting the business profile with a Facebook catalog (more on this momentarily)
With that information out of the way, let’s dive into how retailers can begin creating Instagram Shoppable posts to promote to their followers.
Creating Instagram Shoppable Posts
Getting started with Instagram Shoppable posts is relatively simple. However, there are a series of steps involved. To leverage this feature, it is necessary to:
Create a Catalog with Facebook Business Manager
Today, there is an array of Facebook eCommerce features, many of which have been carried over–or are connected–to Instagram. One of the features which is intrinsically tied to Instagram is Facebook’s catalog component.
A Facebook catalog is a file that houses a record of all the items that a retailer wishes to sell. To create a Facebook catalog, navigate to the Business Manager page that is linked to the company’s Facebook and Instagram accounts. From here, open the Business Manager menu and click “All Tools.” Next, under “Assets,” select “Catalogs.”
Once Catalog Manager opens, retailers can either select a previously created catalog or generate a new one by clicking “Create Catalog.” On the following screen, select “E-commerce” and then click “Next.” From here, click “Upload Product Info” (or “Connect with E-Commerce platform” for those who wish to import products from Shopify or another supported platform), select the business which owns the catalog, name the catalog and click “Create.”
Keep in mind that it is essential to keep product catalogs, descriptions and prices synced with Facebook to ensure accuracy. Therefore, if any promotions are run on a merchant’s store, it is necessary to ensure the catalog reflects that information.
Connect the Product Catalog
After completing the steps outlined above, the account will be reviewed by Instagram before retailers can begin crafting Shoppable posts. This process can take a few hours to a few days. Either way, once it has been approved, Instagram will send sellers a notification informing them that they can start moving merchandise through the platform.
From here, merchants must connect their product catalog to their Instagram account. This can be done by going back to the “Shopping” section of the settings menu and selecting “Products.”
On the screen that follows, retailers can select a product catalog to link to their business profile. Finally, click “Done.”
Upload Photos for Tagging
Once retailers have been approved to begin creating Instagram Shoppable posts, they can start adding tags to desired posts, the process for which is extremely simple and intuitive.
When retailers have the products feature enabled on their account, the option to tag items can be found where a caption would typically be entered. Here, sellers can enter the names of the products that they wish to tag in an image that is designed to generate sales and then select them as they populate in the search box.
After tagging the products, tap “Done” and share the post. After it has been published, the post will appear like a typical Instagram image in a user’s feed. However, when the photo is tapped, they will see a tag for the product, much like a user tag would appear.
Alternatively, if merchants want to tag a popular older post that is still receiving engagement, this is also possible as Instagram allows retailers to tag new and existing posts. Sellers can add up to five product tags per image or 20 per multi-image carousel post.
With the Instagram Shoppable post creation process outlined, let’s go ahead and explore some of the techniques retailers can employ to optimize their posts for maximum conversion rate potential.
Optimizing Instagram Shoppable Posts
While Instagram Shoppable posts are an incredible feature, like any other marketing tactic, it is necessary that retailers take their time to optimize their posts for peak performance.
While many Instagram users on the platform use the network for product research, discovery and information, the fact is that no one enjoys feeling like they are being sold to, even when they are in the market to buy.
Therefore, it is essential that brands continue to utilize their content marketing plan, regularly integrating shoppable tags into photos that are a match for the rest of their profile. This means that Instagram Shoppable posts should naturally blend into a company’s typical posting style.
An effective way to integrate organic Shoppable posts into a brand’s Instagram presence is to utilize user-generated content as this content has proven effective in a multitude of ways. Not only does employing these types of posts help to deepen a company’s rapport with its audience, but millennials are quite fond of this content as well.
While merchants might find Instagram Shoppable posts to be an exciting and prosperous feature, it is critical that they maintain a balance and not make every post about earning sales.
As mentioned previously, it is important to maintain the brand’s current content strategy on Instagram, only sprinkling Shoppable posts every now and again.
Partner with Influencers
Influencer marketing can be a powerful driver of online sales. Moreover, Instagram influencers are a massive part of many business’s social media marketing strategies.
By leveraging the trust and influence of such social media superstars, retailers can get their products in front of scores of new consumers who are likely interested in what a retailer has to offer. However, the key to successfully utilizing influencers in Shoppable posts is to vet the right personalities for the brand, so be sure to conduct in-depth research prior to partnering with one of these notable names.
Include Relevant Hashtags
Naturally, like any other post that sellers want to optimize for maximum discoverability, it is necessary to include various relevant hashtags that will allow new consumers to discover a store’s offerings.
After generating nine Instagram Shoppable posts, retailers can activate their profile’s “Shop” tab. Doing this will collect all the seller’s Shoppable posts under a single tab so that consumers can easily browse and buy different items.
Analyze Post Performance
Like other types of social media posts, it is crucial that retailers analyze each post’s performance to better understand what resonates with consumers and drives business goals.
By heading over to the Analytics section of a business’s profile, sellers can view the area dedicated to Shoppable posts to uncover information about how many users tapped tags and clicked through to product pages.
This information will provide retailers with a better understanding of which posts and products an audience prefers.
However, while Instagram Shoppable posts can be a treasure trove of engagement and sales for retailers, this isn’t the only way that merchants can augment their posts for cultivating conversions.
Shoppable Instagram Story Stickers
The ability to shop via Instagram Stories isn’t exactly a state-of-the-art development as scores of sellers and influential figures have been capable of adding product page URLs and “Shop Now” CTAs to their Stories for some time now.
However, what is a bit more novel is that retailers of all kinds have been enabled to add shoppable stickers to their Stories.
As it stood previously, businesses needed to possess a minimum of 10,000 followers to utilize shoppable Stories. With shoppable stickers, on the other hand, sellers of all sizes can send their sites traffic through this feature.
Shoppable stickers for Stories are incredibly similar to Instagram Shoppable posts in that they enable merchants to tag products from their store’s inventory that are featured in photos and videos included in a Story.
As it stands, there are four different kinds of shoppable stickers that sellers can employ:
Shopping bag icons
Gray stickers that feature the product’s name
Rainbow stickers that feature the product’s name
However, it should be noted that using Shoppable stickers in Stories requires that retailers meet the same criteria as for using Instagram Shoppable posts.
That said, to utilize this feature, simply open the Instagram Stories camera and take a picture or video or select one from the camera roll. Then, tap on the stickers button and select a “Product” sticker. Next, choose the appropriate item from the product catalog. Finally, merchants can move the label to wherever they would like it placed and change its color if desired.
Do bear in mind that it is not possible to edit a product’s name in the Story as that would require changing the title in the product catalog itself.
Instagram is an ideal destination for eCommerce retailers to promote their merchandise to new consumers and existing customers, given how product-centric the platform has proven.
Given that dynamic, Instagram Shoppable posts and shoppable stickers for Stories are the perfect tools for showcasing items in a natural and engaging way that is likely to drive eCommerce sales.
However, if you are still not quite sure how to integrate these features into your company’s Instagram marketing strategy, Visiture is here to help. Connect with our social media advertising virtuosos, and we can help to develop a program that gets your products in front of Instagram users who are primed to click that “Shop Now” button.
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Ronald Dod is the Chief Marketing Officer and Co-founder of Visiture, an end-to-end eCommerce marketing agency focused on helping online merchants acquire more customers through the use of search engines, social media platforms, marketplaces, and their online storefronts. His passion is helping leading brands use data to make more effective decisions in order to drive new traffic and conversions.
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