Think that Instagram is just a trendy stage for selfies and lunch shots? Think again. With 300 million monthly active users, 70 million daily photograph uploads and 8500 likes per second, Instagram also serves as a powerful sales platform.
Instagram users are greedy for eye-catching images. According to a 2015 Iconosquare study, Instagram users are also shoppers, with 70% reporting that they look up brands on the platform. Put two and two together and voilà – you have a visual ecommerce Mecca.
A business Instagram account will allow you to sell without selling. It will build your brand, grow your customer base, increase interest in your products and supercharge your sales – all without having to pitch. Your pictures themselves are effortless pitches, compelling consumers to automatically absorb your marketing messages.
It’s simple: if you want to turn passive shoppers into confident customers and accelerate your sales without actually pitching, Instagram is key. Here’s 7 simple steps you can take to get the ball rolling. (Guest Post)
Use quality photo marketing
Instagram users want eye candy. This doesn’t just mean pictures of incredibly attractive models or close-ups of delicious desserts. For businesses, it means high quality pictures of your products and your people in action.
So, snap great images of your new product launches or your current sales range. Show followers around your office or retail outlet and give a taste of your company’s personality. Be creative here and mix it up with different backgrounds and effects so that your pictures stand out in a busy visual feed.
Always be sure to match your photos with fun but explanatory captions so that users know what they’re looking at. Without having to pay advertorial fees, you’re creating a personalised catalogue of your products infused with a sense of your company culture. Your sales can only grow as a result.
Even more than quality photos, Instagram users love to consume video. As attention spans rapidly evolve (or rather devolve), the 15 second Instagram video has fast become one of the most effective ways to engage consumers. If you’re not using the popularity of video to promote your business, you’re missing out.
Whether you’re taking videos of people using your products, interviewing customers, showing behind the scenes action or creating shortened branded ads, the Instagram video provides a quick, killer marketing platform.
Harness the power of the hashtag
If you want to gain maximum visibility for your Instagram posts, simply hashtag your key words. A hashtag is a free boost for your update, attracting the right customers from across the globe.
Think about it. You know that any users searching for a particular hashtag you’ve used are actively looking for a product or service you offer, and therefore they’re exactly the kind of person you’re looking to reach. By giving your posts relevant hashtags, you advertise them to a colossal audience entirely cost-free. As a pleasant knock-on effect, your sales will soar.
Offer exclusive discounts
You need to give your Instagram audience something exclusive which they’re not already getting from your website. To give them this whilst simultaneously accelerating your sales, use photographic markdowns.
By doing so, you’re rewarding your customers with discounts, you’re feeding their appetite for visuals and you’re spurring them to buy. Everybody wins!
Run contests and competitions
Who doesn’t love a free product? Use your business Instagram account to easily create contests and offer prize give-aways to winners. This could be as simple as allowing people to enter a prize lottery by liking an image or posting a tagged picture of themselves using a product.
In the process of creating competitions and encouraging those engagements, you’ll succeed in building a buzz around your products and winning more conversions.
Offer product previews
Another great way to build a buzz around your products on Instagram is to give users sneak previews. So, incorporate both photo and video to post appetisers of what you’ll soon be releasing into the market. While you’re at it, allow Instagram users to get involved in early bird sign-ups or even share visual countdowns of product launches.
This kind of Instagram activity will ramp up interest in your products and services, as well as driving demand. All with the use of a few strategic posts on a free social media channel, you’ll raise the profile of your brand and the number of consumers wanting to buy what you’re selling.
Share website links
Make it as easy as humanly possible for Instagram users to find and buy your products. To do this, you need to ensure that whenever you’re sharing posts around items which you sell, you’re including the relevant URL within the description.
People are lazy, and without that URL they’re unlikely to go off and trawl through your website looking for the right page. By including those links, you’re making it that bit more tempting for Instagram users to click and potentially buy. You wouldn’t create an advert without including a call to action, so don’t create an Instagram post without including a corresponding URL.
If you want to amplify your outreach and increase your sales, stop ignoring Instagram. It’s for much more than selfies: it’s also a catalyst for conversions.
Author bio: Roxanne Abercrombie is a professional copywriter and serial blogger. You can find her working as PR, Content and Social Executive at Uniting Ambition, a leading recruitment firm specialising in delivering top talent to the market’s hottest professional services, digital marketing and IT contract jobs.