Your A to Z guide to sell on Instagram

Products mentioned
Shopping made easier

How many hours a day do you spend on Instagram? How many business profiles are following? How many influencers do you keep up with on Instagram? Your answer is probably a handful of them. It was inevitable for Instagram to introduce selling through the app, and the mechanism of selling on Instagram just got easier with the introduction of shoppable posts.

There are 63 million Instagram users in the MENA region, equivalent to 10% of total global users.

 

In the past, the only way to connect your followers with your products was through the link in your bio or swipe up links in Instagram Stories. But with the introduction of this new feature, shopping and selling through the app became effortless. This means you should be spending more time and effort curating a beautifully designed Instagram feed, to grasp the attention of these potential customers. By creating a consistent brand story, you can turn your followers into devoted customers.

Ready to get started with selling on Instagram? Here’s everything you need to know about how to create shoppable posts along with tips to optimize your Instagram page.

Why should you sell on Instagram?

In a survey commissioned by Facebook, 81% of respondents said that Instagram helps them research products and services.

 

Thanks to the new ‘shoppable posts’ feature, Instagram users can complete their buying journey, from discovery to checkout, without ever leaving the app. This feature makes the app a more business-friendly platform, offering an incredible opportunity for businesses to turn their followers into customers.

80% of Instagram’s users already following an “active shopping business” account.

 

So, optimizing your account for shopping makes a lot of sense. On an Instagram business account, shoppable posts will be marked by a shopping bag icon in the top-right corner. Users will also be able to browse your “Shop” feed directly from your Instagram profile. So, once a business has a product catalog connected to their account, tagging a product is as simple as tagging a person in a post.

Ready to learn how to sell on Instagram?

How to sell on Instagram

There are a few eligibility requirements you’ll need to check off before you can get started with Instagram shoppable posts:

  1. You need an Instagram business account
  2. Have a connected Facebook Page
  3. Primarily sell physical goods
  4. Have your business account connected to a Facebook Catalog: This can be created and managed on Catalog Manager or Business Manager on Facebook, or through Shopify or BigCommerce platforms.

Once you fulfill the above requirements, you can submit your account for review. Go to your profile’s settings, tap Business and tap Shopping on Instagram. If you’ve been approved, you will receive notifications from Instagram and complete set-up in Shopping in Settings to start tagging products in your posts and stories.

Shopping posts look like organic posts, with the exception that when users “tap to view products,” product names and prices are revealed. Below are the steps that you need to start creating shoppable posts:

  1. Convert to a business profile
  2. Create a Facebook Catalog with Facebook Business Manager.
  3. Connect your online shop to your Business’ Instagram Account.
  4. Upload the photos you want to tag.
  5. Tag products.
  6. Nail the caption.
  7. Optimize your posts with hashtags.
  8. Activate the Shop tab on your Instagram profile.

 

Step 1: Convert to a business profile

The first step – and one of the requirements to start selling – is converting your regular Instagram profile to a business profile. This will give you access to a number of indispensable selling and reporting options, here’s how to make the switch.

  1. Log into your account and tap the three dashes at the top right of your dashboard.
  2. Tap on Settings.
  3. Click on Account
  4. Scroll down and tap on ‘Switch to Professional Account’
  5. Choose Business

sell on instagram switch to business

And voila! You’re done. Your Instagram business profile should include a:

  • Profile picture: Choose a photo that is on-brand (like a logo) and makes your company easy to identify.
  • Well-written bio: Your Instagram bio is incredibly important. It should include a clear description of your business.
  • Link to your website: The URL section of your bio is the only clickable link you can add to your Instagram page. This is a great place to drive traffic to your website. You can also create a unique URL to track visits to your website from Instagram.

Step 2: Create a Facebook Catalog with Facebook Business Manager

A Facebook catalog in Facebook Business Manager is a file that contains a list of all the products you want to sell.

To get started, head to the Business Manager account that owns the Facebook Page that’s linked to your Instagram business account. From your Business Manager account, you can create a new catalog or identify an existing catalog you’d like to use.

You have to give your product catalog a name and select the types of products you’re adding to your catalog before you can add it to your product feed. It’s very important to keep your product catalog synced with your Facebook Page, and that your product descriptions and prices are accurate. Also, if you’re running a sale or promotion, make sure your product catalog reflects it.

Step 3: Connect your online shop to your Business Instagram Account

Once you’ve completed the steps above, your account will be reviewed by Instagram before you can access their shoppable posts feature. The approval process varies from a few hours to a few days according to Instagram. And once you’ve been approved, you will receive a notification letting you know you’re ready.

The next step is to connect your product catalog to your Instagram Business account. So, go back to the Shopping section in your Instagram settings and tap on Products. Then, select a product catalog to connect to your business profile. 

Step 4: Upload the photos you want to tag

Once you’ve received the approval from Instagram’s side and after connecting your catalog to your account; adding tags to your posts is pretty simple and straightforward!

Just like adding any other Instagram post, choose your filters and effects and click “Next.”

Step 5: Tag Products

When you have the shoppable product feature enabled, you’ll find the option to tag products on the screen where you normally add your caption and other information. Next, enter the names of the products you want to tag, then select them as they appear in the search box.

Once you’re done; share your post!

As you can see in the screenshot below, the post will appear like a normal image in the Instagram feed, but when you tap on the image, you’ll see a tag for the product, with the product’s name and price.

sell on instagram shoppable post

You can tag products in both new and existing posts from your Instagram business profile. You can also tag up to five products per single image post or twenty products per carousel post.

Step 6: Nail the Caption

The caption is an integral element to any Instagram post, as it’s an area you need to pay attention to. A caption can make or break a post. If you have a compelling image but a weak caption, your post may not do too well.

Also, captions can serve as calls to action. That doesn’t mean that you need to be pitching a product in every post, though. You can encourage people to interact with your brand in other ways, like visiting your website or checking out a video.

Step 7: Optimize your posts with hashtags

Hashtags are one of the biggest ways to make an organic impact on your campaigns. If you really want your brand to gain traction and reach new audiences, then you have to master the art of hashtags.

Rather than simple choosing over popular hashtags, think about your specific niche, and build your hashtag selection around that. One simple trick to find great hashtags is to see which ones are being used by influencers in your niche but watch out for hashtags that might be used too much.

For example, the hashtag #travel currently has more than 496 million posts, so, if travel is your niche, this might not be the best hashtag to use. It’s better to be more specific. Take #roadtrip as an example, with 51 million posts, it’s a popular hashtag, but it’s much more targeted than #travel and attracts a certain type of audience.

Hashtag research is a real and simple thing, so head to Discover >Tags and search for terms related to your niche. You’ll then see how many posts have been published using that hashtag.

Also, remember to strike a balance, because if you add too many hashtags your posts will look spammy and low-effort. It’s much better to focus on a couple of targeted hashtags. This will increase the chances of the right people seeing your posts.

Step 8: Activate the Shop tab on your Instagram profile

Create at least nine shoppable posts to activate the “Shop” tab on your Instagram profile. This will group all your shoppable posts under one tab so your customers can find them and shop easily.

One important thing to note is that posting these products on Instagram isn’t enough to sell them if you don’t have a website, where you showcase these products and allow customers to find more information and get in touch with you. You can easily build an Ecommerce website using GoDaddy’s Managed WordPress Ecommerce plan.

Related: What is eCommerce? How to setup an eCommerce website 

Tips to sell on Instagram

  • Tease products ahead of their launch: Show glimpses of your product without fully revealing it, post teasers and ask your audience to guess what your new product is.
  • Use the countdown sticker: Announce the date of your product launch using the countdown sticker in your story. You can also ask your followers to tap ‘Remind me’ so they know when the day finally comes, or to even share countdown in their own stories.
  • Show all variations of your products: Display all your product options in either product shots or on models. This way your customers can have a huge selection to choose from.
  • Tag more than one product in a post: Instead of focusing on one product only, you can make an impression by displaying multiple eye-catching products.
  • Experiment with different post formats using Instagram Shopping: Shoppable posts aren’t only static images, you can experiment with photos, videos or a combination of images or videos in a carousel post in your feed. You can also tag your stories with product stickers.
  • Go live to take questions: Use the Live feature in your story to talk about your new product, and answer customer’s questions in real time.
  • Measure the results of your shoppable posts: Just because you’ve been posting shoppable posts doesn’t mean that people are really buying. You can check the analytics of these posts, by finding out how many people viewed product information or clicked-through to its product page. This information is super helpful in determining what type of products resonate with your followers, or where there might be a disconnect in the buyer’s journey. It’s also important to keep experimenting with images, copy, shopping tags per post. So, keep an eye on your analytics to understand your audience’s wants, improve your content, and to ultimately help you drive more traffic and sales.

Conclusion

Learning how to sell on Instagram offers businesses of all sizes incredible opportunities to reach their target audiences and drive sales.

Figuring out the dynamics behind selling on Instagram may take some time. It might also take you some time to start seeing results and converting your followers to dedicated customers. But by following the steps in this article and keeping an eye on the tips we’ve provided will make the process less intimidating.

So, if you haven’t already started optimizing your Instagram for sales, you may be missing out on a huge opportunity. Start now.

Image by: 7shifts via Unsplash.

Selina Bieber
Based in Istanbul, Selina is part of the GoDaddy EMEA team managing the Turkey and MENA regions to help grow the GoDaddy brand and business. With a background in marketing communications, Selina is passionate about small businesses, the entrepreneurial eco-system and leveraging digital technologies to get ahead of the game. Prior to joining GoDaddy, Selina led the PR activities of Facebook, VeriSign and Euler Hermes in Turkey, and was based in Amsterdam to head up regional media relations across Europe for a natural gas project. Selina is a self-professed foodie and travel addict.