Instagram has gone through a fascinating revolution, putting it in the ranks with Facebook and Youtube in terms of marketing relevance.

Even before Facebook acquired this photo-based social media app in 2012, Instagram has proven to be a serious game-changer. Marketers have since realized the importance of being present and active on the social media platform in order to reach niched communities and connect with hyper-targeted audiences by using relevant and creative visual content.

With over 500 million users, there’s no wonder that about 90% of the best 100 brands in the world have an Instagram account. Marketers usually post photos of their products and build a community by partnering with influencers as they reinforce their brand’s messaging and gain more customers, that, in turn, will contribute in an increase in sales.

Instagram Marketing Guide
Instagram Marketing Guide

This trend isn’t changing in the near future. Reports estimate that there will be an additional 26.9 million Instagram users between 2016 and 2020, double that of expected user increase for Twitter. If you’re an e-commerce business marketer, this only tells you one thing: don’t take Instagram for granted.

If you are planning to elevate your Instagram marketing techniques, here are 5 tips that will help you use Instagram for business and marketing:

Optimize your profile and create a compelling bio

Imagine this: You’re browsing through your feed and see a post by your friend featuring an awesome product she recently bought. You think it’s interesting and decide to check it out for yourself. As you head on over to the tagged Instagram account, you check out their bio and profile, but unfortunately, it says nothing about what their brand is about and doesn’t even have a link to a website or at least a Facebook page. Worse, they’re using bad photos!

Would you feel compelled to take them seriously? Most likely not.

If your Instagram account’s bio and profile are anywhere near what’s described above, no wonder most visitors would feel compelled to turn back around and leave your Instagram page for good.

In order for your e-commerce Instagram page to have an attractive feel to it, you should at least write a bio that comprehensively describes what your business is and how it is different from the competition.

Be creative in your Instagram bio description as this only has a 150-character limit. You should also make good use of the link in bio area as this is the only link that will be clickable for your customers. You might want to change this from time to time, depending on promotions or giveaways that you’ll run in the future (more of this in the next few tips!)

Take a look how Michael Kors optimized their Instagram account:

Instagram Marketing Techniques

You should also choose the right profile photo that represents your brand, which, in most cases, can be filled in by your logo. If you still don’t have a logo for your e-commerce business, then maybe you should revisit the basics with this guide about starting e-commerce stores. Before setting up an Instagram account, see to it that you have other vital aspects of an e-commerce business laid out so that there will be fewer issues along the way.

Consistently post the right content

Now that you have your e-commerce business’ Instagram bio right, it’s time to give your content priority. Be strategic about what you put on your Instagram page. While it’s obvious that you can post product images on your account, don’t bombard it with images that are meant to sell.

Here are some ways to leverage your Instagram’s content to reach your goals:

Analyse the competition

In order to set yourself apart from your competition, you should be able to identify what they’re doing first. To do this, identify your key competitors and analyze what they are doing on Instagram by asking these question:

  • How big is their reach/audience?
  • What are their posts about?
  • How often do they post?
  • What hashtags do they use?
  • Are they tagging a specific set of influencers?
  • How much engagement do they normally get?

This will give you a good look at the landscape, which can help you position yourself differently and compete directly if you so choose.

Establish your aesthetic

Here’s a hard truth: a smorgasbord of posts doesn’t work on Instagram. In fact, some marketers go to great lengths to make their feed appealing by curating posts, as well as plotting each post first before it goes live.

You should be doing the same.

One of the easiest ways to establish your brand ethos is by pulling from your brand guidelines. Dedicate some resources in identifying which color hues, design elements, and typography work well with your brand.

Instagram Marketing Techniques

When building your Instagram aesthetic, think about inclusiveness. “One look, one feel, one sound” is your goal across all your platforms and ad placements.

Other than the above elements, photography is very crucial for your products. Here are some guides that you can use to further improve your products aesthetics:

The Complete Guide to DIY Product Photography – A very good guide to branding, product photography, basics to advance guide. It also comes with a handy checklist.

5 Professional Product Photography – A nifty guide from Petapixel, it gives five tips for people who want to understand product photography for the modern day e-commerce.

Have consistency on your posts

As with any other social media platform, identifying the right frequency and scheduling of posts is vital in how your community will grow. Post too often and you risk annoying your audience; post too sparsely and you might get lost in the clutter.

On Instagram, the best practice is to post 1-2 times a day. But of course, this will ultimately depend on your target audience and your goals.

Make the most hashtags

One of the most relevant differences of Instagram from Twitter and Facebook is how it treats hashtags. While all of them uses hashtags to help users find posts on a certain topic, Twitter uses this to generate Trends. Instagram, on the other hand, has a user interface that conveniently allows its users to “explore” hashtags, making it easier for marketers to reach more people with more hashtags.

Instagram Marketing Techniques

When you use more hashtags in a post, you’re making your post visible in more hashtag searches, which can help your post get more impressions and interactions. However, bear in mind that using too many hashtags that aren’t related to your post can be deemed spammy, so make sure that you only use hashtags that are related to your topic. Usually, marketers use an average of 4-8 hashtags per post.

Create a shoppable feed

Instagram Marketing Techniques

Its one thing to let your customers see your products in glamorous photos on Instagram, and it’s another when you lead them directly to the product page leading them to make a purchase. This is exactly what Instagram will let its e-commerce marketers do in the coming years. In fact, this feature has already been tested since late 2016 and was currently rolled out to users in 9 countries.

Instagram shoppable posts allow for a seamless shopping experience for users on Instagram’s mobile app. It works like a normal photo tag, but instead shows price and product information and leads to a dedicated product page before being led to your e-commerce site.

Host awesome giveaways

Instagram Marketing Techniques

A classic and proven way to grow your Instagram page is by hosting a giveaway. Everyone loves free stuff, but of course, you can’t just be giving away things without something in return. By designing your giveaway’s mechanics based on your goals, you let giveaway participants help you out in achieving your goals.

For instance, if you’re looking to get more followers, you can ask your participants to follow your account in order to qualify, plus a number of rules to make your giveaway become more effective.

Mastering Instagram for your e-commerce

When using Instagram for business, there will be more additional factors you would have to consider in order to achieve success.  Don’t be afraid of experimenting with a variety of strategies (check out this Instagram marketing guide from Shopify) and in deviating from some best practices.

Always remember that what works for others might not work for you. As long as you closely track your results through insights monitoring, consistently engage with your audience by replying to comments, and address customer concerns in DMs, you’ll begin to see why investing your time and effort in Instagram is a good decision.

Juliette Anderson

Outreach Community Specialist Juliette Anderson is dedicated to educating businesses in e-commerce fulfilment. Equipped with knowledge of managing several e-commerce companies for four years, she knows how important it is for businesses to understand e-commerce logistics and demand.