A New World of Marketing Is Opening Up on Instagram

  • By Frank Hamilton
  • 08-09-2022
  • Social Media
instagram marketing

Instagram has been a profitable platform for businesses and entrepreneurs for years now, but with new features being introduced every year, it is only going to develop more. New opportunities appear on the platform all the time—you just need to seize them at the right moment.

That’s where e-commerce comes in. More specifically, social commerce. Instagram has made it much easier for users to browse and purchase products without leaving the platform. Without further ado, here’s how a new world of marketing is opening up on Instagram and how you can make use of it.

What is social commerce?

First and foremost, you need to understand what social commerce is. To put it simply, social commerce is the combination of e-commerce and social media. Brands both big and small as well as influencers can sell their products and services on social media platforms. Users browsing the platforms don’t need to leave them to make their purchases because everything can be bought through these platforms.

This unique fusion of e-commerce and social media was a natural development considering the growing popularity of both during the past decade. Many people got used to shopping online while also spending a lot of time scrolling through the posts on their favorite social media platforms. That’s why letting users shop on social media made things easier both for sellers and buyers.

On one hand, businesses could now reach their target audience much easier. On the other hand, it was easier for customers to make purchases. As a result, social commerce quickly grew in popularity and is still developing and expanding. The biggest social media platforms have all introduced social commerce features such as Instagram Shopping, Facebook Shops, Pinterest Shopping, Snap Store, and others.

What is Instagram Shopping?

As mentioned above, Instagram is one of the social media platforms that offers social commerce features. Instagram Shopping is that set of features that includes:

Shoppable Posts: Instagram posts where businesses can display their products and allow users to purchase these products by clicking on the links attached to the image.

Shoppable Stories: Instagram Stories that work similarly to shoppable posts where products can be linked to be purchased by users.

IGTV Shopping: Just like posts and Stories, you can use IGTV videos where you can tag products for users to purchase.

Instagram Reels Shopping: Likewise, you can create Instagram Reels with shoppable links.

Explore Tab Shopping: Users can visit the Explore tab and shop from there. Essentially, it is a tab specifically for shopping.

With all these Instagram Shopping features available to you, you could pretty much create a virtual storefront solely on the platform. You can still sell your products on other social media platforms as well as on your website, but Instagram already offers you everything you need. There’s also the fact that having a brand account on Instagram will help you increase brand awareness and recognition, grow your follower base, and connect with your audience. Moreover, you can also launch ad campaigns on Instagram to attract even more customers.

By combining Instagram’s social commerce capabilities with its regular social media features and advertising functionality, you can successfully establish your brand on the platform. It’s easy for businesses and influencers alike to get started with Instagram in no time. You still have a lot of competition to deal with, but it is easier to continue getting traction once you kickstart your strategy on the platform. Go through the following steps to set up your own business account on Instagram and start using the platform for social commerce:

Set up your Instagram account

If you don’t already have a brand account on Instagram, setting one up is the first thing you will have to do. You will need to set up an Instagram account with your business email and brand name. Then, go to Settings. This is where the main deal happens because here you will need to change your account from a personal one to a business one. You can do this by going to the “Account” section and choosing “Switch to Professional account”.

Then, you will be asked to choose whether you are a Creator or a Business. You will have to choose what type of creator or business you are, enter your information, and link your Facebook page. Linking your Facebook page is important for several reasons. It allows you to use full Instagram Shopping functionality as well as set up ad campaigns that run on both Instagram and Facebook (because the two platforms are both owned by Meta). Don’t forget to fill in your bio, add a profile picture, and follow relevant accounts.

Once you finish setting up your Instagram account, you will need to set up Instagram Shopping. Go to Settings again and choose the “Business” section. Click “Set up Instagram Shopping” and then “Get Started”. You will be asked to connect your product catalog from one of the platforms: Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento, or WooCommerce. Once your product catalog is connected, you will be able to tag products in your posts to link them to the products in your catalog.

A good practice is also to utilize your bio to its fullest. You can link your website or include a link with a landing page that features a list of links (e.g. to your website, other social media accounts, YouTube channel, etc.) If you have any sister accounts on Instagram (e.g. an account for customer support), you can also link them in your bio. If there is a branded hashtag you are using (e.g. to encourage UGC from your followers), you can also include it in your bio. Emojis can also make the text in your bio appealing, but don’t go overboard.

Start creating content for Instagram

Now that everything is in place, you can start creating content for your Instagram account. This content will help you increase brand awareness and recognition and gradually grow your follower base. Doing this is crucial for you to be able to sell your products on Instagram. With many followers and a high engagement rate, you will have more returning customers who will be loyal to your brand. As you gain more followers, your business will grow and you will be selling more products through Instagram.

To post on Instagram consistently and effectively, you will first need to create your Instagram content marketing strategy. Here’s how you can do this:

Define Your Target Audience: Start by defining your target audience. Remember that this can be somewhat different from your website’s target audience because you are working specifically with Instagram as a platform. Think about the age, gender, education level, marital status, geographic location, interests, and preferences of your target audience among other things. Once you start posting content, advertising, and selling on Instagram, you will be able to access Instagram Insights. Insights are perfect for checking your analytics and understanding your audience better. If you define your target audience incorrectly from the start, you will still be able to adjust it after checking Insights.

Set Your Goals and Priorities: Next, you will need to set your goals and priorities. In the beginning, you will likely want to grow your follower base before you start focusing on sales. That’s why you will need priorities. You can shift them over time, but every time you set them, they will help you stay on track and budget smartly. For instance, if you decide to focus on brand awareness, you will want to post often and always create high-quality content with the potential to go viral. On the other hand, you might want to focus on sales and launch a native ad campaign on Instagram.

Create Content Guidelines: The next thing you should do is create content guidelines. These will need to define the topics you will be covering in your content, the formats you will use, the way you will utilize your brand voice, and so on. Moreover, content guidelines are essential for consistency. They provide you with a standard that you will maintain throughout all your content marketing activities which is particularly important for high content quality.

Plan Your Posting Schedule: In addition to content guidelines, you will also need to have a posting schedule that will ensure that you publish content regularly. Keep in mind the balance between content quality and quantity. Posting regularly is important but posting too much can be annoying and can lead to poor content quality. When planning your schedule, it is also essential to check the times when your target audience is the most active (i.e. times of the day and days of the week).

Decide How You Will Create Content: You can create your content yourself or you can outsource it either entirely or partially. Outsourcing your content creation could help you save both time and money and let you focus on other aspects of your marketing. You can hire a professional writer from the custom writing reviews site Trust My Paper who will help you with content creation. In addition to your own, original content, you can also curate user-generated content. UGC is ideal as a form of social proof and can help you connect and interact with your audience. You can also utilize influencer marketing, in which case influencer content will also be a part of your content marketing strategy on Instagram.

Utilize different marketing techniques

In addition to posting content on your Instagram profile, you can also utilize a variety of other marketing techniques that will help you achieve your goals. Here are some of the most popular ones to try:

Influencer Marketing: As mentioned above, you can utilize influencer marketing as a part of your strategy. At its core, influencer marketing is similar to celebrity endorsements (but on a smaller scale). You can either focus on macro- or micro-influencers. Macro-influencers have a bigger audience, but they usually have lower engagement rates than micro-influencers. Macro-influencers also charge more per post, so it’s better to start from micro-influencers if you have a small budget. Once your brand is big enough, you can even collaborate with influencers by letting them create unique designs for your products that they will promote and you will sell.

Giveaways and Competitions: If you want to kickstart the growth of your account as successfully as possible, it’s a good idea to host a giveaway or a competition. You can host them regularly if you want, but they are particularly effective for getting those first followers that will help you gradually grow your account. Giveaways and competitions also help you increase your brand awareness and recognition while also potentially giving you social proof. When your winners get their prizes (which are usually products that you are selling), they will likely post about these products online and encourage people to buy them from you.

Commenting and Regramming: Instead of always waiting for users to come to your profile, you need to actively seek out interactions with them yourself. Do this by commenting under the posts of other brands or even regular users. A funny comment could encourage a user to check out your account and potentially follow you or even purchase something from you. Regramming, or reposting posts and Stories, is also a great way to interact with potential followers and customers. For example, you can repost someone’s content on your Stories and tag the person saying how much you liked the content.

Hashtags and Tagging: Speaking of tagging, it is another technique you should definitely try. Tagging and mentioning other users and brands is a way to attract attention to yourself and to start conversations. That being said, you still need to be careful not to come off as attention-seeking. Likewise, you can use hashtags to make your content more easily discoverable. General hashtags, trending hashtags, industry hashtags, and branded hashtags will all help you reach a wider audience and target users that you are the most interested in.

Live Streaming: Instagram Live is another good feature to use for improving engagement. Your current followers will be notified when you start a live stream where you can answer their questions, launch new products in real-time, etc. You can also schedule webinars and host them through this feature. Regular webinars on relevant topics can help you attract users that are not your followers at the moment that could be potentially interested in your content and your products.

Launch Instagram ad campaigns

Last but not least, don’t underestimate the power of Instagram ad campaigns. You can launch these simultaneously on Instagram and Facebook for an even greater effect. Moreover, Instagram allows you to create native ads, you can order content for it from different writing services with best essays.

Simply put, these are ads that look like the content on the platform where they are posted. So, for example, a native Instagram ad will look like a regular Instagram post except for some details that will signal to users that this is actually an ad (i.e. the “Sponsored” tag will show up under the username of the poster).

Instagram Advertising can be effective all on its own, but if you combine it with the aforementioned techniques, you can achieve even better results. Follow these steps to set up your first Instagram ad campaign:

Understand Different Ad Types: There are five different ad types you can use on Instagram, including photo ads, video ads, carousel ads, Stories ads, and ads in Explore. Photo, video, and carousel ads appear as sponsored posts in-between regular posts in users’ feeds. Stories ads appear as sponsored Stories in-between regular Stories. Ads in the Explore tab can appear as shoppable ads, subject-oriented feeds, and more.

Choose Your Ad Posts: To create a photo, video, or carousel ad, choose one of your posts and click “Promote”. Keep in mind that different posts will work in different ways as ads. It’s a good idea to create a number of posts with the specific purpose of turning them into ads. Make your captions short and precise and add high-quality images or videos. You can even promote your post announcing a giveaway or competition to attract more attention to it.

Optimize The Campaign: Select your goal and target audience before choosing your budget and campaign duration. Finalize your choices and pay for the campaign. Go through the same steps for all the posts you want to turn into ads. You can also do this for your Stories if you want to create Stories ads in addition to photo, video, and carousel ads. Don’t forget that you can also use other techniques (e.g. shoppable posts) on these ads for an even greater effect overall.

Final words
To summarize, Instagram is definitely a good platform for social commerce. It has a large user base and numerous features that allow businesses and entrepreneurs to set up their own profiles and start selling their products and services in no time. Use the tips in this article to help you get started with Instagram shopping and begin using social commerce to your advantage.

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Frank Hamilton

Frank Hamilton is a blogger and translator from Manchester. He is a professional writing expert in such topics as blogging, digital marketing and self-education. He also loves traveling and speaks Spanish, French, German and English.