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16 Instagram Marketing Tips for Ecommerce Businesses


As an ecommerce business, your social media channels are one of your greatest assets to interact with your customers. 

Since you don’t have a physical store, social media is the best solution to building unique relationships with customers where they can learn more about your brand, feel a connection to your story and products and build that kind of rapport that turns customers into brand advocates. 


Through the right channels and strategy. 

Today, we’re going to focus on Instagram. If you’d like to learn how to use Facebook Messenger to increase sales, we’ve got a great article on our blog about how to do this. 

But for now, we’re going to talk about how to do social media marketing on Instagram. Let’s go!

How to do Instagram marketing

A whopping 80% of Instagrammers say that the platform helps them make a decision about purchasing a product. This is why it’s important for your ecommerce business to start investing in Instagram marketing practices. We’ll share the specific type of content you can create and share on Instagram later on, but first here are a few housekeeping tips to get you started with marketing on Instagram. 

Make your bio catchy and on-brand

There’s nothing interesting about a business bio that just contains a link to that business’ website. This is your chance to do something interesting, like sharing a bit of your brand story, to capture the attention of your users and potential customers. Here’s a great example from Naturalicious

Naturalicious Instagram Profile

Follow a branded theme for a consistent feel

Keeping a consistent color pallet and theme means your customers know what to expect from your posts. It also means your brand’s Instagram profile will be instantly recognizable when you maintain this consistency for a while. Your customers will start to expect the colors, patterns and content that they’re used to seeing, and it’s insanely satisfying. Check out LAC Swim, for example. 

LAC Swim Instagram Profile

Make sure you share high-quality images that stand out

The higher the quality, the better credibility for your brand. Customers want to see and experience everything about your business, that’s why they decide to follow you on Instagram. If you make that experience difficult with low-quality images, it’ll be hard for customers to want to continue engaging with you. Higher quality = higher engagement, always. 

Let your audience know you’re on Instagram

When your account is ready to rock, you’ll want to start finding your audience. There are a couple of tips and tricks you can use to grow your follower base. Here are a few: 

  • Announce your Instagram account on your other social media channels.
  • Start searching for and following your ideal customers. 
  • Include links to your Instagram on your website and in any marketing communications you send out.
  • Use paid ads to become discoverable. 

It’s true that 71% of users on Instagram are under the age of 35, if this is your ideal audience for your brand, you’ll have to put in some work to find them. 

Are you already crushing your Instagram marketing game? What about Facebook Messenger marketing? Check out how this brand saw $155,000 in monthly revenue using our Messenger strategies.

See How They Did It

Instagram marketing for ecommerce

Before you start actually marketing your business and products on Instagram, you’ll want to make sure your account is optimized for the best results. 200 million Instagram users visit at least one business profile every day, so make sure when those customers visit you, they actually follow you and stick around too. There are over 1 billion active users on Instagram, and 50% of those users follow at least one business. You’ll want to make sure your profile is a business profile and that it’s linked to Instagram Shop. Here’s what you should do to start marketing products on Instagram. 

Ensure your profile is a business profile

Have you set up your Instagram account as a business account? It’s super easy. You can do it in just seven steps:

  1. Go to your profile and find the menu icon.
  2. Go to your Settings.
  3. Click Account.
  4. Click “Switch to Business Account.”
  5. It’s recommended that you connect your business account to a Facebook Business Page that is associated with your business.
  6. Next, you can add any business details.
  7. Click done!

Making your profile a business one will make sure you’re eligible for Instagram Shop, and it gives you access to Instagram analytics. 

Make sure you’ve turned on Instagram Shop

Next, you want to set up Instagram Shop. To be eligible for Instagram Shopping, you have to meet the following criteria:

The reason being is with Instagram Shopping, you can share featured products through your organic posts and Stories, or have people discover your products in the search and explore section. All of this makes you more discoverable, and it helps people find the products you share and purchase them simply. For example, Ivory Ella uses Instagram Shop to label all their products, and customers can click the button to see more details about it and purchase it. 

Ivory Ella Instagram Post

Check post insights to understand analytics

Now that you have a business account and have set up Instagram Shop, you’ll have access to analytics and insights about your posts. Make sure you check these regularly so you have real data about what type of content performs best with your audience. This will tell you more about what posts you should be doing more of to maximize engagement. 

Leverage free tools that can help your profile presence

There are a ton of free tools available that will seriously help you with your Instagram marketing, scheduling and more. For example, you can make a free account on Hootsuite to connect a few of your social media apps. This will let you pre-schedule your posts so that you can sit back, relax and know your content will get published when you need it to.

Another great tool is Linktree. Since you can’t add links to Instagram posts, you only have one option to link in your bio. This is where Linktree comes in handy: you can add links to multiple landing pages through Linktree, so when customers click the link in your bio, they can choose where they want to go. Even Selena Gomez uses Linktree! You can make a free account too.

Selena Gomez Linktree account

Embed Instagram on your website

Don’t forget to include a way for customers to find your Instagram profile directly on your website. Whether you add the Instagram icon with the link or include a tab on your navbar that directs customers to a page featuring user-generated content, make it easy for customers to follow you if they’ve browsed your site and want to engage with you off-site too.

Types of Instagram content you can create

Once you have your profile optimized as a business and you’ve made sure you have a brand presence, it’s time to start thinking about the type of content you’re actually going to create and share on Instagram. On average, Instagram users spend about 28 minutes per day on the platform. In this 28-minute window, you are competing with other businesses and users’ friends to be seen. Create great-quality content that you share consistently so that your customers are always engaging with you when they’re active on Instagram.

Partner with influencers to amplify your brand presence 

Your potential buyers are engaging with friends and influencers all the time on Instagram. People get seriously attached to YouTubers, TikTok creators and big stars, so when these influencers recommend products their followers are interested in those same products too. On average, businesses make $5.20 for every $1 they spend on influencer marketing. Partnering with an influencer that has a following close to your target audience will help you amplify your reach. Check out how Maddie Ziegler, a famous dancer, actor and business owner, showcases the Fabletics brand on her Instagram.

Maddie Ziegler and Fabletics Instagram Post

In just two hours, this post got over 330,000 likes and 1,300 comments. The power of influencers and their social following is undeniable. 

Share user-generated content with an already-engaged audience

When you have a following, users will take photos of your products to share with their audience too. You can see these images in the “tagged” section on Instagram, where loyal customers will tag the business they purchased from when they share these images. With the quality of cameras on phones now, a lot of user-generated content is pretty high-quality; these images can be reshared on your Instagram profile to show your followers how much customers enjoy your products. This also gives your brand a human element to it as well, when real people share their real stories of using your products. Check out the high-quality images on Ella + Mila’s profile

Ella + Mila Tagged Instagram Section

Don’t forget to include people 

Speaking of adding a human element to your Instagram profile, make sure you share images of actual people once in a while. Sure, your products are great, but customers want to see people actually using them or wearing them. This helps them imagine themselves as better off with your products when they see other people with them too. For example, Jimmy Joy does a great job of switching their content between user-generated photos, influencer photos, product photos and branded designs. 

Jimmy Joy Instagram Page

Use the story feature and organize your stories with the highlight reel

Did you know that one-third of the most-viewed stories on Instagram are from businesses? Aside from regular posting photos and videos on your profile, a secondary way to engage with your audience is through Instagram stories, highlight reels and live videos. Instagram stories is your business’ opportunity to share content that’s different from what regularly gets posted on your main profile page: you can share behind-the-scenes footage, blog updates, sales announcements, new stock alerts, press or media coverage, or to have someone from the team speak directly to your audience about something important to give you a voice. 

Organizing your story content in a highlight reel using branded images spruces up your profile with more branding and opportunities to interact with followers. Taking a look at Jimmy Joy again, check out their highlight reel on their profile. It looks great!

Jimmy Joy Highlight reel

Tease new products to build excitement 

Before you drop a new product or line, you should build excitement around the announcement. Instagram is a great channel to get people excited about new product announcements because you can tease it through photos, videos and the story section. Breena Beauty teased the launch of their hand sanitizer with this Instagram photo:

Breena Beauty Instagram Teaser

Although this teaser is a bit more obvious because they talk about killing germs and sanitizing makeup in the description, you can be as secretive or as obvious as you want in your teaser campaigns. The point is to get people excited, and Breena Beauty did this well!

Use sponsored ads to boost engagement

Instagram’s advertising reach potential is up to 849 million customers! With sponsored ads, you can amplify a photo, video, story or carousel. If you’re going to sponsor a post, you’ll want to use one that matches the type of content people enjoy seeing on Instagram, meaning it’s high-quality, natural and candid, and features a person.

Offer contests and giveaways to increase your following

If you’re looking for a way to increase your follower base, a contest or giveaway is awesome at doing this. Instagram accounts that hold contests grow their followers 70% faster on average than accounts that don't. So, post about the giveaway or contest opportunity, and tell customers they can enter by tagging their friends. Boom! Automatically, you have new people discovering your brand through their friends, leading to new followers and potential new buyers. Don’t forget to amplify the contest announcement by sharing it in your stories too, like how Beauty Bio did! 

Beauty Bio Instagram Story Giveaway

Turn your business into an Instagram marketing machine!

There are a ton of ways your business can use Instagram to engage with its audience and increase sales. These Instagram marketing strategies for ecommerce are a great starting point for any business that wants to amplify their revenue using social media. Now you know the best way to marketing on Instagram, so go show your audience that you’re worth following! 

Once you become a pro at Instagram marketing, check out how you can use Facebook Messenger to personalize your marketing automation to drive sales too! We’ve seen brands seriously increase their revenue, like DOYOUEVEN; they saw $155,000 in additional revenue in just 30 days using Messenger and SMS. You can read about their strategy here too!

See How They Did It

The 250+ Page Playbook on Facebook Messenger & SMS Marketing for Ecommerce

Fast-growing DTC brands implementing this playbook have connected with 18x more customers, doubled their 7-day ROAS, recovered 5x more abandoned cart revenue & increased AOV 25%.


This article originally appeared in the OctaneAI blog and has been published here with permission.

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