Instagram began as a small social media platform solely available on the iTunes App Store. Since its release in 2010, Instagram has grown into one of the largest social media sharing sites on the web.
Just how large is Instagram?
According to the company’s recent findings, the photo sharing platform has over 500 million monthly active users. Over 300 million of these users log into their Instagram account every day.
That’s quite a user base for a platform that’s only been around for six years.
And if you think people are only using Instagram to look at cute pictures of dogs, think again: 68% of Instagram’s monthly active users engage with brands regularly. Even social media behemoth Facebook can’t compete with these numbers, with just 32% of their users interacting with brands on a regular basis.
Instagram has become essential to eCommerce. If you’re not using it, you’re missing out on unbelievable sales potential. And with Instagram’s newest algorithm change, you can make your posts more relevant than ever. No longer will your thoughtfully produced and carefully curated images go by the wayside, now that Instagram uses a non-chronologically based algorithm for organizing posts on your feed.
The key to success on Instagram comes from the quality of your content. People need to interact with it. You want likes, comments, and shares. The more engagement your posts get, the more highly they will appear on your followers’ Instagram feeds.
But how can you improve your Instagram engagement?
Read on to learn more about how you can take your Instagram posts from “blah” to “yeah!” and generate more sales from this social media behemoth
Let’s dive into our 4 best tips to generate sales from Instagram.
Tip #1: Post Consistently and Schedule Your Content
Brands who post regularly and consistently on Instagram achieve hiring engagement rates than those who post inconsistently. And logically so – you can’t interact with a brand who doesn’t give your something to interact with.
Posting regularly sounds easy at first. But once you start manually posting on Instagram day in and day out, you’ll spend more time than necessary doing so. Not to mention, this leaves room for a slip-up.
Want to remain consistent with your posts? Simple: schedule them beforehand!
Instagram doesn’t offer an in-app scheduling feature, but there are numerous third-party software you can use to automate your posts. Our favorite is Later, thanks to its clean user interface and beautiful design.
Simply put your posts together and schedule when you’d like them posted. Unfortunately, you will have to push your posts to Instagram manually, as the Instagram API doesn’t allow third-party software to post on behalf of the account owner. That being said, you’ll still save a lot of time by putting your posts together ahead of time, instead of creating them as you go to post them.
By automating your Instagram, you can make sure your followers are getting the content they want to see without dipping into your daily schedule.
Tip #2: Engage with Your Followers
Now that you’ve gotten a ton of comments on your photos, what do you do next?
Instagram is a social platform, and its users expect some sort of engagement when they interact with a post. How do you feel when you comment on something and don’t get a reply? In some cases, probably annoyed. From the opposite perspective, how excited do you get when your favorite Instagrammer replies to your comment on their photo?
By replying to comments, you establish a better, more personal connection with your followers. It’s a small thing, but it can mean a world of difference for those who comment on your posts.
Follower engagement comes in many shapes and forms. Maybe you thank them for their kind words, tell them a joke, or answer their questions. The type of engagement you use will largely depend on the size of your company.
If you have a company with a large volume of sales, you might consider using Instagram as an extension of your customer support team. Hundreds of shoppers turn to social media to discuss concerns with their favorite brands, and Instagram is no exception.
You might consider hiring a team of individuals to keep up with your Instagram engagement, if your company is large enough to garner so much interaction. By consistently replying to followers and answering their questions, you can establish yourself as a brand that cares about its customers and in-turn, generate more sales.
Tip #3: Make it Easy for Shoppers to Make Purchases
Have you ever seen a great offer, but turned away because it took too much effort to buy it?
Yeah, I have too. It’s frustrating. Nobody wants to jump through hoops to spend money.
Unfortunately, Instagram doesn’t let you link directly to any site in a post’s image or caption. You can feature a link in your images and captions, but your followers will have to copy and paste them into a browser to access them.
It might sound like a small inconvenience, but it’s enough to turn many people away. You’d be surprised at how this small feature can negatively impact your sales.
So what is one to do?
Fortunately, you can include hyperlinks on your Instagram bio. Here, you can include a link to your store, and your followers can go there directly without hassle. Your biggest challenge will be directing followers to your bio to access the link.
Direct followers to your link by outright telling them where to go. In your images or captions, tell your followers to click the link in your bio to access your store. Currently, this is the most effective method of directing customers to your stores.
It’s a shame Instagram doesn’t feature “Buy Now” buttons like Facebook and Twitter just yet, but by clearly asking your followers to go to your link, you can circumvent Instagram’s strange hyperlink rules and direct traffic to your store.
Tip #4: Hold Contests for Your Followers
Everyone loves free stuff. Especially your followers.
Ironically, giving away things for free is one of the best ways to generate more Instagram sales. By hosting giveaways or contests where followers can get something in return, you can generate insane amounts of engagement and in-return, an insane amount of sales.
But how do you run a giveaway on Instagram?
There are a few ways. You can follow the traditional “Like, comment, and share this post to be entered” rules, which are effective for smaller businesses looking to gain a foothold on Instagram.
Larger brands with bigger followings might consider a user-generated content (UGC) contest to generate more sales. Create a hashtag and ask your followers to share their own content based on a common theme. Offer a reward to the user who posts the best or most relevant image.
Ultimately, there are many ways you can run a giveaway. There are many different types of Instagram contests, and they’re one of the best ways to improve your reach and generate sales.
What are your tips for generating more sales on Instagram? Have you run any successful Instagram contests? If so, let us know in the comments below!
Special thanks to Neil Patel for insights on generating Instagram sales. You can read his original work on his blog, neilpatel.com.