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10 Effective Instagram Ecommerce Strategies to Adopt in 2021

Published on November 3, 2020 - Content Updated on December 8, 2021

10 Min Read
Instagram Ecommerce Strategy

Instagram seems like an effective platform for ecommerce entrepreneurs that offers a lot of potential for marketing and conversions. In my opinion, if ecommerce store owners play their cards right, their stores can become sale machines. Instagram ecommerce is undoubtedly the way to go in 2021. All you need to do is employ a clever Instagram marketing strategy that will allow you to scale your online store significantly.

Instagram has come a long way since Facebook purchased it in the spring of 2012. At that time, this photo-sharing app had 50 million active users per month but now, according to Statista, it has crossed a whopping billion active users per month.

Considering all those numbers, allow me to share a few Instagram marketing strategies that will not only increase your revenue but will also allow you to outgrow your business.

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With an effective Instagram marketing strategy, your brand will be able to reach a larger audience. Instagram helps you to generate valuable leads. It effectively allows you to build a community of loyal followers to whom you can showcase your products and garner feedback.

Let’s take a look at the Instagram marketing strategies that you can put in place to boost your ecommerce sales with Instagram.

1. Batch, Automate and Repeat

This simple Instagram marketing strategy is one of my favorites. Customers ask for authenticity. They enjoy when brands become a part of conversations during their buyer’s journey. However, creating content from scratch every day is tiresome. According to Neil Patel, the following productivity hack will save you a lot of time. Furthermore, it will make your Instagram ecommerce marketing highly efficient.

Batching – It means completing a task as much as you can in one sitting instead of completing it in periodic intervals. It improves productivity by eliminating transition time. It allows you to remain focused on the task at hand. With that said, you can employ batching to complete your Instagram tasks.

1. Creating Content

Ensure that all your content is of great quality. The better it is the greater engagement it will bring from your target audience. Before posting content, think! Create content around hashtags that are relevant to your products. The recommended Instagram image size are as follows:

  • Square Image – 1080 x 1080 pixels.
  • Vertical Image – 1080 x 1350 pixels.
  • Horizontal Image – 1080 x 566 pixels.

Your captions can reach up to 2,200 characters, including your Instagram handle. You can also outsource your content to marketplaces such as Upwork or Fiverr.

Once all the content is completed, move to the second task. You may or may not combine the two. It solely depends on you.

Instagram Image GuidelineImage Source: NeilPatel

2. Scheduling Content

Don’t waste time logging into Instagram every now and then. Instead, schedule a month’s content in advance by using tools like Latergramme. They ensure filling your Instagram feed with high-quality content at regular periods. They will also keep your target audience hooked at all times.

Instagram Scheduling tool like Latergramme

3. Engaging with Followers

Posting high-quality content isn’t enough. You need to engage with your followers as well. If your ecommerce store is gaining a large volume of sales then integrating customer service would be a good idea.

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2. Growth Hacking

As an ecommerce store owner, you need to figure out what works best for you as soon as possible. To grow Instagram following and brand awareness, there are two great hacks available. First, cross-collaboration with relevant influencers. Second, hold contests and provide free giveaways with the following types of posts.

  • Promotional Posts – It includes product posts or anything else that relates to your ecommerce store.

Instagram promotional PostsInstagram promotional posts can be anything creative

  • Conversational Posts – It includes posts that inspire your followers to engage in conversations. You can ask your followers a question here, offer giveaways or run contests.

Routine Instargam postRoutine Instagram post

  • Sharing Posts – Promote content with the help of your followers, bloggers and influencers.

Logal Paul’s Instagram PostImage Source: Logal Paul’s Instagram account

3. Follow the Rule of the Thirds

The ‘Rule of Thirds’ is a very effective guideline to come up with attractive photos. Let’s take a look at how to go about it.

Step 1: Forming The Grid

Visualize your product image with a 3 x 3 grid. It is 2 equally spaced vertical and horizontal lines that results in 9 equal parts as shown below.

Rule of the Thirds

Step 2: Placing Your Product

Now, you need to place your product along the intersecting points. For instance, in the following picture, the product’s placement is on an intersection point along the left grid.

Placing Your Product - Instagram Tips

Step 3: The Perfect Composition

Aligning your product like this will make it far more appealing than placing it at the center. Take a look at these two photos side by side. The picture on the left looks more appealing because of the rule of thirds. It evokes more interest compared to the one on the right as the product’s placement  is in the center.

The Perfect Composition of Instagram post

It’s not like that the photos without the rule of thirds will not be appealing. The Rule of Thirds is a guideline that has proven to be helpful, especially when you are just getting started. However, you can always create attractive photos without applying the Rule of Thirds.

4. Tagging Products

You need to tag products as it offers a clear call-to-action. It simplifies the purchasing process for the customer. Instagram allows business accounts to tag products in their posts just like tagging people. Tagging is one of the best Instagram marketing tips for businesses who wants to reach a broader audience.

Tagging Products in Instagram Ecommerce

The process is simple and within no time you can transform your Instagram into a sales channel. The following simple steps will get you started:

  1. Set up a shop section on your business Facebook page that connects it to Instagram and add your products to it. Select the option that allow customers to check out on your ecommerce website instead of Facebook. In this manner your inventory management system will always remain up to date.
  2. Wait until you get a notification on your Instagram account that you can start tagging products (which can take up to a few days).
  3. When posting an image, select the “tag a product” option to see a list of all the products you uploaded on your Facebook.

5. Hashtags Save Time

Hashtags on Instagram are powerful. You can insert up to 30 hashtags on each post. They allow your content to be visible to a wider audience. It helps in attracting new potential customers. To save your time on a daily basis, do relevant hashtag research. Once done, create and save a list of hashtags that you want to use.

For instance, if you frequently post product shots, quotes, or lifestyle images, then generate a list of relevant hashtags for each. Also add a few applicable hashtags to each post at the time of posting. Trending hashtags can change quickly so update your hashtag list periodically. Also, use relevant hashtags only and do not overuse them.

For your Instagram hashtag strategy you should always keep the user experience in your mind. Targeting new customers on Instagram requires time and patience but it certainly pays off. Search hashtags that are relevant to your products so that you can connect with customers who have similar interests.

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6. Boost Sales with Contests and User-Generated Content

Selling directly from Instagram might work out for you, however, making your followers feel special is also essential. Focus on building an engaging community with a variety of user generated content. Create an artistic and inspiring feed for your target audience. There are 3 types of content that breeds great trust and brings massive engagement on Instagram.

Selling on Instagram: Best Way to Reach $100,000 In Sales

  1. Behind the scenes photos – Take a look at the Instagram feed of Peppermint pine. It shares personal as well as private photos that show the current progress of its products. As a follower, you feel connected when you get to have a peek backstage. It makes them feel closer to your brand when you share behind the scene footages or photos.

Behind the scenes photos for Instagram EcommerceScreen grab of an studio’s photo-shoot

  1. Post user-generated content – Want to promote a friendly, down to earth and humane brand image? Then post pictures of your customers showing off your products. User generated content works like a charm. You’ll make them ecstatic by featuring them.

Post user-generated content - Instagram Ecommerce TipsStarbucks using user generated content on Instagram

  1. Run contests and giveaways – Many Instagram users follow brands simply because of the giveaways they offer. If you treat your customers the way they prefer, Instagram can lift up your conversions considerably. To announce your giveaways, use visually appealing graphics and overlay clear texts.

Run contests and giveaways - Instagram Ecommerce StrategyExample of a Contest on Instagram

7. Engagement Is The Key

Spend a significant amount of time to like, comment and follow your target audience. This will lead you to grow organically with impressive results over time.

Commenting on posts of others often lead them to visit your profile. Likes come in for a dime a dozen. However, engaging in a meaningful way with your followers gets more attention. If you engage with your target customers, they will often reciprocate likes and even start following your brand.

Purchasing likes or followers should not be in your best interest. It may seem like a quick fix, but in the long run you will be damaging your brand. When Instagram announce any algorithm change, they do not reveal the criteria for suppressing content. Accounts with a large number of followers but low engagement are obvious. There are great chances that Instagram will shadowban your account and suppress your reach.

8. Make Buyer’s Journey Effortless

By now you’re sharing quality content and are also getting noticeable engagement. Congratulations on filling the Instagram feed of your target audience with value-added posts. But, are your Instagram marketing efforts positively affecting your ecommerce store?

It is great to have a large number of Instagram followers. Also, higher engagement signifies better brand visibility. However, these are vanity metrics. To achieve sustainable growth, you will have to smoothen your buyer’s journey.

The traffic from Instagram mainly comes in from cell phones. Which is why your landing page must be mobile responsive. You can also leverage Instagram’s location feature. It is a great way of getting ecommerce sales from Instagram.

Showcasing products in an appealing way will trigger a huge demand. But, do not hard sell your products on Instagram. It can ruin your brand’s integrity. However, if you can get a tad bit creative, it won’t create much of a problem.

Also, consider using third-party tools such as Like2Buy. It translates all your Instagram photos into product pages on your website. With the links, you can easily track sales traffic alongside maintaining the brand’s scent. Customize your product gallery. Leverage retargeting tools to send product updates and re-engage customers.

9. Recruit Influencers

Uwheels generated over a million dollars in sales by relying on Instagram celebrities. FoundrMag gained half a million followers within a year by simply recruiting influencers. You can sponsor posts for $10-$20 each depending on the following size of the influencer. You will get incredible engagement from celebrity shout-outs.

You can even conduct an “Instagram Flash Mob,” like Madmen did. They coordinated 500 employees, fashion bloggers and editors to launch their campaign. It made their audience to think more about denim in their daily lives.

The result of #denimmadewell and #flashtagram? In total, the campaign created 1,600 posts, generated 160,000 likes and saw 8.5 million total impressions.

10. Pay Attention To Analytics

The best marketing strategies for Instagram always include reviewing analytics thoroughly. The in-app analytics provide you useful information. You can use this information to increase engagement. Under the audience tab you can see when your followers are most active on Instagram. Plan your future posts at these times to get a great mileage out of them.

Pay attention to the photos that get the most likes. It will give you an insight into what interests your audience the most. You can use this information to post more of what they want and increase engagement.

11. Use Instagram Stories

Instagram stories has made it a lot easier for users to engage with their followers. If you want to create a hip brand and offer some “behind the scenes” footage, you should definitely use Instagram Stories and regularly update them.

It’s a fantastic way to engage with your ardent followers and also give a more humanistic image behind your brand. Many companies are now doing this, and it’s the only way for your company to succeed in an increasingly competitive space.

12. Leverage Instagram Story Highlights

Regular Instagram stories vanish after 24 hours. But, what if there are a few videos that you want to leave up for longer periods of time? They could be highlights of an event you sponsored, or maybe a new product that you are launching.

With Instagram Story Highlights, you can easily leave up some of your most popular stories. Think of them as curated collections on your profile that will live permanently.

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To Sum Up!

So there you have it! The best marketing strategies for Instagram. The beauty of Instagram is that it does not demand a massive budget. You can increase your Instagram ecommerce sales with ease. Instagrammers enjoy shopping, so put in place the aforementioned Instagram marketing tips for businesses right away. Also, keep measuring your performance. Within a month, you should have enough data on the sales that you generated from Instagram.


A Quick FAQ: How to Promote Ecommerce Store on Instagram?

The top 6 practices to promote your ecommerce store on Instagram are:

1. Batch, Automate, Repeat!
2. Collaborations & Giveaways.
3. Always use high quality content.
4. Avail tagging.
5. Use relevant hashtags.
6. Share User Generated Content like reviews and testimonials.

If there are any other strategies that allow you to leverage Instagram and generate sales, feel free to mention them in the comments below.

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Sajjad Shahid

Sajjad is an Ecommerce Community Manager at Cloudways. He loves helping out Ecommerce store owners, merchants and marketers in establishing their businesses and startups. Sajjad enjoys playing table tennis and cricket over the weekend.

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