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Selling on Instagram: Double Your Earnings the Right Way

May 7, 2019

10 Min Read
Selling on Instagram
Reading Time: 10 minutes

Ecommerce store owners and dropshippers have earned thousands of dollars through Instagram marketing. But this social media network is just too mysterious for one to understand in a single go. So we decided to decode it and reveal the secrets that can make selling on instagram easy for beginners.

Let’s learn about these secrets in detail.

There are some interesting facts about Instagram that every ecommerce marketer should know.

  • Over one billion people use Instagram every month
  • 12% users are from US
  • 70% users are between age 18 and 45, means they have more buying potential
  • 1/3rd Instagram users have purchased a product before
  • 75% users take an action outside of Instagram like visiting a website, or watching a third party video
  • Instagram is the only platform where you can’t add links in each post you publish

What Is Instagram Marketing & How Can You Benefit from It?

Instagram as a platform offers many options (both free and paid) to promote businesses organically. Users can post pictures using hashtags and certain keywords that will show those pictures to anyone who is searching for them on Instagram search.

Selling on Instagram Post Example

An example of account using Instagram hashtags to promote one of its products

The only problem with Instagram doesn’t let users post links. This means no redirecting users to their websites. Since it doesn’t allow links in post descriptions, users add a link in their bio so that interested ones can visit their websites.

However, this all is old school, and surely you are not here to learn about this. In fact, such types of marketing tactics have been repeated again and again and don’t have much impact on sales nowadays – unless of course – you have thousands of followers.

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How Much Can You Make with Instagram?

50% RoI? 100% RoI? Or even more?

While you must have heard this question frequently, selling on Instagram doesn’t guarantee any earnings first up. But, you can still get a significant return over time on the amount you have invested, if you remain consistent.

What Should be Your Budget for Instagram?

Zero if you manage it yourself. Or, $50 to $300 per month if you hire  Virtual Assistant (|VA).

For starters, you will need to schedule at least three posts per week with optimized hashtags and descriptions. These need to go on your Instagram feed on a regular basis. So, you may have to get help from a scheduling software like Hootsuite or Later.

Hootsuite is a premium software but you can manage an Instagram account for free. Now, if you have a social media manager, you may have to pay him/her on an hourly basis. These costs can vary from $5/hr to $25/hr. A better idea can be taken from Upwork and Fiverr.

Sell on Instagram Stories Examples

Fiverr is comparatively cheaper than Upwork and other social media platforms. Users on Fiverr charge per task rather than per hour.

The instagram algorithm works just like the Google algorithm. When you add more content to it, the algorithm gives value to your account until it reaches 10,000 followers. After that you may see decrease in account reach. You can learn more about this issue in this reddit post, ‘Consistently Losing Followers?

Once you reach the 10,000 threshold on Instagram, try to boost some of your posts through paid marketing campaigns.

Leverage Instagram Marketing Strategies To Boost Your Sales

Paid marketing budget can vary for each account on Instagram. The starting budget is $3 per post. You can increase it depending on the visibility your posts get. Better to split test first.

For example, you can create two campaigns of $3 for a week each, to boost Instagram posts.

Sell on Instagram statisticsSell on Instagram statistics

Note that reach of the Instagram posts may vary depending on the amount of budget you add to the campaign.

Instagram offers some great ways to promote businesses. We searched around the web and have shortlisted some of the best ones that can help Instagram users make the most of their marketing.

i. Create a Business Account

First of all, you must create a business account on Instagram. By default, you have a basic instagram account. But, if you want to measure metrics to know how many people are engaging with your posts, it is better to switch to an Instagram business account.

Create a Business Account

Once you are on the business account, you will get access to measuring metrics. Such as post engagements, impressions, demographics, and even location.

Here is how you can convert from basic Instagram account to a business account.

ii. Grow Your Follower Base

As mentioned earlier, you may have to build a following in the start of your business. If you only have a few followers, people will not take your business seriously. This is because beginner store owners have to build trust of their store before they can market to them. This means using attractive posts. Here are a few ones that work the best.

iii. Post Quotes from Influencers/Experts

One of the best ways to get engagement on your Instagram channel is with picture quotes.

Sell on Instagram Quote Example

The post above, has more than 5000 likes. It surely will generate interest amongst the visitors to become followers for this account. But do you know why it has so many likes? Because people love to read quotes on Instagram.

Even if you have a business account, a few quotes relevant to your industry won’t hurt your business.

iv. Human Interest Photos

The next best way to get a tangible follower base on Instagram is with high quality photos. Remember the ‘Humans of New York’ account? That guy built a business by just posting photographs of people on his social media page. Today, he is a famous content creator.

Human post example on Instagram

Screenshot of Instagram account of Humans of New York.

Similarly, as a business, you can post pictures of your employees, office parties, and even meetings. This helps build trust among your audience.

Post from the Google Instagram account

A screenshot of one post from the Google Instagram account.

v. Interesting Videos

Instagram has now added the IGTV channel. You can create your own videos and add them to the IGTV. Most people will watch your videos if they are your followers on Instagram. And, even if they aren’t, they can still see your videos if they are interesting and properly optimized.

As a business, use IGTV to promote your services and products to a large number of Instagram users. The more people see your videos, the more they are likely to follow you on Instagram.

Tips to Increase Instagram Followers

  • Post quality content consistently
  • Focus on what people like. Look what other people – who belong to your niche – past, and then  try to create your own. Remember, you can even steal content if it is under Creative Commons licensing.
  • Get creative with descriptions. Most people actually read them. Try to make them funny and appealing
  • Experiment with new hashtags that can give you more visibility in searches. There are new hashtags emerging with each passing day. Why not use them?
  • Remember to add call to actions with each post. If the purpose of a post is to get followers, then add that in the description.

vi. Sell With Instagram Stories

Stories are engaging. That’s why Snapchat took off. Now, the same feature is available on Instagram, why not use it to your advantage?

Now, the same feature is available on Instagram, why not use it to your advantage?

This is how one Instagrammer is using her account. People will reply to them with either pictures or images in the inbox. As a business, you can add product reviews in the stories, or even pictures with prices. Your followers will be able to see these stories for 24 hours. They are available in multiple formats so use those that work best for you.

  • Type: Text-based posts available in a variety of design with colorful backgrounds.
  • Live: Real-time streams for your audience. When you go live, your followers with get a notification. You can share these livestreams as stories on Instagram
  • Boomerang: One-second looping videos for Instagram stories.
  • Focus: Pictures where you can keep your subject’s face in focus.
  • Superzoom: Create dramatic effects by zooming-in on your subject from afar. You can also add humorous effects like Paparazzi or Surprise.
  • Rewind: Videos that play back in reverse.
  • Hands-free: Record videos without holding the record button.

By creating interactive stories, you can bring traffic to your website or even product landing pages. The best part is that you can also add links in your stories on Instagram. It’s time to get benefit from this amazing feature.

Some brands like to get direct with their followers. Take Kalelee Creations as an example. The brand wanted to get subscribers for its newsletter and promoted that through stories on Instagram.

Sell on Instagram Example

vii. Partner with Influencers

Most ecommerce stores promote their products on Instagram through social influencers. They can have followers ranging from 1,000 to 100,000. And, they charge from $10 to $1000 for a single promotion. There are thousands of these, each specific to a single niche. Find a few whorelate with your business, vet them by asking some genuine questions, and then hire them for your brand promotion.

It makes sense to promote your products through influencers when your account has a relatively small followerbase. This will spread the word and allow you to interact with more people. And, if any one of these people liked your post or followed you, then this is an additional promotion of your business.

influencer post

Screengrab of an influencer post @Focusstars

One problem with Instagram is that you can’t use any links in the posts. The social media website only allows links in stories section. So, if you really want people to come to your website, then either you have to post the content in stories section, or use the ‘Link In Bio’ feature.

Sell on Instagram Link in bio Example

The problem with this?

You can only post a single link in bio section of Instagram. But there is a work around available. Most extensions now allow users to create a separate landing page and post that link in bio. This means, if people want to get more information about a product displayed in a Instagram post, they can click on the ‘link in bio’ and get to that landing page. The end result will be something like this:

Sell on Instagram Example

Image from WanterSutra.com – LinkTree extension for Instagram

Another option is to use Like2buy Instagram extension. It replicates your Instagram account on a landing page and provides you its link. You can add this link to your Instagram bio section. When users click on the link, they are taken to that landing page to buy products or to find more details about them. Here is the tool in action.

Sell on Instagram Product posts Example

Landing page of Like2buy tool

Items you can shop from the Instagram post

Instagram also offers a ‘Shoppable post’ feature that allows you to tag products in photos you post on Instagram.

ix. Instagram Shoppable Posts

Instagram launched this feature in the mid of 2018. The shoppable post feature allows users to sell directly through their Instagram account. The posts are only available for a selected number of accounts at this time, but Instagram promises to roll the feature out to everyone in the next few months.

Sell on Instagram Tag Product Example

With these shoppable ads, viewers can directly buy products from the posts. You will first connect your Facebook account with Instagram and then add product catalogue to start promoting shoppable posts.

Sell on Instagram Examples

People will be able to see the shop icon with each Instagram post that has shoppable products available.

Note: Instagram needs to approve your account for shopping on Instagram before you can add shoppable posts.

Free CPM Calculator – Make Your Ads Profitable

x. Promote with Paid Marketing

Lastly, you can sell on Instagram through paid marketing. Instagram has over one billion users and almost 200 million people use it every single day. Here are a few post types you can promote on Instagram platform.

  • Collection Ads: Collection Ads are specifically made to promote store products through Instagram. The collection is a product catalogue that shows up on a video or picture that you choose.

Sell on Instagram Product post Example

  • Stories Ads: Stories Ads allow you to add a link and a CTA to ads that run between stories on a user’s screen.

Product placing example on Instagram

  • Photo Ads: Photos ads are sponsored photos. Unlike simple photo promotions, you can add a CTA with each to bring users to your website, or to show them more details about your products.

Sell on Instagram Example 4

  • Shoppable Ads Shoppable ads allow users to see and buy products available in a photo on Instagram.

Product tagging on Instagram

Q1. Can you enable shoppable Instagram ads for free?

Currently, the Instagram shoppable ads are available on selected accounts only. When Instagram allows the shoppable post on all accounts, only then you will be able to use them. But there is news that even when it is enabled on all accounts, Instagram will keep it as a premium feature. As the products need to be uploaded through the Facebook ad manager, therefore this feature won’t come for free.

Q2. Why Instagram doesn’t allow links in posts?

The USP of Instagram is to keep itself link-free. And, that is one reason most people use it on a daily basis. If it had links, it would be filled with spam posts and no genuine users would use it. Pinterest and StumbleUpon, both had links enabled, but not many people use them on a daily basis. In fact, StumbleUpon has shut down because it was not profitable.

Q3. How can you increase followers to sell on Instagram?

The only way to get genuine followers on Instagram is to build up your account from scratch. The account will take time to get traction, but if you remain consistent and keep posting relevant and interesting  content, your Instagram followers will increase soon enough.

Bottom-Line

With so many features available, selling on Instagram will become a lot more interesting in the time to come. Moreover, Instagram now aims to monetize IGTV and promises a full roll-out of shoppable ads. Both these steps will help Instagram users, especially store owners and influencers to get more RoI from their posts.

Are you selling on Instagram? What tactics are you using to get more return from your posts. Let us know in the comments below.

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Sharjeel Ashraf

Sharjeel loves to write about startups and ecommerce. In his free time, he is on the road or working on some cool project in his den.

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