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11 Expert Instagram Marketing Tips For E-commerce Businesses

11 Expert Instagram Marketing Tips For E-Commerce Businesses

16 min read

Eighty percent of Instagram’s 1 billion audience follows at least one business page on the platform. More, 20% or 200 million Instagram users visit a business profile every day.

Instagram continues to help businesses maximize profits by incorporating new features like product tagging in their “shoppable posts.” That takes Instagram selling to a whole new level!

If you haven’t heard already, Instagram has made it possible for shoppers to buy right within the Instagram app, without ever having to click to a business website. Instagram’s “shoppable posts” now let shoppers buy a product fast and hassle-free. Capture those impulse buyers with compelling Instagram posts!

To take advantage of this seamless, no-middleman shopping opportunity, read these comments from 11 social marketing experts.

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Tips from e-commerce experts for small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.
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Molly Marshall

Molly Marshall, Molly Marshall Marketing:
Will Instagram become the largest mobile e-commerce platform?
 — Man, that is difficult to dispute! Instagram is so powerful, with over 1 billion active monthly users. Instagram has brilliantly created ways to serve their user base without requiring them to leave the app. Other social media platforms lag behind in capabilities and user base. For an e-commerce site, it’s all about the numbers, driving website traffic and optimizing conversions. Instagram creates a unique opportunity for e-retailers to meet their ideal customer where they are already spending time on the mobile web.

What’s your #1 Instagram marketing tip?
 — Storytelling is such a big part of effective Instagram marketing, and it’s really important that you have a clear story that you are trying to tell through your Instagram imagery and captions. Instead of simply showing merchandise, how can you sell a lifestyle with your brand? How do your products enhance someone’s life or well-being? These are the stories brands need to be telling, instead of simply just sharing the features and benefits of the products they are trying to sell.

Brian Peters

Brian Peters, Strategic Partnerships Manager at Buffer:
Will Instagram become the largest mobile e-commerce platform?
 — I absolutely believe that Instagram is the biggest and most exciting frontier for e-commerce businesses in 2018 and beyond. With features like product tagging [also called “shoppable posts”], Instagram will help to power the online retailers (both big and small) by rapidly growing into the most powerful mobile e-commerce platform.

What’s your #1 Instagram marketing tip?
 — My biggest tip for selling on Instagram is to make your ad content feel native to the Instagram platform. Your ads should be highly visual and non-spammy. Advertisers that can make their content feel as if someone were following a friend in their feed will be incredibly successful.

Lauren Bath

Lauren Bath, a Digital Influencer:
Will Instagram become the largest mobile e-commerce platform?
 — With features like product tagging, Instagram is making it easier for consumers to make fast decisions online and follow through with convenient shopping on items they’ve seen. I believe this will be a game changer for online shopping and will encourage a lot more impulse buying. With a great content strategy and good products to sell, the potential is there.

What’s your #1 Instagram marketing tip?
 — My number #1 Instagram marketing tip would be to grow a community of like-minded people and to not push sales too hard. Concentrate on good content and the rest will take care of itself.

Aaron Ward

Aaron Ward, Online Entrepreneur and Digital Marketer:
Will Instagram become the largest mobile e-commerce platform?
 — Instagram is a top player for mobile e-commerce, especially as they introduce new features such as product tagging. It’s a perfect way to visually show your product and instantly get them into the sales funnel without leaving the platform. In addition, you can also retarget these interested users (users who engage with your posts) via Instagram or Facebook ads in the Facebook Ads Platform, which can seriously boost your ROI.

What’s your #1 Instagram marketing tip?
 — Focus on generating content which shows the lifestyle or result users can expect after purchasing your product. To do this, you can use influencers or models. For example, anyone can buy a watch, so don’t post a picture of it on a white background: it tells you nothing other than “hey it’s a good looking watch”. Instead sell them the concept that if you buy this watch, your life gets much better too. I like to use the analogy of “buy this car and get the beautiful girl.” Do the same with your posts. So for a watch, it should be an influencer (or model) skydiving out a plane over Hawaii wearing the watch.

Donna Moritz

Donna Moritz, Visual Storyteller and Content Strategist at Socially Sorted:
Will Instagram become the largest mobile e-commerce platform?
 — Instagram is well on the way to having a massive edge in the world of e-commerce. It’s growing at a rapid rate and is full of users spending hours scrolling through images and watching stories and videos for entertainment. When you consider that 80% of followers on Instagram follow businesses and 1/3 of the most viewed stories are stories created by businesses… the opportunity for e-commerce is huge. We’re already following our favourite shopping brands, and now we can buy from them in a couple of clicks. When you add influencer marketing to this, the potential is huge for brands.

It may not be Amazon just yet, but Instagram will most likely forge a new kind of shopping experience; one where we can be entertained while we shop! What remains to be seen is if  like Amazon — we will end up buying direct from Instagram, with Instagram taking a cut of it all!

What’s your #1 Instagram marketing tip?
 — Focus less on selling and more on providing value to build trust first — then selling flows more easily. And don’t hurry to send people outside of Instagram external links. There’s real value in using direct messages to engage and connect with your customers before making the sale.

Dr Dave Chaffey

Dr Dave Chaffey, the author of Digital Marketing Excellence and co-founder of Smart Insights:
Will Instagram become the largest mobile e-commerce platform?
 — In many sectors, Instagram is THE most engaging social media platform with much higher engagement rates than Facebook or Twitter. New tools like product tagging give two-way integration of social commerce with your website to give a more seamless transition from Insta to your e-commerce site.

What’s your #1 Instagram marketing tip?
 — Social proof and engagement are incredibly important in persuading first-time buyers yours is a brand they can trust. So make sure genuine Instagram testimonials and comments and integrate your Insta page with your website.

Adina Jipa

Adina Jipa, co-founder Socialinsider:
Will Instagram become the largest mobile e-commerce platform?
The business case for Instagram e-commerce is strong. With features like shoppable posts and the rapid adoption of the Instagram features — Instagram Stories 400M daily active users — Instagram is becoming a significant player in the e-commerce segment.

Advertising on Instagram is exploding, and now it’s even easier to sell on Instagram. Early this year, Instagram launched their shoppable posts feature, which offers an entirely new way for your followers to shop your products directly from your Instagram posts or Stories.

High-volume merchants or local merchants use this platform to generate engagement, then sales. On Instagram, one must prioritize engagement first, and then sales.

What’s your #1 Instagram marketing tip?
Define your buyer persona before jumping into selling on Instagram. Bernadette Jiwa has a great template — the empathy map — on how to describe your buyer persona which it perfectly fits with Instagram too.

empathy map

Envision your Instagram audience by answering this question: “What does your customer say, think, do and feel on Instagram?” Identify their feelings, thoughts, and attitudes, then develop a content strategy for your profile.

Amanda Webb

Amanda Webb, Digital Marketer For Small Business:
Will Instagram become the largest mobile e-commerce platform?
 — Instagram will definitely be king or queen of the impulse buy. It’s hard to resist when you see those beautiful images, and too easy to buy when you can just click a link. However, it’s not the place we go to find a product we want to buy, I think search and the big sites like Amazon and eBay will still thrive when we are intentionally buying.

What’s your #1 Instagram marketing tip?
 — For selling on Instagram, it’s all about the visual. Knowing that purchases made on Instagram will usually be impulse buys, your image or video needs to capture attention, be aesthetically pleasing, be square so it doesn’t jar with the format and be beautiful.

Shane Barker

Shane Barker, Digital Strategist:
Will Instagram become the largest mobile e-commerce platform?
 — Instagram is a visual platform designed to edit and share impressive photos and videos. Many brands, especially fashion and clothing brands, have already started to use Instagram to showcase their products. Consumers also enjoy checking out the trending products featured here. Some also choose to actually visit the brand’s site and shop for them. With so many people already using Instagram to look at product images, a product tagging feature makes complete sense. Such a feature can bridge the gap between brands and buyers.

It can make it easier for people to buy products that appeal to them. With personalized product recommendations displayed in various creative formats, Instagram can create a seamless shopping experience for users.

And yes, I think we can expect it to become the largest mobile e-commerce platform. I totally believe in the marketing potential of influential Instagrammers. The best way to sell faster and more on Instagram is through effective influencer collaborations.

What’s your #1 Instagram marketing tip?
You should find the right influencers in your niche and ask them to promote your products or services. These influencers have a huge following that trusts their recommendations. They can showcase your amazing products through creative posts and get their followers to trust your brand. If their audience likes your products, they’re more likely to buy from you and turn into your loyal customers.

Elise Darma

Elise Darma, Instagram marketer:
Will Instagram become the largest mobile e-commerce platform?
 — I think Messenger is also a strong competitor for driving e-commerce sales via mobile, but due to Instagram’s highly visual nature, I’d say my bet would be with Instagram in the long run. In my experience, Instagram and e-commerce are the perfect pair. Instagram has been the go-to platform for visual storytelling and selling for years — and I don’t see that stopping anytime soon. Plus, Instagram users are more primed for buying than any other platforms.

What’s your #1 Instagram marketing tip?
 — I tell e-commerce brands to not sell TOO much on Instagram. I know, it sounds counterintuitive. But what I mean is this: Instagram users want to be inspired, entertained or educated. They don’t browse the platform to be sold to. But that doesn’t mean you can’t! I recommend using the 80/20 rule: 80% of the time (or 4 out of every 5 posts) share value with your followers — inspire, entertain or educate them. Then 20% of the time, or 1 out of every 5 posts, share something promotional — a product, sale or promotion.

Anthony Carbone

Anthony Carbone, Instagram Marketing & Sales Consulting Expert, wolfmillionaire.com:
Will Instagram become the largest mobile e-commerce platform?
 — As Instagram continues to grow as the world’s fastest growing social network, it also continues it’s dominance as the worlds #1 medium for fashion trends and product discovery.

Even Adidas released a sneaker called the Deerupt, in which it’s design was created to look good on Instagram. The shoe was an instant hit when released in 2018. This signals a major emerging trend for fashion & product designers to utilize crowd-sourced design cues to style their products for global acceptance on Instagram.

Instagram is no doubt becoming the largest mobile e-commerce platform in the world for fashion, gadgets and must have products from just about every consumer vertical. With society’s tendency to now order everything online via our mobile device, Instagram has made it extremely easy for its user base to quickly and easily purchase products thanks to their product tagging feature.

This game changing product tagging feature has helped early adopter retailers, small to large businesses, entrepreneurs and anyone selling something to utilize their platform and effortlessly sell their products to the masses around the world!

What’s your #1 Instagram marketing tip?
To successfully market and sell your product on Instagram, you must have high quality, high resolution product photos & videos to ensure products are properly represented and that they stand out to your targeted demographic who might discover your product.

Lighting & atmosphere of your product photos & videos is the single most important factor required to create rich, colorful and appealing product representation to grab the attention of those interested in your product.

Videos highlighting the use or operation of your products (from gadgets to clothes) are extremely important as today’s consumers tend to always prefer videos of how a product looks or behaves. A picture might tell a thousands words, but a raw authentic product video will help accelerate sales on Instagram faster than a static professionally curated photo.

We hope these tips will help you extend your business and boost sales, whether you already sell on Instagram, or are just planning to. Stay tuned for more tips!


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About the author

Anastasia is a freelance author and writes about e-commerce, traveling, and lifestyle. In her spare time, she's a crazy cat lady and a chocolate addict.

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