With over 800 million active accounts on Instagram, chances are that your business already has a presence on the platform. However, having an Instagram business account doesn't necessarily mean that you are using it to its full potential.

About 75% of Instagram users take an action such as shopping, searching, or telling someone when they see a post. And while engagement rates may not always translate directly to a higher conversion rate, the potential is definitely there. All that's needed is the right approach to realize that potential.

So, we’ve put together some of the easiest ways your business can increase ecommerce sales by refining your Instagram marketing efforts. Some of these can even help your business dominate across multiple social media platforms.

1. Know Your Audience

Now, this point isn't just about Instagram specifically, but can apply to pretty much all kinds of marketing in general. Before you get started with any campaign, it's crucial that you have a clear understanding of your target “consumer profile.” Go beyond just age and gender to get into more complex factors such as education levels, household size, interests, or income level.

Try to be as specific as possible about what your ideal consumer likes or dislikes. Consider what factors influence their purchasing decisions, and what pain points they currently face that your products could solve.

Consider creating multiple consumer profiles to cover a few major archetypes that your brand want to engage with. The purpose of this exercise is to help you discover shared interests or other things that these buyer personas have in common.

Once you identify some common themes from the profiles of your desired audiences, you can begin tailoring your Instagram campaigns to better target them. These common themes don’t need to be directly related to your product.

For example, let’s assume a topic such as travel is a common theme among your consumer profiles. Including this theme in your images and use appropriate hashtags to help raise your visibility among that group.

Alternatively, if your chosen demographic is likely to enter contests, launching one of your own may help you get their attention.

Even just knowing how often and when your targeted audience is most likely to check Instagram is extremely important. Older users usually check less frequently and spend less time per session while the opposite is true for younger users.

However, while this makes older users harder to target, their higher median and disposable income may justify such a move. The more you know about the people you want to appeal to, the easier it will be to tailor your strategy.

2. Make It Easy to Get to Your Products

A lot of people will rightly tell you not to be too “salesy” in your Instagram posts. But some businesses tend to be overly restrictive, and often end up not really selling anything. It's important to make sure that every post you create is able to drive customers to your website.

There are several ways to do this, the most popular of which we’ve listed below.

  1. Instagram Stories - If you have more than 10,000 followers, you can use the “swipe up” feature and link to your website or product pages. For example, swiping up on the H&M Instagram Story below sends users to the H&M homepage.

H&M Instagram Story  increase ecommerce sales

Image Source: Instagram

  • Link in Your Bio - Placing a link to your website in your bio is a simple and easy way to give Instagram users a 1-click route to your website.

simple and easy way to give Instagram users increase ecommerce sales

Image Source: Instagram

  • Action Buttons - Action buttons are clickable buttons that can be added to your posts. These buttons, like the “Shop Now” button, allow you to tag products and add purchasing links directly to your posts. While most commonly used for shopping, you can use this feature to allow users to reserve tickets to an event, place a food delivery order, and many other applications as well.
reserve tickets to an event increase ecommerce sales

Image Source: Instagram

If a specific product was featured in your post, then it's best to link to that product's landing page. Your social media campaigns shouldn’t simply be meant to allure people. They should also form the top of your sales funnel. Your posts need to be equipped with a suitable call-to-action, meant to drive new or returning customers to your site.

The key here is to reduce the number of steps between a potential customer seeing your Instagram post and making a purchase. It may be even more effective to have your link lead directly to the shopping cart, removing another 1-2 steps in the checkout.

3. User-Generated Content and Employee Advocacy

Coming up with a steady stream of visually compelling content is never going to be easy. Especially when you've been at it for a while. You may start running out of fresh ideas.

Luckily, Instagram has no shortage of talented shutterbugs. By encouraging your followers to share their pictures and stories, you can engage your audiences with very little effort. You can ask your followers to share their photos of using or showcasing your products with a custom hashtag. Incentivize it by offering to feature the best ones on your account.

offering to feature the best ones on your account increase ecommerce sales

Image Source: Instagram

User-generated content doesn't just take the workload off of you. It also results in an increase in ecommerce sales, with higher conversion rates observed when brands used photos by users that featured their brands and products.

Your customers and followers aren't the only sources of great content for your Instagram page. With the right tools and a little guidance, your employees can make for great brand ambassadors.

“Behind-the-scenes” shots can help humanize your brand as well as provide the perfect opportunity to drop hints about upcoming launches. For example, Hootsuite’s Instagram page is completely dedicated to giving its audience an insider look at the company and everyone who works there.

Hootsuite’s Instagram page increase ecommerce sales

Image Source: Instagram

The latter is especially useful at building hype about a product prior to release. So when the product finally does launch, your followers will already be aware and ready to make a purchase.

aware and ready to make a purchase increase ecommerce sales

Image Source: Instagram

4. Contests, Discounts, and Giveaways

This one is fairly self-explanatory. Contests tend to do well on most social media platforms, and Instagram is no exception. Some contests may require people to post selfies or product shots that need time and a little planning.

You may want to consider making it a bit of an event by inviting the public to vote on their favorite entries. The benefit of this approach is that contestants will help popularize the contest and your account by sharing it with their friends and family.

As a general rule, the easier it is to enter a contest, the better your engagement is likely to be. A lot of successful contests, particularly product giveaways, need only a “like” or “follow” to enter. Setting the barrier to entry very low is a great way to quickly raise engagement on your posts.

barrier to entry very low is a great way increase ecommerce sales

Image Source: Lafayette College

When it comes to promos and discounts, promo codes and information should not just be left as a link on the caption - since any links in the caption of Instagram posts can’t be clicked. Instead, you can use the caption to direct people to this link in your bio. This link can even be one that auto-applies the provided promo code and takes a user directly to checkout.  

If you're planning a large sale, consider announcing it a few times in the days leading up to the sale with a countdown until it begins.

 

days leading up to the sale with a countdown increase ecommerce sales

Image Source: Instagram

5. Influencer Marketing

Last, but certainly not least, you can leverage influencers to get the most out of your Instagram marketing. A cross between word-of-mouth marketing and celebrity endorsements, influencer marketing is all about establishing meaningful relationships with your prospective customers.

Influencer marketing can be incredible for your business when it comes to growing your follower base or increasing ecommerce sales. According to a study by Twitter, 40% of users have made a purchase based on a tweet from an influencer.

And Instagram is the perfect social media platform to use for influencer marketing to increase ecommerce sales. The issue most people have with ecommerce businesses is that they can’t sample or hold the product in person before making a purchase.

But Instagram influencers help you tackle that problem beautifully. They share high-quality photos and videos of themselves using products. Coupled with a captivating caption or product review, they address consumer apprehension.

Seeing their favorite influencer using and recommending a particular product is often the push consumers need to buy said product. Most influencers are happy to engage with their followers and address any queries their followers might have about the product too.

You can even have your influencers share unique promo codes with their audience to encourage them to hit “Buy.” Influencer marketing on Instagram doesn’t just increase ecommerce sales but can also improve your conversion rate.

Here’s how Bridget Scheiner helped DIFF eyewear increase ecommerce sales. Besides the captivating post, the special $25 off discount coupon gave her followers an incentive to buy from the brand.

Bridget Scheiner increase ecommerce sales

Image via Instagram

As useful as it is, launching a good influencer marketing campaign takes a lot of time and effort. From finding the right influencers to choosing the right kind of campaign and monitoring results, influencer marketing isn’t easy to get right.

However, with the right tools, you can cut down on the legwork needed to get a campaign started. Beyond setup, these services can also help you monitor and adjust your campaigns on the fly.

6. Try Remarketing

Low conversion rates and high cart abandonment rates are two major problems ecommerce businesses face. The Baymard Institute found that the average cart abandonment rate for ecommerce stores stands at 69.89%.

Baymard increase ecommerce sales

Image via Baymard

How do you tackle these issues then? Remarketing on Instagram can help you with that. Remarketing campaigns can increase ecommerce and also improve your brand’s visibility.

We know that people tend to spend a lot of time scrolling through their Instagram feeds. You can leverage this by popping up in their feeds every now and then as they keep scrolling.

You want them to be overexposed to your brand and the products they were previously browsing on your ecommerce site. With an increased exposure to such posts, they are more likely to head back to your store and make the purchase.

And if you have a business account, then remarketing through paid ads becomes a lot easier. You can ensure your posts are popping up in the feeds of your target customers. Thus, remarketing will go a long way to increase ecommerce sales for your business.

Conclusion

By implementing these tactics into your current marketing efforts, you’ll be able to boost your engagement and conversion rates. This will allow you to heavily increase ecommerce sales and take your company to the next level.

If you have any thoughts on this list, or if you think we missed out something important, go ahead and share it with us in the comments. We'd love to hear from you.

Brian Mechem

Brian Mechem

Brian Mechem is COO and Co-Founder of Grin, a software solution for companies who run influencer marketing programs. Grin's software powers some of the best influencer programs in the world, providing insights on ROI and adding efficiency to the influencer marketing process.

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