Instagram. You know it’s popular, but did you know that 90% of the 1 Billion active monthly users on this photo-friendly social network follow at least one business? And that 71% of Insta users are under 35? That’s right. Chances are very good that your future customers are there — so how can you sell on Instagram?
Editor’s note: With GoDaddy Online Store, you can promote any product in your store catalog on Insta with a few clicks. Online Store even keeps track of your inventory so shoppers get what they want, no matter where they order.
What you need to sell on Instagram
But before you hit Publish on that Instagram post, let’s make a plan.
You first have to decide on which platform you want to sell your products. You’ll need an eCommerce website to sell your products from, but you could also sell products through Instagram’s Shoppable Posts as well.
To sell on Instagram, you must have an:
You then upload your product catalogue, and once your account has been verified, you can turn on your shopping features! Now you can tag products for sale in your posts and people can purchase right on Instagram.
Note that Instagram will take a cut: at the time of this writing, it was 5% per shipment, or a flat fee of $0.40 for shipments of $8.00 or less. But also note that 130 Million people are clicking or sharing shopping posts on a monthly basis.
Let’s look at an example of how to sell on Instagram.
Julie is a Winnipeg-based jewelry designer. She makes delicate, feminine gold pieces, and is launching a new anklet featuring a wave design for summer.
Sit down with a calendar. Are there any holidays coming up that could create sales? Maybe you’re launching a new product? Start from that date and work backwards. Begin to tease the launch about a month or three weeks out, to build a buzz and get people excited.
Plan out three or four posts during this time, and schedule them in your calendar (you can use your Online Store account to schedule the actual Instagram post, but we’ll get to that in a moment).
Julie decides to launch her new product line on May 24, because that marks the beginning of summer.
Create the content. Do you have all the visuals you need? You may need to hire a photographer to take product shots, or someone to create a video for you to share.
Another king of content that works great on Instagram is beautiful graphics that feature your product — or maybe an inspirational quote. Even though you may not be a graphic designer, it’s easy to create stunning graphics using a tool like Over.
Julie hires a photographer and model, and they spend a couple of hours shooting lifestyle-type shots of Julie’s new design.
Don’t forget to include a catchy description and relevant hashtags. You’re allowed a maximum of 30 hashtags, and it’s best to use a mix of popular and niche hashtags for your business. Hashtags are important, because it’s how people find you on Instagram if they are not already following you.
Finally, be sure to include a call to action (CTA), which tells people what you want them to do next. CTAs can include “Tap to shop,” or “Purchase via the link in our bio,” depending on which sales method you choose.
Related: Social commerce — the next big thing
Sample Instagram posting schedule
Julie’s Instagram schedule might look like this:
May 1: Julie creates a “teaser post” in Over, using her brand’s colours, with text that says “Coming soon…” In the description of her post, she lets people know that something big is coming on May 24!
May 10: A second teaser post, but this time showing a hint of the actual new anklet.
May 17: This time, Julie shows the entire anklet, and explains how excited she is to launch this new product just in time for summer.
May 20: Julie posts a lifestyle photo of a model wearing the new anklet, reminding fans that it will be up for sale on May 24.
May 24: Big announcement that the new designs are now available for sale, with a photo of the anklets and the CTA “tap to purchase.”
If Julie has more than 10,000 followers on Instagram, she could also do a “swipe up link” in her Instagram Stories. Julie also buys an ad on the post, boosting it to more people than just those who are following her.
May 27: Julie shares a photo from someone who has bought one of her pieces and has posted a photo of them wearing it (crediting the original source) and quoting how much they love the piece.
June 1: Julie posts a different photo of her new anklet, with a CTA asking people to tap to purchase. She can continue to post similar content on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.
Don’t forget other Instagram tools: other than the feed, there’s also:
- IGTV (Instagram’s long-form video channel for videos more than 1 minute but less than 60)
- Instagram Stories (500 Million active monthly users, but they disappear after 24 hours)
- Reels (Instagram’s answer to TikTok, and ranking very high in Instagram’s algorithm currently)
All of these tools will give you creative ways to show off your products and make more sales.
Julie could also:
- Create a reel showing how to wear the anklet, how to style it
- Go live on Instagram and do a behind-the-scenes tour of her studio
- Create an Instagram guide featuring all her products
- Share a behind-the-scenes video of her photo shoot with the model on IGTV and then share it to her feed and stories
Julie might even approach local Instagram influencers and ask them if they might be interested in receiving one of her anklets for free in exchange for them posting about it on Instagram. Julie would then reuse that content in her own feed.
Owned media vs. earned media
In the world of digital marketing, there are two main types of platforms: owned and earned. Both are important, let’s dive into why!
Owned Media is any online property that you completely control and own all the content on. Examples of owned media would include your own:
- Email newsletter list
- Podcast or video vlog
The advantage of owned media is that you can post what you like without fear of it being taken down or demoted via the Facebook or Insta algorithm.
The challenge with owned media is that it can be hard to get found by the people you hope to attract, unless your search engine optimization (SEO) game is on point. Growing email newsletter, podcast and vlog subscribers can be slow.
This refers to your social media presence. This would include your Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter, etc. You own the content you create on these platforms, but you don’t own the actual platform, so if you post something that goes against the platform’s TOS (terms of service), you may be in trouble.
The advantage of earned media is that these are popular platforms that millions spend hours on every day.
A prospective customer may stumble across your offerings and purchase on a social network.
The downside of earned media is that all these platforms are subject to algorithms that limit your organic reach (this is exposure you don’t have to pay for). For example, right now, the average reach of a post on Facebook is just over 5%, and on Instagram, you can expect about a 1% engagement rate on your posts.
So the best strategy? Offer your products for sale both on your website and sell it on Instagram. With a GoDaddy Online Store account, it’s easy — promote any product in your Online Store on Insta with a few clicks.
Selling in more places = more sales
Over the past few years, Instagram has added many new features that make it easier than ever to sell on Instagram. With GoDaddy’s recent Instagram integration, now you can sell your product in your online shop and on one of the most popular social networks — effortlessly!