Instagram's image based platform makes it an appealing marketplace for today’s young, tech-savvy consumers. Businesses of all varieties are utilizing Instagram to reach such consumers and grow their following. Below are some unique tips on how to build an Instagram brand and monetize the channel for selling online.
Showcase Your Catalog
Instagram users love the apps creative features and are always finding new ways to use them. If your website photos are not up to par, take new photos with Instagram and replace the ones on your site over time. You'll need to keep up appearances if you want your images to stand out. Use their photo filters, take pictures of products in your facility, show employees or customers with the product. This is a fun and simple way to increase your online sales using Instagram.
Capitalize on the Hashtag
Like Twitter, Instagram utilizes hashtags - keywords lead by a hash sign, such as #Awesome. It's an easy way to group ideas, concepts, or conversations and make it super easy for people to find others who are interested in the same things they are. The key is to use hashtags that not only describe your photos and business, but are also actively searched for and used on Instagram.
Go Behind the Scenes
Everyone loves to see what happens behind closed doors. Show your personal side by giving followers exclusive sneak peeks at new products, events, and other happenings. Fashion brand Burberry has mastered this art: The Company posted real-time photo feeds of fashion shows and behind-the-scenes looks at photo shoots and commercial film shoots. Similarly, Louis Vuitton treated followers with live backstage shots at the luxury house's Women's Spring/Summer 2014 Fashion Show.
Capitalize on Your Customers’ Photos
Whether you are actively engaging or not, your clients are already talking about your products on Instagram, so there is no better place to start the conversation than there! A great example of a surefire way to boost online sales using Instagram's features is the comments section. Greek Yogurt manufacturer Chobani features photos from their customers and uses the comments feature to answer questions they may have.
Keep it Clean
Instagram doesn’t filter your posts and photos like Facebook does, which means each and every follower you have will see every one of your posts - which is actually great! - but make sure you don’t overload them. Keep your sales at a max of 10 or 15 posts, and be picky about the items you choose to feature. Don't just throw anything on there.
Push Flash Sales
The average Instagram user checks their feed for updates at least once an hour, and flash sales take advantage of those habits. This method is not only great for increasing online sales using Instagram, but across all social media platforms. Flash sales build anticipation, but you risk losing potential followers if you don’t post often enough. If you’re going with random times, make sure it’s regular enough to keep your fans engaged and your account looking active.
Show How Products are Made
Everybody wants to know the behind-the-scenes details. T-shirt manufacturer, Threadless, used Pic Stitch to create a collage of the screen printing process. There are a million ways to do this so get creative!
The mobility of Instagram enables a level of interaction that simply isn’t possible on other platforms. This allows you to engage with your users around specific locations or events, which is a great opportunity to blend your offline brand building efforts with your digital presence. Take for example the “Shoes About Town” campaign from Bergdorf Goodman. The luxury retailer created an interactive map using #BGShoes where they aggregated all the photos that their customers were taking around Manhattan. Additionally, they displayed some of the photos on their blog and their online store.
Engage With Competitors’ Followers
Anyone following your competitor’s Instagram account is someone you want to talk to. You want to tell them about your (better) site, product or service, right? Those users have already shown an interest in your product simply by following your competitor’s account. Finding and interacting with them increases both your number of followers and qualified leads.
When done properly, a video can provide consumers with a TON of information in a very short amount of time. Use Instagram’s video capabilities to show the best assets of your most impressive pieces. Proof of quality leads to loyalty which ensures growth of online sales using Instagram now and in the future.
As the old saying goes a picture is worth a thousand words, but in this modern world an Instagram photo could be worth thousands in sales.