Ah Instagram... the land of drool-worthy brunches, picture perfect vacations, adorable animals… and a goldmine of opportunity for product sales!
Yes, the place where you go to lurk your friend’s Bahamas pics also doubles as the perfect mobile mall for your ecommerce business. As a photo-centric platform, it’s an ideal fit for brands that are consumer product focused — whether it’s fashion, furniture or fun.
For us at Canupy, Instagram has played an integral part in the growth of retail businesses we work with. The platform has helped to:
- increase brand awareness
- foster customer loyalty
- engage and grow an online community
- and ultimately, increase sales.
Here are some of the ways we’ve been able to work with our partners to take their Instagram game to the next level. These tips and techniques can give you a leg up in increasing your mobile social reach and product sales. And hey, if you’re ever in need of some experienced assistance, our trusty services are just a (double) tap away.
1. Don’t be hashtag shy.
There is a two-sided debate on Instagram about hashtag etiquette. Some say that only 3-5 hashtags should be used while some other like to include a plethora of options. Our opinion? The more (relevant) the merrier!
While inundating your posts with generic, popular hashtags is a definite no-no, what we do recommend is finding a set of highly relevant and timely tags to include at the bottom of your post.
Try using free online tools like Hashtagify or RiteTag to help find hashtags that match your posted content. And space out the extra tags accordingly.
Take the Pastel Dress Party post above as an example: only one #sale hashtag is used in the body, while many relevant other tags like #blackfriday2016 and #bridalparty are included in the first comment for further discoverability.
Alerting your followers of flash sales and exclusive promotions via Instagram posts is a proven way to increase your product sales.
During our time with Pastel Dress Party, we grew their Instagram from 346 followers to 22,000! (P.S. Read the whole story over at our Case Studies.)
2. Show your followers some love.
With our first client (ever), fashion brand Shelfies, we loved featuring fan images as a regular part of the feed. Why? It increased post visibility, encouraged social sharing, and showed fans how others have styled the products.
> Have a clear hashtag that followers can use in their posts to share their images with you – and check up on it often.
> Interact with your fans by liking, commenting and even featuring their photos (with credit of course!).
Like all social media, you need to show love to receive it!
Fun fact: Our first client was Shelfies. We started working together in 2013 and in less than a year, we hit 100,000 followers!
#happymonday! 💖It's a bit early to be thinking about weekend plans but if you're a bride-to-be in the #GTA, we've got the perfect plan for you! We're giving away 2 sets of 5 tickets to the @nationalbridal show this weekend! 😱Just tag your bridesmaids in the comments below to enter. We'll be drawing the winners on Thursday at 6PM EST. #nationalbridalshow
3. Get competitive.
Another strategy to gain followers and incentivize sales is by running a relevant contest.
This strategy allows you to dig deep into your follower networks and to increase brand visibility.
A popular variation is the “tag-a-friend’ contest.
Where you narrow your contest criteria by encouraging entries that can help you generate leads. Finding local events or partners to run a contest with is another great practice in gaining new followers and sales.
And chances are, if someone enters to win something they really want and they don’t succeed, they could easily convert into a purchase since the intent is already signalled. At that point, it’s up to your brand to hone in on all the interested followers and convert them to invested ones.
Free Instagram Guide!
Jumpstart your product sales on Instagram with this free guide!
4. Have a game plan (or a game team).
Running a successful Instagram account that turns likers into buyers is more than just posting a few pretty pictures.
A study of the top global brands showed that the brands posted to Instagram an average of 4.9 times a week, and that’s just from 2015.
This means lots of posting.
Maintain your feed constantly and when planning posts, look at the bigger picture of how each image works together on your profile. Instead of being stuck on one square, think of them all as part of a stylized whole.
With Pastel Dress Party's feed, we experimented with "colour stories" and saw the fastest rate of growth when we posted consistently!
Take the photo above as an example of how to plan for the bigger picture on your Instagram feed. We planned out a few key posts that transitioned from "dreamy turquoise" inspiration to a week full of "blush-worthy pinks."
Like anything else, planning makes perfect!
And if you need some help getting started, we have just the team for that!
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About the Author:
Vicky Liu is a Canupy content creator, blogger and social media enthusiast. She studied RTA Media Production at Ryerson University in Toronto. Her interests include digital design, concert-going and stalking assorted bakeries on Instagram.