Online business

Instagram & Ecommerce: A Marriage Made In Marketing Heaven

9 min read
Sep 4, 2020

Eggs and bacon. Salt and pepper. Strawberries and cream.

Some things were just meant to be: perfect matches made in heaven. And, if you’re responsible for marketing online stores, you can add Instagram and ecommerce to the list.

Over 800 million active Instagram users speaks for itself - especially when compared with a mere 30 million in 2012, when Facebook purchased the platform.

Almost a third of US internet users are now on Instagram and 90 percent of all users are younger than 35.

The phenomenal growth of Instagram has encouraged the most successful ecommerce brands to increasingly see it as the marketing platform of choice. Developing a powerful Instagram ecommerce marketing strategy has become a priority.

The good news is that Instagram has become more brand-friendly in recent years and presents a huge opportunity for ecommerce marketers to showcase what a brand offers its followers - especially if you’re targeting a young audience of under-35s.

Engagement with brands is 10 times higher on Instagram than Facebook and 84 times higher than Twitter. How can you start tapping into that level of engagement with your own audience?

That’s covered below but bear in mind that the window of opportunity is already closing.

If you’re just introducing a brand to Instagram now, the competition is almost certainly already there. You’ll need to develop a smarter Instagram marketing strategy than the rest to help them stand out and get ahead in the pecking order.

Here’s an opportunity to take on board some the key tips to get them started…

The main features of Instagram for ecommerce businesses

First things first. Instagram is a mobile-first app so download it from the App store or Google Play (it’s free).

instagram app in google play

The key features you’ll initially want to get to grips with include:

The most important optimization tips for Instagram

If you’re just starting out on Instagram, focus on optimizing the key areas of your Instagram profile that are going to get your brand working for you and bringing in results.

You can do the rest later, after you’re more established.

instagram profile view

You’re only allowed one link on your Instagram profile. Active links in posts are not permitted, so be sure to optimize the one link you can use.

Often it’s best to create a branded link to a shoppable Instagram page (see above), where your target audience is directly connected to relevant products they can buy. This link may change as you introduce promotions throughout the year; don’t necessarily use your homepage.

Use the 150 characters available to instantly describe to your target audience the benefits of connecting with you – and use your main keyword(s) for extra “searchability”.

Most ecommerce stores use their brand logo here. Make sure it’s the regulation 110 pixels x 110 pixels.

instagram strategy

You want maximum reach for content to create a large community. This should extend beyond Instagram to all your social accounts - Facebook will already be linked when you set up your account but make sure you link Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and Tumblr too.

Comment settings can be adjusted in PROFILE -> OPTIONS. Make sure you’re able to moderate comments and remove any that damage your brand.

Create eye-catching content

To some people, “eye-catching” means bright, gaudy colours; to others, it’s a serene landscape; it may be a high-quality photo of a favourite meal; or a funny video.

There are so many ways to turn heads and create a loyal community of followers.

Instagram is a visual-based content platform designed predominantly for mobile use. Bearing this in mind, ask yourself: how can I build a community of loyal followers?

Most ecommerce stores find that the best way is to draw people in with high-quality content. Boring, low-quality, studio-based shots of products alone are not going to cut it.

A powerful content marketing strategy should draw from all the various types of content available to you on Instagram; and you should make use of the tools that help you develop a strong brand voice that resonates well with your target audience.

The two post types are:

instagram post view
instagram post view
instagram post with video view

Content types

What types of content strategies can you draw from for Instagram marketing? Here are some of the leading content types used by the most successful brands to engage followers:

instagram post view
instagram post view
instagram post view
instagram post view

Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories deserve a special mention as they represent a prominent, secondary feed to your main Instagram content feed.

If someone you follow has a live Story, they appear with a red circle around their profile picture in your feed (and on their own profile).

instagram profile view

Stories are short slideshow-based image and video/live video clips that disappear after 24 hours unless you choose to add them as a highlight on your profile.

They are particularly effective in showing sequences of events over the course of a day or a sequence of product promotions.

instagram story view

“Boomerangs” are also included in your Stories. These are one-second videos that are played on an endless loop, forwards and backwards.

Tools to help you spice up your content

The best way to stand out from the crowd is by engaging followers with great content. Fortunately, there are many great tools on Instagram to help you do this - plus many third-party apps if you want to take it a step further.

Apart from the various types of visual content you can create, the following tools help you with spicing up your content and the accompanying text captions:

instagram post view

TIP: Using a content calendar (like Schedugram) will help you plan and create a diverse mix of content for followers and speed up the process of content creation using templates.

Interact with your Instagram ecommerce community

Once you’ve started to build your community and provide engaging content, you need to interact with followers to help turn curiosity into interest and interest into sales.

This takes consistent activity not just for the first few days - but ongoing activity.

The main ways to interact with followers are:

instagram post view
instagram post view

Consummating the marriage

You have enough to go ahead and consummate the marriage between Instagram and ecommerce!

The above tips are by no means exhaustive but should help you focus on what’s most important so that you can start to grow ecommerce businesses on Instagram.

This will get you to the first stage, where your brands are attracting and engaging followers and boosting traffic to their stores.

From there, you can help take the marriage to heaven.

(Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash)