Reasons Why Instagram Is Becoming The Ultimate eCommerce Tool and How to Embrace it
Instagram is a free shop window. With 500 million monthly users (300 million of whom log in every day), Insta is a truly global marketplace. Can you afford to ignore it?
Source: Progression of Facebook user growth – statista.com
OK, Facebook is the biggest social network in the world – their numbers have inflated consistently over the past 10 years. But has it had its day? In a noisy marketplace with users jaded by the infiltration of unwanted advertising, has the Facebook free marketing bubble burst?
There’s evidence, carried out by selfstartr.com, suggesting that Instagram is just warming up, whilst Facebook has significantly plateaued where unpaid brand advertising is concerned.
Facebook has seen a 65% drop in organic, non-paid marketing since 2012, whilst Instagram has seen a 115% increase in the same period.
What’s more, the same research discovered that 68% of Instagram users engage directly with brands, as opposed to 32% of Facebook users, the rest of whom have become bored of branding.
Final fact – on average, Instagram users miss 70% of the content on their feed. Instagram addressed this in 2016 by introducing an algorithm ensuring that every user sees the best 30% at the top of their feed when they log on.
Therefore, to cut through, create content of quality – you wouldn’t expect to see blurred, badly lit, badly composed photos in a paid advertising campaign. You shouldn’t expect to see it in a free ad campaign either.
The image you present is the face you show to the world. Make that face memorable, professional, attractive and tempting.
Instagram is not (yet) saturated with non-paid marketing. Here are the top 5 ways of embracing it for eCommerce.
- Share great content – regularly
Newsfeeds are transient – that’s the beauty of the platform. It’s also the shape of the beast. If Instagram prioritize the top 30%, become the top 30%.
Present your products beautifully. Which of these items would you buy?
They’re the same item. The first looks shapely and flattering. Whilst the second – do we need to go there…?
Instagram is a world based on aesthetics – don’t expect followers to “use their imagination”. No-one is going to buy image 2!
Create hashtags that are likely to trend – #metoo captured the zeitgeist because it related to so many people. If you sell bespoke jewelry, consider #JewelsForJan to cheer up those miserable January commutes.
Your accompanying text can be 2200 characters long. Make those characters count. Use good grammar, even if you’re Instabreviating.
There’s nothing less attractive and off-putting than a company that doesn’t know where to put an apostrophe or when to use “there, their or they’re”.
Outsource your copy work to a freelancer if you’re uncertain of your grammar. You can hire affordable talent who will know exactly how to make those 2200 characters count. It’s not as expensive as it sounds – check out Upwork.
Consider what your users want to see. And, most importantly, do a bit of research to identify the type of content they’re likely to share.
- Schedule your content and keep it interesting
Regularity is important, but bombardment is annoying. Find a balance.
Bombardment is unlikely to get you into the top 30% – it’s considered spammy. And people hate spam (and I include the pink, gelatinous “meat” in that assertion).
Quality imagery and copy, accompanied by regularity is key.
Try sticking to the same time every day, so that your followers know when to expect new content. Make it a #1pmSneakyPeek.
Of course, regularity is extremely time-consuming. And your time is probably better spent producing your products.
Luckily, there are some useful automation tools that can do a lot of the work for you.
Hootsuite is a scheduling tool that connects to all the big social networks, including Instagram. You can connect up to 3 accounts for free – any more than that requires a subscription.
Add your content and caption, then schedule a specific time and day for the post. This video shows you how.
Hootsuite will post directly to Twitter and Facebook but, unfortunately, Instagram doesn’t allow that. The app, however, will send you a notification and set everything up to send it via your Instagram app.
Another tool that works in a similar way is Latergram.
Keep your content varied
Variety is the spice of life. A well-used formula to keep followers following is –
- Morning manicured product photo
- Break-time random cool pic (related to your brand)
- Lunchtime candid/action shot
- Home-time meme
If you sell coffee, start the day off with a tempting shot of a cappuccino with a biscotti on the side – capture the commuter crowd who need caffeine.
At 11am (break time), post a pic of your bad hair day because it’s been so busy.
At 1pm (lunchtime) send a pic of the lunchtime queue, perhaps with a CTA – “Pre-order you’re Joe – avoid the queue!”
At 5pm (home time) post an inspiring quote or an idea for what to do this evening!
- Be responsive
Remember that Instagram is a social network – “social” being the operative word.
If you receive a message, respond in good time. It’s a customer service tool, owned by your followers, who will get bored if you consistently fail to respond in a timely fashion.
Have regular times in the day where you respond. Engagement is the all important keyword here. Social networks presents an opportunity for your potential customers to feel like they’re part of something – so include them.
Share your follower’s updates – don’t just expect them to share your’s.
Read your newsfeed and share your followers’ content. There’s nothing like the endorsement by a brand or a celebrity to win them round forever.
- Facilitate direct purchase
The average value of an order made through Instagram is $65. And remember that 68% of Instagram users engage with brands.
If you can attract them via your feed, make it easy to buy directly from it. Although you can’t set up shop directly from your Instagram account, you can send you customers to a dedicated landing page.
Foundr Magazine has their landing page attached to their profile.
Don’t make it complicated – people get bored and frustrated really easily, so try to streamline a sale into a couple of clicks.
Consider payment by PayPal. ApplePay will soon be accepted online. Be ahead of the game and make it easy for a buyer to buy. They’ll share the good news!
- Humanize your feed
Followers love to see how an amazing product comes into fruition.
Share your process – pics of meetings with suppliers; you in your design studio; the bike you use to deliver your cakes. It’s all great PR.
Well-chosen “private” photos are great too. Filter those you losing your rag with a parking enforcement officer, though!
Down-to-earth and approachable is the keyword here.
Run competitions and share follower-content
There’s nothing like a time-sensitive competition with a decent reward to get your followers in a frenzy.
41% of Instagrammers follow brands solely because they offer perks and freebies, whilst 70% have entered a photo-sharing contest.
If you sell trainers, ask your followers to share their #StinkyShoes or #PartyPaws by midnight. Share the entries and award a prize for the best picture. Think of the engagement possibilities with all that sharing.
If Facebook is fading, then Instagram is improving. Engage with a community who want to. Instagram isn’t just for teenagers. It’s an untapped marketplace.
If you have any comment or question, just leave your message on the comment box below. See you!
Author Bio: I’m Kevin from Residualincomesecrets.com. I founded this website in 2015 after having worked as an online marketer freelancer for +5 years. I enjoy writing about blogging, SEO, social media, email marketing and I’m constantly looking for ways to earn passive income online. Since last year, I have helped some people to achieve their first sale online and it’s my primary goal from 2018 onwards.