For any business, be it eCommerce or your traditional brick and mortar stores, Instagram is a very powerful tool to be leveraged for driving customers to your business. But how do you use Instagram for eCommerce? Don’t worry. In this article, we’ll be teaching you how to fully leverage the potential of Instagram for your eCommerce business.
According to Statista.com, by 2021 there will be more than 25.2 million people on social networks in Malaysia. What does this mean for your eCommerce business?
Simple. It means that if you’re not looking for your customers on social networks, you’re missing out on a whole lot of customers. So we’re going to be writing a whole series on how to leverage social media networks for your eCommerce business.
For today, we’re going to start with Instagram.
Instagram And The Potential It Holds
Ever since Instagram was launched in 2010, it has been growing larger and larger every year. Now, it is one of the most popular social media platforms in the world, only behind Facebook and Youtube.
Instagram’s popularity applies to the Malaysian market as well. According to research firm Kantar TNS, Malaysians are the most active Instagram users in Asia Pacific with 73% of connected users using Instagram.
According to Napoleon Cat, there are 11,683,000 Instagram users in Malaysia alone right now, and the number is forecasted to grow even more in 2020 and beyond.
What does this mean for local eCommerce businesses? It means that if you’re not using Instagram, you’re missing out on customers. A lot of customers.
How To Leverage Instagram For ECommerce
But using Instagram for your eCommerce business is not that simple. It’s not like your personal account, where you can just post pictures without thinking of the repercussions.
For eCommerce businesses, strategy is needed.
So here are 3 strategies for eCommerce that you can use to help your online store on Instagram;
#1 Personal And Business Don’t Mix
First, let’s start with the obvious. Don’t mix your personal and your business Instagram.
Pictures of your cats or your most recent holiday to Bali do not belong in your business Instagram. That belongs in your personal Instagram.
Ideally, there should be no pictures of you at all on your business Instagram.
Why? Simple. Because this Instagram account is for your business, and it’s for your business only.
A business account is not there just for a social media platform. A business account is there for one important reason, which is to introduce your business to Instagram users.
Hence, let’s look at a few things you can do to introduce Instagram users to your business;
– Choose A Recognizable Name
Some might see this as a foregone conclusion, but I’ll just add it to the list anyway.
Choose an Instagram name that is recognizable and linked to your business name! There are a lot of business Instagrams out there with names that are not related to their business, and this is very bad.
Choosing a name that is recognizable and easy to link to your company will ensure that followers of your account will know that this is an Instagram account for your online business.
– Include an informative bio
Instagram allows you to write a bio for your account. For normal personal Instagram accounts, this means that you can write a bio to introduce yourself to prospective followers or your friends.
But for business Instagrams, bios can do a lot more than that.
What you want with your bio is an informative and interesting bio that convinces your prospective followers that they should follow your account and that your account will add interesting content to their feeds.
When writing your bio, don’t be too business-like!
Instead, try to make it informative, interesting and concise. Remember that you’re on social media. People want to see relatable, human content, not some brand peddling their wares here.
Instagram also has a very useful tagging feature using hashtags, but hashtags and keywords are not searchable through your bio, so it’s not that important.
Another thing you should remember is that your account bio is not fixed, so you can always change it to reflect a current sales campaign you’re doing right now.
Always remember to link your business website on your bio as well! This will provide a simpler avenue for prospective customers to discover your website.
Here’s a good example of a bio for an eCommerce company by Toko.Eco.
As you can see from the example above, Toko.Eco incorporates the ideas we have very well. Their bio is concise, relatable, informative, interesting, and includes the link to their website.
#2 Create Great Content
You’ve all heard the adage, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’. Well in a super visual platform like Instagram, this adage fits perfectly, doesn’t it?
Which is why to properly leverage Instagram for eCommerce business, you need to learn how to create great content for your Instagram page.
But before you do that, there’s one thing you need to understand about Instagram.
Instagram is a social media platform. The reason it’s so appealing is the fact that it is entirely a visual medium. And the main purpose for Instagram is to see what your friends and acquaintances are up to by looking at their pictures.
Which means that they are not there to see advertisements.
So how do you advertise your products on Instagram without making it look like advertisements?
In order to help you do that, here are a few tips that you can follow to help you come up with great content ideas;
– Avoid Hard Selling
First thing you have to learn about using Instagram for your business, is you have to avoid hard selling to your customers.
But what is hard selling?
Hard selling is the act of actively pushing your product in a potential customer’s face, in hopes that they might buy it.
In Instagram, that simply doesn’t work. Your post will be ignored by potential customers, or worse, you might be losing followers due to what they see as “unwanted advertisement”.
Another reason why you should not be hard selling to your customers is because when you’re hard selling, you are going against the Instagram algorithm.
In 2017, Instagram changed its algorithm in a way that instead of showing all the posts in chronological order, it displays the posts that they think are the best.
So if there is no value to your posts, Instagram will quite simply not display your post. Which means, no one is seeing your post.
So what should you do? Keep it as natural as possible!
Experts have surmised that for a brand Instagram account, the best ratio is 80% value content, 20% sales content.
So try to follow that ratio as best as you can.
– Create Unique Lifestyle Content
Instead of just posting pictures of your products like a catalog, create lifestyle content for your products!
A lifestyle content is when you show your followers just how your product will be used in real life.
Here’s an example of unique lifestyle content;
This post by Herschel is a perfect example of lifestyle content. At first glance, you won’t even notice that the product being sold here is the bag.
As you can see in the post above, Herschel does not actively try to draw attention to their product. Instead, what they do is they post their products in natural day to day occurrences, so their potential customers can see the products being used.
Here’s another example from a Malaysian company, SoleWhat.
A lot of brands use this technique in Instagram for eCommerce because it works, and so should you.
– Involve Your Audience
If you want to properly leverage Instagram for eCommerce, then there’s one thing you absolutely have to do.
And that is to engage with your audience.
Instead of talking at your followers, try talking to them.
How do you do this? Simple. By asking them questions that invite engagement.
Here is one example on how to do this;
The simplest way to invite engagement from your followers is by asking a question.
Baron Fig’s post here shows the easiest way to invite engagement from your followers – by asking a question.
Another way you can engage with your followers on your brand Instagram is by holding contests and giveaways.
Here’s an example of a giveaway contest on Instagram by David’s Tea.
Simple, but works all the time. Giveaways are always a good idea to get your company’s Instagram out there.
There are a lot of other tactics you can use to increase engagement with your followers, so be on the lookout for that!
#3 Utilize Hashtags
One of the biggest game changers Instagram introduced to the world of social media is the usage of hashtags.
With hashtags, users can search for a certain topic or group of photos that interests them by using a hashtag.
And for Instagram for eCommerce, you can utilize hashtags to your advantage as well.
How? Simple. By tagging your products with relevant hashtags!
For example, if you’re selling women’s clothing, then use the hashtag #womensclothing.
Anyone scrolling through that hashtag will see your products!
Another way you can utilize hashtags is by creating your own custom hashtag for your brand.
You can see this strategy utilized by bigger brands.
For an example, Vans uses the hashtag #OffTheWall which is their slogan to help them stand out.
You can even post user generated images of your products which are tagged with your custom hashtags!
With hashtags, you can reach a whole new audience.
Instagram is a very powerful tool that you should leverage if you want to bring your brand to prominence.
So what are you waiting for? Set up an Instagram account for your company now!