The world’s fourth-largest social media platform, Instagram is a powerhouse when it comes to selling online. More than 1.3 billion people use Instagram every month to find and follow friends and brands, discover new products, and inspire their own lives. And because of its heavy focus on visual imagery, Instagram remains one of the best sales tools for e-commerce drop shippers.
Instagram’s own data paints a very promising picture. More than 8 in 10 users say the platform helps them research products and services. What’s more, 9 in 10 users actively follow at least one Instagram business account. They want to find new products to buy, and many are in a shopping state of mind when browsing the platform.
Now for the big question: how do you go about driving sales from Instagram?
We’ve got the rundown on how you can start selling your dropshipping products on Instagram and tap into a growing global audience.
First things first: to sell on Instagram, you will need an Instagram business account. Your Instagram business account gives you access to business tools and features, including the ability to run paid promotions and track your analytics.
Business accounts on Instagram are free forever — you will only pay for advertising if you choose to do so. You can switch your personal Instagram profile to a business account, which allows you to keep all of your current followers and start with a pre-made audience. It takes just a minute or less to complete this process.
After that, you can connect your Instagram business account to your Facebook business page. This step is not necessary, but it does give your audience another way to interact with you. Your fans on Facebook will be able to easily find you on Instagram, which may help you grow your audience faster.
Last step: set up Instagram Shopping. If you use Shopify or BigCommerce for your dropshipping website, this setup is relatively fast and easy. You can connect your storefront to Instagram so that all of your products will be available to promote on the platform.
If you use something other than Shopify or BigCommerce, you will have to set up Instagram Shopping manually. Think of it as setting up a storefront on Instagram. This is the place where you will sell and promote your products on Instagram, provide product information, and even allow users to check out instead of having to jump to your website.
With Instagram Shopping set up, you have the opportunity of being featured in Instagram’s Shopping tab, where users go to discover new products and brands. You can learn more about Instagram Shopping and the setup process here.
If you are brand new to Instagram, one of your first priorities should be to build up your audience. And if you already have an audience, you can focus on growing it.
The bigger your following, the more people you can put your content in front of. This is a major win for brands that don’t want to spend a lot on paid ads and would prefer to rely on organic reach.
However, you may find that building an audience is faster and easier if you invest in a paid ad campaign. Paid ads put your content in front of people who may not be currently following you but resonate with your target market. The goal is to increase your visibility so that people can find you, get to know your brand, and follow you so they can continue to see your products and content.
In addition to running paid ads, you can also promote your new Instagram channel on other social media platforms. Share it with your existing audiences and invite them to follow you. Send an email to all of your previous customers that you’re now live on Instagram and include a link to your profile. These are people who already know, like, and trust you and can help you ramp up your numbers quickly (and for free!).
Instagram ads are one of the reasons why having a business account is so important. Without it, you don’t have access to paid ad features.
Paid ads help you get your product in front of more people. Using the ad manager, you can choose the type of audience and characteristics to ensure your content is being shown to people who are most likely to buy from you.
Also, you have control over your ad budget. Set a daily spending limit and update it at any time. You can turn any of your regular Instagram posts into ads. This is good news for e-commerce store owners with limited time because it means you can “recycle” content and don’t have to come up with separate content for your ad campaigns.
On Instagram, your content serves as your sales tool. Every post has the potential to send customers to your website, even if you’re not running paid ads and promotions.
That said, you can get creative by highlighting your product in different ways. Some of our favorites include:
Share photos of your products on your Instagram channel. Pick a product and talk about its features and benefits. Give people a reason to care about your products as much as you do!
Do you know where your products came from or how they’re made? If so, give your audience a sneak peek at the process, too! Learning more about the products you sell can help you build deeper connections with your audience.
Selling a shirt in three different colors? How about cookware that comes in different sizes? Create a post that shows all the sizes and possibilities of your products so buyers can make an informed choice.
Your e-commerce store likely has several products in the same category. Instagram is an excellent opportunity to show off multiple complementary products in the same post. Highlight items that are frequently bought together. Show that you can serve multiple needs all at once.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Rather than telling your shoppers about your products, Instagram provides the perfect place to show them exactly how they can use your products. Put your items into perspective for the end-user. Demonstrate how others have experienced your items so they can put themselves into that picture, too.
The above is enough to get you started selling on Instagram. But if you want to maximize your opportunities, keep the following tips in mind:
Success on social media is largely due to good branding. When you get branding right, people start to recognize you by the content you post, not just traditional branding elements like logos and taglines. Being consistent with your imagery, tone, and style in your content can help you start building brand recognition.
If you plan on outsourcing your content creation to an agency or freelancer, it’s helpful to create a branding guide for them to go by. Your brand guide should include things like how to use images, what to say or what not to say, hashtags to use, and anything else that might affect how others perceive you.
Instagram isn’t just about posting pictures and adding hashtags. Take advantage of all of its features to expand your reach. These include Instagram Stories, IGTV, video posts, filters, and Stories Highlights, among many others. Using different features can help you get creative about the type of content you create and how you share it. It also gives you a better chance of growing your audience since different features appeal to different people.
Users creating content on behalf of your brand is one of the biggest forms of flattery. It shows they care enough about your products to want to share them with others. Chances are, your customers are already creating content for your brand. They might take a photo of themselves wearing or using something they bought from you, for example.
You can start “collecting” user-generated content by asking your customers to tag you in their photos using a specific hashtag. If you’re coming up empty on user-generated content, consider running a campaign to increase engagement. Ask your audience across all of your social media channels and other marketing to use certain hashtags. User-generated content gives your audience social proof that other people trust you, love you, and shop with you.
Now that you’re building a solid foundation on Instagram, it’s time to stock your store with high-quality products you’ll want to promote. Doba offers access to thousands of dropship products to help you amp up your store and supercharge your sales. Get started with a free 30-day trial.