Does it sometimes feel like everyone else is coining it in, but you've yet to work out the special sauce? Katrina Bell considers how to go about making sales on Instagram.
The latest Instagram numbers convey an unsubtle message for UK businesses – the Search Engine Journal’s 2022 report puts the number of active users worldwide at over 1billion for the photo-sharing platform. It also found that unlike Facebook’s largely apathetic users, who view many of the advertisements as either spammy or low quality, 80% of leaner Instagram’s users say the app helps them when deciding whether to buy a product or service.
Instagram claims that 90% of its users follow a brand, and 50% say they are more interested in a brand after seeing an ad for it. Hard to argue with stats like that.
The picture of a motivated and trusting customer emerges, which is why businesses of all sizes need to harness the marketing power of Instagram to create a frictionless sales process.
Perhaps the most obvious route is to buddy up with an influencer that can introduce your products to their audience and nail the sale. Chances are you have already dabbled with this without labelling it as such if you’ve hosted an evening of cookery demonstrations with a local chef or collaborated with an event such a food festival in your town. It’s not a huge step to signing up brand ambassadors to complement your news cycles and campaigns.
Branded content ads via the Instagram for Business platform can put you in touch with content creators or micro ambassadors, allowing you to tap into their experience of what works and when. It’s definitely worth taking advantage of their skills to learn how to better crafting effective images and videos as they are the undoubted specialists.
For instance, B&M got nationwide press in August for its Autumn range, thanks to mummy blogger Jessica May (@jessicamay_home – 152K followers) after she produced an Instagram Reel about the budget store’s home decor drop. Considerable buzz was created despite the fact that B&M is traditionally regarded as a ‘grab it when you see it’ type of impulse retailer. Her video was seen by over 25K views in just the first hour.
Insta has other tools to attract consumers to your virtual shop window and help you make bank – setting up curated collections using your existing website product content and engineering a shopfront on the app is simple-stupid and likely to expand. Did you know users can buy directly from Chat from small businesses?
Insta Shops is probably the most impactful innovation, and is free to set up for businesses. PDPs – or product detail pages – can pull in relevant info on items from your product catalogue, such as pricing, images and descriptions. Using your tags, users will be able to go direct to purchase without you having to learn a line of coding or duplicate already completed off-app content.
The next big step will be the full roll-out of Instagram Checkout in the UK, after a successful launch in 2019 in the US. Using Facebook’s Meta Pay system, users will be able to seamlessly pay for goods directly from the app via ‘shoppable posts’. Again the automated nature of these features mean your shop will be accessible via Insta and Facebook. The only learning curve will be adapting to a consistent campaign of tags – a feature most of us have already experienced for some time.
The good news is owner Meta has a collection of online resources to get your sales moving, including useful 'How to' videos to help you get proficient. Setting up a Shop account is free – so what are you waiting for?