As an ecommerce business, it’s essential that your products or services get maximum exposure online. So, what better place than a platform designed for photo sharing, where bead-eyed consumers head for inspiration? Build an engaging following on this platform and you could be on to a real winner.
There are plenty of brands already aware of the power of Instagram and now flock to the platform in droves. With features that are constantly updated and a community of engaged users, Instagram can maximise your exposure and have a dramatic impact on business growth.
So, how is this possible you ask? Here’s a round-up of some key ways you can harness the power of Instagram to increase your following and boost business.
1. Take advantage of the buy direct feature
Did you know that your followers can now buy direct using the platform’s shopping feature? If not, as an ecommerce business, you need to get familiar with this.
This feature has done wonders for the shopping process on Instagram and has played into the hands of many brands already. Users no longer have to click through to company profiles, find a link and then search for the product on the company site. No, no. This is now far more streamlined making the buying process simple.
When scrolling through their feeds, users will see white shopping bag icons on product images. They can click this and make a purchase without leaving the app. This feature is already proving a hit for consumers with Instagram reporting that 75% of people who see this kind of post take action.
Incorporating the shopping process into an app where people go for inspiration can work wonders for your ecommerce brand. Not only does this help to boost the visibility of your products, it also makes the shopping process irresistibly simple.
2. Go live
Terrifying, right? Maybe not for those that aren’t so camera shy but going live sends shivers down many a person’s spine. Well, in 2018, it’s time to open up to the idea that live video could work wonders for business.
“A candid insight into my business?” you ask. Yes, funnily enough, that’s what people want to see nowadays. They aren’t as interested in polished, perfect brands. They want to see real personality and a genuine look behind the scenes.
Live video is a great way to attract more organic followers and interact with your existing customer base. So how do you get started? Think about what your audience would want to see. How about an interactive Q&A? This could be based on a new product you’re about to launch or helpful advice on how to use something you already sell. Tutorials and demos are also really popular – as are behind the scenes snapshots of your workspace. Just remember to be true to your brand and show yourself in an authentic light.
3. Tell stories
Like Instagram Live, the platform’s Story feature is also going down a storm and proving very popular with users. In fact, there are now twice as many daily users on Instagram Stories than there are on Snapchat (where the feature idea came from).
So what are they? They’re the vibrant circles at the top of your feed that people and brands use to share daily snapshots which last no longer than 24 hours.
There are a number of ecommerce brands that were early adopters of Instagram Stories and actively demonstrate to others how to crush it. Take Beyond Yoga for example. They clearly understand the importance of showing how their products look on real women during real workouts. After All, polished, Photoshopped photos are beginning to wear thin for many consumers.
So, the yoga brand took it upon themselves to create stories showing snapshots of women wearing their gear. It gave a candid insight into how the apparel really looks and enabled users to connect with the overall brand on a more intimate level.
When using Instagram Stories, it’s also great to show your humorous side. The platform offers plenty of effects, stickers and emojis which can all be used to make your content that bit more appealing. Just be sure to keep your brand image in mind and make sure this always comes through well.
4. Collaborate with micro-influencers
You might be thinking, “my brand is just starting out, how on earth am I going to get Kendall Jenner to promote my products?!” If you’re thinking this, your letting a huge, unrealistic roadblock get in your way…
You’re missing one very important demographic – the micro influencer. We’re talking about users with a mid-range following, so around the 1,000 to 10,000 mark. What’s really interesting about micro-influencers is that they are actually delivering a higher ROI for businesses.
The pattern that has began to emerge shows that although Large influencers have a stronger reach, more sales are made through micro-influencers promoting products. This shows that users appear to have a more intimate bond with lower level influencers and are more inclined to buy products they recommend over the lipstick Kim Kardashian just endorsed.
What’s great is that, on many levels, micro influencers are actually easier to reach out and collaborate with. So how do you find them? Start by searching hashtags related to your product and go through the users actively using them. This is a pretty good indication that they fall in line with the product or service you offer.
Once you have a round-up of possible candidates, take a look through their profiles to see if they are a good fit for your brand. Once you have a shortlist, it’s time to reach out. When messaging, it’s important to show that you are genuinely interested in them. Mention a post you were particularly font of to show you have clearly done your research.
Then, talk about your business and the reasons why you think a collaboration would be great. Always remember to ask if they are interested – don’t just force this on them and provide the all important follow up details.
If this reach out system doesn’t work for you then there are a number of platforms which help with this process. Check out Upfluence and Gnack, for example, which offer a user friendly way to find and contact potential influencers.
To sum up
Using the above tried and tested tactics well will help you to grow your following, engage with more users and positively impact your business. Users expect to see brands on the platform nowadays and are happy to actively interact with them.
Just remember to put yourself in their shoes and think about that they want to see. How are you going to capture their emotions, show that you are on the same page and offer value? If you keep this in mind when creating content on Instagram, you should see a clear growth in your ecommerce business.