Growing with the fast-developing social network Instagram amongst others have become a widely accepted application—not only to connect with friends home and abroad, to follow your beloved public figures, or to showcase your aesthetic appeal with images and videos, but also as a platform for businesses to promote their services and products.
As they replace physical counterparts by the day, online markets have become a prevalence needed by almost all brands no matter how small or big. More so, brands that operate one or more offline shops consider the Internet a pivotal component of their marketing strategies nowadays. The beating waves of online and social media marketing are just too much to ignore. This is because there are quick and stress-free ways to finalize your orders and receive intended items or services as an online buyer.
Shopping on Instagram: See. Tap. Shop.
Instagram has evolved over the years with new and improved features, thanks to the constant updates and efforts of developers. Competing wildly with Snapchat, Instagram Stories have been a widely used feature ever since its launch. People get to upload life happenings, videos, and images (from professional and catchy to fun and creative). But unlike Instagram Feeds, these contents have a lifespan of just 24 hours. In addition to Feeds and Stories, Explore is another segment of IG that steals the show.
While Instagram users in the United States have been relishing the Shopping on Instagram feature since last year, it wasn't until March 21 of this year when Instagram for Business made the feature worldwide as announced in an official blog post. This feature functions to enable brands to highlight their posts and tag products that are available for sale.
This eradicates the stressful and usually long process where an interested buyer sees a product on Instagram and then has to comment on his/her interest or surf the Internet for the product page.
With Shopping on Instagram, potential consumers can now know the availability of the product they love so much—only by tapping to see if it has been tagged. If the product is tagged, you're directed to the product page on the brand’s website to learn more as soon as you can click on the tag. This way, time is saved, there is little or no stress, and interested buyers get to know if a product is available or not. No one wants to be slapped in the face with unavailability.
The only requirement is a Facebook shop and an Instagram business account. Once you're eligible, let's walk you through the required steps to gain easy access and efficiently utilize the feature. Do note that some countries are not accepted, so check the official webpage before embarking on this mission.
1. Ensure you sell physical products/goods
Since it involves tagging specific products to show consumers and the ultimate aim is to deliver the easiest way to shop online, being actively involved in the sales of goods that are visible to the eyes is merely logical. Afterwards, ensure that you approve of the terms on the application's merchant agreement and commerce policies.
2. Exclusively for Instagram Business accounts
Shopping on Instagram is a feature aimed only at business accounts in a bid to let them reach consumers with ease and convenience. If done right, this would definitely drive traffic, attract attention, maximize sales, and generate revenue for any brand.
3. Exclusively for Facebook shops
To use the feature, you have to set up a catalogue of your products on Facebook. You can either use any of the supported third-party commercial platforms (like Shopify or BigCommerce) or just your Facebook page if it's a business account. Catalogues are essential on Facebook when you want to advertise your brand. They consist of all the items you would like to advertise so you can track your outreach. To use the Shopping on Instagram feature, you need a product catalogue connected to your business profile.
4. Wait for your account to be reviewed and approved
Once you have completed the required steps, Instagram will take an evaluation of your account and then approve it for shopping. This could take anything from a couple of days to a more lengthy period; this depends entirely on your brand.
5. Turn on product tagging
After the approval of your account as an Instagram storefront, the social platform will send you a notification to activate product tagging. To enable this, (a) go to Settings, (b) click on Shopping, (c) tap Continue, (d) connect a product catalogue, and (e) tap Done.
6. Engage your audience (This is more of an advice than a required step.)
Now that you have completed all the required steps, you shouldn’t just sit back and get too comfortable. At this exact point, you need to upgrade your online presence game by engaging users with quality content. This would result in a steady increase in the number of followers as well as more activities on your page. To make the Shopping on Instagram feature work excellently for your brand, the most advisable tip is to keep your online presence active.
9 tips for maximizing brand sales using Instagram Shopping in Explore
With more than 25 million business accounts on Instagram (as reported in November 2017), the platform was more than due to release a feature to maximize commercial activities.
1. Ensure tags are attached to appropriate products
You should always ensure that your tags are accurate because switching an item tagged in your Instagram post is a huge mistake. You certainly don't want to annoy a customer by directing him/her to a different product page. Also, make sure product names are neither misleading nor unclear.
2. Make use of high-quality contents
Instagram is a platform that thrives on visual appeal so ensure your photos and videos are eye-catching for potential customers. But that's not all! Instagram Explore itself welcomes more than 200 million accounts per diem. By using the Explore channel, your brand can reach more people as they dive deeper into their respective interests or hobbies. However, you thinking out of the box and delivering exceptional content is the only way to beat the competition on Instagram Explore.
Fun Fact: Nearly half of the US women on Instagram consider shopping a hobby according to an IG survey. Meanwhile, Instagram is working towards personalizing brands and products to the taste of each user. This would help shoppers buy quicker and brands sell faster.
3. Include multiple items in a post
Persuade customers to further explore your shop by presenting them with more than one product in a post. (Do note that there is a limit to the number of products you can tag in a post.)
4. Master consistency
This goes two ways. One, customers should experience a smooth transition from your Instagram post to your product page; the image included in your post should be as identical as possible to what you are selling—in size, shape, colour, etc. Two, Instagrammers love scheduling; you don't have to upload randomly. Instead, create a plan and upload your products at the best time.
5. Promote your brand
Getting your products on Instagram Explore is not just enough. Cross-promote your brand and products across other social media; you will get more customers and more followers this way. You can also use other promotion methods, marketing strategies, and advertising campaigns.
6. Understand Instagram's algorithm
Your visibility and view count rely greatly on how well you understand and can work with the Instagram algorithm. As stated earlier, the timing and quality of your content are unsurprisingly paramount.
7. Include illustrative hashtags
Since Instagram thrives on hashtags, hashtagging is the key to discovering and following posts that interest users. Effectively including trending hashtags in your posts will increase your visibility to potential customers. As one of the most popular features of Instagram, hashtags are quick ways for users to find what they're looking for, how others have looked for it. You could also have constant sets of hashtags that represent your brand so that your audience would know what to always watch out.
8. Be professional
Even though there are no set rules, the image of your brand is at stake with whatever you post. Whether your brand is just budding or has garnered enough reputation, always portray a great image. Earn the respect and trust of your buyers...and even competitors. Come to the market with your A game!
9. Just try it
It's normal to be anxious and feel a bit jittery at the thought of going through all of these. But, do have it in mind that it's better to try and fail than not to try and keep wondering what heights your brand could reach if you had. It’s not a 100% surefire technique—your account might not be approved. And even when it does, you cannot be sure it'll drive more sales for you. Ignore the statistics of the failures; instead, put your all in it and watch it work fine.
This article has highlighted some of the tips to successfully take advantage of Instagram Shopping in Explore. With a social platform as robust as Instagram, consumers have a stronger connection with their beloved brands and are always on the lookout for quicker, easier ways to acquire the finer items of life. Similarly, brands, agencies, and small businesses are advised to constantly look for new Instagram features to strengthen their businesses. There is no set way to use the Gram, so far it is in line with the terms and policies.
Don't be afraid to try out new patterns and mix strategies up—even the ones you've never seen. Unleash your inner creativity and fill the eager eyes of your followers with catchy, creative imagery. Cheers!