Marketing eCommerce Strategy

How to sell more using Instagram? A step-by-step guide

Mar 20, 2020 12 min read


How to sell more using Instagram? A step-by-step guide

Reading Time: 12 minutes

“How to sell on Instagram?” and “How to increase my sales on Instagram?” are two major queries I receive within social commerce ones.

Instagram has seen attraction from the people who inspire and the people who get inspired to buy a product. And, that’s what made the top eCommerce brands to come on Instagram.

And, learning from leaders is always followed across all the businesses, all the industries.

Hence, you now see so many brands coming to Instagram to increase their sales.

In this “How-to” guide to increasing sales on Instagram, we’ll cover-

Let’s begin with the first one-

Why to sell on Instagram?

Here are the 4 most irresistible reasons why you need to sell on Instagram:

1. Most decision-making happens on Instagram

According to a study, 75% of purchase decisions take place on Instagram. So, whether the product discovery of your brand takes place on Amazon, Google, or Facebook, your customers are influenced to buy through Instagram.

Hence, the first and the topmost reason to sell on Instagram is because most of your customers decide to buy from you on Instagram.

2. Instagram brings customers one-step closer to brand (visibility, engagement, conversations)

Another strong reason to sell on Instagram is the platform connects your brand with your potential and existing customers. How?

  • You make your products look visually appealing on Instagram. Hence, with the right Instagram marketing strategy, you reach your potential customers instantly.
  • When you post your products on Instagram, there are higher chances of your audience asking you more details about your products. So, conversations between you and your customers take place often.
  • Compared to any other social media platforms, Instagram has the highest engagement rate which is 1.60% per post. Hence, your Instagram posts receive more engagement.

So, in these three ways, you connect with your audience on Instagram and hence, you must sell on the same.

3. Your Instagram shop works as your mini eCommerce store

Instagram allows you to set up an internal mini store where you can list your products and sell them as well.

How to sell more on Instagram - Instagram works as a mini eCommerce store

Also, currently, most businesses can only display products and divert the audience to their online store to make the purchase. But, Instagram’s checkout feature is available for the Beta users such as Adidas, H&M, Michael Kors, Warby Parker, and more, where users can also buy the product from Instagram itself. 

So, soon your Instagram shop will become a mini eCommerce store for most businesses. When your customers won’t need to hop from one place to another, conversions would become faster.

Now, that’s what we call the revenue-generating reason to sell on Instagram.

4. Influencers can boost sales on your Instagram shop

Almost 89% of marketers believe influencer marketing positively impacts how people feel about a brand. And, around 66% of marketers say their influencer marketing budgets will increase over the next 12 months. 

Why are brand marketers considering Instagram?

Because around 130 million Instagram accounts tap on shopping posts to learn more about products every month. Also, influencers use Instagram as their primary social media platform for brand collaborations globally.

All these because Instagram helps influencers to inspire your audience to buy your products and hence, boost sales.

Why sell on Instagram? Infographic explaining 4 unrevealed reasons to sell using Instagram Shopping

How to generate sales on Instagram?

There are four ways to start selling or generating sales on Instagram-

1. Organic Posts & Stories

Organic posts and stories are the content you publish on your Instagram feed. Such posts can reach your target audience organically through hashtags. You have to use the hashtags your audience are following to learn about the products they might be interested in. 

Selling on Instagram via organic posts and stories are for the very micro and small-sized businesses.

An example of Instagram organic post/feed-

An example of Instagram organic story-

How to sell more on Instagram - Instagram organic story by mCaffeine

So, that’s an organic way to reach your audience and inspire them to either browse your Instagram shop or visit your online store to buy your products.

2. Paid Posts & Stories

You can advertise on Instagram using photo ads, video ads, carousel ads, ads on stories, collection ads, and ads in Explore.

So, with the right targeting, you can generate sales for your online store through Instagram.

An example of Instagram paid post/feed-

How to sell more on Instagram - Instagram paid story GIF by Plum Goodness

An example of Instagram organic story-

How to sell more on Instagram - Instagram paid story by The Body Shop India

3. Setting up an Instagram shop

One of the best ways to generate sales on Instagram is to set up an Instagram shop. Like we discussed above, that you can create a mini website-like looking Instagram store, you can start generating sales from there itself.

For that you need to have a business profile which we will cover in the coming point on how you can set it up.

4. Shoppable Stories

Another best way to drive sales on Instagram is the Shoppable Stories. You can tag one product to one of your Instagram stories using a product sticker. That’s how you can convert a normal or organic Instagram story to a Shoppable one.

By the way, to post Shoppable Stories, you need to have a business Instagram account.

How to sell more on Instagram - Instagram Shoppable Stories by MyTurms

How to set up an Instagram store/shop?

You might be having a business profile on Instagram. But, that’s not how you can boost sales for your business. You need to turn on Instagram Shopping in your app. And, here is the entire process of setting up your Instagram shop-

1. Create an Instagram account

Two possibilities can prevail here- either you don’t have an Instagram account or you have it, but not a business one to start Instagram Shopping on the same.

If you don’t have an Instagram account, here is the process to create one

How to sell more on Instagram - how to create an account on Instagram

2. Get approval for Instagram Shopping

Now if you don’t have a business account on Instagram, you need approval from Instagram to have an Instagram store.

What are the criteria to get approval for Instagram Shopping?

  • Your business must be operational in the below markets
How to sell more on Instagram - markets to sell on Instagram How to sell more on Instagram - Instagram commerce product merchant agreement How to sell more on Instagram - Instagram commerce policies

To comply with the Instagram policies to sell on your Instagram shop, you must sell physical goods at the markets mentioned above. Only then your Instagram account can get approval for Instagram shopping.

3. Create an Instagram business/ shopping account

Once you get approval, then here is the process to create a business account

How to sell more on Instagram - how to turn on Instagram Shopping Business account

4. Create your Facebook catalog

Now it’s time to get a product catalog on Instagram. But, that is only possible when you create a Facebook catalog. 

Note: If you already have your Facebook catalog, you need to only connect that with your Instagram’s business account.

Here is the step-by-step process of creating a Facebook catalog-

To summarize, here are the pointers-

  1. Create an account on Business Manager with your business name and email address
  2. Create a new catalog
  3. Add product items manually, automatically from your eCommerce store, or automatically with a data feed
  4. Make sure your Pixel tracking is configured correctly

And, you’re done.

5. Get your product catalog

You have to bring your Facebook product catalog to your Instagram Shopping account.

Follow these simple steps to get your Instagram product catalog-

  1. Open you Catalog Manager in Facebook
  2. Choose the product catalog you want to connect to your Instagram Shopping/business account
  3. Select Instagram Shopping on the Use Cases page
  4. Click on “Connect profile”
  5. Tap on “Add a new Instagram Business profile”
  6. Log in to your Instagram Business account

Voila! You’ve now connected a product catalog to your Instagram Shopping account. 

Follow the above steps to connect all your product catalogs with your Instagram account to start selling on Instagram.

6. Wait for the approval from Instagram

After connecting the product catalogs with your Instagram account, 

  • Go to your Instagram profile
  • Click on “Shopping on Instagram”
  • Finish the process to submit your account for review

Instagram would take around a few days to approve your Instagram Shopping account. Keep on checking the review status on the “Shopping” section in your “Settings”.

When you get approval, you will receive a notification saying “Start tagging” your products in your posts and stories.

How to add/tag products to your Instagram store?

Learn the process to add products to your Instagram shop with simple and easy-to-implement steps-

1. Upload product images

If you want to add only one image, you can tag upto 5 products. If that’s a carousel post, tagging 20 products is your limit.

There are five products in the following post-

How to sell more on Instagram - Product tagging post by The Style Salad

That post shows you the list of products that are tagged in this Instagram post-

How to sell more on Instagram - Products tagged by The Style Salad

2. Create the best caption

Caption on your Instagram posts decides the fate of your sales. Make sure you create the most persuasive caption that makes it irresistible for your audience to let it go.

How to sell more on Instagram - Write killer Instagram caption by House of Masaba

3. Tag your products

Go into the Edit post options, you will find an option to “Tag products”. Start typing in the product name, and Instagram will fetch the matching ones from the Facebook product catalog automatically.

You can select the right ones and it’s all done.

4. Share your post

Now that you’ve tagged your products, you can share them on your Instagram Shopping feed. Once you share them, your audience will see a small shopping bag icon in the top right corner of the post.

Here is a little but fast visual go-through of how you can start tagging your products on Instagram and create Shopping Instagram feed.

How to create Instagram Shoppable Stories?

More than 400 million users post Instagram stories daily. And, think about why brands are also utilizing the same.

Instagram stories can drive more results as they come to the audience as more candid and real than the posts. Stories are intended to drive better brand engagement and loyalty. If you look at the organic traffic from Instagram, stories give a close competition to the posts by adding website links to the products.

Instagram launched Shoppable Stories in 2018 where the brands can tag products to their Instagram stories.

Hence, it’s necessary to make persuasive Instagram Shoppable stories to drive direct conversions and boost sales.

Here are the step-by-step process to create Instagram Shopping Stories-

  1. Add an image or a video on your story
  2. Tap on the Sticker icon in the top left corner
  3. Click on the Product option
  4. Start typing your product name and select the product from the product catalog – you can add only one product per story and change the color of the sticker
  5. Share the story

Your tagged Instagram Stories will have a small shopping bag icon just like the ones on your Instagram Shopping feeds.

When they click on the icon, they can browse the product with all the product details. After 

We brought to you a video that helps you create Shoppable Stories on Instagram-

4 most important things to consider while selling on Instagram

You can sell more on Instagram if you don’t make any mistakes. Otherwise all your efforts would go in vain. So, consider the following things while selling on Instagram-

1. You must have proper Instagram Shopping account

If a user lands on your Instagram shop and they don’t find any product posts or stories, or even no proper business information including URL, you’re spoiling your very first impression. And, also losing business because the audience may click on the URL mentioned in your Instagram bio.

So, don’t just turn on Instagram Shopping if you don’t really wish to share Instagram Shoppable feeds or stories. Make it look “Just Perfect” in front of your audience.

2. Your product catalog is properly set up

While creating your product catalog on Facebook, make sure you add every single detail appropriately. Even the minutest error in the product name, it becomes difficult to find the product while tagging it on your Instagram Shopping posts or stories.

3. You or your team member is ready to answer Insta DMs

Whenever you start sharing your Instagram Shopping posts, you might start getting DMs asking about the product and its pricing. For such inquiries, you need to make sure no DM goes unattended.

4. You promote only those products that are available in your inventory

Customer experience is the crucial thing in selling online either on an eCommerce store, marketplace or on Instagram. If a user places an order on Instagram and you don’t have that product in stock, it ruins your brand reputation and your relationship with that user.

Hence, make sure about the stock before promoting any product.

12 unbeatable tips to sell more on Instagram

By now, you learned how to sell on Instagram and now you will learn how to sell MORE and EFFECTIVELY on Instagram.

1. Understand how Instagram algorithm works

Before you start promoting your products on Instagram, you need to understand how Instagram helps you reach your target audience and bring engagement, followers, traffic, and conversions for your brand.

2. Get high-quality product pictures, GIFs or videos

Instagram is a photo and video-sharing social media platform. And hence, when you want to sell more on Instagram, you need to take care of the quality of media you share.

The most attractive and the best quality ones receive the highest results. So, make a note of this.

View this post on Instagram

Better safe than sorry. #justdoit

A post shared by nike (@nike) on

3. Tag multiple products

To make the most out of each post, you can tag more than one product in each of your posts. When you tag multiple products and a user clicks on any of them, Instagram showcases the other product details under the section, “Also Featured in this Post.”

So, both of your products get visibility and there are chances that your potential buyers may shop both of them.

How to sell more on Instagram - tag multiple products on Instagram post

4. Tag the right products

Don’t tag products in a hurry as it can cost you big time. There are times that multiple product names start with the same word and it may confuse you while tagging them in the Instagram posts and stories. 

Hence, be extra careful while tagging the products to boost sales on Instagram.

5. Make elegant posts and stories while tagging products

Whenever you tag multiple products on your Instagram Shopping stories and feed, you need to tag them at different places.

Both product tags must be easily visible and have enough space between them to make them look like an elegant post.

6. Take benefit of Explore Tab

Explore tab is a page on Instagram where people come daily to find something that interests them. 

With the right kind of Instagram posts, you can reach the Explore tab. Also, if you target ads for the tab, it’s pretty much to show unbelievable results.

How to sell more on Instagram - Instagram Explore Tab

7. Get ready for Instagram Checkout feature

We earlier in this guide talked about the Instagram Checkout feature which is out for Beta users. But, the moment they roll out for all brands, you must immediately implement it on your Instagram shop. The sales will start taking place from Instagram itself.

8. Choose the right hashtags

One most important tip to sell more on Instagram is already shared above- Write the best caption. But, that caption must be supported with the right hashtags.

Your hashtags help you reach your target audience and hence, it needs to be carefully chosen.

How to sell more on Instagram - Use right hashtags by KruzKidsCollectionz

9. Advertise your products

Just like you do paid advertising on Google to drive more sales to your eCommerce store, you need to advertise on your Instagram as well.

Advertising on Instagram is available on Instagram Shopping feeds, stories, and Explore tab. Make sure you create the best of ads. Learn how you can create remarketing banner ads for your Instagram users.

10. Work with influencers

Influencer marketing is growing on Instagram and needless to say, influencers highly depend on Instagram to grab new followers, share their experiences, and increase their influence.

Influencers would persuade your potential buyers to become your loyal customers. Hence, to sell more on Instagram, utilize influencer marketing.

11. Share user-generated content (UGC)

Whenever your buyers share their experiences with your products on Instagram, add them to your Instagram feed to let them know how much you value them.

Others viewing such posts may get inspired to buy your products. Hence, make sure you have a perfect strategy for the same. You can run campaigns to attract your existing customers to come up with user-generated content for you.

How to sell more on Instagram - Instagram story user-generated content by Tjori Treasures

12. Promote your Instagram store across other social media platforms

Leverage other social media platforms to promote your Instagram store and drive people to the same. The more people follow you on Instagram, the more will be the reach. And, the more reach you have, the more sales opportunities you get.

That’s simple!

Start selling more on Instagram

Every brand tries to sell on Instagram, but that does not mean that they’re selling more or earning more revenues. Hence, follow the above-mentioned tips with the branded examples to increase sales on Instagram and see a higher ROI year on year.

How do you find this Instagram sales guide? Do you want us to come up with some other guide? Do let us know here.