Following YouTube, Instagram is the world’s most-downloaded app. With 1 billion users every month, the visual platform is an essential component of a successful eCommerce marketing strategy.
But it takes more than simply posting beautiful images, although that’s certainly part of the process and an understanding of how the platform works to truly get the most out of it.
If it’s new to you, fear not.
We’re here to share with you some simple ways that you can improve your Instagram eCommerce marketing strategy.
Let’s dive in.
Create, automate, repeat
Here, we’re paraphrasing Neil Patel who’s infamous 3-part Instagram strategy is now commonplace in marketing jargon.
Basically, nobody has the time to create fresh content on a daily basis – something you need to be producing as part of a successful strategy.
Instead, Patel recommends that people create their content surrounding their core marketing efforts in batches, set it up to post via an automated tool, and repeat the process.
This simple yet highly effective process allows you to dedicate time to creating as much key content as you can and then take advantage of the numerous scheduling tools available to post that content for you.
It’s genius, really.
His advice is to schedule a month’s worth of content and preload it into a marketing automation tool like Later.
It’s worth noting, however, that you’ll need to keep an eye on your content and ensure it’s appropriate for the social climate.
Which brings us nicely onto our second recommendation.
Create content for your audience
So, scheduling a ton of content is all well and good, but only if the content is relevant to your audience.
And, since the latest Instagram algorithm update made it so that the best-performing content shows on your feed, it’s never been more vital that you meet the bar… and raise it where possible!
Instagram hashtags can be hugely impactful when it comes to your eCommerce strategy.
Using them correctly will allow you to increase the visibility of your content and expand your reach while using them incorrectly can actually cause damage, whether that’s by irritating your followers or getting penalized by the platform’s algorithms.
For those who are unclear on how they work, hashtags expand your reach by creating a sort of tag for your post. Let’s say you caption your post with a hashtag, that post will then show up on the feed for that hashtag.
Similarly, if you use a hashtag in your Story, you may show up in the Story for that specific hashtag.
It’s a really simple way to occupy space within the platform.
And, people can actually follow hashtags so even if they don’t follow your account, they may still see your post on their feed.
Not only are hashtags a great way to increase your visibility but they are also an effective way to create a sense of community within your audience.
Take Pretty Little Thing, for example.
Their hashtag #everyBODYinPLT encourages customers to post photos of their latest purchase and works to promote the brand as inclusive of all body types – clever, right?
PLT reference this hashtag on-site as well as via email marketing and social media which is a highly effective strategy for boosting their sales.
Use user-generated content
Another way to build a community amongst your audience is by using user-generated content.
UGC has a huge amount of scope for impacting eCommerce strategy, and Instagram is the perfect platform on which to use it.
It’s a sort of fancy review system, really. And, since 85% of users are found to be more influenced by UGC than brand content alone, it’s really worth having!
So, whether you’re asking people to submit creative that they’ve “shot on an iPhone” or a selfie in “their Calvins”, posting this kind of content on your Instagram is a really good way to improve your eCommerce strategy.
Now, as well as creating a sense of community and engagement within your existing audience, a successful eCommerce strategy will also work to expand your audience.
Use these two common growth hacks
1. Competitions & giveaways
You can think of this as a killer combo of UGC and good old fashioned promotion.
This is the kind of content you see where brands will offer a chance to win a £1000 new wardrobe or “all the items you see here” in exchange for people tagging 3 friends and sharing the post on their Story.
In the same vein as “recommend a friend for 15% off”, this content works a treat not only for getting engagement from your existing customers but also growing your audience.
2. Collaborations with influencers
Similar to UGC, but where a user is a person of influence, collaborations are a brilliant string to add to your eCommerce bow.
It’s kind of like getting a recommendation for a coffee shop from that friend you have that knows all there is to know about coffee, rather than from your other friend who actually only drinks tea.
And, there are tons of options for influencer marketing, including…
- Sponsored Instagram posts
- Sponsored blog posts
- Sponsored offline events
All of which you can promote on your Instagram as part of your eCommerce strategy.
It’s worth noting that influencer marketing is now widely understood, and transparency is of the utmost importance.
Your customers are looking for authenticity, trust and authority more than anything. And, believe us when we say they’ll know if you’re paying the big money to get someone to say “I absolutely love this product” when in fact, they’ve never even used it.
Influencer marketing is at its most successful when the collaboration is with someone who actually uses your product, actually shares your values and actually represents your key demographic.
In fact, and contrary to popular belief, a recent study found that working with influencers who have fewer followers correlated to higher engagement and ROI.
Now, early we said there’s more to a successful Instagram strategy than beautiful images.
This is true, but images are important.
Instagram is, above all, a visual platform so you can’t afford to neglect the aesthetic of your feed.
Use high-quality media
We cannot stress enough the importance of having high-quality media on your Instagram page.
If you don’t have any, make it a priority.
It’s hard to take a brand seriously if their images are blurry or irrelevant, and while stock images are perfectly acceptable, in fact sometimes encouraged, it’s vital to have your own stuff too.
If you’re stuck for inspiration, we find a valuable (and enjoyable) pastime to be a cheeky scroll through some of the most aesthetically pleasing IG accounts around.
Check out some of our favourites…
All in all…
The most successful Instagram eCommerce strategies are those which prioritise audience engagement and audience growth.
After all, nurturing your leads is key to turning them into conversions. And, with Instagram having one of the highest engagement rates across social media platforms, it’s the perfect place to do so.
If you’re looking to improve your eCommerce strategy, the point discussed here and a great place to start.