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Instagram is quickly becoming one of the most-used social media platforms for businesses. Whilst the platform used to be solely for sharing photos, a recent announcement that “we’re no longer just a square photo-sharing app” demonstrates their change in focus toward shopping, creators, video and messaging.

A staggering 1 billion people use Instagram, and 81% of users said that the platform helps them research products and services. Alongside this, their new focus on shopping means that this is the perfect time for your business to utilise Instagram to boost your sales. So, how do you convert Instagram followers into sales? Play the game, master the algorithm, and see your business soar. Like all things worth doing, cultivating a fruitful Instagram account can be time-consuming and appear thankless at first, but that’s the nature of the beast. Instead, embrace Instagram as a platform to invite leads to move the conversation elsewhere (your website, a phone call, etc.), and your sales will follow.

7 Tips to Increase Instagram Sales

Learn more about How to Convert Instagram Followers into Sales in this simple guide.

1. Switch to a Business Account

First things first, if you haven’t already, it’s time to make the switch from a personal account to a business account. This enables a number of functions:

  • Categorising your business.
  • Adding CTA buttons (contact, call, website link, etc).
  • Tracking your account’s analytics with the Insights tool. This lets you see when your followers are most active, the demographic you reach, your impressions, reach, website clicks, and more measurable data.
  • Paid ads and the ability to boost posts to reach a wider audience.
  • Linking your Instagram to your Facebook shop catalogue and tagging products in your posts, allowing your followers to click on images and be directed to your e-commerce page.
digital marketing for Instagram

2. Utilise Instagram Shopping

Instagram Shopping is a set of features that allow users to shop your business’ content easily. Considering that 90% of users follow a business account, this is an opportunity to increase Instagram sales that you don’t want to miss.

Features include: 

  • Your store-front on Instagram. This is the place to share the story of your business and where users can shop your collections and view product details. Checkout on Instagram is currently only available in the US – a feature we are hoping will be rolled out more widely soon!
  • Tagging products in your posts. Product tags let you highlight items from your catalogue directly in your photos and videos, which means that users can easily tap to learn more.
Ikea using the Instagram Shopping feature of product tags.
@Ikea using the product tag feature.

Instagram has created a comprehensive guide to setting up Instagram Shopping here.

3. Be Seen

Accounts with over 10k followers

Although followers aren’t the end game, one undeniable advantage to having over 10k followers on a business account is the ‘swipe up’ feature on stories unlocked when you reach the golden number. Instagram only supports links in your bio, but this feature enables you to add a link to your Instagram story so viewers can access the web page of your choice (and convert followers into sales) simply by swiping up. I’ve personally seen this feature increase web sessions by 1249% in a matter of months and take Instagram assisted revenue from £0 to almost £4k in the same time frame. Giving your followers a clear path to conversion with as few hurdles as possible is key, and the swipe up feature makes this much more achievable.

Accounts with under 10k followers

Don’t worry, this next tip to be seen is great for larger and smaller businesses alike. 

When people follow you on Instagram, they are buying into your brand. Look at your feed and ask yourself if it intentionally reflects your company. Is your brand presence strong? Your followers should be able to tell they are looking at your feed without seeing your name, based on the images you post. You can create a strong brand aesthetic on Instagram by incorporating your brand colours and sharing images that reflect your values and story. Check out our blog post on creating a social media style guide for more on this.

A great example of a strong brand aesthetic is Google, who deliberately peppers its feed with their brand colours in a fun and engaging way, using user-generated images of their iconic logo. It’s impossible to look at this feed and not know it belongs to Google. This kind of visual consistency fosters the kind of credibility every growing business relies on.

Google Instagram feed

@Google‘s grid Instagram feed.

4. Serve, Serve, Serve

While it can be tempting to push hard sales on everything you post, this is a sure-fire way to alienate your following. However, strategy and trends have moved on from the 80/20 rule, which dictated that 80% of your content should be focused on educating and engaging your audience, and only 20% should be self-promotional, as experts suggest.

There’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to content. Instead, we see brands discovering what ratio suits them and their audience. Nonetheless, what is clear is that consumers are seeking authentic brands, as 86% of consumers say this is important when deciding what brands they support and buy from.

Let’s check out our friends at Google once more. 

Who is Google’s target audience? Google wants to serve everybody who can afford to buy their products. There is no real niche market here – if you have disposable income to spend on tech, Google loves you. And that’s their message, except not so bluntly.

In their recent posts, Google shares their support of Native American and LGBTQ+ owned businesses impacted by COVID-19.

@Google‘s Instagram posts supporting Native American and LGBTQ+ communities.

You may be wondering what these have to do with Google products?

The answer is nothing. These things have absolutely nothing to do with the product and everything to do with the buyer and creating content that gives before it tries to take. Through their content on Instagram, Google is shouting, ‘we care about diversity, and we care about the things you care about. Whatever your background, demographic, sexuality, we are your people…’

And then, subliminally, between the lines, they whisper,‘…and we have amazing products for people like you, designed and created by people like you who understand’.

Does it work? As a leading tech giant, Google has a lot to lose if they get their digital marketing wrong. 12.5 million followers and revenue of $146.9 billion in 2020 suggests it’s working out for them.

Top tip: If you’re a business on Instagram, you need to be following @InstagramForBusiness. They share the latest news, stories and tips for businesses, check out how to create engaging Instagram Reels, or 3 tips for levelling up your Instagram shop.

5. Find Your People

Take a leaf out of Google’s books and start serving your people. To master digital marketing for Instagram, you need to know who you are hoping to engage with. If you haven’t already, write your client persona. Knowing your target audience makes it much easier to produce content that makes people feel important and delivers results. With a little research online, you can find out which time of day your target demographic is most active on Instagram and which hashtags will help them find you.

But if you’re not sure where to start, don’t have the time, or don’t feel inspired, let us know. We love nothing more than creating exciting content and delivering results for our clients.

6. Engagement > Followers

While having thousands of followers might make your business look good, this can be where it ends.

The fact of the matter is, you could have tens of thousands of followers with little to show for it in your businesses’ revenue. The goal shouldn’t be to collect followers but to gain trust from followers who will engage and convert. This is where a few hundred followers could have a bigger impact on your business than thousands. 70% of Instagram posts don’t get seen, and Instagram’s algorithm favours accounts that have genuine engagement, not necessarily accounts with thousands of unengaged followers. So, don’t be disheartened if your follower numbers are lagging. 

We’ll say it again – it’s all about the content! Set your gaze on creating useful content, and genuine, engaged followers will show up, helping to make your brand even more discoverable. Start with scheduling frequent posts (aim for one a day) and sharing glimpses of behind the scenes on your Instagram stories, using boomerangs or quick videos. Tools like Hootsuite are great time-saving ways to schedule in bulk, or we can take care of it for you with our tailored social media marketing service.

7. Be Intentional

To convert your followers into sales, where do you want to direct your followers, and how many steps do they need to take?

There should be clear CTAs on your profile, a contact button, a website link, etc. If you want your followers to land on your blog, share excerpts or relevant snippets on your posts to entice your followers to read more by clicking the connecting link in your bio. 

Let’s face it, nobody wants a contract shoved in their face at the first networking event; Instagram is the same. Treat it as the coffee shop where you persuade your prospective client. Save the hard sell or pitch for the board room (or, in this case, your website) because if you engage well, your followers will end up there anyway.

How to Convert Instagram Followers into Sales

If this all feels a tad overwhelming, don’t worry. Instagram is an art to master, but it’s a great platform to help boost your sales and we’re here to help! So, why not give us a call?