by Lauren Barrett

With Instagram now averaging over 400 million active daily users, it’s high time to start getting more involved with one of the favorite social platforms of millennials. In fact, over 50% of all Americans aged between 18 and 29 are active users on Instagram. Jeez.

To help you get the very best from Instagram, we’ve compiled 7 key things you need to know about getting the very best from Instagram for your e-commerce store marketing.

1. Hashtags are a must

As with all social media, the overall aim is to get your brand and products in front of people who care. One of the most overlooked ways of doing this is through hashtags. An Instagram hashtag is simply a word or phrase that is related to your products with a # in front of it. For example, #socialmedia #socialmediamanagement #marketing are all hashtags used by Blue Pineapple to ensure that users following these hashtags see our posts.

Instagram actually allows you to include up to 30 hashtags. To ensure that your main message is visible, we recommend creating a post and then commenting immediately after to include your hashtags. Take a look at this example below:

2. Variety with consistency is key.

Whilst this may sound contradictory, we need to think about the process of using Instagram as a marketing tool. When Instagram users see a post, they usually:

  1. Scroll to the post, read it and potentially like it.
  2. Click on the name of the account posting and see the view below

As you can see here from Blue Pineapple's Instagram feed our ‘Variety and Consistency’ includes:

  • Always use bright block colors.
  • Every 6th post is a ‘statistic’ or ‘fact’.
  • Every 10th image is a ‘personal image’ of us.

By consistently following a set of Instagram ‘rules’ for your business, you’ll be able to create a consistent message about your products or brand that will create trust and willingness to buy. Have a think about what your Instagram ‘rules’ should be, and if these will be realistic to stick to.

3. Don’t oversell.

Whilst it’s always tempting to simply post images of your product, following from point above, try to avoid it. Think about a brand that you buy regularly. It’s likely that you buy that brand not just because of the actual product, but about what the brand ‘says about you.’ Let’s take sneakers. Why are we so obsessed with Nike, when in reality, it's the same product as New Balance? It’s about what the brand says about you. Think more widely about your target market’s interests and refer to these in your posts. If your target audience loves dogs, it’s not a waste to have an image of a cute dog with your logo in the corner, even if you're selling handbags.

Take a look at this post from our sister company, Blend Commerce, for help with identifying your target audience.

4. Use scheduling tools.

One of the biggest worries about using Instagram is the thought of having to be constantly glued to your phone posting at appropriate times. Well, fear not, as there are a ton of scheduling apps that allow you to create your Instagram posts ahead of time and have these posted by an app. This saves a lot of hassle and allows you to set aside a portion of time each week to create, rather than making this a daily occurrence. We personally recommend Hootsuite and OnlyPult.

5. Use copy to make people think or take an action

Whilst Instagram is a visual platform, engaging readers with the words you use is also a great way to build engagement. As examples, why not use:

a) Give tips and hints.

b) Ask a rhetorical question.

c) Create a lighthearted quiz in return for a shout out.

The point is, use your words to get Instagram users to engage, rather than just ‘swipe and smile.’

6. Make your Instagram bio count

Whilst Instagram is constantly evolving, the only way to get a customer to your e-commerce store is via the Instagram bio, ads or shoppable Instagram from Shopify. If you’re selling multiple products, it’s likely you’ll want to direct customers to a variety of product pages from your Instagram bio. As you're limited to one link, how do we do this? Simple, use a tool like Lnk.bio or Linkify. These will allow you to create multiple links by storing your key links in a ‘lookalike’ Instagram page.

7. Use ‘easy video’ posts

The video doesn’t need to be scary - just simple. To show why, take a look at this research from Newswhip.

Simply using your smartphone, short teaser clips of your product or of you discussing your product create intrigue and get attention. Go on, be brave.

So, hopefully, by now you will have some good ideas for how you’re going to use Instagram to supercharge your business. If you still feel like you could use some help in getting started, book a call to discuss our packages.

Happy posting!

Lauren Barrett
Lauren Barrett

Lauren works closely with Adam on the creation of marketing strategy and content for Blend clients. Having honed her skills within a ecommerce and B2B business, Lauren is well versed in the marketing needs of businesses in a competitive workplace.

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