How to Sell on Instagram: 21 Ideas, Strategies & Tips
As Instagram continues to grow and change, the visual content giant has become one of the prime social platforms to drive sales for your business.
Its wealth of features provides a powerful arsenal of tools that can help any savvy social media marketer turn Instagram fans into customers.
It’s not so straightforward, however - there are many ways one could go about generating sales from the traffic they drive from Instagram. That’s why I’ve put together 21 ideas, strategies and tips about how to sell on Instagram.
Let’s get started...
How to Sell on Instagram Idea #1. CTA in your Instagram bio
One of the most straightforward ways to drive sales using Instagram is to make your store (or website) link as visible as possible. Someone who finds your business on Instagram is likely to go to your bio - the perfect place to direct them to your store.
Write a CTA in your bio (“click the link below to see our latest and greatest products!”) that entices Instagram profile viewers into exploring your product selection, helping you increase traffic and boost sales.
How to Sell on Instagram Tip #2. Instagram-specific landing page
I’m a big proponent of personalizing sales efforts - it’s proven to be a big factor in increasing business success. One way you can do this to sell on Instagram is to create a landing page specifically for your Instagram users.
Chances are, people visiting your Instagram profile came from a photo of yours they stumbled upon and happened to like. Though your website might look great, it’s not optimized for conversion, nor is it personalized. Create a landing page featuring your Instagram photos, directing visitors to where they can buy the products from these photos.
How to Sell on Instagram Idea #3. Post customer testimonials
Social proof can play a huge part in helping you make a sale. Make user and customer testimonials a part of your Instagram sales strategy - post a video or photo of a happy user with your product, along with a quote (in the caption is good) about why they love it.
Though this might just seem like a standard product post, it’s different enough that it can make a dramatic change in your sales. A testimonial is so convincing because it gives potential customers someone to relate to - these are users like them who love your product, so why wouldn’t they?
How to Sell on Instagram Idea #4. Simple product post
There it is! It’d be silly for me to overlook the simple product post while I teach you how to sell on Instagram. These are the most common sales posts, because they’re effective and quite simple to put together.
Post a high-quality (no blurry, badly-lit photos allowed!) photo of your product. This is the crux of your sales post, because it’s built to grab Instagram users’ attentions and get them intrigued about your product. In the caption, create a striking product description and direct them to your website (or store) so they can buy it for themselves.
How to Sell on Instagram Idea #5. Seasonal promotions
Like I said, personalization is great when trying to connect with your customers and push up sales. Another way to do this is to run seasonal promotions - for example, a marketing campaign that you promote for a specific event like Valentine’s Day or the Super Bowl.
Create Instagram media that’s directly related to the season or event your promotion is based on, and add a discount. This is easily shareable amongst members of your target market because it plays on events that are top of mind, and it’s especially engaging because there’s a promotion attached to it.
How to Sell on Instagram Idea #6. Flash discount
Flash discounts are awesome because they’re a direct sales offer. You already know that everyone who follows you is at least somewhat interested in your products, and giving them a discount on your products can help convince them to act.
Create an eye-catching image to grab attention from your Instagram followers, with a coupon or specific link that followers can use to get a discount on your products (or specific products). Put this link in your bio to make it as easy as possible for would-be customers to buy.
How to Sell on Instagram Idea #7. Sales offers to Instagram commenters
If you’ve ever looked at popular product posts on Instagram, you’ll see a lot of people will comment things like “I need this!” or “Love it!”, often tagging friends who they think would also be interested in the product.
Respond to customers like this (who often don’t end up acting on their impulses to buy your product) with some sort of sales offer. A simple “Glad you like it! Make sure to grab your own at…” could work, or you might include a coupon code for them, if you’re feeling so daring.
How to Sell on Instagram Idea #8. User-generated content
Like the testimonials I mentioned before, social proof can be a huge contributing factor when people are considering a specific product. User-generated content is one of the most genuine ways to make a sale on Instagram because it’s a great medium for social proof.
If you’re lucky enough to have customers who love your brand and products enough to make posts about it, you should use that to your advantage. Post user-generated content on your profile along with a short blurb (written by the original poster or by you) about how this customer enjoys your product. Then, include a CTA telling new visitors where they can get their own.
How to Sell on Instagram Idea #9. Demo video
Showing potential customers how people use your product is a great way to engage them and spread information about your brand, while still helping to drive sales for your business. It can help to alleviate any uneasiness people have about buying your product.
Create a short (remember, videos on Instagram need to be less than a minute long) video that shows your product in action, along with a CTA at the end of the video containing a link where people can learn more about the product.
How to Sell on Instagram Idea #10. Instagram Ads
You’d be a fool to want to find ways to sell on Instagram without considering Instagram Ads. Because they run on the Facebook Ads platform, Instagram Ads allow you to precisely target the people within your target market. Retargeting even allows you to target people who have previously shown interest in your product.
Running Instagram Ads helps you reach potential customers without needing to rely on organic methods. Unfortunately, banking solely on the power of your content and shares from your followers isn’t the best way to sell on Instagram. Instagram Ads is a powerful tool that’s sure to drive sales for your business.
How to Sell on Instagram Idea #11. Instagram for business
Instagram for business is a free (!) upgrade for Instagram accounts that are created for businesses… go figure. They’re great for helping you drive sales because they allow you to add a “contact” button to your page, as well as an address if you have a retail location.
Though these don’t really do anything right away for your sales, it helps inform potential customers of your retail locations, making it easier for you to generate retail sales over time.
How to Sell on Instagram Idea #12. Use a monetization platform
Monetization platforms make it much easier for interested Instagram fans to buy your products. Essentially, they replicate your feed and add links to it so people can click directly from your photos to your product pages.
This helps you circumvent Instagram’s inherent problem: you’re only allowed a single link in your bio - links in your photo captions can’t be clicked. Streamlining the pathway from social to sale can be a big boost for your business.
How to Sell on Instagram Idea #13. Like-to-enter giveaway
This is more a long-term play. Running a contest where participants need to like your contest photo (and follow you) to enter helps you build a fanbase of followers who are interested in your brand and your products. Make sure the prize you give away is relevant to your business, or you’ll generate a list of people who aren’t really interested.
Not only are giveaways great at generating engagement, but this increased engagement increases the chances it’ll be shared or show up on people’s explore feeds. You can sell to these new followers through subsequent promotions (run them soon after che contest ends).
How to Sell on Instagram Idea #14. Tag-to-enter giveaway
Like the like-to-enter giveaway, tag-to-enter giveaways are awesome at generating engagement for your business on Instagram, increases the chances you’ll make sales. Tag-to-enters differ from like-to-enter giveaways because they require entrants to tag several of their friends to enter.
This increases reach, but usually will get people who have been tagged to enter as well. This boosts reach, increases the number of people who you can market to in the future, and helps you drive more sales for your business in the long term.
How to Sell on Instagram Idea #15. Instagram photo contest
Of all the giveaway or contest types, Instagram photo contests are the best for your business. Though they’re not as easy to run as the previous two types, they’re great because they generate real leads for your business, getting you emails that you can market to through email blasts in the future.
You’ll need a third-party app of some kind (I’d recommend Wishpond) to run your contest, because it’ll be hosted on an external page. Attach a relevant hashtag to your contest and you’ll see a huge boon in engagement and sales for your business.
How to Sell on Instagram Idea #16. Partnered promotions
Sharing is caring. If you’re looking to run a giveaway or promotion, consider partnering with another business in your industry that sells products that complement yours (for example, a running shoe company partnering with a gym apparel company). You can run a giveaway featuring a prize package that has both of your products or even create a discount for people who buy both of your products.
This strategy is sound because it allows you to leverage each others’ customer bases. You’re reaching people who are already interested in products related to your industry. Seeing that a brand they follow endorses your brand improves your credibility and gives you a “foot in the door” when it comes to making sales to Instagram users.
How to Sell on Instagram Idea #17. Instagram Story discounts
Your Instagram Story is another avenue for you to reach out to potential customers and turn them into sales. Because Stories show up at the top of Instagram users’ feeds, they’re prime real estate to put up sales promotions.
Put up a Story (preferably with a photo of a product) featuring a sales discount code or a limited-time promotion. Though this isn’t much different than creating a promotional post, there’s something fleeting about a Story - it disappears after a day, meaning you can post a coupon that says something like “this deal is only around for the next 24 hours!”, creating urgency within your followers and driving sales.
How to Sell on Instagram Idea #18. Instagram Live discounts
Instagram Live is an awesome platform for connecting on a direct level with your customers. Running an Instagram Live stream (a follower Q&A is a good place to start) can be a way to collect customers in a place to give them a discount or promote a sales promotion. Live promotions are especially great because they feel “exclusive” - only people who are watching the stream can access these promotions.
Promote your Live stream in the days leading up to it, and mention that there will be a special promotion for people who attend it. Again, this can help you create an immediate push for your sales, as people scramble to take advantage of the promotion you’ve provided.
How to Sell on Instagram Idea #19. Influencer posts
Influencers are huge on Instagram - they’re the A-list celebrities of the platform, and they exist in every industry. Partnering with an influencer to create a sponsored post (along with a discount, of course!) can be the pathway to reaching a whole new segment of people within your target market.
This post should feature the influencer using or enjoying your product, with a short blurb about why they like it. Have them tag your business account in the caption and in the photo itself, and provide them with a discount code so they can urge their large fanbase to act quickly and purchase your product.
How to Sell on Instagram Idea #20. Preview upcoming products
Instagram is also an awesome platform to generate hype around a new product you’re about to launch. You can preview a new product on your story or in a post with a caption that says something that incites intrigue, like “guess what this is?” It’s an engaging way to make sure you have a solid base of people who are aware of your new offerings. You can even combine this with a giveaway.
One cool thing I’ve seen lately is the use of Instagram Stories to reveal something new. It involves creating multiple images that slowly reveal something, which can be uploaded to your story so viewers need to progress through it to see the reveal.
How to Sell on Instagram Idea #21. Maintain website awareness on Story
Like I mentioned previously, your Story is great because it remains at the top of your followers’ feeds, giving you incentive to keep it updated (the latest Stories are shown first). Naturally, this is a place that’s great for promoting your website or retail location on a daily basis.
One strategy I’ve seen businesses use is to post a simple photo (usually of a product) with a website link. They do this every couple hours to make sure their Story remains high up in followers’ feeds, to build awareness and pull more traffic to their website. Retail locations do this by tagging their retail location with an Instagram sticker (which allows people to click to see where the store is located).
Wrapping it up
Hopefully, these tips have given you some great ideas about how to sell on Instagram. Social media can be a tough place to drive business results, but if you know how to do it, you’ll find you can achieve sales success.
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