Apr 1, 2019

How Can You Sell on Instagram?

by Digital Marketing Institute

Social media has exploded on the Internet, and marketers everywhere are learning to leverage its unique capacities to target potential customers. There are over four billion internet users on earth, and over three billion of them use social media.

Different social media, however, appeal to different age groups. Baby Boomers, for example, are found primarily on Facebook. On the other hand, younger age groups, like the millennials, prefer other platforms, and people in the 18 to 34 age range comprise a whopping 64% of the Instagram user-base. That doesn’t mean, however, that if you start taking advantage of Instagram online marketing, you’re going to increase your sales instantly.

Instagram is a social media platform that was initially created to meet a very specific need. Instagram was designed, from the ground up, specifically for the mobile platform. It was created so that people who took photos or shot videos on their phones could quickly and easily share that content without having to struggle through complex upload or file-transfer protocols.

As a result, and not surprisingly, Instagram is a very image-oriented social media platform. And this means that if you want to sell on Instagram, you need to make sure that your marketing plays to the strengths of your product or service and that it takes full advantage of the benefits the platform offers. So how do you do that?

Selling on Instagram

If your business sells tangible, physical products, Instagram can be one of your most effective marketing and selling tools.

There are several key reasons for this, but the primary one is that the platform has mechanisms in place that facilitate the sale and delivery of physical products. If, however, you offer a service, such as a travel agency does, you can still market your company, and even see a boost in your business, but customers won’t be able to purchase directly through the Instagram platform.

If a product can be bought, sent, and used by a customer, then Instagram has the tools to help you make that happen. Keep in mind that businesses focused on selling products have a key advantage in Instagram versus those that offer services.

Shopping on Instagram

Shopping on Instagram

The shopping feature enables people to shop for and to buy products on Instagram. This is an incredibly convenient feature for both the customer and the vendor because it does one important thing: it eliminates the barriers to purchasing.

In the past, if a potential customer was interested in buying a product that was featured on Instagram, they couldn’t do so on the spot. Tapping on an item would take a customer away from Instagram and into the vendor’s website where the business transaction would then take place.

This may not seem like much, but it interrupts the “flow” of your customers’ journey to purchase. The user is now no longer on Instagram, and if the website is not as user-friendly or, worse yet, the purchase mechanism is cumbersome, the customer might quickly lose interest, and you’ll lose a sale.

With Shopping on Instagram, however, tapping or clicking on a tag immediately brings your customers to the vendor’s Instagram storefront, where they can complete their purchase. It’s quick, easy, and it eliminates interference in your customers’ purchasing experience.

How to Set Up the Shopping Feature

How to Set Up the Shopping Feature

If you want to use the shopping feature on Instagram to market your business and sell your products, it’s a relatively straightforward, 5-step process:

1. Create Your Shopify Store:

The Instagram storefront is designed to interface and work seamlessly with an established Shopify store, so make sure you already have one in place before you undertake the next steps.

2. Check Your National Eligibility:

If your business is based in the United States or Canada, you have nothing to worry about. However, if you’re based in other regions of the world, such as Europe or Asia, you’ll need to make sure your country qualifies for the shopping feature.

3. Create Your Facebook Channel:

Instagram is owned by Facebook, and the company wants to ensure complete data compatibility, so you must have a Facebook channel on your Instagram account as well.

4. Create Your Business Account:

Having met the above criteria, you can now create your unique Instagram business account. This is very different from a normal user’s social account.

5. Link Your Sales Channel with Your Shopify Store:

Finally, you can now link your Instagram sales channel with your Shopify store. The two accounts will interact with each other, so you won’t have to worry about processing customer transactions.

Working with Instagram Stories

Working with Instagram Stories

Another way that you can sell on Instagram is by offering products through the Stories e-commerce shopping feature.

Your Stories are a way to link images on Instagram and are set to last for only 24 hours. Shopping on Instagram is enabled on the Stories feature as well, so if you have a limited time sale, for example, you can post the various products on your own Instagram story.

E-commerce features like tags are built into Stories as well so that people can tap or click on tags and quickly make purchases. With the right application and proper marketing, Instagram Stories can be another great vehicle for selling products.

Image is Everything

If you want to boost your sales, making a solid investment in beautiful photography will make your company and your products really pop. Instagram is about images, and the vast majority of Instagram users respond with visceral enthusiasm to beautiful or striking photography.

Some of the most successful businesses on Instagram, for example, have enjoyed a boost in business because they’ve invested in creating professional, appealing images. You have the unique opportunity to really show your potential customers every angle of your product and driving your sales.

Get Noticed

Simply leveraging the ease of Shopping on Instagram is only part of selling on the platform. You’ve still got to get people to pay attention. Judicious use of photography and smart organization of products is one way to achieve this, and if you have the budget, you can also pay for advertising on Instagram itself.

Because Instagram is owned by Facebook, it should come as no surprise that you can access user data as well. If you wish to benefit from great user metrics, and more precisely target your promotions to a chosen demographic, you can invest in paid advertising to complement your efforts in developing the organic spread of your social media efforts.


Whatever you do, don’t be dull! If you don’t find your product images very appealing, then users on Instagram probably won’t either.

Always make sure you present your products in their best light when it comes to shopping on Instagram. With over one billion users every month, Instagram offers vendors one of the greatest e-commerce vehicles available.

Learn how to take advantage of Instagram online marketing and the benefits the platform offers with a Professional Diploma in Social Media Marketing. Download a brochure today!

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