How to use Instagram to Drive Sales to your Online Store
The number one question I get from my BRIDA clients is "Can Instagram really help me drive sales for my online boutique?" and the answer to that is, yes! Now there is a method to the madness, but once you know the tips and tricks, using Instagram, will not only increase your followers, but also your sales. I always encourage my clients who are product based to use Instagram, and let me tell you why. Instagram is a very visual platform, and 90% of it is photos. Studies also show that Instagram users are buyers, and with over 300 million daily active users, and 500 million monthly users, it’s no wonder, how many businesses are seeing astonishing success.
So, how do you use Instagram to drive sales to your online boutique? Here are some of the ways we at BRIDA use Instagram;
Take Amazing Photos
The main problem I see with many Instagram boutiques are their photos. Many of them are either using photos that aren't theirs, or photos that just don’t look good. Your photos should always be yours (unless you are a drop-shipping company). Make sure your photos are; the right size, quality, tell a story, and make sure the colors you use reflect your brand personality.
Yes I know you are in the product selling business, but only showing pictures of the items you are selling in your store, can come off as very cold, and too sales-y. Show some personality. Your items should make your customers feel something. When they see your Instagram feed they should immediately be imagining themselves in your garments. A great way to do this is to show how they can use that item in their every day life. e.g: a pencil skirt. You can easily show a nice photo of someone (model) wearing the skirt in an office type setting. It immediately makes one think, "Oh I can wear this to work", or "I'll wear this to my next meeting".
This is another issue I see many boutique owners struggling with. Hashtags help you get found on social media. The right hashtags will definitely help with your brand-awareness. When you are starting out you want to make it as easy as possible to get your brand seen, and by having targeted hashtags you increase your chances of being seen. To find great hashtags you can simply look at some of your favorite brands. What are they using? Also consider making a branded hashtag for your business. Ours is #bellerave and #belleraveisdigitaladvertising.
It’s always a good idea to share photos of people who have used your business before. It helps with brand credibility. You can also find top influencers on Instagram who will promote your products for you. Really great influencers can increase your followers and sales.
Make Sales Easy
Since the recent algorithm changes on Instagram, it’s now easier to identify as a business by switching to the business account profile. If you are a business you should definitely have a business account on Instagram. Always have your business site in your bio. Make it easy for people to purchase from you. I find it harder for people to make sales when they do not have a website. People want to feel like they are buying from an actual business. Telling your potential customers to DM you for an invoice, is not the way to go, and will deter many customers. There are also some apps available you can use that allows your customers to buy directly from Instagram, but I will go over those apps another time.
These are the top ways businesses are able to increase their online sales, and although these are in no way the only ways to use Instagam, these are a great start, if you have ever considered using social media to market your business. Instagram is a fairly new platform, but it is proving to be a powerful one. Like everything in life, being successful on Instagram requires consistency and dedication. Posting everyday and engaging with your audience will help with your brand awareness.
Ambril Ravenell, CEO
This article was originally published in Entrepreneurs of Color Magazine December 2016 Edition