How to Optimize Instagram for E-Commerce in 2024

Danil Salukov
Danil Salukov
CEO & Co-Founder at Insense

If you’re looking to develop an Instagram marketing strategy for your e-commerce brand, we will explain how to turn the platform into your greatest ally and how you can ace your IG marketing efforts.

E-commerce brands should seek Instagram to increase their conversions. Just think about it. There are more than 1,000,000,000 (yeah, that’s a billion) monthly active users on the platform. Those are some big numbers, which means that there’s an infinite pool of opportunities out there for brands to market and sell their products on Instagram.  

In this post, we’ll dive into how Instagram is changing online shopping, share some hot tips on how to use Instagram for your e-commerce business and finally, we’ll discuss the importance of influencer marketing on Instagram and how Insense can help.

A Complete Guide for e-Commerce brands

Why Instagram? And why is it great for eComm brands? Well, first of all, it allows small and large businesses to build their profile and grow their followers through multiple advertising strategies all in one place.

Brands can experiment by trying relevant hashtags, using posts, stories, and surveys. If you know how to apply the right strategies, the amount of valuable information you can collect is outstanding.

Secondly, it allows you to build your own community, raise brand awareness and connect with billions of users. It is one of the biggest social media platforms so endless customers are waiting for you to market those product tags!

But most of all, we need to talk about user-generated content and the huge role it plays in the Instagram business. The platform has recently released Instagram Shop and cross-collaborating with micro-influencers opens up a whole different ball game. Selling the actual products on the actual platform and matching that with influencer marketing is extremely powerful.

Using Instagram for Ecommerce

It is estimated that 2 billion active customers are buying products on Instagram and a third are using the platform for their purchases.

Instagram is not only an effective online marketing platform for companies but one of the best social marketing tools. Social media platforms can be optimized for your particular niche and user-generated content helps you engage with your followers on a deeper level.

Facebook and Twitter are great for different purposes but today, we will focus on the new Instagram feature and the best strategies for e-commerce brands.

What is Instagram Shopping?

In the blink of an eye, Instagram moved into the world of online shopping and some would argue that they’re already taking over. With the addition of Instagram Shop, now it’s easier than ever for users to find and purchase products directly from Instagram. This is great news for e-commerce brands looking to adopt social media strategies to drive more conversions. 

Every month, there are 130 million people who tap on an Instagram shopping post. Shoppable Instagram posts are a game-changer for e-commerce businesses. They’re easy, effective, and they showcase your products on Instagram while driving sales. 

Instagram Checkout makes it incredibly easy for users to purchase products without leaving the Instagram app. Where's the big change here? User experience! Instagram has become an extremely streamlined way for brands to advertise their products and for consumers to purchase them.

The 4 Best Ways to Use Instagram for E-Commerce 

As you probably know by now, your e-commerce brand should be using Instagram as a virtual storefront. To help get you started, here are some of the best tips we know...

1. Create Content for Your Profile to Boost Organic Traffic

If you want people to buy your products on Instagram, they’re gonna have to see them first! Paying for ads can be a solid move, but luckily Instagram offers several other ways to display your products. You can tag products in feed posts, stories, Reels and you can even have a virtual storefront on your profile. 

To ensure your product’s visibility, we recommend relying mostly on organic traffic and to get a lot of organic traffic, you’re going to need to post high-quality content on a regular basis. 

We highly recommend user-generated content featuring influencers, but we’ll dive into that more later in this article. If you haven’t already, start posting content regularly, and don’t forget to use hashtags.

2. Run Giveaways

Who doesn’t love getting free stuff? Let’s be real. Everyone loves free stuff. 

You’ve probably seen or heard of giveaways on Instagram which are exactly what they sound like. It’s when a brand offers to give away a product for free to a randomly chosen user. 

To enter a giveaway, users usually have to like the giveaway post, tag a friend or two in the comments, and sometimes repost it. This is a wonderful strategy for getting your brand’s name recognized on Instagram. It looks like your brand will be giving something away for free, but you’re getting exposure in return. That exposure can lead to more followers and more sales. 

A word to the wise… it’s good to be generous to your fans and customers, but your giveaways don’t have to be extravagant. Start with something small and go from there. For example, if you’re a clothing brand, give away a t-shirt instead of a $500 shopping spree. People love free stuff and will be happy to get any cool product from a giveaway, even if it’s not a super expensive one.

3. Run Paid Ads With Different Strategies

Now we come to paid ads. Paid ads are nothing new on social media and that’s a good sign. Ads have stuck around on the internet for so long because they work. However, sometimes brands run ads with no variation and then claim that ads don’t work for them. 

You have to mix things up a bit and try different advertising strategies. You can get creative with your Instagram ad campaigns with small changes like A/B testing different copy or larger changes like showcasing different products entirely.

If you think something is your most appealing product, you may be surprised to find that your audience begs to differ. Some brands may feel scared entering into the world of paid advertising because they’re afraid of losing money, but if your content is great, you’ll see a high ROAS.

4. Use Influencer Marketing 

We want to touch upon influencer marketing before we share some tips about it in the next section. To be blatant, influencer marketing is crucial to getting more exposure on Instagram and getting more conversions. 

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why influencer marketing works. People want to buy products that they see influencers use. When a consumer follows an influencer that they respect and trust, they’re going to take the influencer’s word on what products they should buy. 

To optimize your Instagram influencer marketing strategy, it’s best to think of it in terms of three pillars; community, content and commerce.

Influencers start as a part of your marketing team (community), have the potential to become your entire creative department (content) and with the advancements being made to social media shopping, they can become your sales team (commerce).

4 Keys to Successful Influencer Marketing

These days, influencers are an integral part of the sales funnel for e-commerce businesses.  Between 2016 and 2020, the number of influencer posts on Instagram doubled to reach 1.5 million posts worldwide. 

If you’re reading this, you probably understand the importance of influencer marketing. If your brand wants to create a great influencer-led effort, these four factors should be present...

1. Establish your Social Channels

‍There are several great social media platforms for e-commerce brands looking to carry out a social commerce strategy. We’re big fans of Facebook and TikTok, but we recommend for brands to start with Instagram. If you’re going for the gold, which is brand awareness, engagement, and sales, Instagram is likely to be your best bet due to the features we mentioned earlier.

2. Identify Ideal Influencers

There are tons and tons of influencers out there, but you shouldn’t use any random one. You’ll need to do some research to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Luckily, it’s pretty easy to do that. Relying on Google and other social search functions to find influencers isn’t the best strategy. The best way is signing up to a platform that allows you to connect with over 20k content creators for your Instagram stories and shoppable posts.

3. Use Micro-Influencers

When using Instagram for e-commerce, keep in mind that the influencers you need don’t always need to be super famous, heavy-hitter influencers. Micro-influencers are niche social figures who have follower counts below 25k. 

If you’re not convinced about using micro-influencers for your social commerce strategy...

...Consider this: ExpertVoice has found that micro-influencers are generally perceived as more credible, believable, knowledgeable and better at explaining how products work when compared to regular influencers.

4. Trust the Influencer

If you want high-quality influencer content, trust the influencers you work with. 

Oftentimes, a brand will attempt to control the influencer’s content output by scripting or providing unnecessary guidance. The truth is that those kinds of behaviors inhibit the influencer’s creativity. 

Brands hire influencers because of their creative prowess, and to get the highest-quality content possible, It’s best to let influencers craft the type of content that earned them their reputation (and followers) in the first place.

Time To Get Started

We hope this guide will help you take your Instagram marketing strategy to the next level. Hopefully, you’ve learned by now what a huge role influencer marketing has.

We care about influencer marketing a lot because our platform helps e-commerce brands find and partner up with influencers to work with. We have a community of 35k content creators who produce high-performing user-generated content for e-commerce businesses. 

UGC-like product reviews and testimonials are the best way to build trust and interest that will help you sell your products. Insense is the perfect place to work with content creators willing to help brands reach their sales goals by building trust.

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Danil Salukov

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