Instagram is one of the best platforms for showing your designs to the world. When done right it’s also the perfect tool to make sales and boost brand awareness. Contrary to popular belief, there’s more to it than simply sharing pictures and hoping for the best. To be really successful you need a strong strategy and a solid plan. Here are 10 tips for a successful approach to Instagram.
1. You’re Only as Strong as Your Plan
One of the main purposes of your Instagram should be to push traffic to your store. Regular posts are the key to a successful Instagram page. Posting willy nilly simply won't cut it. Try to avoid posting when an idea comes to you or when you feel like it. Instead, plan out your posting strategy and stick to it. Consider finding scheduling software so you can timetable several images or videos at once.
Aim to stick with one specific style of scheme however avoid using filters or borders as these don’t give an accurate portrayal of your designs. It can sometimes be worth looking into theme grids to give your posts an eye-catching pattern. An example of a theme grid is where every other post is a quote, or alternating between a modeled item of clothing and a 2D design.
2. Link Your Store to Instagram
Instagram recently released a set of new features where users can directly link their products to their account. One of the main ways users can do this is creating Shoppable Posts. To put it simply, these posts allow you to add product tags to photos, much like tagging people. From there, shoppers can click your tags and browse your catalog. Visitors can find all the products which have been tagged on your posts via the Shop Tab. Another way to pin your products is through Product Stickers in Stories.
Purchases can take place 100% in Instagram if you enable the Checkout function. Just make sure you have a business account to make the most of these Instagram services.
3. Stay Engaged with Your Followers
Continued engagement with your followers is the best way to build brand loyalty and develop a fan base. Simply having followers is not enough to turn tier likes into sales. Try asking questions and try to reply to as many comments as possible - both the good and the bad.
Don’t limit yourself to simply posting photos to your feed. Remember that video is becoming the biggest form of social media. Instagram’s algorithm also seems to be prioritizing Reels and Stories, more and more. Match these stories with active promotions, polls and questions for the best results.
4. Show your Personality
It’s almost never good to have an overly corporate personality on your social media. Even if your brand is fairly serious, it does not gel with the likes of Instagram. With so many social media accounts it’s important to be unique and the safest way to do that is by being yourself. Add humor when possible! Before long people will get to know who you are and it will become the reason they follow you and what separates you from the competition.
5. Put Value First
Instagram’s algorithm has changed multiple times and is likely to keep changing. But one thing that stays constant is a preference for quality. In short, this means content that your followers see as valuable - liked, commented on or (ideally) saved. It’s essential that you understand who your followers are and what they’re looking for from your posts. When you know this you can engage with them and in turn receive engagement. Dig deep into their interests and don’t be afraid to show your own.
Pro-Tip: TELL STORIES! Stories have been around pretty much as long as human beings have. Use stories related to your brand, how you came up with ideas or anything random that you think they’ll find interesting. Find areas where your followers will relate to you and that will resonate with them.
6. Get Reviews and Share Them
Those that don’t ask don’t get. That goes for reviews too. Reviews can come in many shapes and sizes, everything from a quick DM to a full blown unboxing video is possible. If you’re finding it difficult getting your customers started, then you can always try a discount incentive to get the ball rolling.
7. Re-post Customers Wearing Your Merch
People want to know what your items look like in the real world. What’s more, they also probably want to see it in people that they relate to physically and emotionally. Customers at your store are likely to come in different shapes and sizes. What better way to show this than the real people that have bought from you.
Every time you repost someone wearing your brand it works as proof that others love your brand. This is called social proof. You send a message saying that the items you sell are of enjoyed by others. Remember, no one wants to be the first to buy an unknown brand.
8. Pay Attention to Your Analytics
Running a business without analytics is like driving with your eyes closed. You’ll get a certain distance but it’s almost definitely going to end badly. Analytics can show you which products are getting the most attention, where you should be focusing and generally what your followers are reacting with. To get this from Instagram you’ll need a business account.
On top of being able to see data, you’ll also be able to display extra info such as your website and contact information. It’s easy to switch your regular account to a business account, so don’t worry about setting up a new account unless you want to.
9. Make the Most of Instagram Ads
Most of what is written above is free, however, this last point is perfect for those out there with a little more spending money in their budget. That doesn’t mean you have to spend it all, actually the opposite is quite true. With paid ads, you can appeal to your specified audience even if they don’t follow you. You get to decide precisely which of your designs are shown to which people. You choose their age, interests, location and your budget - it’s pretty much that easy.
10. Be Creative
Think past simply taking photos of your products. Come up with exciting ways you can present your designs in a way that has not been done before. If you can’t come up with any ideas you should turn to the brands that inspire you and look for ideas from their accounts. Remember to always put your own twist on your content..
If that inspiration is still not coming, you can consider working and looking for assistance. Content creators and social media specialists can be found on freelancing sites such as Upwork. If this doesn’t sound like your style, perhaps look to collaborate with an influencer. Piggy back on influencer’s followers to maximize your reach. Find those that share followers with you already, or an influencer with a following that you aim to achieve.
Selling your products on Instagram will not happen overnight. First you have to build a following to make sure you’re getting noticed. Then, most importantly, you have to bring your following through the entire buyer's journey, from discovery to checkout. Make sure every post is strong and clickable, even if that’s just to 10 persons. Remember, give your followers something unique and stay engaged with them.