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How to sell on Instagram in 5 easy steps


how to sell on instragram

With over 1 billion monthly active users, Instagram has become an essential platform

for businesses to reach and engage with their target audience. In fact, 90% of Instagram users follow at least one business account, making it a powerful marketing strategy and one of the best online selling sites and channel for brands.


The exciting news is that establishing a shop and selling online with Instagram is straightforward. Starting a business? Leverage Instagram's shopping features, showcase your products, tag prices and seamlessly guide customers to your website. With a well-crafted selling strategy, you can effectively convert your followers into customers and sell on Instagram.



Are you qualified to sell on Instagram?


If you’re considering selling on Instagram, there are several Instagram rules you need to meet to set up your store and continue running. Let’s look at the five criteria as listed by Instagram.


  • Comply with Instagram’s policies: Complying with Instagram's terms and community guidelines is crucial for running a successful Instagram store. Avoid copyright infringement and illegal content, refrain from using fake followers or likes, and maintain transparency and honesty to build trust with your audience.

  • Represent your business and your domain: You need to set up an Instagram business profile that reflects the store or website linked to your domain. This builds brand recognition and authenticity. Verify domain ownership by linking it to your Facebook page or Instagram professional account before creating an Instagram Shop.

  • Be located in a supported market: To set up an Instagram Shop, your business needs to be in a supported marketplace (think selling on eBay). Instagram Checkout is only available for U.S.-based businesses, but you can still use Instagram Shopping to tag products for purchase from your website.

  • Demonstrate trustworthiness: To increase your brand's reputation on Instagram, focus on building a significant follower base with engagement, interact with followers through comments and messages, be transparent about business practices and respond promptly and professionally to customer inquiries and complaints.

  • Provide accurate information and follow best practices: When selling products online, it's crucial to provide accurate information to build trust with your audience and avoid account suspension. Be transparent about your brand, values, pricing and offerings. After setting up your Instagram Shop, your account will be reviewed, so it's important to adhere to guidelines consistently.



How to sell on Instagram in 5 steps


Now that you’ve done a quick evaluation of whether your business is qualified to sell, let’s talk about how to set up your Instagram Shop. It’s fairly straightforward, and you can get started making money on Instagram in just five steps:




01. Create an Instagram business account


If you don’t already have an Instagram business account, you’ll need to create a personal one first. Once you’ve got one set up, you can then convert it into a business account by clicking on your profile, heading to Settings and privacy, then scrolling down to Account type and tools under the For professionals tab. Tap Switch to a professional account.


Follow the on-screen instructions, such as:


  • Choosing what category your business is

  • Connecting to your Facebook business page

  • Showcasing your brand


While some of the steps are optional, completing them all may streamline the process.

Once you have set up your account, make sure to optimize your bio and contact information by including relevant details, such as your business address and contact phone number.



02. Create content to showcase your products or services


Creating relevant content can be an effective strategy in promoting your products, similar to utilizing multiple online marketplaces. Since Instagram is all about beautiful imagery, it’s crucial to create compelling content that inspires users to engage with and share the content that showcases your offerings.


The simplest way to start is by featuring high-quality photos of each product from different angles and in various settings to give customers a clear idea of what you have to offer. Flat-lay photography can be an effective way to feature multiple products at once or share behind-the-scenes stories that show the effort put into creating each item.


However, remember to create content that puts your audience and potential customers at the center. Like copywriting, it’s tempting to put your brand at the forefront. Think of ways to show how your products can be used and the benefits it’ll bring to the customers if they buy them.


Take Highline Wigs, who could have just featured their products on mannequins. Instead, owner Sharon shares with her audience just how excited she is that her product is part of a customer’s special day.





You can get even more creative with your content. Experiment with different posts such as Reels or Stories to showcase new arrivals or limited-time promotions. You can repurpose testimonials from other sales channels to increase social proof, which can be done with just text and minimal graphics or photography.


Other Instagram marketing ideas you could try include:


  • Tutorials that show customers how to use your products

  • Incorporating user-generated content

  • Writing engaging captions that tell a story and connect with your audience



03. Build an engaged following


Posting content alone won’t get you more sales on Instagram. To truly succeed on the platform, you need to build an engaged following. When you start your Instagram account, it can take a while before you start seeing some ROI on your efforts. However, remember that your total follower count is only one metric, and a vanity one at that. On average, only 1% to 5% of a follower base actively engage with a brand’s content.


Instead of growing a large list of followers, focus on building an audience of engaged users. When you post content, it’s important to respond to any comments within the first few hours of posting. You can also drive post engagement by leaving a comment or two of your own that act as additional captions.


To increase the reach of your content, include hashtags so it’s part of relevant conversations and topics. Using hashtags increases the chances that your content will appear in relevant search results, appearing in front of users who wouldn’t normally know of your brand or follow your account. Tools such as Hashtagify or RiteTag can help you find the best hashtags for certain posts, and if you have your Instagram Shop connected to your Wix website, you can automatically add tags to your posts (and sync products to your Shop).


It’s worth noting, however, that even the best hashtags do not guarantee views. Instagram has its own unique algorithm for choosing what’s shown on the results or Explore page. Still, you’ll want to give yourself the best shot by taking advantage of trending or popular tags.


As you build your network over time, you can collaborate with other accounts to cross-share posts for extra exposure to new audiences.




04. Promote or sell your products directly on Instagram


Shoppable posts can be influential, as they share what your products look like during specific use. And you can use shoppable posts in different content formats, like product stickers in Stories and the Shop tab on your profile, to showcase your products and encourage purchases. Keep in mind that you need to publish nine shoppable posts before the Shop feature appears in your profile.


When users click on the product tags in your posts, they’ll be directed to the product listing of your choice. If you’re based in the U.S., you can use the checkout function that allows customers to buy directly from the app.



how to sell on instagram, instagram shop


If you prefer that users buy from your eCommerce site, you can easily connect your Instagram store with Wix for a seamless multichannel selling approach. (Note that Wix users must connect their site to Facebook in order to list products on Instagram. Learn how to sell on Facebook Marketplace.) From your website dashboard, you can also automate adding tags to Instagram posts and syncing products to your Instagram Shop, driving customers to check out your website for more information.


For a real-life example, Izzy Wheels utilizes an Instagram Shop to guide potential clients to their eCommerce site, where visitors can learn more about the products or make a purchase. The sister-owned, Dublin-based brand creates fun, vibrant and innovative wheel covers for wheelchairs.



how to sell on instagram - izzy wheels


05. Measure your results


You can access Insights from your account settings, where there’s a wealth of information to monitor engagement and help you decide on how to tweak your content strategy. If you link back to your site, you can see how many visitors come from Instagram.


Insights can also help you with your scheduling. When you click on Total Followers, you can see when your followers are most active. You’ll also be able to see demographics, such as:


  • Locations (split from town/cities and countries)

  • Age range

  • Gender


With the data, you’ll have a better idea of what type of content resonates with your audience based on impressions, reach and engagement. You can also use Wix Analytics for your eCommerce website to narrow down your key performance indicators (KPIs) by traffic source. For example, if your Instagram Shop is driving a certain percentage of traffic or sales for certain products, you’ll be able to see this info at a glance.



Why sell on Instagram?


There are a multitude of reasons why selling on Instagram can be a powerful and rewarding move for your business:


  • Reach and engagement: With over 2 billion monthly active users, Instagram offers a huge potential customer base, increasing your brand exposure and reach significantly. But it's not just about numbers; laser-focused targeting options let you pinpoint your ideal audience and landing your message right in their laps. Instagram's visual nature fosters greater engagement than other platforms, with users actively liking, commenting, and sharing content. This translates to potentially higher conversion rates and brand loyalty.

  • Visual storytelling and branding: On Instagram, your brand isn't just static; it's a captivating story unfolding through stunning visuals. Photos, videos, and stories become your stage, where you can showcase your products or services in a way that highlights features, entices customers, and leaves a lasting impression. But it's not just about the product – it's about the perception. Instagram grants you the perfect canvas to curate a consistent, aesthetically pleasing brand identity that helps you build a loyal community. This community isn't just a passive audience; they're active participants in your story, engaging through comments, direct messages, and live videos. This direct connection fosters genuine relationships, turning followers into brand advocates and propelling your success.

  • eCommerce functionality: Shoppable posts and product tags, coupled with seamless integration with eCommerce platforms like Wix, let customers purchase in a few taps, never leaving the app. On top of that, you can use the power of promotion through targeted Instagram ads, strategic influencer partnerships, and branded hashtags that help ignite brand awareness and send sales soaring. The best part is that powerful analytics tools unveil the secrets of user behavior, campaign performance, and product engagement. This treasure trove of data lets you continuously refine your approach, ensuring every click transforms into a win. On Instagram, you don't just sell products; you optimize the entire journey, from initial interest to purchase, ensuring every step is as smooth and satisfying as a scroll through your perfectly curated feed.



Tips for succeeding on Instagram


Creating your Instagram business profile is just the first step. Now, let's dive a bit deeper into how to make the most of this platform as a social commerce channel.


Unlike traditional eCommerce where you have multiple touch points to convince a customer to make a purchase, social commerce brings the entire shopper journey onto social media platforms. Considering that 82% of survey respondents have purchased a product they discovered on social media, learning how to drive traffic to your content and promote products could significantly increase your bottom line.



Place product stickers in Instagram Stories


Instagram Stories are effective at driving sales because of their ability to deliver snackable content. Businesses report a 20% boost in reach by regularly posting Stories.


Here are five ways to use product stickers in IG Stories:


  • Highlight new or featured products with a “new arrival” or “featured item” sticker

  • Use the swipe-up feature to link directly to the product page for easy purchasing

  • Share customer reviews or testimonials with a “happy customers” sticker

  • Create themed story highlights showcasing different categories of products with corresponding stickers

  • Use creative animations and designs for the stickers to make them eye-catching and visually appealing


Product stickers simplify selling without being pushy, and encourage users to engage with your brand and explore what you have to offer.



how to sell on instagram - fenty beauty


Curate your collections


Curate product collections on your Instagram Shop to tell your brand's story and showcase products in an editorial way. By grouping products based on themes or styles, you create a more cohesive shopping experience.


Collections help customers find what they're looking for and highlights your brand's uniqueness. For example, you could create a collection featuring complementary color schemes or designs for handmade ceramics.


Product collections also showcase new arrivals or seasonal products. Remember to update collections regularly to attract users to your profile.



Automate customer support


Maintaining excellent customer service is crucial for running any eCommerce store. Good customer support plays a significant role in influencing customers' purchasing decisions, with 83% of customers stating they feel more loyal to a brand that addresses their complaints. There is an effective way to handle customer queries promptly: automating customer support through chatbots.


Chatbots can efficiently manage incoming messages to your eCommerce website and provide personalized responses by recognizing common keywords or questions. By automating responses, they save valuable time and energy while ensuring customers receive timely assistance. Chatbots can also set up follow-up messages based on previous conversations, enhancing the feeling of being heard and understood by customers.


If you have a Wix website, the Wix Chat feature instantly connects you with your site visitors in real time, opening a direct line of communication with potential customers. You can set chat hours that work best for your business, reach out to customers directly as they browse and even send messages to visitors via WhatsApp.



Leverage Instagram Guides


One of the newer features on the platform, Instagram Guides allows small business owners to curate and showcase their products, places or posts in an easy-to-digest format. They’re like mini blog posts, except you feature previously-published content from your account.


With the ability to add commentary alongside links to the original posts, you can weave a new story by reusing older content.


There are three types of guides: post, product and place.


  • Post guides: Users can curate their own posts and posts from other accounts around themes and events, making it useful for sharing content, introducing brand personalities and providing resources like how-to guides and curated lists.

  • Product guides: These guides feature eCommerce products previously shared on an account, serving as an effective way to raise awareness and drive consistent traffic during specific time periods.

  • Place guides: You can highlight specific locations important to a community, allowing users to search for locations or choose from past tagged or saved locations in feed posts.


Although Guides don't appear in Reels or Explore, sharing them on your Insta Stories can give them more visibility.



Remix content


By enabling the Remix feature on Instagram, you're giving your customers the chance to put their own spin on your content. This not only encourages engagement, but also provides an opportunity for potential customers to see how others are using and enjoying your products.


Remixing content doesn't have to be complicated or time-consuming. It's as simple as allowing others to edit or add their own photos or videos onto yours.


For example, if you sell clothing items, encourage customers to show off how they've styled your pieces by remixing one of your posts. If you sell food products, ask customers to share their recipe ideas by adding them onto one of your recipe posts.


Not only does this provide valuable user-generated content for your brand, but it also creates a sense of community among your followers who are able to connect through shared experiences with your product.



Get featured on the Explore page


Being featured on the Explore page introduces your brand to new audiences and potential followers. To maximize your chances of gaining organic traffic through this coveted feature, follow these guidelines:


  • Engage with users regularly by responding to comments, sharing other users' posts or reposting relevant and high-quality content

  • Experiment with new formats to stand out

  • Use relevant hashtags and craft engaging captions to improve visibility

  • Optimize your post timing by using Instagram Insights to identify peak activity times of your users


Keep in mind newer posts won't appear in Explore, but your goal is to drive engagement and impressions to your content. The Explore algorithm focuses on showing users new content based on their preferences and followed accounts. Therefore, strive to produce content worth checking out.


While the Explore page may not immediately drive sales, being featured can organically increase your followers. Over time, these followers can become engaged users and potential customers as a result of your content strategy.



Do you need a business license to sell on Instagram?


Whether you need a business license to sell on Instagram depends on a few factors, mainly your location and the nature of your business. 


Instagram itself doesn't require a business license. However, the laws and regulations of your local area take precedence. You might need a license to operate your business even if you sell primarily online via Instagram according to the laws in your state.


You'll need to consider the following:


  • Location: Check with your local government or Small Business Administration (SBA) to understand the specific licenses and permits required for your type of business in your area.

  • Business type: Some businesses, like selling food or products with age restrictions, may have additional licensing requirements.

  • Tax registration: You may need to register for sales tax, even if you only sell online.



How to sell on Instagram FAQ


Can I sell directly on Instagram?

Yes, you can sell directly on Instagram through features like Instagram Shops and Instagram Checkout. These tools enable businesses to showcase products, provide details, and facilitate purchases within the Instagram app.

How much does it cost to sell on Instagram?

Can I sell on Instagram for free?

How to cross-promote my Instagram sale?

What's the easiest way to sell on Instagram?


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