The increased importance of Instagram as a marketing tool amongst small retailers means understanding the platform is imperative for Shopify users. If a big portion of your sales are to the 18 to 34-year-old demographic, Instagram should be at least one of your marketing tools, as nearly two-thirds of users fit into that age group. To say that Instagram turns your campaigns into sales is anything but an understatement.
According to the data, about 80% of accounts follow brands or businesses that sell products on Instagram. It’s for this reason that more and more Shopify retailers embrace the innovative features that Instagram provides.
Selling on Instagram is important because users don’t want a long checkout process that makes them leave the social media platform. A buyer wants to just click a button to buy. So advertising through Instagram is about more than just building an online audience based on age and gender. Instagram helps shop owners hand-pick similar crowds to fit into the niche of products you require.
Shopify, on the other hand, is simply a third-party platform from which shop owners can sell their products. And this platform works well with Instagram, creating a symbiotic relationship between the two platforms.
A Mall Analogy
Instagram is like the mall I used to go to when I was young, a place to hang out with friends, while Shopify represents the actual retailers who sell their products in the mall. Their job is getting the people wandering around the mall with their friends into their shops, where they will hopefully purchase something.
Now, it doesn’t matter so much what shops are there, just that the shops interact effectively with the community of people wandering around the mall. And attracting these people into your shop takes a certain amount of creativity.
Influencers, in this case, are like those cool kids who work at the mall, whose friends come to see them. Once inside the shop, they might find something that piques their interest and purchase it.
How Instagram Fuels Retail Sales
Instagram’s success has fueled applications that help businesses automate their content, scheduling what gets posted when for optimal results. It’s not just for smartphones anymore, either, as these automation tools can now be used on desktop computers as well.
Such social media tools assist retailers with content creation, allowing you to focus on building your business. It’s like setting up a marketing campaign and then putting it on autopilot, giving you time to perfect posts well in advance, as well as doing other important things, like running your business.
Integrating Instagram on Shopify
Adding Instagram to your Shopify account connects your followers on Instagram to your products on Shopify. Once you set this sales stream up, you can sell products directly via Instagram.
It’s important to note that you need to be eligible to sell on the platform. Instagram has policies and rules in place to support specific markets and merchants, and you need to ensure first that you’re one of them.
- If you meet these requirements, all you have to do is follow these simple steps on Shopify to set up your sales channel on Instagram:
- Click on the plus sign (+) besides the “Sales Channels” option on your Shopify dashboard.
- Select “Instagram” on that list.
- Click on “Add Sales Channel”.
- Log In to your Facebook business page and “authenticate” your Instagram account in the sales channel there.
Once you sync Instagram with your Shopify account, you can manage products from your catalog directly from your business profile on Instagram. In this way, all orders that are made through Instagram get processed through your Shopify business account.
Key Aspects to Grow your Instagram Followers
Along with scheduling, certain strategies offer solutions to creating organic growth of your followers. A few simple tools to use when utilizing Instagram as a retail marketing tool include:
Hashtags are used to get across a simple message that rallies people behind an idea. They are normally simple, such as #photooftheday, #food, #repost, or #fashion. Whereas #food and #fashion can also relate to industries, #repost is a call to action, and #photooftheday just states simply that a person really likes an image that is posted, meaning someone will probably take a second look at it.
While location tagging on Instagram may seem more important for a physical shop; a Shopify business can use locations too. If, for example, you have an influencer who uses your product and goes to a certain beach along the California coast, having the influencer tag that location can get you followers, and potential customers.
By making your products appear in locales around the world, people notice. I’ve got a friend who began a boutique brewery. He has a marketing campaign that shows a bottle of his beer in various places around the world. In using different exotic locations, he’s increased his visibility.
Following what your industry is doing on Instagram is easy. This goes back to hashtags, and #fashion is a big one among the younger people on the platform. Looking through photos of others in your industry will help you see what works, and what doesn’t.
You can also start writing some good Instagram captions to attract more likes, comments and reach, this will result in a higher engagement rate, it will also make it easy for your audience to find your posts.
Spending Time on the Instagram Grind
It’s important, however, not to get lost in Instagram’s rabbit hole. Viewing images and other people’s campaigns can be fascinating, but spending endless hours exploring your feed is counterproductive. Small business owners on Shopify and elsewhere should discipline themselves, scheduling specific times to check on their Instagram account at which to engage with their audience.
There’s even an app for it now, where you can set a daily limit and receive a reminder once that limit is exceeded.