Know everything on selling on Instagram


More and more people E-tailers started practicing social commerce on Instagram. Before starting giving you the keys on how to sell on this practical social platform, let’s explain what social selling is.
Social selling is a simple process consisting of using social platforms in order to sell your products to people on there. For example, some companies have business developers hanging on social media all day long in order to generate some sales revenue.
Instagram is currently opening its gates to E-tailers. The social network, owned by Facebook, is doing it by implementing new features, allowing its users to link directly to their website, for example, or to sell their products directly on their page.
Let’s not spoil everybody, and let’s start talking about how to sell on Instagram.

1. Picture posting on Instagram

You might think that launching communication and web-marketing campaigns on the social media is easy. Well, yes, it is. But you shouldn’t forget that, as every other social media, the picture-driven platform has a lot of rules that you should follow to reach the most possible people, and the right communities.
In order to be present and have a good image on the social media, you need to regularly post some news and pictures of yourself. This has always been basic on this platform (it is even the whole point of it). Here is how to correctly post on the social media, to really enjoy its full potential and create efficient social media campaigns;

Have a good posting politics

In order to have a good follower base, you need to have a regular posting politic. Think about posting every one or two days. This will allow you to be present in your followers’ feed, which now advantages users’ favorite users.
Before some algorithm updates, Instagram used to filter its feed in chronological order. Now, the more people like your posts, the more chances you’ll get to reappear later in some users’ feed. Selling on Instagram now is about creating a traction and regularly posting attractive content. 

Don’t forget to use hashtags

One of Instagram’s main advantages is its massive use of hashtags. Indeed, it helps you in your process of community targeting. Implementing some of them in your posts will help you being relevant to some users’ eyes.
You need to analyse the use of hashtags before making the big jump. What are the most relevant hashtags for the products you promote and sell? What are the best uses of hashtags? Do you need to use niche hashtags or general hashtags?

Know everything on selling on Instagram - Tagblender
Most popular hashtags on Instagram according to TagBlender

If you want to check some hashtags’ popularity, you just have to search for them in Instagram’s search bar and check the number of times people have posted using them.
The social media allows you to use up to 30 hashtags when posting. At the start, don’t hesitate to play with them and check when you get the most engagement from the community. When you get the right formula, stick with it.

Post at the right time

When you created your social profile and started posting, you might have noticed that some of your posts might have been more popular than others. It has something to do with some of the hashtags you used, and with the hours you posted on.
When you subscribed on Instagram and started building your community, you attracted people around the world. When you post on some specific hours, you target people who are currently connected to the app. Like on every other website and mobile application, there are some peak hours, where social accounts should post.
Here are these hours, depending on the days you’d like to post on:

Monday 7:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. (19:00 and 22:00)
Tuesday 3:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. (03:00 and 22:00)
Wednesday 5:00 p.m. (17:00)
Thursday 7:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. (7:00 and 23:00)
Friday 1:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. (1:00 and 20:00)
Saturday 12:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. (Midnight and 20:00)
Sunday 5:00 p.m. (17:00)

This is not an exact science, but it should help you driving more engagement, and getting more followers, depending on the hashtags you use.

Be careful : cross-border E-Commerces

If you target multiple countries, adapt your posting hours. For example, if you’re in Paris, and targeting your community in New York City, post on a Wednesday at 11 p.m. to compensate the 6 hours difference between the two cities.

Exchange with your community

You might get excited when you receive likes and comments after posting your first pictures, but don’t forget to stay professional and keep your objective in mind: driving sales through Instagram. The more engagement you’ll get, the easier it will be to practice your social selling strategy.
To gain a maximum of engagement on this social media, the algorithm needs to see that you exchange with your community. When you receive comments, you have to like them and comment back. Try to be impactful.
You can also use the comments and be present on your community’s posts. Like this, they will see you everywhere, and Instagram will also see that you are active outside of your own profile, that your account is active on its own and living. Also, coming back to hashtags, you should do the same on the posts present on the hashtags you’re aiming at.

Be cohesive

When posting on Instagram, you have to think about cohesion. From times to times, think about taking a look at your whole profile, and think about the universe your followers are dipping in. If your posts are different colors, they won’t like your profile’s general aspect, neither will Instagram.

Know everything on selling on Instagram - aww.sam
A lot of pink is used on Sam Ushiro’s Instagram profile

When processing your posts on the social platform, think about your identity. When you were thinking about your logo, your brand and your website, you probably chose some colors that represented all these elements and the message you wanted people to receive and to drive. You need to drive the same message on your social profile. All of your posts have to do so. This is why you have to be cohesive and keep the same colors when posting, by creating a universe.

2. Stories on Instagram

As of now, stories have helped a lot of influencers improving their strategy. Indeed, they managed to be closer to their community than ever. Originally coming from Snapchat, it has been done to share a part of your day.
It is now used by brands and influencers to communicate about products and their daily life. Do you know what? It can also be used at your advantage to generate more sales revenue from your social media campaigns.

Get a better engagement

Stories are really helpful to brands who like to exchange with their community, especially on Instagram. The social media implemented many features that helped businesses and influencers creating a bigger and better engagement in no time, which help them selling on Instagram in the short and long term.
For example, you can ask your community to vote for something you show them, and all it asks you is two seconds of your time. If your community is invested in your project, you will have a huge feedback. You can even create polls, meaning that you gain time by not having to send a newsletter containing this poll, getting little to no result.

Communicate on your brand

Stories on Instagram are seen as more impulsive than posts. If you want people to trust your brand, this is the way to go. Stories have a lot less processing than your profile’s posts.
Communicating about your brand is important. If you want your community to feel invested and to trust your brand, you have to do it. The more they will trust it, the more likely they will buy your products.

Know everything on selling on Instagram - Coca Cola
As always, Coca-Cola is betting a lot on Christmas

Enjoy stories to communicate about your company’s story, about your products’ authenticity, even about you, so they can identify your brand and see that a human is behind it.

Organize online contests

Social media represent an amazing opportunity for you to organize a lot of contests. By itself, a contest will allow you to gain a lot of exposure, since they are heavily shared. They also generate a lot of engagement, meaning that a lot of people like and comment on these kind of posts.
The interest of organizing online contests in your stories is that they disappear 24 hours after your posted them. This means that these contests are automatically limited in time, so you won’t have any problem with any time-limit rules. Selling on Instagram through contests is easy, but what to need to aim for is engagement. Try to get people to share your posts. 
Once the contest is over, you can highlight the story where it took place on your profile to show the results and even show the engagement it generated.

Sell your products

If your community grew to the point of 10k followers, you might enjoy this awesome feature: “Swipe Up”. What does it mean? It means that, for example, you can show a product in your story, which is totally normal. The difference here is that your followers will have the ability to swipe up to directly access the product page by swiping up on their mobile.
Unfortunately, Instagram only allows that to E-tailers and influencers who have more than 10 000 followers. If you want to enjoy this feature but you don’t have this amount of followers yet, you can ask a powerful influencer if he can do that for you.
You can sell your products without using this feature though. You can easily redirect your customers from your stories to your profile. The profile is where the magic happens. Put some links under your posts, et voilà! (If you don’t know how to efficiently post, just go back to step #1).

3. Live on Instagram

Remember when everybody was going crazy around Periscope? Remember when Twitter bought Periscope? Do you even remember Periscope now? Well, Facebook’s social media took the same concept, crafted it and perfected it to its image so it could be usable by its community.
A lot of things are doable during these live sessions, here are you can apply it to your marketing strategy and your E-Commerce.

Be closer to your community

Live on Instagram represent a great opportunity to get closer to your community and followers, even to get some more. For example, you start a live where you are just hanging around and answering to people asking questions. People you will answer to will feel good and will feel closer to you and your brand. If you have chance, they will tag some of their friends on this chance, which will make you gain some exposure and some followers.

Promote some products

When you start a live, your community receives a notification if they are connected on Instagram. Starting a live at the right time can help you meeting success and reaching a lot of people.

Know everything on selling on Instagram - Adidas Y3
Adidas likes to promote its products in its live sessions and stories

If you like to show some new products you just received, for example, you can start a live at the reception and show your followers your product. When the live is over, it can be uploaded in your story section, so nobody misses it (it is also good to know that replay views are counted in the total views amount).
If you want to create a better traction effect, you can even announce scheduled live sessions, where you will reveal some of your products, or announce business-related news. Like that, people will be looking forward to looking at your live session or its replay.

Create a content strategy

This is not only applicable on Instagram stories, but it’s easier to do it like this. Indeed, we talk a lot about creating a content strategy to boost your sales and your E-Commerce as a whole.
You can open a blog and create content on it, which takes quite a bit of your time. Creating a vlog strategy organised around some live sessions can make you earn a lot of time. Like that, you can easily share activities with your followers, and creating an efficient content strategy.

4. IGTV : long-form video on Instagram

In 2018, the social media has shown its desire to take YouTube’s slot by allowing its users to post videos which duration exceed one minute. Indeed, until the summer of 2018, Instagram users could only post one minute max videos. As of now, videos’ duration can be between 2 minutes and an hour, depending on the poster’s following base.
IGTV has the ambition to create a new video platform and television service. How is this feature relevant for online stores?

Create full Q&A sessions

If your community is eager to know more about your products, services, your company, or even about you, you can organize Q&A sessions. These sessions can be very long. If you don’t want to organize a live session, you can film your Q&A session and post it on IGTV later.
With a bit of organization and processing, this video will allow you to gain some engagement and followers. If you answer the right questions, you might even gain some time in your processes and gain money. How? If you answer popular questions, people won’t ask them online, then improving your conversion rate, then growing your sales revenue.

Carry your content strategy on

Why only enjoying Instagram’s live feature? You can create full 1-hour vlogs. Once again, these videos will feel more natural than posting on YouTube. Indeed, the process before posting on IGTV is shorter than all the things you have to do before posting on the video platform (cutting, video editing, etc.).

Know everything on selling on Instagram - Adidas
Adidas likes to promote its products on IGTV

IGTV’s vertical filming gives a natural feeling to your viewers. As explained before, this spontaneous feeling will be rewarded with more reach and engagement.

Create a universe and collaborate with others

Instagram users can easily create their accounts on IGTV. Like on YouTube, you just have to create a channel, and it’s done. People can find your videos by scrolling through their favorite channels, just like on TV.
Like on your posting politics, it is recommended to create a universe. Like that, users will be totally merged in the world you want them to be into.
If you want to create synergies, collaborate with other channels and users. You’ll be able to promote your channel, your products and your online shop by doing so. You can either collaborate with other E-Commerce, by creating capsule collections, depending on your communication strategies, or collaborating with influencers.

Here are some tools to help you selling on Instagram


Know everything on selling on Instagram - Buffer
Buffer is an automation tool that will help you programming your posts. This tool also works on other social platforms like Twitter and Facebook, so you can post on multiple accounts at once.
If you want to post at the right hours, you can pre-register days and hours of posting, so you will be right.
Due to Instagram restrictions, Buffer isn’t able to post videos for you. The best thing you can do is downloading Buffer’s app on your smartphone and letting it send you a push notification when it’s time to post a video, and post it yourself. The tool will automatically copy and paste your pre-done description into Instagram, making you earn a lot of time.


Know everything on selling on Instagram - Later
Later is similar to Buffer, but with a nice calendar view. You can either choose to schedule your posts the same way you do it on Buffer, by adding posts and choosing a day and time, or by clicking directly into the calendar.
Plus, Later comes with a lot of analytics tools allowing you to have a full view of your activity on Instagram. Like your online store, it’s good to have a full view and a dashboard allowing you to do a point, from times to times.
As the previous tool, Later also comes with an app, helping you being able to forecast your posts on smartphone and PC.


Know everything on selling on Instagram - IFTTT
Of course, this tool isn’t only dedicated to Instagram, but a huge quantity of its automations are dedicated to the social media.
They will allow you to automatically publish updates when you activate something on your online store, for example.
Are you used to selling on Instagram? Do you use it on a daily basis? Don’t hesitate to share your story with us, and to follow us here!

Image credit : Kate Ivanova


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Thibault Herpin
Hi, my name is Thibault Herpin. I'm in charge of strategic content for E-commerce Nation. I'm happy to share my experience in the fields of digital marketing and E-commerce through my content. Do not hesitate to contact me !