How to sell on Instagram: a complete guide

by TRILOGI Press

If you have a physical store you know that sales depend on the details. Customers are ever more demanding and the market is ever more crowded. Each customer is their own world and we don’t treat everybody exactly the same. You’re going to be someone who when a customer comes into their shop, you pay attention to what they do. Do they go straight to the discount rail? Do they come in a lot but never buy anything? Are they a loyal customer who comes in and goes straight to your new collection?

Why if you pay such close attention to all these details in your physical store don’t you do the same on Instagram? If you’re still not clear about how to sell on Instagram, the answer’s simple. Be alert to the tips Facebook pixel gives you and do different things for each kind of customer. If you do that, you will sell on Instagram and increase sales through your online store. To draw an analogy with your physical store, customers will go from “Just looking, thanks” to “I’ll take it.”

People who make purchases on Instagram consume twice as much content as those who don’t and spend 85% of their weekly internet time exploring the latest products and services.

DInstagram figures, excluding USA, April 2016.

Create an Instagram profile to sell products in your online store

If you want your Instagram to be a key part of the sales strategy for your online store, you need to tailor your profile. Instagram was originally conceived for image sharing and even though you can’t include links in your posts, there are promoted posts and other ways to direct traffic to your online store that might lead to sales.

Use a business profile

To sell on Instagram, the first thing you have to do (if you haven’t done it already), is to change your personal profile to a business profile.

An Instagram business profile doesn’t just allow you to show yourself in a professional light, it also gives you functionality that the platform only makes available to businesses.

The most notable functionality and statistics you can access once you’ve migrated to a business profile include:

  • Real-time metrics for your account and the reach of your posts.
  • Being able to promote your posts.
  • Label the products you post with Instagram Shopping.

Add Facebook pixel to your online shop

Facebook pixel is an essential tool to measure the effectiveness of your Instagram posts and to understand what people do when they visit your online shop.

You can find no end of guides on how to instal Facebook pixel on your online store, but if you run into problems you can just leave it to your web developer.

Once you’ve installed it and set up your Events, you can do all these things with pixel:

  • Reach the right people with your ads. You will be able to reach new customers and people who have visited your online store.
  • Increase sales in your online store. You can optimise your ads by pushing them automatically to people who are more disposed to buy and more likely to end up making a purchase.
  • Measure actions and the results of your advertising. Information such as people who have started to make a purchase but not completed it or the number of sales and their value can be really useful to create adverts that truly work.

Without Facebook pixel you will find it hard to sell via Instagram. If you are spending heavily on ads on Instagram but not increasing your sales, it’s probably because you’re not using pixel.

Activate Instagram Shopping

The Shopping function on Instagram is a great tool to reach valuable customers and channel them to your online store to buy the product they’ve just seen. Businesses with Instagram Shopping can label products in their posts and they can include a direct link from the product to its listing so that brand followers end up buying.

What do I need to activate Instagram Shopping? If you want to activate Instagram Shopping, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • Your Instagram account is a business account
  • There are no restrictions for activated countries
  • You meet Facebook’s requirements under the agreement for business sellers of commercial products and its business policies.
  • You have a Facebook Page connected to your Instagram profile.
  • You are selling physical products.
  • Your account is linked to a Facebook catalogue.

If you meet those requirements, you can send you account for review by following these steps:

  1. Go to settings on your Instagram profile.
  2. Click on Business and then Shopping on Instagram.
  3. Follow the steps to make sure everything is ready and send your account for review.

In a few days, the Instagram Shopping options will be available on your Instagram account. The process normally takes a week at the very most.

Once your account has been approved, you will receive a notification from Instagram. Bingo! Now you can start to label products in your posts.


The goal: 10,000 followers

Get that goal into your brain. Your complete obsession must be to get to 10,000 followers. When you reach that number, you can put links in your Instagram Stories. The functionality is activated automatically and is worth a lot, bearing in mind that otherwise you will find it hard to channel Instagram traffic to your online store.

I bet now you’re wondering: How can I get more Instagram followers? There is no single answer to that question, but to help you here are some things you could do to build up your followers quickly:

  • Use hashtags. Think about the hashtags your competitors use and use a maximum of 30 hashtags per post. Don’t reuse them using copy and paste because you could be treated as a spammer and that will affect your reach.
  • Do prize draws. Having draws for your products is definitely the best way to gain quality followers. And if you can create synergies with other brands doing joint draws, so much the better.
  • Social Ads. Facebook loves it when you spend money. It will never say so publicly, but profiles that invest in ads achieve greater engagement and greater organic reach.
  • Use influencer fashion to reach out to influencers and microinfluencers who will exchange one or more posts on their feeds or Stories for product.

Those are just a few tips to gain quality followers. No doubt as you read them, you thought of buying followers. You can forget about that. If you buy followers the only thing you will achieve is that the organic reach of your posts will plummet and the visibility of your account will suffer. Don’t do it!

The best ads to sell on Instagram

As we said a few months back, one of the best kind of ad to sell products in your online store on Instagram are Collection ads. A type of ad that creates an instant full-screen experience when someone clicks on ‘More information’.

In that post, we explained in detail how to create Collection ads and what you need to do it.

Examples of Collection ads on Instagram created by TLG Commerce.

These ads are especially effective if you bear in mind the following:

  • If ads are aimed at customers who already know us through retargeting audiences, the cost per conversion will be appreciably lower. For example, in online stores that have high repeat visits with average prices in the €60-100 range, a conversion campaign can cost less than €3 per conversion.
  • Promotional discounts codes. If you add a promotional discount code to these ads or run them during a sale, conversions will rain from the sky. Customers will make more impulse buys that they didn’t mean to make.
  • Synchronise your feed with online store products. It’s important to have a feed with a data source that automatically synchronises with stock and prices in the online store. That way, the ad won’t show out of date prices or products that aren’t in stock.

Inspire and sell through your Stories de Instagram

80% of Instagram users follow a brand to feel a greater sense of connection with the brand and consequently many of them feel part of a select group.

Instagram figures, excluding USA, April 2016.

It’s that feeling of belonging to a select group that you want to generate on your Instagram account.

On that theme, Stories have a really important role to play. The possibility of adding animations and masses of stickers and gifs has made Instagram Stories one of the most attractive social media formats.

And if Stories weren’t already attractive enough to brands, they have recently added functionality to help businesses sell more through Instagram.

The most noteworthy new functionality for Stores is:

  • Being able to put ads in Stories and to include a link regardless of whether or not the account has 10,000 followers.
  • Labelling products in Stories, just like you can in an Instagram feed with Instagram Shopping activated.

Now you know that this is a format to focus on, with creativity and clever campaigns to reach customers you have never been able to reach.

If you do intend to create ads through Stories you need to bear in mind the following specifications:

  • Image Ad
    Image size: 1080×1920
    Aspect Ratio: 9:16
    Duration: 10 seconds
  • Video Ad
    Format: MOV, MP4 o GIF
    Size: up to 2.3 GB
    Resolution: al menos 720p
    Duration: 15 seconds
    Aspect Ratio: 9:16

If you understand Instagram’s algorithm you will have an advantage over the competition

It may be surprising, but Instagram’s algorithm tries to imitate human behaviour in society. But what does that mean? It means that Instagram takes account of the posts that a user most likes and the acts that they most interact with. For example, if a user likes or comments on posts from a lot of women’s clothes shops, posts from other clothing brands will be more relevant.

But, how does the Instagram algorithm work? You can read down below about what you should be aware of if you want to gain visibility on the platform and make your posts reach the maximum number of followers:

  • Share posts that are meaningful for your followers. Instagram doesn’t just respond to likes and comments, it also looks at other interactions.
  • Develop a relationship with your followers. Comment on the posts of your followers and always reply to their comments.

Quality is what matters most on Instagram. Focus your strategy on content that is valuable to your followers and spend a few minutes every day interacting with your audience. That way, you can stop seeing the algorithm as your enemy and start to see it as your best ally.

With all that information, now you need to get down to work. Do you need help? At TLG Commerce we would be only too happy to help you. Selling on Instagram isn’t easy, but with the right strategy and follow-through, you can definitely increase your sales.


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