Secrets to Selling on Instagram

January 22, 2020 | by

Businesses shouldn’t be apprehensive to selling on Instagram. In fact, if you are not selling on Instagram then you are missing out on a ton of revenue! Instagram is a fantastic way to connect with your audience, advertise your products/services, and increase leads. There are over 800 million users on the platform and 500 million follow business accounts. So, the question is not if you should be selling on Instagram. The question is why are you not already?

According to Instagram, over 60% of users rely on the platform to find new products. This is why it is so important to have an eye-catching and cohesive brand identity. It may seem obvious, but it is easy to lose sight of what users are on the platform to actually see. However, there may be some questions of how to either start selling or how to increase the revenue you already have as a company.

What does selling on Instagram look like?

There are a lot of ways to sell on Instagram more than the average shoppable post. Below, we are going to highlight some awesome examples of companies doing just that. Let’s start with one tactic that you definitely, without a doubt, totally, did NOT get close to thinking about at all…

Product Photos and Promos

Yes, this is a no brainer. You may do this already. But, keep reading to see how you can step up your product photo game.

You see, it is more than simply taking a photo of your product in the office, throwing a filter on it, and posting it to your audience. (Boringggg!) Be artistic about your product photos. All great pictures evoke some sort of message and emotion. Think about what your product or brand represents. Ask yourself before you take a picture if it speaks to your audience. Let’s take a look at Alex and Ani.

They posted a stylish picture and coupled it with their most recent promotion that they were running. It is clear that they spent time determining what sweater to pair with the jewelry, and what background should be used to highlight the product. Doing a well thought-out post like this to promote a sale will without a doubt drive traffic to your stores.

Now let’s check out another way to have a call to action, while promoting a new product line. Instead of posting all the shirts in one carousel post and calling it a day, Lisa Frank thought of more. Yes, it is a carousel post, but they applied their brand’s colors as the background, and added their stickers as if they were heads above of the shirts. This was a really clever way to showcase their new Lisa Frank merchandise! The description then points the viewer to their bio to increase conversions around what they are selling. This post captured the attention of the viewer, and then told them where to go to get what they want.

View this post on Instagram

The wait is over! 🙌🏼 OUT NOW! 💖 Link in bio 🌈 #LisaFrankUniversity

A post shared by Lisa Frank (@lisafrank) on

Pro Tip: Many companies see success with Instagram stories. Stories specific ads help reach a different demographic beyond their regular feed. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of all the ways to post on Instagram.


Customer photos

People don’t go on social media to see advertisements! That is why so many people are turning to paid media streaming services like Netflix and Apple Music. Selling on Instagram should not be in your customers faces all the time. To still promote your product or services subtly, try using user-generated content, like a customer photo or review.

This let’s your customers become your loudest spokespeople! Thousands of people are speaking out every day about their favorite (and least favorite) brands. How you respond to customer feedback can make or break your customer’s perspective on your business.

Customers love hearing about others’ experiences before making a purchase. In fact 86% of consumers report reading up to 10 reviews before trusting local businesses. Bring the great reviews and photos to light by posting your customers’ experience. There are so many brands implementing this into their marketing strategy on a regular basis.

This is an awesome photo taken by one of Barton Bands’ customers. User-generated content is a great way for your customers to truly see what products looks like out in everyday life. It is a refreshing thing for your users to see every once in a while to contrast the usual promo photos they typically view from your company.

Instagram Shopping

Your followers can now use the Instagram Shopping platform to purchase products from your page. This can be found under the tab with the shopping bag icon.


This feature integrates your product catalog and tags into a seamless shopping experience for your customers. Let’s take a look at Bellroy to see what their Instagram Shopping platform looks like. When you scroll through this catalogue, any picture you click will show the product’s tags. These tags can be pressed for more details and close ups of that product. If a customer wants to buy this product, they can do that all within the Instagram app! Having the ability to browse, view, and checkout within Instagram is an incredible opportunity to sell your products on Instagram.

Pro-Tip: Think of your photos as displays and that customers are window shopping on their feed. You are going to want to upload a picture that stands out and sticks with the viewer.

To figure out how to set up your shop to sell on Instagram we got you covered! Check out how to sell on instagram right here!

Influencer Marketing

Not all your promo photos have to be on your Instagram profile. Influencer marketing has become a huge part of many marketer’s strategies. It presents your product in a more personable way. These influencers have developed a trusting relationship with their high follower counts, and influencer marketing allows you to tap into those relationships. So, if your brand is promoted through an influencer’s account, there is no doubt going to be new people checking out your brand!

Influencer posts generally don’t feel as “salesy” as regular promo photos, because they come across as more personable coming from a real person that is not you.

Pro Tip: Make sure you are partnering with influencers that make sense with your brand. Their audience should match the demographic you are trying to reach. This way, your money will be well spent, and your conversions will be higher.

Instagram Ads

Instagram ads are a clear route to get your product in front of the people you want. Stories and carousel ads give you a lot of flexibility to be creative, reach, and engage with tons of potential customers. Take advantage of each type of advertisement. There are ways to really leverage each specific ad type to catch the eye of the people with which you want your advertisement to resonate.

Pro Tip: Use stickers, gifs, and other Instagram tools to make your advertisement seem like a regular post from one of their friends. The more your post looks like a “regular” post, the better chance it has to be effective.

Best practices to sell on Instagram

Sometimes a best practice is not always what you should be doing, it is what you shouldn’t be doing. Be sure you do not keep feeding your followers gimmick photos on a regular basis. That will only make things worse.

Here are some things you should be doing:

Craft Convincing Captions

There are tons of ways to infuse personality into your posts without coming across as salesy. Try to pitch it like you were talking to a friend. Check out Paper Mate’s creative way to show off their product with a great caption:

View this post on Instagram

We sure don’t have a limit! Do you know how many Paper Mate pens are in your collection? 📸: teachingjoys

A post shared by Paper Mate (@paper_mate) on

Another example for let’s say a makeup brand would be: What kind of shade of makeup would you wear on a date night? Let us know in the comments!

There are so many better ways to engage your customers with a caption rather than just saying “Get yours now! Only $29.99 today.” Do you see the difference?

Don’t forget about your bio

The bio is the first thing that I read when I visit someone’s profile. It let’s me know a little about that page, and if there is anything interesting I should be aware of. This is a great spot to place a call to action! Check out Alex and Ani’s way of doing this:

Pro Tip: Use a call to action in your bio, and make sure to add a trackable link. Additionally, if you have a branded hashtag, this is a great place to showcase it!

Showcase People, colors, and more!

Like we were talking about earlier, it is important to put thought into each post. There is more for your business on Instagram than posting product photos. Pay attention to what some major brands are doing and try to learn from them. Not every post is a promotional piece of content. Try adding people into your photos! Photos with faces and people in them do very well on Instagram.

This may promote your customers to take product pictures of their own in hopes to get featured on your page! Then, they might share your post with friends, and more people will start to become aware of your brand.

A good color scheme can go a long way. Just take a look at Lisa Frank’s post above. They use those colors all the time throughout their posts and it makes their feed look great! Another great example of using a color scheme with their photos is Skull Candy.

You can see that their color scheme was well thought out, and it was executed very well. Another well thought out and interesting color presentation is this picture by Il Makiage:

Try out some other post types like relevant memes to your industry or screenshots of Twitter posts from your account. Remember, consumers like brands that are fun and helpful! Post relatable content. But, just because the photo of the cat with a funny hat made you laugh does not mean its suitable content for your company. Think about what would relate to your audience. There are tons of options, so go out there and give it a try!

Don’t forget to always be assessing, analyzing, and adjusting. Take a look at the data to see what type of post your audience is enjoying the most.

Pro Tip: Your photo should be worth liking even if it wasn’t trying to sell something. They should always be interesting, and the fact that it may be promoting a sale or product is an added monetary bonus.

In Conclusion

It is a cold hard fact that users will buy your products on Instagram if you are marketing it correctly to them. Social platforms have become a social marketplace! However, you need to be intentional about what, how, and when you are posting. These sales will not come by accident. I hope these tips will help you as you continue your journey with selling on Instagram!

Want more? Check out all of our On The Radar tips and tricks that we post every week, right here!

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