How to Use Instagram for Business

Instagram is fertile ground for eCommerce stores to promote their products directly to their target audiences.

Not only does Instagram have over 500 million daily users, but the platform has also been steadily adding business-friendly features to make advertising and selling easier than ever before.

This post explains how to get started using Instagram for your eCommerce store.

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Create a Top-Notch Instagram Business Account

To effectively use Instagram for business, you first need to have an Instagram business account. And to have an Instagram business account, you must have a Facebook page for your business (Facebook owns Instagram).

If you don’t have a Facebook page yet, you can create one in minutes.

Ready? Let’s walk through how to create an Instagram business account.

Download Instagram and Sign Up for a New Account

By default, your new account will be a personal account. To make it a business account, go to Settings > Switch to a Business Profile, and then choose to connect through Facebook. The app will ask you to connect to a business Facebook page. That’s it! Your Instagram business account is ready to go.

Write Your Bio Carefully

Your Instagram profile is where many potential customers will first learn about your eCommerce store, so fill it out wisely.

For your bio, be sure to talk about what products you sell and where people can buy them. Great bios also include some personality, a link to the online store, and a powerful call-to-action. Remember that you only have 150 characters, so be as precise as possible.

To have a business Instagram account, you must have a Facebook Page for your business.

Make Your Instagram Shoppable with the Facebook for WooCommerce Plugin

Thankfully, you no longer have to hope that your followers will go from an Instagram post to your profile to the link in your bio to (finally) shopping your store. Instagram now allows users to click on your product within the post itself.

Here’s how you can integrate your WooCommerce store with your Instagram to make shopping easy.

Download Facebook for WooCommerce Instagram Plugin

The Facebook for WooCommerce plugin allows you to merge products from your existing eCommerce store into Facebook (and later into Instagram).

Without this plugin, you would have to upload every product manually to Facebook, including uploading an image, writing a description, and selecting the price. If you have dozens of products in your eCommerce store, that could take a while.

Simply download the Facebook for WooCommerce plugin, and then click “Import Products to Facebook.” All your products will be uploaded in minutes.

The Facebook for WooCommerce plugin is included with all plans of Managed WooCommerce at Liquid Web.

Without the Facebook for WooCommerce Plugin, you would have to upload every product from WooCommerce into Facebook manually, making business for Instagram harder.

Connect Your Facebook Shop to Instagram

To connect your Facebook Shop to your Instagram business account, just click the “Instagram” tab on the left-side menu on your Facebook Shop and log into your Instagram. You may have to wait a few days for Instagram to approve your shoppable account.

Start Tagging Products on Instagram

Tagging a product in an Instagram post is what turns your account into an Instagram shop.

Followers can tap your image in their feeds, and the product name and current price will appear. They can click the tag again and be taken to that product on your website to purchase.

Here’s how tagging products on Instagram works.

Just like you would an ordinary post, click the “+” button to upload a new image (ideally one that features your product). Before clicking “Share,” click your product in the image to tag it with your product name. A catalog of the products from your WooCommerce site will pull up, and you can select the correct product. You can tag up to five products for every image.

Image of a women's swimsuit and the corresponding tagged products.

Strategize Your Content on Instagram

You should have a strategy when it comes to posting and engaging on Instagram. To start, consider the following questions to guide you.

What Kind of Content Will I Share?

From the format of content — videos, images, graphics, Instagram Stories — to the content itself, you have a lot of decisions to make.

A good way to get a feel for what might be best for you is to look through the feeds of your direct (successful) competitors. Think about what they’re doing that is working for them and could work for you.

How Often Will I Post?

Above all, post as frequently as you can commit to doing consistently. In other words, figure out the max number of posts per day or week that you are certain you can maintain, and then stick to that schedule. Most research says that top brands post between one and three times a day.

Who Can I Engage With?

To maximize your Instagram marketing efforts, you have to do more than just post your own content. You have to also engage with the content from other users.

Instagram’s algorithm will prioritize your content to your followers if you’ve frequently commented on their posts.

Even if someone is not following you, a comment (that doesn’t push your products in a sales-y way) can put you on their radar. Make a list of influencers or micro-influencers in your industry you’d like to connect with, and then commit to commenting regularly on their relevant posts.

Advertise on Instagram to Extend Your Reach

Just like on Facebook, you don’t have to wait for customers to find you. You can target ads to specific demographics, getting your products in front of the right people.

Choose Your Target Audience Through Your Facebook Ads Manager

To get started with advertising on Instagram, head to Facebook Ads Manager and click the “Audiences” tab. There, you can create a new “Saved Audience,” and select for attributes like location, age, gender, interests, income, and more.

Once you’ve targeted your audience, you can create a new ad in the ad manager. To publish it to Instagram, you click “Edit Placements” and choose Instagram.

When creating an Instagram ad, you have to go through Facebook Ads manager.

Decide the Right Ad Format for Your Goals

You’ll see a place in the ads manager to select the format of your ad. Here are the ad format options for Instagram and what they mean:

  • Photo or video ad – Appears in viewer’s feeds and look like a regular post, including captions.
  • Stories ad – Appears between other user’s stories and lasts for 24 hours (ideal for short promotions).
  • Carousel ad – Appears in viewer’s feeds and has slides of different content, either video or images.
  • Collection ad – Like a photo or video ad but with an option to purchase the product directly from the ad

No matter what type of ad format you decide, you can expect to pay between 70 cents and 80 cents per click on average. That means that if 500 people click your ad, you’d pay about $375.

Tip: Add an Instagram Shop Now Button to Ads

Calls-to-action are important, and sometimes viewers may have to be prompted to shop. Instagram allows you to add a button to your ads to make it clear that the post is shoppable.

Understand Instagram Analytics to Get Better Results

After you’ve been posting, tagging products in your images, or advertising on Instagram for at least a month, you should check out your Instagram analytics to see how you’re doing. Plus, you can use what you learn to guide your strategy for the upcoming months.

Instagram’s built-in Insights section provides you with all the analytics you’ll need to figure out how to get better results. It has three areas of insights: Activity, Content, and Audience.

Instagram's Insights - with content, activity, and audience.

The Activity tab in Instagram Insights shows how many people visited your profile, when they visited it, and what they clicked in your bio (like the link to your website). It also shows you how many overall impressions your posts had over the past week and which day of the week saw the highest number of impressions.

Content

The Content tab is separated into “Feed posts” and “Stories.” For each, it displays the most popular posts over a certain time period.

You can filter the results by content type (such as carousels or videos), type of interaction (such as highest likes or most website clicks), or by time period. You can also layer these filters together. For example, you could choose filters that reveal the video posts that drove the most traffic to your website during the last 30 days.

Instagram's Insights - with content, activity, and audience.

This tab displays insights related to your follower demographics including their gender, age, location, and when they are most often online.

Keep Track of Your Engagement Rate

You’ve probably heard the ‘engagement’ term thrown around a lot, and you may already be tracking your engagement rates for other platforms like Facebook. Your engagement rate is the percentage of your followers who are actively interacting with your posts or stories. Keep track of this number to study your brand’s performance.

You can determine your engagement rate by adding the number of likes plus the number of comments you’ve received and dividing the sum by the total number of followers you have. The more followers you have, the lower your engagement rate is likely to be.

Start Using Instagram for Business Today

The best thing about social media marketing is its accessibility. Unlike traditional forms of advertising, or even advertising with Google, costs are low and setup is simple and intuitive.

The low stakes make using social media platforms like Instagram something you can start using for your business today.

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