How to Make Sales on Instagram (without being too salesy)

In my previous blog about Instagram, I talked about the basics of setting up your profile, engaging with the right followers and building your brand through this visual social media platform.

In this blog, I want to talk about how to make sales on Instagram through social media marketing that puts your business in front of potential customers to influence their buying decisions. Turning followers into customers takes time, effort, and effective marketing strategies but it is possible. So, I’m going to give you a quick guide of the suggestions I make as a marketing consultant with my Instagram clients that may help you to boost your revenue and profits too.

Make sure your Instagram profile has your target audience in mind

Picture of a woman looking at a high quality instagram post on her phoneEverything in marketing and sales is about your target audience, and Instagram is certainly no exception.

Much of what we do on Instagram is based on our active users, indeed some features of this channel are only unlocked when you’ve reached so many monthly users or followers (like the “swipe up” feature that allows you to embed a link into an Instagram story but requires your account to have 10,000 followers to access).

So, to get more followers that include our ideal customers (and convert them into loyal customers) your profile needs to be designed around them, and what they’re looking for. That means thinking of your profile as a storefront that showcases what you have to offer.

Obviously, the basics of what you do, your contact details (including email address or phone number for easier customer service) and a link to your website is important (and make sure you are using a business profile not a personal one!), but there’s another feature we can use to our benefit here – Instagram Stories, particularly highlight albums.

To create a highlight album, you simply tap on the ‘+’ sign in the Story Highlights section of your business profile. Your previous Instagram Stories will appear, and you can select the ones you want to appear in this album, meaning that you can theme each album by product or service type, seasonal promotion, sales promotion, etc.

You are limited to 16 characters for naming your album, but it’s a fantastic way to showcase what you do to your followers and potential customers and is ideal for generating ecommerce sales on a low marketing budget.

Create Instagram stories that show your products in action

I say products because it’s quite difficult to “show” a service (but not entirely impossible if you’re creative).

The psychology behind buying decisions is an interesting one but something we have learned is that being able to visualise having the product and using it increases sales. By having Instagram stories that literally show your product in action; being used, worn, engaged with, etc it’s easier for your target audience to imagine having it themselves. This then drives the spontaneous buying mindset and if you have shoppable posts on your feed, gets you the sale.

Think of stories as the introduction to what you have to offer, that you back up with your other post content. As clickable links aren’t a thing in Instagram (unless you’re lucky enough to access the swipe up feature), repetition and clear product photos in your feed will create those buying emotions, such as desire, or fear of missing out.

Post high-quality content regularly to your Instagram feed

Instagram stories are certainly useful but it’s the consistent posting of top-quality content that’s going to provide the brand awareness and consistency that supports buying decisions from your potential customers.

Don’t make every post about sales, and when you do avoid using salesy language. The idea with Instagram is to drip feed eye-catching posts that attract attention and generate curiosity about what you’re showing. Over time once trust and rapport has been established between you and your audience, they’re want to find out more and head over to your website (and that’s where you should be focusing on making sales).

Great photography that catches the eye is important for posts and stories, but you’ll need to be using the right hashtags too. Using a range of brand specific hashtags along with feature and product tags will help you attract new followers and attention to your content.

Remember that your content should be interesting, informative and valid. As long as you keep that in mind and use the best quality images possible (consider investing in some product photography if possible), your posts will add to your overall sales and marketing strategies.

Ensure your followers will actually want to follow you

Picture of a woman looking at a company's Instragram feedCompelling images, lead magnets and promotions might attract a few new followers, but how do you keep them interested and engaged with what you have to offer?

Follower engagement rate is an important metric to consider when evaluating your Instagram marketing campaigns. Engaged followers are much more likely to buy from you, su

bscribe to your email list, and share your posts with friends, family and their followers too.

Being on top of seasonal events and current affairs is important, and that means planning your posts and content for the big sales periods of your years well in advance (Valentine’s Day should be planned for around November time, for example). Hashtags for these times of the year should be used but be very careful with any around current affairs – ensure they really do mean what you think they do before you use them!

Running promotions and competitions through your Instagram pages can be a great way to increase engagement but can have a short-lived effect, so do plan how you’re going to keep those new followers interested once the promotion is over.

Also remember to like and engage with your followers’ pages. An engaged audience is a happy audience, so remind them you’re there, that you’re interested in what they do too and give their posts a boost where relevant.

Consider an influencer marketing campaign

Even micro-influencers can drive large sales volumes when the campaign hits the right notes with the intended target audience, and it’s mainly due to FOMO.

We’ve all seen how celebrities promoting perfumes suddenly make it the “must-have” perfume to buy at that time, and it’s the same principle here with Instagram influencers. They are the celebrities of this social media platform and working with one can be a great business opportunity.

Different influencers will charge different amounts (some may even collaborate for free) so it may take time to find the right fit for your budget, but remember they should be:

  • aligned with your brand
  • you should have a shared target audience
  • should be on board with your brand and vision
  • should genuinely be interested in your products

Influencer campaigns aren’t right for everyone, but it is something to consider if you are struggling to make sales on Instagram and you have faith in your product and the demand for it.

Remember to use Instagram insights to track your marketing efforts

No marketing campaign can be effective if you don’t monitor results and adjust your strategy accordingly.

Your favourite post might not be the one that gets the most engagement!

Instagram insights can help you establish where your content and stories are working well, and where they need a little more work to get right. You’ll be able to see engagement figures broken down by date and post, so you can see which posts are the most effective and break down why that’s the case from there, such as:

  • post type
  • image used
  • hashtags used
  • the copywriting used

By evaluating your content in this way, you’ll be able to spot trends of what your target audience respond to best, and this enables you to plan and create better content for the future.

Third party apps like Tailwind also have their own analytics data available for you to evaluate and use to inform your marketing strategies. So, do make sure of all the data you have at your disposal, the results really can be quite enlightening!

I hope you’ve found this blog helpful in figuring out how to use Instagram to make more sales for your business. If you’d like to talk through these tips in more detail or explore other social media marketing strategies that may work well for your business, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me for a complimentary call.

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