Instagram is perhaps, dare I say, the most popular social media platform out now, amassing 700 million monthly active users, made up of brands, celebrities, influencers and individuals. Instagram has changed the landscape of social media as we know it, shifting the paradigm of favoured content to visual with 95 million photos and videos posted daily.
It’s no surprise that brands have reacted proactively to develop their own presence on Instagram, to capture attention, create an affinity with their audience and even drive sales.
Yes, sales. Instagram isn’t just a photo-sharing social media platform for millennials to share memes and avocado filled brunches. Instagram is what you make of it, and for brands and business, it can become, a website, showroom, a catalogue or even an online store, all of which can positively influence a consumer's behaviour and purchase decision. However it’s not as easy as creating an account, posting sporadically and hoping for your sales to skyrocket, there is some creative strategy required.
Let’s start with the most integral cog in your Instagram wheel and that is your visual content. Creating amazing visual content is integral for Instagram, as this will be the main reason people choose to follow and engage with your account. However it doesn’t just stop there, whether you’re a freelance creative or a brand, your visual content should showcase what you have to offer, your skills, services and your products, IKEA does this fantastically, exhibiting their furniture products in their rightful habitats, a contrasting experience to their website. They also feature posts from customers who have purchased from Ikea, giving their followers real-life usage examples.
You can see users are commenting and tagging other users to see the post, driving more engagement. The main principle here is to showcase what you have to offer, but in a more aesthetically pleasing manner that serves as great content. Use a mixture of organic, user-generated content, giveaways and contests.
Of course, the aim of the game is to drive sales and not just have an account that's aesthetically pleasing to the eye, so you have to make sure you push the right sell, or I should say create the right sell. If you’re already creating great content and have an amazing feed, you’re halfway there. Developing a successful sales pitch on Instagram relies on a few different elements;
● Creating affinity - If you’re already creating amazing content you’re halfway there. Instagrammers love aesthetically pleasing and quirky content, marry this up with your brand with the right balance and your followers will naturally draw a liking to you.
● Validate your brand - Use your platform on Instagram to validate your brand and offering, via your followers. Host contests and repost content featuring your products with satisfied customers. This will build a trust with your followers and further influence their purchase decision.
● Call to action - Giving your followers more to do than just like and comment. Although you can only share one link in your bio, you can integrate more links in with your Instagram Stories. As well as this, your captions should hook in a call to action, be it to another piece of content or a direct sales pitch.
Your sales strategy on Instagram should be to influence the purchase decision of potential customers using the elements above. Hard direct sales techniques don’t work on Instagram, it’s all about forming trust, relationships and brand love. Daniel Wellington is a great example of how these elements can come together to really drive sales. Their Instagram account has seen tremendous growth over the years, beautiful content reposted from their followers, creating affinity and trust to drive sales.
There is a more aggressive approach to Instagram, rather than patiently building your presence you can also run paid ads on Instagram, however, I’d only recommend this if your main aim is to drive traffic to your website to execute your main sale there. With paid ads you can target your exact audience with a more direct call to action, however, ensuring your content really stands out is key, otherwise, users will just scroll through.
Paid promotion is not just limited to ads; influencer marketing is a massive game on Instagram, and can really boost sales if executed correctly. The decisive factors in the success of an influencer marketing campaign involve choosing the right influencers and making the campaign seem as natural as possible. Beauty brands have been doing this successfully for years on Instagram, often times even sending influencers products to review.
Ultimately using Instagram to increase your sales is highly dependant on your performance as an Instagrammer, having great content and engaging with your audience at a consistent rate.
By Aminur Rashid, social insight executive at Hopper HQ
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