How to use Instagram sponsored posts to sell clothes

Create attention-grabbing ads for the ‘gram

It’s funny to think that only a handful of years ago, Instagram was primarily devoted to blurry photos of your food and candid shots of you and your friends gorging yourselves on pizza. Would we even recognize ourselves now? Instagram has become a powerhouse social media platform where “everyday photos” are actually planned months in advance, people get paid to post by companies, and you can shop just about any company’s products without leaving the app. This brings us to our main point of business — Instagram sponsored posts, and how to use these posts to sell clothes.

But before we get into selling clothes, let’s cover the basics.

Related: How to start an Instagram account

What are Instagram sponsored posts?

Traditionally, advertising was limited to the big bad wolves of media: billboards, television commercials and print ads. These were (and still are) costly and require tons of effort and coordination between designers, company heads and advertising agencies.

Thanks to the rise of social media, business owners and entrepreneurs have more freedom to advertise their products through sponsored posts.

The best part? These social media advertising avenues are only a fraction of the cost of traditional advertisements.

Whether you’ve realized it or not, you’ve definitely seen a sponsored post (or four) while mindlessly browsing on Instagram. And sponsored posts aren’t even limited to scrolling within your feed anymore. You can now find them in between your friends’ Instagram Stories.

If you’re not familiar, there are multiple Instagram sponsored post options for entrepreneurs and business owners to take advantage of.

Photo ads

Your basic, no-frills, good ol’ faithful Instagram sponsored post is the photo ad. Showcase a high-quality photo of your product and let users learn more or shop now. For your clothing company, this means highlighting that hot item you know will fly off the (physical or digital) shelves this season. Hint: Mustard yellow is everything.

Video ads

While photo ads will never go out of style, the demand for short, engaging video ads on Instagram is growing. Videos ads can run for up to 60 seconds and instantly grab the attention of obsessive scrollers.

Related: Using 3 elements of viral videos to promote your business on social media

Carousel ads

Take your Instagram sponsored posts to the next level with carousel ads. Instagram carousel ads allow you to have multiple photos or videos in one sponsored post. Users swipe through the photos or video clips like a slider, and depending on how you set up your ads, can lead to a single page (like your home page) or each item can be clicked through to individual product pages.

Stories ads

Even if you didn’t know Stories ads existed, you’ve seen them. Scenario: when you are hastily tapping your thumb at 50 mph just to get through the Instagram Stories of that person you kind of know and are interrupted by a company’s sponsored post.

No matter what you end up choosing, incorporating Instagram sponsored posts into your social calendar will benefit you and your clothing brand in the end. Here’s more on how to create them.

Related: 10 Instagram Stories ideas to engage your retail company’s fans

How to use Instagram sponsored posts

There are a few things to consider when creating sponsored posts on Instagram, including your business profile, your audience and what you want your sponsored post to look like.

Pre-qualifications

To create Instagram sponsored posts for your clothing brand, you need to create a Facebook Page for your business account if you haven’t already. Having a Facebook Page is different from having a general Facebook profile. Facebook Pages are for companies and include essential information such as business hours, location, and of course, give you the ability to create ads on Facebook and Instagram.

To use Instagram sponsored posts, you also need to have a business profile on Instagram. Similar to Facebook, having a business profile on Instagram is different from having a personal Instagram. Switching your account to a business profile gives you insights on your posts such as activity (profile visits, website clicks, reach and impressions), content (likes per post and stories), and audience insights (what days and times your followers are online, average age, gender, and location of your audience).

Once you have both a Facebook Page and a business profile on Instagram, you can create your Instagram sponsored posts.

Creating a sponsored post

There are two ways to create Instagram sponsored posts. The first way is to simply press the “promote” button next to the picture you want to turn into an ad. You will be taken through a series of questions for how you want to set up your sponsored post, such as an objective, what kind of audience you want to see your post, and your budget.

This is the quickest and easiest way to do an ad, but one thing to remember is that you can’t change your caption on your photo. If you did a #WCW (Woman Crush Wednesday) post about a follower, but you decide to promote your post from Friday to Monday, it will still have the #WCW caption on the photo.

The second way to create Instagram sponsored posts is to create your ads within Facebook Ad Manager. Crafting your ad in Facebook gives you more freedom to choose an objective that best serves your ad’s purpose.

Facebook has several objective options for you to choose from:

  • Reach: Show your sponsored post to the most people.
  • Brand awareness: Increase general awareness about your clothing company.
  • Website clicks: Drive traffic to your website.
  • Video views: Get the most views for your “How to Style an Ascot for Autumn” video.
  • Website conversions: Have your audience complete an action on your website (buy a new clothing item, use a sale coupon, etc.).

Whichever way you decide to create your Instagram sponsored posts, you always have the option to determine your budget. Instagram sponsored posts can run for as long as you want them too and budgets can be as low as $5 per day.

Related: Google AdWords vs. Facebook Ads: Which is right for your business?

Need more ideas for Instagram sponsored posts?

With everything you’re doing for your business, you might feel a bit tapped for ideas. Read on for more ideas to make your Instagram sponsored posts stand out.

Carousel ads

Looking to promote your newest collection of autumn apparel? Use a carousel ad to highlight multiple items from your new line. If you create your sponsored post through Facebook, you have the option to choose if you want your photos to stay in the order you created them or reorder the photos based on their popularity among consumers.

Clothing brands that do this well are SHEIN or Chellysun. These companies often have sponsored carousel posts featuring different items or the same item in various colors.

Instagram Sponsored Posts Carousel

Photo ads

Just because you’re doing a photo sponsored post, that doesn’t mean you need to post a photo and leave it at that. Spruce things up by adding a large graphic or a bit of text to give people more information.

Although they’re not a clothing company, Ulta Beauty does a great job at grabbing attention using photo ads. Every so often, Ulta has their 21 Days of Beauty deals. For 21 days, different beauty items go on sale every day. To announce their sale, Ulta posts some sort of image of makeup carefully strewn across the screen with a big graphic announcing the 21 Days of Beauty sale.

Related: Social media image sizes: The 2018 cheat sheet

Instagram Sponsored Posts Photo Ads

Another company that does well with photo ads is Converse. Whenever Converse has a new design out, they will create a sponsored post to highlight their latest drop. Their photo style is minimalist and clean, so the emphasis and focus can remain on their sneakers. Take their collaboration with Hello Kitty. Their sponsored post features a simple background, the shoe of the moment, and a “learn more” or “shop now” button.

Instagram Sponsored Posts Photo Ads Converse

Video ads

With video ads, you have a ton of room for creativity. To help promote your clothing brand, consider doing simple videos about the concept and mission of your company.

One way to do this is through an interview-style video. Ask your founder to record a simple video about the mission of the company as if she is having a heart-to-heart conversation with a friend. Include b-roll or extra footage of your store, pieces of clothing, or people trying on your clothes so customers get a better sense of your brand’s style and your products.

If you’d rather not be in front of the camera, try a different route.

Videos don’t have to be a full-scale production with a director and film crew.

 

Sponsored video ads can be as simple as a stop-motion graphic or a photo with blinking text.

Take NERD Skincare, for example. They have a three-step skincare line and in their sponsored video post, they show each product using a stop-motion technique. The video is simple, but the movement catches the eye of the consumer as they scroll through Instagram.

You can also use video sponsored posts to show consumers a process. Create a video to show a dress in the design process or putting together a subscription box to send off to a happy customer. These videos will help customers feel more connected to your brand.

Related: 3 easy small business videos you can make today to market your company

Stories ads

As stated earlier in this post, Instagram sponsored posts now show up in between people’s Stories and can be photos or videos.

The Real Real, a company that resells designer clothing and handbags, chose to design their Stories ad similar to a post you’d see on your friend’s feed. They used a high-quality photo with a simple outfit (no faces) and featured a Gucci bag. They incorporated text so people know exactly what The Real Real is and what they sell, and at the bottom of the ad there’s an option to “shop now.”

Instagram Sponsored Posts Stories

21 Buttons used a video for their ad, but if you want to really get technical, they used a slideshow of still images. 21 Buttons, an app that features fashion trends and users showing off their style, had an ad that flipped through several photos displaying various people’s styles. Their call to action was to “Install Now” which clicked through to their app page on iTunes.

Instagram Sponsored Posts Stories 21 Buttons

Stay on top of Instagram sponsored posts

Being consistent when it comes to Instagram sponsored posts is a great way to increase awareness and consumer shopping for your clothing brand. Being able to consistently come up with creative ideas whenever you need a new ad is also key.

If you are not the creative type or just don’t have the time to constantly create Instagram sponsored posts, you can always utilize a service that can create content for you, such as GoDaddy Social.

Depending on your business needs, GoDaddy Social can take care of your social media, online customer service, or manage and respond to reviews online. You are assigned an account manager who chooses a team of writers, designers, and other team members who specialize in the areas you want to target and grow.

Instagram sponsored posts are easy to use and can highly beneficial financially in the long run. By understanding the creation process and sprinkling in a little creativity, you can see great results.

Our final tip before we leave you: Create a collection of “ad inspiration” by saving ads from different companies you admire as you see them. Ads never appear when you want them to, so if you see an ad you love and want to create something similar, add it to your saved photos for future reference. It will make your Instagram sponsored posts easier to create (and more creative) in the long run.

Shanna Fujii
Shanna Fujii is a colorful wordsmith published on GoDaddy, Bloguettes, Creative Market and more. When she’s not busy writing blog posts, she’s on the hunt for food that’s not good for her, knocking things off her bucket list and upcycling unique finds from the thrift shop for her clothing brand, Honey & Misfits. She’s a scary movie junkie and will never be caught without a pair of worn-in Converse. Connect with her on Linkedin.