How To Sell on Instagram: Your step by step Guide

Social MediaCategory
14 min read
Selina Bieber

How many hours a day do you spend on Instagram? How many business profiles are following? How many influencers do you keep up with on Instagram? Your answer is probably a handful of them. It was inevitable for Instagram to introduce selling through the app, and the mechanism of selling on Instagram just got easier with the introduction of shoppable posts.

As of 2017 there are 63 million Instagram users in the MENA region, equivalent to 10% of total global users.

In the past, the only way to connect your followers with your products was through the link in your bio or swipe up links in Instagram Stories. But with the introduction of this new feature, shopping and selling through the app became effortless. This means you should be spending more time and effort curating a beautifully designed Instagram feed, to grasp the attention of these potential customers. By creating a consistent brand story, you can turn your followers into devoted customers.

Instagram has over 2 billion monthly active users. Also, it has over 500 million daily active users, making it , making it the world’s 4th largest social media platform.

Ready to get started with selling on Instagram? Here’s everything you need to know about how to create shoppable instagram posts along with tips to optimize your Instagram page.

Why should you sell on Instagram?

In a survey commissioned by Meta, 81% of respondents said that Instagram helps them research products and services.

Thanks to the new ‘shoppable posts’ feature, Instagram users can complete their buying journey, from discovery to checkout, without ever leaving the app. This feature makes the app a more business-friendly platform, offering an incredible opportunity for businesses to turn their followers into customers.

80% of Instagram’s users already following an “active shopping business” account.

So, optimizing your account for shopping makes a lot of sense. On an Instagram business account, shoppable posts will be marked by a shopping feature bag icon in the top-right corner. Users will also be able to browse your “Shop” feed directly from your Instagram profile. So, once a business has a product catalog connected to their account, tagging a product is as simple as tagging a person in a post.

Ready to learn how to sell on Instagram?

Related: How to start selling products online? An online selling guide

How to sell on Instagram: step by step guide

The steps below assume that you have an Instagram account and a Facebook account, so take a moment to set those up before continuing with the rest of this guide!

Create an Instagram Business page

First, create an Instagram Business page, which will give you access to a range of features specifically designed for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

If you would like to use your current personal account for this business, you can switch your personal account to a business account by following these steps:

  1. From your Instagram account, select the menu icon in the bottom left corner and click Settings
  2. On the Settings page, click Switch to Professional Account.
    Screenshot of Instagram settings, with “Switch to professional account” highlighted
  3. Choose whether you identify as a creator or a business and click Next. The rest of this article is best suited for businesses.Screenshot of Instagram, with Creator or Business options for profile category
  4. Continue to the category page, where you can select the category that best matches your business type. You can also choose whether to display your category on your profile. Once you’ve made your selection, click Done.
    Screenshot of Instagram showing the category selection options
  5. Review and, if necessary, update your business contact information. You can choose to display this information on your profile to make it easier for customers to contact you. Click Save when you are ready to continue.
  6. Click Done to finish setting up your Instagram Business account.

You can also create a new account specifically for your business, if you’d like to keep this profile separate from your personal account.

Connect your Facebook Business page to your Instagram account

When your Instagram account is set as a business account, you should next connect your Facebook page to your Instagram. From the Settings page, click the See more in Accounts Center link.

Screenshot of Instagram settings with “See more in Accounts Center” option highlighted

In the Accounts Center, click Add accounts and follow the instructions to connect your Facebook Business page to your Instagram account. 

Screenshot of Instagram settings with “Add accounts” highlighted

Related: How to sell on Facebook Marketplace

Sync your website with your Instagram page or upload your product catalog

Next, it’s time to connect your ecommerce website to your Instagram page.

Instagram integrates with GoDaddy’s Online Store builder, as well as other ecommerce platforms. If your platform is supported, you can connect your online store to Facebook and Instagram from the Commerce Manager. We recommend syncing your product via these integrations when possible, since it will make it much easier for you to manage inventory and keep your Instagram product listings accurate.

If you are using a custom ecommerce website, a website built on an unsupported platform, or don’t have a dedicated ecommerce website yet, you also can create a product catalog manually from the Commerce Manager

Use Instagram Shopping

You’re now ready to set up your Instagram Shop from the Commerce Manager. During this process, you’ll choose a checkout method, which will determine whether customers will checkout entirely on Instagram, on your ecommerce site, or through direct messages. Note that Since June 2023, new shops must use checkout via Instagram / Facebook.

In this section, you’ll learn about Instagram Shopping’s many features and how to use them effectively. 

Create shoppable products

Shoppable posts are a type of Instagram post that use shopping tags to feature one or more products from your catalog. When posting product images on Instagram, tag the product(s) in the photo with these shopping tags, so that customers can see the product names and prices. Customers can then interact with these posts to purchase the tagged products from Instagram or via your ecommerce site. 

Screenshot of live Instagram post showing shoppable products highlighted

Related: How to take product photos that will help sell your goods

Create shoppable stories

Instagram Stories are a dynamic way for you to engage with your audience and promote your products. To create a shoppable story, add a product sticker and select the featured product from your catalog. Similar to shoppable posts, customers can click on the sticker to view the product detail page, where they can continue on to purchase this product if desired.

Instagram Stories showing shoppable products

Use Instagram checkout

Instagram Checkout allows your customers to complete their purchase without leaving the Instagram app. This reduces friction in the purchase process, which can help drive more Instagram sales by reducing order abandonment. Customers can save their payment information in Instagram, which will make it even easier for them to place future orders via Instagram Checkout.

To use Instagram Checkout, you should first ensure that you meet all of its requirements and read up on the associated fees. Then, you can choose this checkout method (now called Checkout with Facebook and Instagram) during your store creation process or add it later on through the Commerce Manager.

Related: How to create landing pages that convert? A full guide

Use Instagram ads in the Explore tab

Instagram users can discover new content based on their interests in the Explore tab. When users click on a post in the Explore tab, they’ll access a feed of content (including ads) related to their selection. Users in the Explore tab are actively seeking to discover something new, so this can be a great location to run advertisements. 

To run ads in the Explore tab, select “Instagram Explore feed” in the placement section during ad setup. For best results, use eye-catching visuals to help your ad stand out in the user’s feed of photo and video tiles.

GoDaddy’s logo maker can help you design custom logos and other compelling visuals in minutes, with no design skills or expertise required.

Create product collections

Product collections let you group related products so that customers can more easily browse products that are similar or related to each other. For example, clothing stores might create collections based on seasons, styles, or special occasions. This makes the shopping experience easier and more straightforward for customers who are shopping for specific types of products.

You can create a product collection through the Commerce Manager and then add collections to your store through the Instagram app’s shop editor. 

Sell on Instagram without a website using Direct Messages (DMs)

Even if you don’t have a website, you can still sell on Instagram using direct messages (DMs). 

To sell through DMs, you need to make sure your product posts clearly advise customers to send you a DM if they’re interested in a product. Then, you can share product details, answer questions, and provide payment links or instructions for using another payment method (such as PayPal) to complete the transaction in real-time. As you can see, this is certainly slower and more effort for both you and the customer than checkout on Instagram or your online store which affects conversions, but it can be useful for solopreneurs who are still validating a business idea.

Related: Top 10 Trending Products to Sell Online in the UAE in 2023

Tips to sell on Instagram

Now that you understand what features are available as a seller on Instagram, here are some tips and strategies to help you stand out from competition, increase engagement with potential customers, and drive sales.

Publish reels that promote your products

Instagram Reels are short video clips that are quite popular with Instagram users. Use Reels to showcase your products in action, share tutorials, or create otherwise entertaining content related to your store. Reels are a dynamic way to show off your products and engage with customers. 

Create engaging content, not just product content

While it’s important to utilize Instagram’s features to promote your products, don’t forget to diversify your Instagram content. Not every post should be a sales pitch — share content that helps customers develop a relationship and attachment with your brand. 

You can share lifestyle images, footage of the product creation process, and other related content that keeps customers interested without necessarily pushing for a specific sale. This variety keeps your feed interesting and attracts users at different stages of the buyer's journey. 

Related: 13 ways to level up your visual content with GoDaddy Studio

Use the right hashtags to improve your visibility

Hashtags play an important role in building brand awareness to reach more customers. Because users can interact with hashtags to view similarly tagged content, it’s important to choose hashtags carefully. You want to ensure they are relevant to your brand and your products, so that users who are browsing through posts with those hashtags will be likely to engage with your content.

You can create hashtags in different categories — for your brand, for your product category, and for the sentiment or emotional state related to your products. For example, take a look at the variety of hashtags used by Homesick candles:

Screenshot of Instagram post with hashtags

study found that about 11 hashtags per post is a good balance to improve your discovery without looking like spam; the current maximum you can use is 30.

Use story highlights

Instagram’s Story Highlights make it easy to save and showcase your best and most relevant content at the top of your profile. This is a great way to address frequently asked questions, surface product promotions, or share compelling customer reviews so that customers can easily access this information. 

Use your bio to promote yourself

Your Instagram bio is a smart place to promote your business and what makes your brand and products unique. Share a compelling story around who you are, what you sell, and why people should follow you, and a killer call-to-action (CTA). Include a link in bio to make it easier for customers to find you across all the different channels where you communicate and sell.

Collaborate with influencers

Instagram influencers are key operators in the Instagram landscape, so partnering with the right influencers can be a huge win for your business. Influencers can promote your products through their Instagram posts and stories, helping evangelize your brand with their dedicated followers.

Use Carousel posts to tell a story and identify influencers in your niche that speak to customers that you want to sell to, then reach out to them to discuss how you might collaborate. Remember, you don’t have to reach out to the most famous and well-known influencers to benefit from this relationship. Prioritize a good fit over global name recognition.

Related: How can you plan a successful influencer campaign?

Generate excitement with promotions and giveaways

Promotions, sales, and giveaways have long been a staple of retail marketing strategies, and they’re even more effective when you can benefit from the global audience of Instagram. Create buzz around the launch of a new product or an upcoming sale by offering exclusive discounts, limited-time offers, or free giveaways.

The exact tactic that you use should be determined by your desired outcome — for example, if you’re trying to attract new customers, consider a referral-based reward. Just make sure you are clear with customers about how to participate and if there are any specific eligibility rules that they should know about. 

Repost, tag, and feature customer content to drive loyalty

Social proof, such as customer testimonials and product reviews, are an increasingly important part of your product marketing. Encourage your customers to share their experience with your products by reposting, tagging, or otherwise featuring their content on your Instagram page. This generates loyalty with your current customers and helps attract new customers. 

Related: What is user generated content and can it help your business?

Key takeaways

To effectively sell on Instagram, it's essential to leverage the platform's functionality and understand the Instagram algorithm's role in promoting your product page. By harnessing Instagram marketing strategies, you can significantly enhance your visibility and engagement, especially during product launches. Utilizing SEO principles in your content creation and choosing the right templates for your posts and stories can further boost your reach. It's crucial to create a compelling product page that aligns with Instagram's aesthetic and functional expectations. Implementing these strategies will not only align with the Instagram algorithm but also ensure your marketing efforts are efficient and impactful, making Instagram a valuable channel for your business growth.

By following the setup instructions, tips, and strategies highlighted in this article, you’ll be well on your way to success on Instagram. 

How to sell on Instagram FAQ       

Can you sell directly on Instagram?

Yes, you can sell directly on Instagram by utilizing Instagram Checkout. This lets customers initiate and complete checkout for your products without ever leaving the Instagram app. 

How much does it cost to sell on Instagram?

It’s free to create an Instagram business profile, add a product catalog, and use most Instagram features described in this article. However, there are fees associated with using Instagram Checkout, which are roughly similar to other payment processing fees you might pay for processing credit cards or utilizing PayPal. It also costs money to run advertisements on Instagram. 

How many followers do you need to sell on Instagram?

There are no specific follower counts required to sell on Instagram! While increasing your following can potentially increase your sales, it’s equally important to focus on creating quality content that will help you connect with your target audience.

Is selling on Instagram better than Etsy?

Instagram and Etsy serve different purposes, so some businesses will find that one platform is better suited to their brand than the other. Instagram is a social platform that is highly driven by visual content, including a great deal of content unrelated to buying or selling products. Etsy is a dedicated marketplace for handmade, vintage, and crafts-focused goods. Based on your target audience and product categories, you may find that one or both options are a good fit for your brand. 

How to get paid on Instagram?

You can accept payments on Instagram through Instagram Checkout (where customers complete checkout entirely on Instagram), by directing customers to your online store, or by asking customers to pay via payment links or other apps (such as PayPal) that you can coordinate through direct messaging. 

Disclaimer: All trademark rights belong to their respective owners. Third-party trademarks are used here for demonstrative and educational purposes only, use does not represent affiliation or endorsement.

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