Instagram is one of the top social networks globally, with more than 1 billion active users per month. If you want to increase your revenue with Instagram marketing, you’ll need to connect with your target customer with the right media and messaging. In this post, we’ll share expert advice from leading brands and ecommerce stores on how to build an engaged Instagram profile for your store.
1. Focus on Engaging Content
Matt Hayes, Head of Marketing and Founding Team Member at Leesa, offers the following quick Instagram tips on how to create the type of content that gets your target audience excited about your Instagram posts:
- Partner with like-minded brands to extend your reach – brand collaborations, email sweepstakes and partner events are a great way to leverage the reach of other brands.
- Livestream events and office happenings for an inside look that humanizes your brand.
- Cleverly integrate cultural holidays into your messaging – theSkimm puts out a great calendar of ongoing cultural holidays in their app.
- Be sparingly transactional.
- Use Instagram’s native post creation tools for a more organic feel.
2. Add a Bit of Soul
Eric Bandholz, Creative Director at Beardbrand gave insights into what performed well on Instagram for his brand:
To build a strong presence on Instagram, you need to add a bit of soul to your feed and vision with how to separate your brand from others. It’s too easy to fall into the trap of following the crowd and posting similar content; but to stand out, you’ll need to invest in a new look.
Once viewers see you aren’t another generic brand or IG account, they’ll be more likely to open up and engage with your brand. We’ve found that it helps to have “regular personalities” rather than just models. Clearly, we work both strategies into our feed to bring the diversity we want to share.
3. Mix It Up
Ryan Carlson, Co-Owner / Designer of cycling lifestyle company TWIN SIX, shared the following thoughts about what has worked well at Twin Six and their Instagram account:
- Stay engaged. We’ve been asked by countless people interested in developing strategies and running our social media accounts for us. While this might seem like an easy thing to slide off your plate and let someone else handle, it has been someone we’ve kept close and personally managed ourselves since day one. With an audience that opts in to hear what you have to say and see what you’ve got going on, we feel it vital to personally keep that connection with those who follow along.
- Mix it up. Our Instagram feed is a steady stream of photos we’ve taken while riding, or in the shop… but the messages aren’t all fluff. Some are, but many others are new product announcements, some are flash sale posts, others tout special projects we’ve done as sponsorship or in collaboration with someone. Keeping the message fresh has meant that our followers get more than pretty photo updates from our rides.
- Integration of sales tools. We’ve started spending some money with boosted posts and using Facebook to push sales-related messages out to people who may not be following us right now. It’s relatively cheap, and the reach we’ve seen seems like it’s totally worth the money spent on doing this from time to time. Shopify has also just launched some new tools to combine our store more directly with Instagram and Facebook. We plan on continuing to push more into using social media as a direct sales tool versus just an advertisement of sorts for the brand.
4. Keep Things Organic and Authentic
Mackenzie Duncan, Founder and Partner of JM&Sons, an online retailer specializing in handcrafted wood products, has advice that applies to both personal and professional Instagram brands:
Just keep things as organic and authentic as possible. There are so many accounts that all looks super staged and inauthentic. People don’t relate to that in my opinion and it can be show the brand in a poor light.
5. Reveal Who You Are
Michael Fishman, Co-Founder and President of Pure Cycles, agrees on authenticity as an effective approach to Instagram.
Our strategy with Instagram is to use it as a way to deeply connect with our customers. Instagram is great because we are able to directly interact with our customers and show them the people behind the brand. Instagram stories, especially, have become a great way to show the world what goes on at our headquarters, which bikes we are riding to work, behind the scenes of a lifestyle photoshoot, etc. The best way to build trust with our customers is to reveal who we are and what we stand for and Instagram gives us a great authentic platform to do just that.
6. Experiment with Remarketing Ads
If you have a budget for social media advertising, consider experimenting with remarketing ads to boost your Instagram presence. Rothys, Meepo Board, and Frank Body are just a few of the many ecommerce stores that advertise to people who have visited their website on Instagram. Most ads contained carousel images or videos promoting each store’s top products or the products a website visitor viewed.
The goal of your remarketing ad campaign can be two-fold: to remind visitors about the products they saw in your store, and to let them know you have an active Instagram account. Visitors who needed an additional nudge to make a purchase just might, giving you measurable ROI for your ad campaign. Visitors who are not ready to shop now can click through to and follow your Instagram profile.
Even if you are not ready to run a remarketing ad campaign today, be sure to set up the Facebook pixel now if you haven’t already. This will give your Facebook pixel time to match a large enough audience to your website visitors, allowing you to create your remarketing ad campaign when you are ready in the future.
7. Recruit Instagram Ambassadors
Another way to invest your social media budget is into a referral program, where you partner with your best customers and social media influencers to spread the word about your brand and its products. Ambassadors’ posts will not only result in increased visibility for your online store and its products, but it should also result in increased sales, something you can easily measure as ROI for your marketing campaign goals. The MVMT for her ambassador program, as shown above, has resulted in a large number of posts by Instagram influencers with engaged audiences.
You will find several options for referral and ambassador programs that connect to Shopify in the App Store. Be sure to learn more about how each service works to determine whether a specific service will help you boost visibility for your online store and help you grow your Instagram audience. Alternatively, you can find popular Instagram users who promote products like yours using hashtags related to your industry and reach out to them to see if they are interested in partnering with your store for some influencer marketing campaigns.
As you can see, there are many ways to build an engaged Instagram audience for your online store. It’s about combining authenticity with the types of visual content that Instagram users love. To learn more about the type of content that works well with your target customer base, find your competitors and product vendors to see how they market themselves on Instagram. Don’t just focus on the Instagram accounts with large follower counts – focus on the ones with likes and comments on every post. Those are the ecommerce brands that are killing it with engagement!
Which of these Instagram tips is your favorite? Comment below!
Want to learn more?
- 200+ Best Instagram Captions and Selfie Quotes for Your Photos
- How to Get Followers on Instagram
- How to Sell on Instagram
- The Ultimate Guide to the Best Instagram Hashtags
- 60 Instagram Tips You Should Know