With over 1 billion monthly users and 500 million daily users, Instagram is one of the most popular websites on the entire internet.
If you run a BigCommerce store, you would be wise to take advantage of this opportunity. In addition to its sheer size, Instagram’s audience is disproportionately young and affluent compared to the general population, which makes it particularly valuable to online businesses.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to integrate an Instagram feed with your BigCommerce store, and we’ll show you how to tag BigCommerce products inside your Instagram posts as well.
Integrating an Instagram Feed with Your BigCommerce Store
There are many benefits to embedding your Instagram feed on your BigCommerce site, such as:
- Improve SEO: The average amount of time visitors spend on your pages is one of the factors that determine your position on search engine results pages. An Instagram feed and its eye-catching images are an excellent way to capture the attention of your visitors, leading to improved time-on-site stats and an increased amount of search engine-driven traffic flowing to your store.
- Social Proof: No matter how well-written and informative your descriptions are, it’s images that really sell your products. Images that show your products being used in real life by happy customers are especially persuasive, as they give visitors the impression that they’ll also be happy with your products. An Instagram feed provides you with a natural way to display such images on your site.
- Targeted Advertising: Like the Facebook pixel, the activity on your Instagram account can be used to create custom audiences for retargeting campaigns. That means you can focus your ads on people who’ve already interacted with your content, which allows you to get a bigger return on your investment in online advertising.
Embedding your Instagram feed is not a native BigCommerce feature. You’ll need to use a third-party app:
Instagram Feed by Elfsight
Instagram Feed by Elfsight gives you everything you need to add an Instagram feed to your BigCommerce store. There are six template options (slider, grid, hashtag showcase, collage, post slider, single post), and you can use different sources and filters to curate your in-store feed.
You can also customize many aspects of the look of your Instagram feed with this app, including gallery height, gallery width, number of columns, number of rows, gutter between Instagram posts, navigation options, and slide/fade animations.
While Instagram Feed by Elfsight is free to download from the BigCommerce marketplace, you’ll need to create an Elfsight account to actually use the app. Then, you’ll see that there are four different pricing options (a “view” in this context is every time the app loads on your website):
- Lite: Free, supports one website and up to 200 views per month.
- Pro: $5 per month, supports unlimited websites and up to 10,000 views per month. Also includes a free installation service and allows you to remove the Elfsight logo (the Enterprise and Unlimited versions also include these extra features).
- Enterprise: $10 per month, supports unlimited websites and up to 100,000 views per month.
- Unlimited: $25 per month, supports unlimited websites and up to 9,999,999 views per month.
Instagram Feed by InstaPics
Instagram Feed by InstaPics is quite similar to the Elfsight app listed above: it’s also easy to set up, and it gives you multiple options for customizing your feed and display style.
One difference is its pricing structure. Instagram Feed by InstaPics will cost you a flat $8 per month, no matter how much traffic you receive. If you run a big store, you’ll be able to save some money with this option.
Also, you have the option for posts to be opened in a pop-up window, so visitors won’t need to leave your store to view more information about a post. You can decide whether or not comments and likes are displayed as well.
Shogun Page Builder
For complete control over the design of your in-store Instagram feed, you need Shogun.
Shogun provides you with a drag-and-drop page builder tool and a large library of elements that you can use to create custom landing pages, product pages, and blog posts for your store without any coding experience. You can add, remove, and arrange these elements in whatever way you want, and each element is highly customizable.
With Shogun’s Instagram feed element, the following options can be adjusted:
- Number of columns
- Number of posts
- Column horizontal spacing
- Column vertical spacing
- Open links in new window (toggle on or off)
- Hide post description (toggle on or off)
- Gallery height
- Gallery width
- Gallery margins
- Gallery padding
- Background color
- Background image
- Border color
- Border style
- Border thickness
- Box shadow color
- Box shadow blur
- Box shadow spread
- Custom CSS
An Instagram feed may not be the only non-native feature that you’re looking to add to your BigCommerce store. In that case, Shogun offers incredible value. The other available eIements include countdown timers, accordion menus, customer review sections, and much more. It’s like having a couple dozen apps for BigCommerce in one.
Adding Instagram as a Sales Channel
Integrating BigCommece with Instagram is a two-way street. In addition to embedding an Instagram feed on your BigCommerce store, you can use Instagram as a platform for selling your products.
You shouldn’t rely solely on the capricious algorithms of Google and other search engines to drive traffic and generate sales for your store. No, you need to diversify, and Instagram gives you access to an additional pool of 1,000,000,000+ potential customers.
Instagram comes pre-integrated with the BigCommerce Channel Manager. To connect, you just need to follow these steps:
1. After using your BigCommerce login credentials to access your dashboard, select “Channel Manager”.
2. Select “Instagram”.
3. Check off the following requirements to finish setting up the integration:
- Store currency compatibility: This integration is available in over 70 countries and supports their respective currencies.
- Connect your BigCommerce store to your Facebook Shop: The data in your Facebook Shop product catalog is used to make this integration work.
- Connect your BigCommerce store to your Instagram Business account: If you don’t have an Instagram Business account, download the Instagram app on your mobile device to get started. Note that Instagram does not allow you to advertise services or digital products - only physical goods can be promoted on this platform.
- Connect your Facebook Shop to your Instagram Business account: Link the two third-party platforms together.
- Wait for Instagram approval: Once you’ve met the four requirements listed above, Instagram will review your connected accounts. When this process is completed (it generally takes one to two weeks), you’ll receive a notification in your Instagram account.
Creating Shoppable Posts on Instagram
After you’ve been approved, you’ll be able to create shoppable posts on your Instagram Business account.
Shoppable posts allow you to tag up to five products in single image posts and up to 20 products in multi-image/carousel posts.
When an Instagram user clicks on a tag, they’ll be taken to a page that displays an image of the product, the description, the price, and a “Shop Now” link that sends the user directly to your BigCommerce store.
For products with variants (size, color, etc.), specific variants will need to be selected in order to tag the product - parent products cannot be tagged. Also, if you delete a product from your Facebook Shop catalog, any tags that have been created for the product on Instagram will be automatically deleted.
Keep in mind that while there is no fee for using this feature, orders made on your BigCommerce store through Instagram will count toward your store’s gross merchandise value. That means if you make enough sales through Instagram, it might force you to upgrade your BigCommerce pricing plan.
To create a shoppable post:
1. Log in to your Instagram Business account and upload an image that you want to add product tags to. Then, open the post settings and select “Tag Products”. You could also edit the “Tag Products” settings of a post that’s already been published to add product tags to an existing post.
2. Search for the products that you want to tag in the post (remember, at this point you should have already connected your Facebook Shop product catalog to your Instagram Business account).
If you don’t see the product you want to add appearing when you search for it, the product may have been disapproved by Facebook/Instagram or flagged as a duplicate. You can check your BigCommerce store’s system error logs to find out exactly what’s causing the issue.
3. Once you select a product, drag the tag to where you want it to be placed.
After you’re done adding product tags, share the post just as you would with any other post. When an Instagram user taps on your new post, the product tags will appear.
Optimizing Your Shoppable Post Strategy
A little strategy goes a long way. We recommend that you use the following techniques in order to get the most out of Instagram’s shoppable post feature:
Activate Your Shop Tab
After you create nine shoppable posts, you can activate the “Shop” tab on your Instagram profile. This will gather all of your posts that are connected to your BigCommerce store in one place for convenient viewing.
Integrate User-Generated Content into Your Feed
You need professional photography of your products, of course. It makes your business look legitimate, and it serves the practical purpose of giving potential customers a good look at what you have to offer.
But with such photography, it’s impossible not to notice the fact that it’s being produced by the same people who are selling the products. On some level, your Instagram followers are aware that you’re going to highlight strengths and cover up any possible weaknesses in these photos, as you have a bottom-line incentive to make the products look as appealing as possible. They’ll know that those photos may not represent what your products are like in real life.
Pictures of your products that were taken by actual customers (also known as user-generated content, or UGC) don’t have that problem. According to one Adweek study, consumers find UGC to be 76% more trustworthy than branded advertising.
So, seek out UGC that you can include in your feed. Just be sure to ask the customer for permission and give them a shoutout when you use their content. And don’t forget that polished promotional content still has a lot of value: use a mix of ads and UGC instead of exclusively one or the other.
Don’t Go Overboard
Shoppable posts are like a strong spice. Adding the right amount results in a huge improvement, but too much will ruin the dish.
Your followers don’t want to be bombarded with ads. If you alienate your audience with too many shoppable posts, the number of followers you lose may very well offset the value of any extra sales you make.
Just as you need to find the right balance between professional ads and UGC, you need to balance your shoppable posts with standard posts.
Don’t Forget the Hashtags
On average, Instagram posts with 1-2 hashtags receive 21% more engagement than posts with no hashtags. It’s easy to see why this is, as hashtags give people a way to discover your posts when they might not have otherwise.
Include a few relevant hashtags to each of your shoppable posts. Also, include a branded hashtag that’s based on the name of your store. This will make it easy for people to find your content, and it will help out your efforts to acquire high-quality UGC.
Pay Attention to Analytics
For every shoppable post, you can review the following:
- The number of times visitors clicked through the tag to the product details page
- The number of times visitors clicked the “Shop Now” button and were directed to your BigCommerce store
Don’t let all this information go to waste. These metrics show you what’s working and what’s not, so you can fine-tune your Instagram strategy, make your shoppable posts more effective, and ultimately make your store more successful.