Instagram launched Instagram Shopping in February 2018. It allowed brands to tag their products in Instagram posts and stories, and then direct users to their website to make a purchase.
In early 2019, Instagram released Instagram Checkout, which provided users with a way to buy products without leaving the platform.
Both of these features are great news for Shopify businesses, which can take advantage of these capabilities to generate more sales from the platform. In this guide, we’re going to show you how you can connect Shopify to Instagram to start selling on the popular social network.
Why You Should Sell on Instagram
There are plenty of reasons why Shopify businesses should consider selling on Instagram:
- Instagram has more than 1 billion active monthly users, 80% of which follow brands on the platform.
- Sixty percent of Instagram users state that they’ve discovered new products on the platform, while 30% note that they’ve bought products they discovered on Instagram.
- Instagram users are very active — 75% of them take an action such as visiting a brand’s website after looking at a post. A lot of them also have high levels of disposable income, making Instagram users the perfect audience for your products.
- Instagram Checkout speeds up the checkout process by allowing shoppers to place an order within the Instagram app, increasing conversion rates substantially.
How to Start Selling on Instagram With Shopify
Let’s look at how you can start selling on the platform with the help of Shopify.
1. Make Sure You're Eligible to Use the Instagram Sales Channel
Before you can start selling on Instagram with Shopify, you need to make sure you meet the following requirements:
- Your online store needs to sell physical goods
- You need to be located in one of the supported countries
- You must comply with Facebook’s commerce policies and merchant agreement.
2. Get an Instagram Business Account
You’ll need an Instagram business account to be able to sell on Shopify. If you’re currently using a regular Instagram account, you can convert it to a business account by going to "Settings" in the Instagram app and tapping on "Switch to Business Profile."
Apart from allowing you to sell on the platform, switching to a business account will provide you with access to analytics that will help you learn more about your audience and the performance of your posts.
3. Set up a Facebook Shop
You’ll need to set up a Facebook Shop in order to be able to tag your products in Instagram posts.
You can do this from within Shopify. Click on the "+" button next to "Sales Channels" and then select "Facebook."
Connect with your Facebook account and choose the page you'd like to use with Shopify.
Finally, give Shopify the permission to manage your page and then wait up to 48 hours for your shop to get approved.
4. Connect Your Instagram Account to Your Facebook Business Page
Once your Facebook Shop is approved, you’ll need to link it to your Instagram account. Go to Settings > Shopping > Products and select your product catalog.
Your account will then need to be reviewed by Instagram before you’ll be allowed to create shoppable Instagram posts.
5. Activate the Instagram Sales Channel in Shopify
The last thing you need to do before you can start selling on Instagram is activate the Instagram sales channel within Shopify.
Click on the "+" button next to "Sales channels" and select "Instagram" in the "Add sales channel" dialog box. Finally, click on "Add channel" and log in to your Facebook account to complete the authentication.
6. Tag Products
You’ve done everything you need to do to be able to sell on Instagram. Now it’s time to tag your products in your Instagram posts.
Choose one of your posts (or upload a new photo), tap on "Share" and then select "Tag Products." Select one or multiple products in the photo by tapping on them, enter each product’s name and choose the order in which you want them to appear.
Once you’re finished, tap on "Done "and then "Share."
That’s it! You’ve successfully tagged your products in an Instagram photo. Now go and do that for all your other posts.
Remember that each photo can contain up to five product tags, while carousel posts can contain up to 20 tags.
You also have the option of adding product tags to your Instagram stories. You can do this by creating an Instagram story the way you usually do and then use the "Product" sticker to tag your product.
Best Practices for Selling on Instagram
We’ve shown you how to get started selling on Instagram and walked you through tagging products in your Instagram posts. Now, let’s look at some best practices you should follow to improve your Instagram results.
1. Optimize Your Profile
If you’re looking to get better results on Instagram, start by optimizing your profile.
The first thing most users will notice about your account is your profile photo. This means you should take the time to choose a photo that will represent your business accurately and align with your branding.
Use your company logo or another image related to your business as your profile photo.
Instagram also gives you the opportunity to include a short caption and a link in your profile’s bio section. Use this space to let users know what your business is about and link to your website.
You can also use the bio section to promote your latest products, discounts or sales.
2. Set Up a Consistent Posting Schedule
All the biggest Instagram accounts have one thing in common: They post regularly on the platform.
Create a posting schedule for your Instagram account and make sure to follow it. Apart from helping you keep track of all the content you need to post, a schedule will also allow your followers to know when you’re going to post your next photo or video.
Don’t make the mistake of publishing a bunch of content at once and then not posting anything for weeks. This creates an inconsistent experience and can potentially annoy your followers. Spread out your content over a number of days or weeks instead.
How many posts you should create will depend on your industry, products and specific audience. Some brands get away with posting dozens of photos every day (and their followers love it), while others have more success posting once or twice a day.
Experiment with different daily posting frequencies until you find the sweet spot.
3. Use High-Quality Photos
If you want to generate sales on Instagram, you need to focus on creating and posting high-quality photos.
Ensure Great Lighting
The best times to take photos are in the early morning and late afternoon. Focus on taking your photos during this time will allow you to avoid shadows and recreate the soft lighting effect you’ve probably seen in amazing photos on Instagram.
If you’re taking photos indoors and relying on light from a window, use a reflector to point the light at your product. On the other hand, if there’s too much light, you can diffuse it by using white paper, a sheer drape or a commercial light diffuser.
Have a Consistent Look
You should also strive to create a consistent look for your brand’s photography. This will help your followers quickly recognize your posts in their feed and make your brand seem more polished in general.
For best results, make sure that your photos’ resolution is double the size recommended by Instagram. This will ensure that your photos look amazing after they’re compressed during upload.
Show People Using Your Products
Most potential customers will want to see an actual person using your product, as opposed to simply being photographed against a white backdrop.
This makes it crucial that you create or curate lifestyle photos featuring your products. Lifestyle photos provide context to your products and enable potential customers to imagine themselves using them.
Retouch Your Photos to Make Them Perfect
Finally, remember that most photos won’t come out right the first time around. This is where photo editing software such as Photoshop and Lightroom can help.
When editing your photos, you’ll want to pay attention to the following:
- Brightness: Any issues caused by natural or artificial lighting can be fixed by adjusting the brightness of your photo.
- Sharpness: Can all the details of your photo (especially your product) be clearly seen? If not, consider sharpening up the photo.
- Color: If your product’s colors aren’t represented accurately in the photo, you should correct the colors.
- Background: A background removal tool can help you get rid of shadows and tiny imperfections that keep your photo from looking amazing.
4. Write Great Captions
The photos you choose for your posts aren’t the only factor deciding if your posts are going to be a success or not. The captions you use along with the photos are almost as equally important.
Your Instagram captions will add context to your photos and help compel your followers to take action. They’re also a great way to show off your brand’s personality and entertain your followers.
Take some time to craft great captions, and you’ll see improved results soon enough.
Keep it Short
Remember to keep your captions fairly short. Instagram users aren’t interested in reading a lot of text while they’re browsing the app, so try to keep your captions under three sentences.
Proofread Your Captions
If you have grammar and spelling mistakes in your social media copy, people might think less of your brand. They might even get annoyed if it happens often.
Use a tool like Grammarly to proofread your captions and make sure they’re mistake-free.
Add a Call-to-Action
Every Instagram post you create should have a purpose. Think about what you want to accomplish with each specific post and then use a call-to-action to lead your followers to what they need to do next.
5. Take Advantage of Hashtags
Hashtags help you improve the reach and visibility of your posts. However, that doesn’t mean you should stuff every post you create with a bunch of random hashtags.
Only use those hashtags relevant to your post. Remember, there’s no use in having people who aren’t interested in your content seeing your posts.
If used correctly, hashtags can help you improve your posts’ performance and gain more followers.
Good luck selling on Instagram! With these tips and best practices, you'll be off to a strong start.