- By: Ricky Hayes June 25, 2020
How to Successfully Use Instagram Marketing for Your Shopify Store
Instagram is a social platform focused on photo and video sharing. It was bought by Facebook in 2012 and has since then grown to be a valuable way for businesses to engage with their audiences and to generate new leads.
Instagram has a very low barrier to entry; shooting high quality photos only requires a smartphone and the built in filters help images go a long way towards you reaching your target audience.
There is a very large audience on the platform that is growing daily, with most users following at least one business account. This means that it has high potential to generate organic traffic towards your Shopify ecommerce site for a very long time.
As part of the Facebook family of applications, Instagram has Business accounts that allow integration into the Facebook Ad Manager. From here, you can run ad campaigns across both platforms from a central hub for your business. Ads on Instagram look like ordinary posts in the feed, making engagement more likely compared to other social media platforms.
Instagram marketing strategy for your Shopify store
The first step to using Instagram for Shopify marketing is developing a strategy as it is quite different from other social platforms. The following are key steps for your strategy.
Identify your Instagram target audience by developing personas using demographic and psychographic information such as location, age, interests etc and match them to events and hashtags common to your niche.
Run a competitive analysis of other businesses in your niche that are already on Instagram to understand who you’re up against. This helps you understand the kind of posts that will engage your audience best and what you can do better than them.
An editorial calendar will help you to get traction on Instagram. Most brands tend to upload at least 6 posts a week. Over the course of a year, this amounts to over 300 posts. Managing what to upload with the correct variety on a calendar helps keep an eye out for opportunities with enough time to capitalize on them.
Key steps to successfully use Instagram for Shopify marketing your store
Now that we have a solid appreciation for Instagram as a platform that can really grow your business and brand, below are tips and tricks to help you get started. Remember that this is a very visual platform so everything must be optimized for that.
Optimize profile for brand recognition
When setting up the account, enter the business name in the name field so that it is searchable. Set the username as a shortened but recognizable version of business/brand name.
Even though the bio is not searchable, it is allowed to contain clickable links. This is a great opportunity to write copy that prompts the user to follow the backlink to your Shopify store. Other features on the profile that you can leverage for your business include clickable hashtags and as well as Stories and Highlights.
Leverage different post types to maintain engagement with your Shopify business
There is a large variety of post types that are proven to drive user engagement that leads to customer conversion. Applying a mix of these on your editorial calendar will guarantee the user engagement that will fulfill your sales goals.
Behind the scenes/ Employee generated posts about how work is done from day to day give your audience a sense of what your business is like in the background. Displaying the human side of your business will create an emotional bond with your audience.
Educational or “how to” posts that explain a feature of your product or something in your niche make it easier for your audience to access your product range. A user who is more comfortable with a product is more likely to buy it.
Motivational posts also help create an emotional connection between your followers and your brand. They are very popular on Instagram and are an opportunity to build your brand aesthetic so that it is more recognizable.
News jacking (Trending Holiday) posts that ride the wave of a trending topic such as social media holidays using their associated hashtags are guaranteed to attract users to your profile and ultimately to your Shopify store.
User Generated Content (UGC) posts that are related to your business through the post itself or contain a hashtag related to your business. Reposting with permission builds a relationship with your audience.
Hashtags originated from Twitter and have now become very popular with Instagram marketing. Placing the # symbol before any word in an Instagram caption, bio, or story, you can turn that word or phrase into a clickable topic.
On clicking the hashtag, users are taken to a listing of public posts tagged with that particular hashtag and can even follow it like a profile. This makes it easy for users to find content they’re interested in for merchants to extend the reach of their content.
The trick with hashtags is to use combinations to maximize reach, engagement and strengthen the brand. Do not fear to have many hashtags in your posts since the limit is 30. It has been shown that between 8 and 11 is the sweet spot
Hashtags are commonly used to amplify post types and to help users aggregate around a particular post type. Therefore, you find the hashtag types are very similar to the post types listed above. With that said, each business should try to have a hashtag that is only associated with that brand. This makes it super easy for users to generate content that is specific to that brand but also link it with other tags.
A variety of posting methods is available to amplify your Shopify business on Instagram
Photos are the basic method of posting on Instagram. You can apply many different filters but be careful to follow a few basic rules to get the best mileage out of them.
Instagram’s simple profile layout means you must have quality content, regardless of the quantity. Do your very best to use high-resolution images (1080p) on your Instagram feed. Carousel posts are a bunch of photos grouped together in one post. This is for cases where you want to showcase multiple images of a scene or event without flooding the feed with one post type.
Instagram permits video uploads if they are under a minute long and they default to playing without sound. When you want to have posts that are fun for circumstances like jumping, toasting glasses, or high-fiving, Boomerang is the method you should go for. It is a three-second long, looping video that plays forwards and backwards within the feed.
What happens when you have a video that’s over a minute long but you need to post all of it? That’s where Hyperlapse comes in. It creates smooth, time lapse videos with built-in stabilization. These time lapsed videos can then be uploaded to Instagram while respecting the video time limit.
These are an integral part of the Instagram platform where a post lasts only for 24 hours focusing on a specific topic that can be used as ads and even turned into Highlights that live forever.
They can be used to share user/audience generated content (UGC) collected through calls to action or poll stickers. Stories are also appropriate for sharing moments from events or to push authentic quirky content that’s not typical of your brand.
Live video (IG Live)
This is real-time video that is uploaded as you record. Once you start the live video, any followers currently on the app will receive a notification that you’re live. Influencers take advantage of this feature by announcing when they intend to go live to build hype so that more people than only their followers are online when they go live.
Instagram TV (IGTV)
Unlike IG Live, IGTV is long-form, vertical video from Instagram creators that is between 5s and 10min long. It is footage that is edited and fine-tuned before being uploaded.
Use product tags and stickers to sell your Shopify products within Instagram
Product tags and stickers are available for approved business profiles allowing them to use Instagram as a pseudo store front. The tags can be used to connect to your Shopify store where the user can finish the purchase process.
Within the Shopify store, a business can embed an Instagram gallery directly in the store. This creates a full circle integration so that client conversion is seamless, allowing users to flit between the two platforms.
Collaborate with Instagram influencers
Identify influencers within your industry by searching the major drivers of hashtags that are specific to your niche or product range. Remember to differentiate micro influencers who have small but dedicated followers and macro influencers who have very large and varied followers.
Working with these two types of influencers will provide different benefits to your business. Micro influencers may lead to quick conversions while macro influencers will give your brand wide reach and can even get your hashtags trending!
Instagram is a very business friendly platform that provides a rich variety of tools to get your brand into the public eye. When you take the time to learn how to use the in app tools such as hash tags and post types within your marketing strategy as well as the Facebook Ad Manager, you will get your Shopify store a long term source of organic traffic.