Instagram has more than 600 million active users who skew young, urban, and female. If at least one of those qualities fits your customer demographic, Instagram can be a powerful sales channel for your product.

Sound attractive? Here is an overview to get you started.

Create a Memorable Brand

Instagram is all about images. Present your business with a “look and feel” that’s unique to your brand. Using a particular color theme or filter can help unify your images.

If you don’t have Photoshop skills or access to a skilled designer, use a simple online design tool like Canva to add logos, colors, and text to your images. Keep your images square and use high-quality photography

Sharing “personal” images to give your customers a behind-the-scenes look at your business is a good way to generate engagement. However, if you are interested in selling on Instagram you need to place products front and center. Use only images that depict the product attractively, and avoid strong filters or special effects that might misrepresent its true look.

The Instagram Layout App enables you to combine multiple photos into a single image with a choice of layouts. It’s useful to showcase a product from multiple angles or in a variety of uses or settings.

Maximize your Descriptions

Instagram does not allow clickable links like other social media channels. The only place you can place a live link is in the “bio,” the brief profile description near the top of your page. The bio should include information about your business, your tagline, possibly a current promotion, and certainly a link to your website. If you do include a current promotion, keep it up to date.

Use product images to capture the user’s attention and entice them to click so they will see and read the bio. Accompany each image with text that provides details about the product or sale, the dates of a promotion, and discount codes.

To help your product show up in searches, use keywords as hashtags. (Hashtags and emojis also help break up the text in your image descriptions and make it more visually interesting.) Consistently use a recognizable hashtag to represent your brand that customers will recognize and remember. Use other hashtags for sales, promotions, and specific products.

Enhance with Apps

Because links are not live, including a URL in the image description is not very effective. Most people will not take the time to copy/paste a URL. The process needs to be quick and easy to capture a sale.

To accomplish this, you can employ an app to help users shop for the products they see on Instagram. LIKEtoKNOW.it encourages users to “like” a photo, prompting an email to be sent with information about the product and how to buy it. Two other popular platforms are Like2Buy and Soldsie.

You can also direct users to the link in your bio and share a user-friendly link using Have2Have.It. If you have a Shopify ecommerce site, you can us a Shopify app to connect your products and increase sales.

Engage Customers

To build a popular brand that people connect with, answer questions, respond to comments, and reach out to Instagram users who shop for similar products. Respond promptly to questions about products; attention spans are short and potential customers lose interest quickly. Keep posts regular and up to date.

Keep an eye out for customers who might share images of themselves using/wearing your products. Connect with these users directly and ask if you can re-share their images as social proof.

Instagram continues to expand and offer new, and exciting ways to reach potential customers. Start incorporating these strategies today and build your business. Contact ClearBridge Media to help you get started.