How (& Why) to Make Shoppable Instagram Content

By Kaitlin Ramby - April 22, 2021
9 mins read time
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Instagram is becoming a premier destination for eCommerce businesses to increase their sales. People are flocking to the channel in large numbers for purchase inspiration, while Facebook increasingly adds shoppable capabilities to the platform. As the lines between content and commerce become blurred, we’ve created this guide on how (and why) to make your Instagram content shoppable.

Why invest in shoppable Instagram content?

Instagram is where people go to discover new brands and check out what products their favorite ones are coming out with. In fact, 80 percent of Instagram’s 800 million users already follow an “active shopping business” with 200 million users visiting one or more business profiles daily. In other words, omitting Instagram from your content marketing strategy isn’t something your brand can afford to miss.

According to Hootsuite, 75 percent of Instagram users take an action after seeing an advertisement on Instagram. Making your Instagram content shoppable is a perfect opportunity to shorten the path to purchase and turn your followers into customers.

In this digital market, customers are regularly overwhelmed not just by the sheer amount of products being advertised to them, but also by long and tedious processes to buy. Shortening that shopping journey by making items instantly buyable means your customer has to do much less work, and as a result, you increase the chances of conversion.

Instagram has made strides in building out shopping experiences that are immersive instead of just transactional. If you’re new to creating an Instagram shop, there’s a helpful guide on opening your shoppable Instagram here.

Shoppable Instagram capabilities

Instagram offers numerous opportunities to capitalize on making almost any type of content on the platform shoppable for businesses with growing or large followings.

What content can you make shoppable on Instagram?

Feed posts

Any post in your brand’s main Instagram feed can be made shoppable. You can add product tags—which take users directly to a product detail page within Instagram—to multiple items (up to five) in one image. Over 90 million users tap to reveal tags in shopping posts every month.

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Instagram Stories

These can be made shoppable with product ‘stickers’ that you add to any individual part of an Instagram Story—weaving together storytelling with the shopping experience. While you can only include one product sticker per Story post, that’s all the more incentive to add content to your Story.

shoppable instagram stories
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IGTV

Businesses and creators can tag products within their IGTV videos. It’s a fun and dynamic way to showcase products and create a more in-depth experience of them. When shoppers click on a product tag, it can take them to Instagram’s checkout feature.

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Reels

Reels have been Instagram’s answer to TikTok. With Reels shopping, accounts can add a “View Products” button in Reels videos which lets viewers buy, save and learn more about featured products. Creators can also partner with brands and add product tags for their products as part of the Shop from Creators feature.

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Live Broadcasts

Instagram Live presents a chance to speak to your audience directly in an environment that allows them to freely ask questions. With Live, you can even partner up with creators, providing a very interactive experience for viewers. In a Live, you can talk about your products and answer customer questions in real-time while tagging a product from your catalog which can appear at the bottom of the screen.

Shoppable Instagram Live
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Guides

Instagram Guides are one of the newest features on Instagram, having just had a limited release in November of 2020 and was only recently rolled out to all users across the platform. Guides are yet another way to tell a story through Instagram, with this feature intended for more educational purposes. Brands can provide advice and guidance here in a blog-like format while recommending their products to users. It’s also yet another place to partner with creators on Instagram.

Shoppable Instagram Guides
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Shoppable Instagram features to note

Instagram Checkout

Instagram Checkout is a significant feature that allows users to purchase something directly from a brand without ever having to leave Instagram. If someone clicks on a shoppable post/button/product tag, it can take them to a checkout page, where they enter their information and pay on the spot.

Instagram Checkout
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This feature doesn’t necessarily mean that eCommerce stores are no longer relevant. Rather, you should see the use of Instagram Checkout as yet another touchpoint with the potential to convert people.

Important downsides to note: Instagram does charge a selling fee of 5 percent per shipment, or a flat fee of $0.40 for shipments of $8.00 or less. Also, because these sales are completely through Instagram, brands can miss out on collecting important customer information, like email addresses, through Instagram Checkout transactions.

Instagram Shop

Instagram added a new discovery tab, called Instagram Shop, to further promote the trend of people going to the platform to discover new products and brands. What’s great about this new feature is that it gives brands another way to gain more exposure to new audiences.

Instagram Disrovery page
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Any brand that’s utilizing Instagram Shop can also be featured on the Instagram Shop explore tab. Remember that the more your brand is regularly creating shoppable Instagram posts, the more likely you are to be featured on the Instagram Shop tab in the app.

Shopping from Creators

When Instagram added ‘Shopping from Creators,’ it took influencer marketing to a whole new level. This feature gives influencers and creators the power to make any content they partner with a brand on shoppable, making the process of buying something a user sees from an inspirational influencer more streamlined.

Learn more about all of Instagram’s shopping features in our guide on shoppable content.

Shoppable Instagram content best practices & tips

Now that you know the basics of Instagram’s shopping offerings, here are some tips to follow on how to make your Instagram content shoppable.

Show your products in action

It’s not enough to just display a perfectly edited photo of a product to get people to buy. Show your products in action, whether that’s a video of someone walking around in an item of clothing and commenting on how it feels or someone doing a ‘morning routine’ with a line of skincare products. People engage more with this type of content, and it gives them the information they need to decide whether to buy a product.

Use storytelling to stoke inspiration

This is where your marketing creativity should come into play. Instead of simply posting out photos, think about how you can tell a story with your product offering. People love a unique experience, so create one for them! This could be a story of a day in the life of a creator where they go and participate in an experience or use physical products you’re trying to sell.

Telling a story brings value to a consumer by giving them an experience they can remember, even if they don’t buy your product right away. It gives them an entry point from which to start engaging with your brand.

Create an Instagram Guide

Because this is a new feature that brands are still figuring out, here is a chance to get experimental and create a shoppable educational piece for Instagram users. You could keep it within a theme such as summer vacation, tips for certain holiday seasons or even ‘how to’s’ around a new product launch. Use this as a tool to curate your offering.

Collect more UGC for better shoppable content experiences

Leveraging user-generated content (UGC) is an authentic and influential way to showcase your brand to consumers—on and off social platforms—by providing valuable social proof people look for when deciding what to buy. Not only that, but UGC is also an effective way to excite and engage your current customer base by letting them be the spokespeople for your products.

We predict that UGC is going to be the next biggest trend in shoppable content, with some brands already successfully implementing this strategy.

When using UGC as part of your shoppable Instagram content strategy, you’ll want to ensure you’re finding the best, most relevant content customers have created about your brand and properly obtaining permission from content creators to feature it in your shoppable Instagram posts, as well as your other eCommerce marketing channels. You can streamline and automate this process with a robust UGC discovery, curation and rights management tool.

Seeing what products are generating the most UGC on can also serve as a guide for which products to feature more in your Instagram shopping strategy.

Since over 50 percent of Millennials trust UGC more than any other type of media, harnessing it has the potential to make your shoppable content even more effective at driving engagement and sales.

Create a feeling of exclusivity

A great way to make your shoppable Instagram content more compelling is by creating exclusive offers within the app to your followers. Doing things like running a hashtag contest, offering a limited-time sale or giving specific promos to creators and influencers creates a sense of urgency and makes people feel like they’re in on a secret.

Running campaigns like this and getting creative with how people can participate will also help build an active community around your brand.

Optimize with tags and hashtags

You want to make your brand’s shoppable Instagram experience as simple as possible for the user, and one way you can make it easy for them to search and find your brand is by effectively tagging products and including relevant hashtags in the caption for people to explore and browse.

Try experimenting with different tagging methods to see what works best for you. For example, see how well a single-photo post with multiple tags performs against a carousel post with one product tag in each photo. There’s no single path forward, so you might as well play with shoppable features and see what works.

Partner with micro-influencers

As mentioned earlier, Instagram’s Shopping from Creators feature is something brands should try and take advantage of. It gives consumers that feeling of having a peer-recommended product and it makes it easier for users to find your brand through a beloved account they follow.

It’s best to go after smaller, more niche micro-influencers who inspire higher levels of engagement and loyalty among their followers. Try to look for those authentic voices that mesh well with your brand themes and aesthetic.

Through Instagram, your brand can even create a list of approved creators who can tag your products in their posts, Stories, Reels and more. You could even take that a step further and invite those creators to become part of your own creator community with a tool like Organic Influencers—enabling that group to connect directly with your brand while continuing to generate content for your brand that can be used beyond Instagram to help drive engagement and conversions on other channels.

Always measure the results

When you’re experimenting and learning what types of shoppable Instagram content work best for your brand, always be sure to benchmark where you began and measure the results. Otherwise, you won’t be able to effectively track whether one shoppable content strategy works better than another.

Look at which shoppable media created the best results, dig into why that happened and use that data to inform how you will proceed going forward.

Conclusion

We hope this guide on how to get the most out of your shoppable Instagram content has been helpful. If you’d like more information on how to create an effective shoppable content strategy not just for Instagram, but all of your digital touchpoints (website, email, product pages and more) get our free guide on creating authentic shoppable content experiences.

Feature image source: https://neisnow.com.au/blog_news_article/shoppable-instagram/

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