Between artfully-curated news feeds and engaging Stories, Instagram has plenty to offer the everyday user, and even more so for ecommerce stores. With more than a billion monthly active users, it’s ripe for online stores to sell their products directly to customers.
But how exactly can you achieve this? Read on to learn how to create a product-led content marketing plan for Instagram that gets you sales in 2019.
Identify the products you want to sell
First things first: you need to identify which products you want to push through your marketing strategy. It’s tempting at this stage to offer all and sundry, but a focused strategy of just one or two products nets you greater success by concentrating your efforts.
The products you choose depends on where you are as a business. If you’re looking for pure sales, then pushing your bestsellers is a good start. But if you want to raise awareness of a new product line, then you’ll need to adopt a slightly different content strategy to support it.
Create a diverse array of supporting product content
Once you’ve selected your products, you should create the content to support them. Basic product photos are a solid start, but these should be augmented by other types too. These can include:
- Shoppable posts: naturally, a product-led content marketing plan should not be without shoppable posts. Tag your products in shoppable carousels to increase conversions through in-app purchases. Find a comprehensive guide to shoppable Instagram posts here.
- Social proof: reviews and testimonials provide valuable social proof that increases your product’s perceived value. Customer-led reviews are more trusted than brand-led ones, so try to source these where you can.
- UGC: customer-submitted photos and videos of your product make for strong product-led content for your strategy. And because they are submitted by your customers, they feel more authentic as a consequence.
- Explainers/demonstrations: photos and videos explaining how a product works or showing it being used in a real-world situation help your customers connect with your product on a personal level.
- Flat lays: depending on your product, flat lays are a fine way to showcase products in an attractive way, especially on Instagram. Check out this guide to flat lay photography tips for some inspiration.
But content formats are just one facet of your Instagram marketing strategy. Your captions should also work with your content to provide information and context to the user. For instance, include price and variety information, discounts or competitions, along with a call-to-action to direct the user to purchase.
Use a social media optimization tool to fine-tune your captions. This increases conversions and engagement through data-backed insights.
Use hashtags to get your content seen
Hashtags are crucial for getting your content seen by users outside of your followers. They are the threads that hold everything together, helping users find the content that matters to them.
But successful hashtag usage requires diligent research to find relevant and suitable hashtags for your content.
Your overarching strategy should include hashtags related to your business keywords. Hashtag research tools are useful to lean on in this case. For instance, if you’re a fitness brand, hashtags such as #FitLife would suit.
But beyond this, you should select hashtags that are geared towards your products themselves too. Sticking with the fitness brand example, if you’re pushing a new line of running shoes, you’d need specific hashtags that fit that bill too e.g. #runningshoes, #sneakers, #trailrunning, and so on.
But just adding hashtags won’t suffice. To get your content ranking higher on Instagram, you need to encourage engagement with your posts. Get your followers to comment on your post (e.g. “tag a trail runner who needs these shoes!”), and share your posts at the optimum time for engagement (your optimization tool can help with this).
Take advantage of Instagram Stories
Instagram is a veritable Pandora’s box of useful and engaging features. From Instagram Stories to live video, there’s plenty for ecommerce vendors to get their products seen.
Perhaps the best feature on offer from Instagram is Stories. These are candid, authentic, and fit seamlessly alongside your customer’s other friends’ Stories.
Stories are also shoppable, a massive boon for your content marketing plan. Most ecommerce platforms offer this as standard, letting you integrate your Instagram channel with your existing online store to easily sell products via Stories.
Shopify and BigCommerce offer strong shoppable Stories features, but it’s worth comparing the platforms beforehand. Each has its pros and cons, which will vary in importance depending on what you want from your online store.
But what really sets Stories apart is its ability to get your content seen more frequently by appearing right at the top of your followers’ feeds. And for reaching those customers that don’t follow you, you can always create sponsored Stories instead.
Choose a marketing strategy that works for you
There are lots of strategies available to you to bolster your product-led content marketing strategy on Instagram.
Competitions are one strategy that is worth using. Simple comment-to-enter contests are common but effective. For a follow and tagging of friends, customers can be in with a chance to win a prize of your choosing. This helps you raise awareness of a new product while growing your account into the bargain.
Similarly, UGC contests are a strong marketing strategy too. Customers submit their own photos of your products for you to re-share on your channel. This generates hype for your brand and products while providing you with authentic social proof at the same time.
Ranking in Instagram is hard and extremely competitive. Consequently, it’s all but compulsory to invest in some paid ad campaigns.
To create a good Instagram ad, you need high-quality product photos to catch user attention. Intriguing captions draw the reader in (lean on your optimization tool again for this). These should be followed up with a dedicated landing page that replicates the original ad. This creates a seamless experience that builds on their initial interest to drive conversions.
As well as getting your content seen by more customers and driving sales, you can also get your ads seen by the right people with Instagram Ads’ built-in targeting function.
Instagram is a valuable space for online stores owners to own in 2019. It’s diverse, populous, and offers a variety of ways to connect with customers. Follow the tips above and create a content marketing plan for your products that works for you in 2019.