How to Use Instagram to Sell Online

Instagram can be used for a lot of things – showing your friends your new outfit, sharing your newest recipe, or even showing off your…
  • Alyssa Schaad
  • Support Operations Manager
  • May 6, 2015 Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Instagram can be used for a lot of things – showing your friends your new outfit, sharing your newest recipe, or even showing off your cute pet. Instagram can also be used by online merchants as a way to market products. The following are some tips of how to use Instagram to sell your products!

Like2Buy is a creative idea that has one hyperlink URL that leads to multiple product landing pages that incorporates the same photos from Instagram in the “Featured” and “My Likes” tabs. Since the photos are the same on the Like2Buy website, the user doesn’t feel like they are leaving Instagram.

Like2Buy is a paid service but can have a huge increase in the click-through rate from the Like2Buy page to product pages when compared to a regular link. Like2Buy is currently marketed for larger companies with established brands looking to generate sales from their Instagram followers. If Like2Buy doesn’t fit your marketing budget or your brand is just getting started, there are other effective alternatives that you can use to grow your brand presence and followers on Instagram, one in particular would be using hashtags.


Adding hashtags to your pictures is a great way to bring in customers. An Instagram user can search for specific hashtags, so you want your hashtag to be clear but also a common word or phrase someone would look for, so your product appears. Using a hashtag, which is clickable, makes it easier for users to find all the pictures, or your products, about one topic.

You can also add your location where you took the photo. In the “Share Photo” screen, make sure the “Add to your Photo Map” is switched ON. If you only use this, your photo will show up on your map. If you would like to include the location, go into the “Name this location” bar. Instagram will use the metadata from your phone and find locations nearby. You can select the best option to add as your location. Now this photo will not only show up on your Photo Map but it will also be grouped with other photos taken from the same location.

Connect social media platforms together

Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are designed to connect and work with one another, which will increase the leverage they possess.

Create images with promotional codes

Offering exclusive discount and coupon codes on new products and services is a fast and easy way to attract fans and boost sales. Presenting a free shipping promo or a percentage off their purchase will bring in new customers who might have been leery to purchase before. Don’t forget to use hashtags to promote your deal (#promocode). It’s an effective way to attract deal seekers and new customers.

Highlight new products

Using Instagram is a prime channel for direct marketing and is a great way to promote your new products.

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Use filters

Most people don’t think about how Instagram filters affect engagement – we just pick what we think looks good and post it. Turns out that the filter you use may influence overall interaction.

Of course, everyone’s audience is slightly different. Experiment with various filters to see which one is most popular with your community.

Don’t be pushy with a sale

Customers know when they are being pitched and led to the close. They don’t have an issue buying, but they will only buy from companies they trust. You need to build a relationship of trust first before asking them to buy.

Flash sale

Flash sales are a great way to drive sales because they create a sense of urgency. You can offer a special price for only a short period of time. Announcing your intention to have the sale on Instagram but don’t say when, will make your followers have to constantly check their feeds to see when the sale is taking place.

Host photo contests

They can be a fun, free way to attract and interact with potential customers. Have them submit a personal photo with your products and then you can post the best pictures on your online store. This will keep the followers coming back each day, checking out the photos and seeing who won. Make the content light and fun but with a nice prize for your followers.

Showcase your customers

Share customer reviews and stories with your followers. It shows how well you treat your customers and gives them a taste of the company.

Pay attention to feedback

Examine your feedback from your followers and make adjustments as necessary.

Post at peak times

Knowing when your followers are most likely to engage helps you choose the most effective time to post. IconoSquare has an optimization report that shows you when your followers are online vs when you post information. You will be able to see when the best positing times are for your company.

In Conclusion

Instagram is free and has tons of benefits for your business. It’s worth the minimal time spent to set up and gather your target audience to help improve your brand and increase sales.

But keep in mind that Instagram is not only a place to sell your products. You need a variety of posts and be engaged with your audience. If you are going to use Instagram to sell your products, make sure you have other posts dispersed so your gallery doesn’t look like you only care about selling products.

We’d love to hear from you. Do you use Instagram to sell products? What approach do you use? Let us know in the comments below.

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