As an online product shop, chances are you’ve asked how to sell more on Instagram.
Followed immediately by… “without feeling sales-y”.
No matter how confident you are with your product and brand, most of us worry about coming across as spammy or salesy on Instagram – even when we know it has huge sales potential.
After all, Instagrammers are shoppers:
- 60% of users discover new products on Instagram
- Over 30% of users have made a purchase on mobile
But as the platform has grown, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with all the new Instagram features and growth hacks. And we end up over-complicating our marketing strategy and focusing on the wrong goals (like stressing over follower numbers instead of focusing on conversions).
So let’s simplify it!
Instagram is about just 3 things: inspiration, discovery and community.
And the exciting news for you?
Online shops are primed to succeed at delivering on all three.
So before I dive into five ways to make sales on Instagram, let’s talk about the app from your customer’s perspective.
When your audience opens Instagram (one of the likely multiple times a day), she is looking for a break from her day – NOT necessarily to be sold to.
Take a second to think about your own use: you’re waiting at the dentist office, in line at school pick up, or aimlessly scrolling on the couch during a Netflix + chill session. While you’re open to the idea of making a purchase on Instagram… that’s not exactly the reason you opened the app.
That’s a small, but important distinction. Instagram is *not* a sales platform (even though you can and will make sales there).
That understanding will make a huge difference in how you approach your Instagram content to meet their desire for inspiration, discovery, and community.
Instagram users want to be inspired by their feed. They hope to find new ideas for dinner, learn how to decorate their mantle, or finally master the effortlessly cool half-tuck trend.
They also love to discover new accounts that inspire or motivate them or relate to what they’re currently going through. I mean, how often have you tagged a friend in a post because “omg this is so us”.
And we continue to seek out online communities we feel connected to. We want a place for our thoughts to be heard, or to ask questions and feel a sense of “me too”. We deeply value accounts that actually respond to our comments and treat us like a person – not just a follower!
5 Ways to Make More Sales On Instagram
1 | SHOW, DON’T TELL
We’re pretty much all allergic to the standard “new products in shop. Link in bio!” sales pitch.
It’s boring and a bit pushy.
While there are times we need to make a clear ask or share a promotion, there are ways to talk about your product without making a direct sales pitch. Bring your followers along on your process or naturally show your products in use to subtly sell the lifestyle behind your product.
You can influence sales without having to directly ask for them in every post.
For example, drop hints about customer favorites or use a recent order to share more about why you created a certain product.
“I can’t wait to drop this new order off at the post office. They ordered my two favorite jewelry pieces, the Wren necklace + Starlight studs. When I dreamt up the Wren necklace, I was vacationing with my husband in Big Sur. As we were overlooking the ocean… ”
Or if you have products you wear yourself or use in your home, casually show them off in Stories or regular posts; but speak around the product instead of always directly asking them to buy. Something like “I’m packing for our vacation to Florida and you know I’m bringing this tank along (and will be wearing daily).”
2 | HIGHLIGHT CUSTOMER REVIEWS
Before you skip over this section because you already it’s important to share reviews – hang on a sec.
We’re talking about selling on Instagram where we like things pretty + helpful.
And since 93% of consumers use online reviews to make a purchase decision, it’s worth it to take a little extra time to make your customer reviews more impactful on Instagram.
TWO TIPS TO USING CUSTOMER REVIEWS ON INSTAGRAM:
ONE | Create a branded graphic
Instead of simply taking a screenshot of your latest review and posting, pretty it up! I recommend creating your own graphic for customer reviews. Use a graphic design tool, like Canva or Photoshop, to create a branded template you can easily use each time. Pull in your brand colors + fonts so your feed stays cohesive.
TWO | Add helpful context to the review
Share more than just the copy/paste version of the customer review in your caption. Use the review as inspiration to share more about your brand. It’s a jumping off point to naturally weave in more product details, shipping expectations, or your brand story.
For example, if the review talks about how they were so thankful for your fast shipping – share the review in your caption (or post), then talk about your process or typical turnaround times to help a future customer make a decision.
3 | CREATIVE REPETITION
Don’t be afraid to repeat yourself. Or fall into the “I’ve already said that” trap.
While you don’t want to sound like a broken record, your followers aren’t seeing every single post and new followers didn’t catch that tip you shared three months ago.
Decide on 3-5 core aspects of your brand or benefits of your product and find creative ways to repeatedly communicate them.
Show the same product off with new creative photos, by changing up angles, or swapping out props. I gathered up 18 product photography ideas you can use for inspiration here!
4 | WRITE LONGER CAPTIONS
(ha, I see you rolling your eyes. Hang in there…)
There are a lot of questions about how long captions should be or the “best” length for Instagram. The truth is – there’s no one answer, but longer captions provide more chances for your followers to connect with you over something.
Maybe I’m not feeling the mug you shared today (#sorrynotsorry); but if you also told a story in that caption about how you almost cried when you found a rip in your favorite leggings … NOW we’re talking. Which leads me to our last tip…
5 | CONVERSATION BEFORE CONVERSION
Before focusing on sales, focus on having more conversations with your audience.
Having a post with good conversation on Instagram is like striking gold – twice.
For one, the algorithm loves to see your content is engaging and people are interested enough to leave comments.
But more importantly, comments help build relationships, provide opportunities for you to get customer feedback, can promote a post organically if your audience is sharing or tagging others, and builds community as your followers respond to each others’ comments.
While images still matter and initially draw people to your account; it’s the captions that make them feel connected and build trust. If you focus on talking with your followers – not just at them – your brand will stand out among the sea of Instagram shops.
If you’re sitting there thinking, Okay, but really — how do I sell on Instagram?
Each post acts as a small component that’s building your relationship to move her from follower to buyer.
Every time you connect over common interests, show your product in valuable ways, or gain trust by showing a personal side… you’re strengthening your connection that will lead to sales conversions.
Then when you’re ready to sell, she’s invested in you and READY to be sold to.
She’s already “bought in” to you + your brand, so your next step is to simply make an offer. No awkward sales pitch required.
You can use the conversation starters in my free guide: Captions that Convert (includes 30 Instagram prompts) to get your audience talking!