With 300 million monthly users, social media photo-sharing app Instagram is the place to be right now.2 Whether the algorithm change affects engagement or not, you still need to invest time into building a photo portfolio and a loyal following. There are a multitude of reasons why you should start an Instagram account for your Ecommerce shop and it’s more than just about conversion rates.

Instagram app

It boosts traffic

You might not think Instagram is a great driver of traffic but you’d be surprised. 68% of Instagram users engage with brands regularly and there is 58x more engagement per follower than Facebook.1 Around 85% of top brands have a presence on Instagram, using it as a marketing tool, PR tool and CRM tool. In terms of conversion rates, however, Instagram can be a tough one to measure. The app only allows clickable links in the profile ‘biography’ so you have to either direct users to this link and or inlcude a product code or name to help them track it down. Despite this big flaw in Instagram’s marketability, there’s still a big value in building trust and brand familiarity.

Topshop Product Code Instagram

Social media brings customers and the customer service team closer together

If customers have issues with a product or service, many of them turn to social media – including Instagram – to complain. This can create the opportunity for other dissatisfied customers to come forward and start a hate campaign, tarnishing your brand’s reputation. If brands run their own account, they can offer solutions to problems or direct them to the customer service helpline. This shows a pro-active approach and a willingness to please all customers.

You can showcase new products, designs and promotional campaigns

Retailers such as Starbucks and MAC Cosmetics often use Instagram to tease photos of their new collection before the official release date. This makes users excited about new products so they can’t wait to get their hands on it.

Starbucks Promo Campaign

You can attract potential recruits

Social recruiting is a new revolution that has emerged over the past few years. If your company is looking for new talent, Instagram is one way to promote the available roles and positions to people that love the brand and are experienced in social media. It shows that the company is fun, forward-thinking and takes a fresh approach to recruitment. Alternatively, if someone finds a job advertisement elsewhere, they might turn to social media to get a sense of the working environment and corporate culture.

Instagram Social Recruiting

Tips for Best Practice

Develop an attention to detail

As you might expect, photography is important on Instagram. Don’t post boring standard product photos, we recommend clear aesthetically pleasing images with a fun feel that makes an impression on the user. It’s also a good idea to follow a theme so that the images are consistent and memorable. You don’t have to have a huge photography budget to do well on Instagram; the secret is to test different types of photos and see how users respond to them. Your strategy can then be adapted according to tastes and preferences.

Zara Instagram Account

Follow, follow, follow

To get noticed on Instagram, you need to engage with the right people. I’m talking potential customers, competitors, market influencers (for example popular bloggers) and potential collaboration brands. In return for follows, likes, mentions and comments, you’re promoting the brand name and with persistence this will lead to an increased follow count.

Use hashtags relevant to your industry

Websites such as Iconosquare make life easy by showing you the most popular hashtags when you search for key words. The on-site analytics software is also useful for measuring your engagement rate and growth.

Iconosquare Fashion Hashtag Search

Merge your other social media accounts

The best social media strategy is to integrate your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram accounts so you have streamlined text and photo. There should also be several sharing buttons to encourage growth on all platforms.

Think of it as a team project

Assign a few people to post on the Instagram account as if you delegate the job to just one person, they might forget or feel uninspired! Although I previously recommended picking an photo theme, It’s also nice to have some diversity so see what fits best with your brand image.

Team Work Office

Three Things to Consider

It all sounds good, right? But before you get started with Instagram, there are a few things to think about before you invest your time, money and efforts into running an account.

There is a cost involved

Although it’s easy to think you can snap a photo in a few seconds then upload it, in order to produce the highest quality photos, you have to have a good camera and a suitable space for photography. If it’s a small product you can use your office space but of course that’s not viable for all industries. Hiring a studio can be extremely expensive so you have to consider whether the benefits outweigh the financial investment.

Do you have the time?

To do anything well you need time and practise. You should only commit to this new project if you know your team can take on the extra work and get enthusiastic about it. Adoption of Instagram will probably require several meetings and training sessions, depending on the size and experience of the organisation. So you need to make sure it’s the right decision.

Ecommerce videos increase dwell time

The Results are Difficult to Measure

As I highlighted earlier in the blog post, Instagram – along with many other social media platforms – is difficult to measure in ROI terms. So if your shareholders want to know its direct impact on conversion rates, you might not be able to provide these figures.

So if you haven’t set up an Instagram account for your brand, hopefully this blog post has provided some advice and inspiration. From small buisnesses to start-ups, it’s never too late to take advantage of the social media phenomenon.

Videos in Ecommerce

1. Selfstartr
2. Hootsuite
3. Image 1: Flickr – Jason Howie
4. Image 7: Flickr – Ben30
5. Image 8: Time copyright Robert Couse-Baker

One Response

  1. I am doing research on social media for my class. I think it is really interesting how you how Instagram is great for marketing ecommerce shops. I like how you mentioned how it can attract potential recruits that know the brand and social media and can help the company. I think this is a great idea and will definitely tell my friends that own a local clothing store that they should start doing this.

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