How To Make Your Ecommerce Business #work on Instagram

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Over 400 million Instagram users agree that a picture is worth a thousand words. With over 50% of all e-commerce traffic coming from mobile devices, Instagram is a great way to get mobile users onto your store. It’s already proven to be 25% more engaging than other social media channels, especially for younger online shoppers. Instagram can serve as a highly-targeted, low-cost visual advertising channel to attract new customers to your brand and help build a loyal following. Here’s how to do it.

Get Your Viewers Interested From The Start

You only get a second to make an impression on a viewer who is scrolling through their Insta feed. Use that second well.

Introduce your brand using your Instagram profile

Use your bio and profile picture to introduce your brand, include a few keywords, your location, and always link to your website or Shopify store. Set your profile picture to be your recognisable brand logo.

Show some personality

You’re providing an experience for the user, and the more they differentiate your brand from your competitors, the better. Remember, branding comes through in every caption, photo choice, and colour scheme. If you’re a small business and proud of it, take a photo of one of your staff working hard on making your products. Show real people using your products in real situations.

Get your timing right

Develop a regular schedule so that your followers know what to expect. It’s ok if you don’t post every day but you should post at least once a week to show you’re an active brand. You can schedule posts in advance for free with Later, or use a more advanced management tool like Iconosquare, which also gives you insight into what time of day you’re getting the most engagement.

Keep Your Followers Engaged

You can post all the photos you want, but if you aren’t interacting with your customers it won’t be too useful. Here are a few tips to get to your goal conversion from a viewer to a customer.

Don’t take boring photos

Building emotional connections with your followers is a key part of branding. Photos you take don’t need to be Ai Wei Wei status, but they should evoke a “wow” response of some sort. Take photos of your products being used in different settings, and tell the story of each photo in your caption. The more customers can relate to the image, the better your conversion rate. Here’s a quick guide to taking better photos on IG.

Tell Viewers How You Want Them To Engage

Every time you post a photo, you should have a call to action of some sort. Here are a few types:

Direct viewers to your Shopify store

Whenever you post about something you sell online, make sure you include a link to exactly where they can get it on your Shopify store. Instagram has recently allowed a new advertising feature called “Carousel” which allows you to link directly in photos.

Encourage your customers to show off your products

We are more likely to purchase an item when we see someone else using it. Instagram can act as visual testimonials, and you can use the platform to show pictures of happy customers using your products. If you have photos of customers (and their permission to use them), show ‘em off! If you don’t have any yet, make a post encouraging your customers to @tag you when they use your product and then regram them.

Comment on your posts

You can encourage customers to leave comments by asking them to tag a friend, caption your photo, or share an experience. Generally, you can incentivise this by some sort of giveaway. For example “We’re giving away one free wineglass set this month. Tag a friend who you’d be sharing a bottle with for a chance to win”.

Quick tip: any time someone comments on your post or tags a friend on your post, follow them.

#Tag #Trends #Your #Customers #Are #Looking #At

Using hashtags wisely is an easy way to target customers. The best way to think about this is keywords - what would someone be looking for on Google to get to you? #TagIt. Check out the competition and see what they’re tagging. Dig through your followers’ profiles and see what they’re tagging. Use Webstagram to keep up with the latest. Don’t get too cluttered though! 5-10 hashtags is plenty for one post.

Speak The Language

Instagram and Twitter are where slang gets pretty #lit. No idea what that means? Here’s a cheat sheet for some common Instagram terms. Keep an eye out for lingo being used in your industry.

#Term Translation How to Use it


Happening, amazing, awesome, etc

“Ready for our spring sale? We have new product x coming to our store in one week. Keep an eye out for some #lit specials on our website.”


Throwback Thursday

Can be used any day of the week to show off an old photo or event that happened a while ago. “#TBT to the launch of our x product six months ago. Since then, we’ve sold x amount. Get yours here: Link to store”


Follow Friday

Generally used on Fridays. You can use #FF to promote collaborators or other instagrammers you think your customers would be interested in. “Shout out to @collaborator1 and @collaborator2 for hosting our products at x eventt #FF.”


You did not put any instagram filters on your photo - it speaks for itself without any edits.

“Check out the beautiful view from our office where we make our unique product. #nofilter”


Direct Message

From the home screen, swipe left to get to your DMs. “We’re giving away 5 FREE product x to our followers! The first person to DM us each day this week gets one.”


In Case You Missed It

“#ICYMI we’ve launched our new product line. Get yours today at link to your store”

IG Live

Instagram Live - the new way to show videos or grams for 24 hours. Your followers are notified that you’re live and can view as you film

Make an instagram live video of someone (including you) using your products, or any special events you’re going to. From the home screen, swipe right to get to your camera, and choose “Live” at the bottom


A feature that lets you capture movement for a couple seconds, then puts it on a loop.

From the home screen, swipe right to get to your camera, and choose “Boomerang” at the bottom.

Grow your Instagram following

The more followers you have, the more traffic your website gets.

Follow your customers, potential customers, and IG Influencers

When you follow someone on Instagram, they’ll be notified and are more likely to check out your page. Go on a following spree (hey, it’s free) and follow people who are #tagging about your industry or using similar products. Comment directly on users photos who you think might be interested in your products (even just to say you like their picture of their city skyline). IG Influencers are those with hundreds of thousands of followers - if you can get them to like your post or follow you, you’re in a good place.

Incentivise your viewers to follow you with giveaways and promos

Everyone loves getting free things. Giving away samples and select products is a common tool used by businesses on Instagram. Announce your giveaway in a post, and have a requirement for being entered to win - for example, require that your viewers follow and tag a friend to be entered into a drawing.

Integrate with your existing platforms

Let your Facebook, Twitter, and Email subscribers know that you’re on Instagram, and ask them to follow you. Instagram lets you share directly to your other platforms when you post -it’s almost always a good idea to cross-post!

Invest in advertising and partnerships

If you find yourself gaining new followers and customers through Instagram, and you want to take it to the next level, you might consider investing a part of your budget into Instagram Advertising. There are two ways to do this: either use targeted ads to post your photos directly to potential customers, or sponsor Instagram Influencers to show off your products. Find out more about sponsorships here.

Keep Track of What’s Working

Work smarter, not harder. There is a plethora of tools out there to help you keep track of which filters, captions, posts, times, and hashtags are working. Check out SimplyMeasured and Websta which are both free analytics tools for Instagram.

If you want to know more about integrating your Instagram with Shopify, or need support in setting up your own Shopify store, contact us today or get started with a Shopify Setup through Elkfox.