May 28, 2013 | Shares:

How can a store owner use Instagram to boost online sales?

Every week Yotpo runs a Twitter Q&A where anyone can tweet in a question about eCommerce, online marketing, Yotpo and really anything they like.

This past week we got some great questions and I have picked my favorite to cover in this blog post.

The question was tweeted by Twitter user @htoby.



Before diving into how Instagram can be used to drive sales, it is important to cover two very important aspects that are fundamental to using Instagram as a channel to communicate with your target audience. Note that I didn’t say market to your audience. Instagram isn’t a marketing platform. More on that later.

Branding is key on Instagram

The way to use Instagram effectively and for maximum impact is by focusing on branding. The best way to do this is by using your brands name within a hashtag or to create unique hashtags associated with your brand or products.

Check out a great example of this practice in the image below.

instagram marketing

Puma uses their brand name in unique hashtags like #pumastyle, #pumalife and even #pumapigeon. The clever thing about this strategy is that over time your fans will start to use these tags and this will achieve two important goals, differentiating your brand from the thousands of others in your space and help spread brand awareness on the back of the social network.

Be real or go home

Instagram is all about life. Everyday 40 million photos are added to the social network and the Instagram engagement rate is quickly surpassing other social media platforms. In order to have an impact and gain a following on Instagram you need to be as authentic as possible. This means focusing on creating an Instagram profile which brings out emotion in those that view your photos.

Look at Instagram as a canvas where you can show your favorite emotions, products, occasions and events. Instagram should not be looked at as a marketing platform.

Create an Instagram Online Shop

Connect customers directly to your products through a Shoppable Instagram. Similar in look and style to your original Instagram account, an Instagram online shop can be easily tagged to direct customers to products featured in the individual photos. See how to start an Instagram shop so your followers can easily access your products and make a purchase.

Run competitions to create user generated content

The fact that Instagram is an open social network with so many photos being uploaded everyday makes it an ideal platform to encourage the creation of user generated content by your fan base. Run photo competitions and encourage your fans, customers and others to share photos of them engaging with your product. Try and be as unique as you can and tie together all your marketing activities around these competitions. An example of this is to promote the best photos on your Facebook page during the competition. This will encourage your Facebook community to take part in the competition and this will result in more engagement and participation.


5 best Instagram contests of 2012


Make your followers feel special

Instagram is an extremely open social network which means that you have the opportunity to be very direct when engaging your followers. One of the cool ways you can do this is by picking one follower a day or a week and making them your star follower. You can repost their image on your profile and tag them in the picture. This will be a huge surprise to the follower and result in a lot of excitement. The fact that a huge multi-national brand can reach out to one individual and say thank you is what makes social networks so amazing and every company should be leveraging this power to give back to their fans.

The four topics I’ve discussed above are the most important when choosing to join Instagram. For more information on creating a following on Instagram, check out the guides below.

  1. How to Sell on Instagram
  2. 19 Instagram Marketing Tips to Engage Your Audience
  3. The 5 Biggest Misconceptions About Using Instagram for Business
  4. 5 Ways Marketers Can Use Instagram
  5. Best Practices For Instagram Marketing And Lead Generation
  6. Where Instagram fits in your social marketing strategy

 If you are using Instagram to successfully market your brand I want to hear about it. Post your tips in the comments section below.


Justin Butlion
Justin Butlion,
Justin Butlion is the Director of Business Performance at Yotpo.
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