If you are a Shopify store owner, you probably already know that there are many different ways to attract more customers to your store. One of the most popular tools for that is to use social media effectively. With more than two billion users around the world, Instagram is one of the biggest social media platforms out there. The fact that Instagram has so much traffic makes this platform an integral part of online marketing.

Instagram’s visual appeal is quite powerful when it comes to keeping its users engaged and interested in the content. However, Instagram marketing requires dedication, focus, understanding user habits, and following the latest trends. In this article, we will cover how Instagram marketing relates to e-commerce and how to leverage this unique platform to grow your Shopify business.

Why Instagram?

The reason why Instagram is a crucial online marketing tool has many answers. One of the most compelling ones is for sure that it helps brands improve their visibility to a larger number of potential customers. Expanded customer reach increases the possibility of attracting other demographics that may be different from your initial target market.

It also helps that Instagram keeps investing in its e-commerce-friendly user interface. Since its launch in 2018, Instagram shopping has become quite popular among professional business accounts. Its algorithm is built to connect the merchants with buyers whose interests and shopping behaviors are in line with a specific brand and product. This approach not only increases store website traffic and boosts revenue but also allows users to follow their favorite brands and keep up with the latest products that are displayed via posts, reels, and Instagram stories.

Optimizing Your Instagram Profile

Given all this, there are several key points to follow for optimizing your Instagram account in a way that catches users’ attention and gets them to click and navigate through your Instagram profile.

After creating an Instagram business account, you need to fill out the basics, starting with contact information and your business description. The important thing to keep in mind while filling out the description is that you need to make sure you are using relevant keywords that would attract your target customer base. Keyword research is a crucial step for highlighting your business content and the selection of products that you offer. (There are many online research tools and keyword generators that you can benefit from.) An intriguing profile picture is also a big plus. Creative and stylish logos are always a great way to make a powerful first impression.

Once you are done with the basics, the next step is to begin implementing a few optimizations that are proven to be effective in terms of Instagram marketing.

  • First of all, remember to share your Shopify store link by setting up a “link in bio” page. Clickable links are convenient for the buyers and save them a lot of effort if they decide to explore more of your products or make a purchase. A seamless shopping experience is crucial for customers. They are more inclined to buy a product if the steps are kept to a minimum.

  • Hashtags are a must-use when it comes to boosting clicks on Instagram. Having a branded hashtag on your profile has the potential to attract more people and helps you create a community of your own. You can simply find the most trending hashtags by using Instagram’s built-in search bar (“tags” section). Hashtags also allow existing and satisfied customers to mention your store or product while referring others who might be interested. They basically help you spread the word!

  • Another beneficial tool that Instagram offers to e-commerce businesses is the “view shop” button. Note that this button is only available to shopping pages that are verified by Instagram; however, once it is approved (it usually takes a few days), this particular tab is highly functional to refer the interested users to your Instagram Shopping page which provides further details about your products.

Understanding User Habits

In order to get tangible results for your Shopify business, you need to familiarize yourself with Instagram users' tendencies. Understanding what types of posts and stories they prefer to see would eventually help you shape your profile in a way that catches more attention.

According to the Insider Intelligence report of 2022, Millennials are the basis of Instagram users, followed by Generation Z. This does not mean your products cannot appeal to other demographics of buyers; however, it would be in your best interest to direct your focus on the main user profile.

Instagram’s base users prioritize aesthetics. Most of them say that they value diversity and enjoy looking at inspiring quotes, user-generated content (UGC), and promotional visuals. So, make sure your Instagram profile has a consistent pattern yet has different and engaging content. Pick a theme and try to stick to it. It is also a known fact that DIY videos and other similar tutorials draw a lot of attention, however, it is best to keep your videos as short as possible - preferably 15-20 seconds tops.

Instagram users are commonly known to prefer lighter images to darker ones. Colors like white, blue, yellow are more likely to catch the eye of the users when it comes to visual marketing. Simplicity can often be a strong tool to capture attention. The same goes for Instagram stories. Since these stories disappear within 24 hours, it is better to use them to highlight a certain message or a product. With stories, you have a limited amount of time, so make sure to specify what your content is about in the most effective way possible. Another way to use stories is to keep them interactive. You can create polls, “ask me a question” stickers, filters, etc. Do not miss the opportunity to include hashtags on your stories as well!

Instagram is a highly competitive place. Keeping it creative can be overwhelming. However, this is the most important aspect of Instagram. Your content needs to be aligned with your brand image, and it should serve a specific purpose. In addition to that, make sure you have a particular posting frequency. This is a visual platform, so the main point would be bringing attention to your pictures and stories. Observe what your competitors are doing and try to keep up with the latest trends such as Instagram challenges, reels, memes, etc.

Investing in Instagram ads is also a profitable marketing strategy. With these paid ads, you can display your products on users' feeds and increase the possibility of getting more traffic to your Instagram business account. Speaking of investments, partnering up with influencers is another way to increase brand visibility. These people have a lot of followers and have the ability to inspire others to purchase products that they did not even know they needed. Followers tend to listen and pay attention to their favorite influencers’ feedback, which would bring your brand a certain amount of trustworthiness while building brand recognition in the long run. Rest assured that paid sponsorships usually have a direct positive outcome for your return on investment.

Another way to engage with Instagram followers is to organize competitions and offer promotional giveaways or discounts. Users love to participate in these types of activities. You can ask them to tag their friends under your post, use your branded hashtag or your logo on their posts and so on. There are many creative ways to hold these competitions, and it is a great way to gain more followers. Just try to think outside the box!

One more crucial thing to remember is that Instagram users seek unique content. If your business is active on other social media platforms, you need to keep it fresh on each platform. If you simply share the same posts over and over again on multiple platforms, people would have no reason to follow your business account on every one of them. Make sure your Instagram account is appealing and relevant to its demographic of users.

Track Your Performance

In order to have a successful Instagram business account, tracking your performance is highly important. Instagram has this amazing tool called Instagram Analytics, which helps you find out what is working for your business account and more importantly, what isn’t. Being able to monitor all these numbers is essential for your Instagram marketing strategy. The tool provides key metrics such as the number of users visiting your page, follower growth, engagement rate, number of store website referral clicks, etc.

The tool also shares other performance metrics relating to your posts, stories, reels. Detailed information such as how many people watched your story all the way through, how many people shared your reel, how many people are engaging your content via leaving a comment and many more would give you specific focus areas that may need improvement and ultimately motivate you to step up your game.

Connect Your Instagram Profile to Your Shopify Store

Now that we have established how to set up a successful Instagram business account and covered the user habits, it is time to effectively use it for boosting your Shopify store.

Think of your Instagram business account and your Shopify store as one multi traffic-driving platform. The reason for this is that Instagram and Shopify work very well with each other. The two platforms are able to communicate with one another in a way that truly benefits the business owner.

A couple of things to know before you connect these two platforms is that you need to make sure your store location is eligible for Instagram Sales Channel and that you comply with Facebook's Commerce Policies. Shopify asks you to set up a Facebook Shop because it is necessary to have a Facebook account to be able to tag your products on Instagram.

In order to sell on Facebook and Instagram, you need to set up Facebook and Instagram for Meta (You need to have a basic Shopify plan or higher for this). Once you are done, you need to authenticate your Instagram account in the sales channel by logging into your Facebook account page. After the integration is done, you can start selling your product on all platforms.

The next step for the integration would be to add your Instagram feed to your Shopify store. Third-party Shopify applications enable you to connect your Instagram page with your store and offer this great tool that would allow your visitors to see what users on Instagram have to say about your products, aka the magic of user-generated content! An Instagram follower using your brand hashtag and mentioning a certain product of yours is a great way to promote your store and products with minimum effort.

Obviously, these apps offer filtering options for your Instagram feeds. You may not want to see every single post that includes your brand hashtag. You can simply select what Instagram feed posts you would like to be displayed on your Shopify store.

Another advantage of downloading an Instagram feed app to your Shopify store is that these apps are quite useful for customizing your Instagram feed gallery. You can change the space between the posts, pick the size, the shape or borders and have your visitors click on the specific images, which can direct them to your Instagram page via pop-up boxes.

The Social Proof

All in all, ecommerce businesses simply cannot succeed without convincing potential buyers to purchase their products. In order to turn visitors into paying customers, businesses need to build a certain amount of trust within their target market. One of the most powerful aspects of Instagram is that people constantly engage with one another through multiple contents, and they are inspired by each other’s testimonials.

Social proof theory suggests that people rely on others’ judgment and often adapt their own behavior in line with the general opinion. Positive reviews and testimonials have an enormous effect on potential buyers, and Instagram is definitely an influencing social media platform when it comes to that. Leveraging Instagram for your Shopify store would mean improved market share and exponential growth, so missing out on this amazing opportunity would undeniably be a huge oversight.

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