How to Sell on Instagram Successfully in 2020 (In 5 Steps!)


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Header Image for Selling on Instagram Decoded: How to Earn More in 2020 - Selling Your Product On Instagram

The days when Instagram was just an app for sharing photos with your nearest and dearest friends are over. Nowadays, the platform is a powerful tool for small businesses hoping to make Instagram sales!

Just look at the numbers from this 2019 Facebook survey:

  • 83% of users say Instagram helps them discover brand new products and services
  • 81% say they research products or services on Instagram
  • 80% ultimately decide whether to buy a product or service with Instagram’s help

Results on a facebook survey about selling products on instagram

Not only do these stats highlight how important Instagram is for buying products, but also the importance of figuring out how to use it to sell your products!

And make no mistake, these users are taking action. After seeing a product on Instagram, users took the following steps:

  • 79% searched for more information
  • 65% visited the brand’s website or app
  • 46% made a purchase online or offline
  • 37% visited a retail store
  • 31% followed the brands account online
  • 29% talked to someone about it

79% searched for more information
65% visited the brand’s website or app
46% made a purchase online or offline
37% visited a retail store
31% followed the brands account online
29% talked to someone about it

So whether you’re brand new to selling on Instagram or are just looking for tips, tricks, and tools to fine-tune your strategy, the following five steps will help!

Ready to stop puzzling and start profiting? Let’s get to it! 💰

Want to make driving sales from Instagram easier than ever? Set up your FREE Smart.bio tool! Smart.bio by Tailwind is an advanced link in bio tool allows total brand customization, a mix of static and post links and in-depth analytics to help you turn your followers into customers with ease. 

Your 5-Step Strategy for Selling on Instagram

Ready to fine-tune your selling strategy and make sales on Instagram?

It’s easier than you think. Before we dive into the five steps behind how to sell products on Instagram, there are some things you need to do before you begin!

Things to Do Before You Sell Products on Instagram

Convert to an Instagram Business Account

With the craze around Instagram’s Creator accounts, you may be a little torn on what kind of Instagram account you really need. We strongly recommend you switch to an Instagram business account.

Not only do business profiles give you access to in-depth Insights and Instagram Analytics about your audience, but they also enable you to use the following:

And if you use an Instagram planning tool like Tailwind, you can enable Auto-Posting on your Instagram feed! Plan days, weeks, and months’ worth of Instagram content and publish at the best possible times for your audience to see it. 

Think more hustle, less time! Curious to try it out? Get a today!

Attach Your Instagram Business Account to a Facebook Business Page

If you plan to take advantage of new Instagram and Facebook Shops or want to begin dabbling in Instagram advertising, don’t forget to attach your business account to your Facebook page.

This will give you access to important tools and features, like Facebook + Instagram Ads Manager!

Now that we’ve taken care of those important to-do’s, it’s time to get to the strategy you’ve been waiting for. You’ll be figuring out how to sell stuff on Instagram in no time with these five tips!

1. Get More Visibility For Your Products with Hashtags

When used correctly, hashtags put your Instagram posts (and products) on Explore pages where people are looking for them! 

This is even more important now that Instagram has introduced a Shop tab, so if you haven’t perfected your hashtag strategy now is the time.

Instagram hashtag explore page for #planner

When you pick relevant hashtags for your product posts and Stories, you have a chance to appear to brand new Instagram accounts who follow that hashtag, use it, or simply search for it often!

Plus, if your post or Story lands in a coveted top spot for a hashtag, it’s likely to be seen by even more Instagram users who could easily become customers.

That’s why hashtag research is so important!

You’ll need to sift through all the available hashtagged keywords that relate to your product or service.

You’ll also want to look for hashtags that relate to people and interests that might go with your product and note how popular they are (and how much traffic they get in search).

Sound like a lot of work? It can be, unless you have an amazing hashtag planning tool like Tailwind! 

Tailwind’s Hashtag Finder tool allows Instagram users to save time on the drudgework of hashtag research and get back to doing what they love – connecting with people on Instagram! 🤝

Just upload your photo and begin typing your caption.

Suggested hashtags based on your text will appear next to your caption, color-coded by their competitive level!

You can select up to 30 hashtags and even save them in labeled Hashtag Lists to use again on a similar post!

hashtag finder for instagram

Want to try Hashtag Finder, Hashtag Lists AND our new Hashtags In First Comment Feature for yourself?

Get a free trial of Tailwind for Instagram – no credit card required! 😊

2. Provide Product Information in Your Instagram Posts and Stories

We now know that 79% of Instagram users who see a product on Instagram go to find more information about it.

You can boost the likelihood of closing a sale if you leave that handy information about your product within easy reach!

Instagram Stories and post captions are a great place to start. Here are some ways to use them to educate your followers on your products!

Use Stories to Highlight Your Product

Instagram Stories is the perfect place for quick, easy-to-digest content featuring your products, building brand awareness and driving sales. Here are some ideas on how to use Stories for selling on Instagram:

  • Film yourself talking about product benefits. Keep in mind that Instagram will divide your video into 10-second segments, and you’ll cap out at 1 minute – so keep it short, sweet, and actionable!
  • Repost user-generated content like product reviews, pictures with your product, and content that your previous customers have posted.
  • Include a swipe-up Link or directions to your Link in Bio – You can link to your product page (if you have 10,000 Instagram followers!). If you don’t have 10K Instagram followers just yet, tag your profile and direct viewers to the link in your Instagram bio.
  • Post a frame-by-frame explanation of key benefits – Check out the example below from Biossance! They introduce their product, explain key ingredients, use, and how it works.

Example of story from Biossance introducing their product

Instagram Story product explainer of Biossance rose oil

Story image from biossance with product explainer and swipe up link for selling on instagram

Use Instagram Captions to Highlight Products

Having a good Instagram caption is just as important as having a great image when you are selling on Instagram. Plus, you have plenty of space to highlight important product information like:

  • Key benefits
  • Product uses and instructions
  • What’s included
  • Pricing information

The perfect caption supports your efforts to sell products on Instagram by artfully explaining exactly why they should purchase your product.

More importantly – it should explain how they can purchase your product!

Tailwind’s caption formatting can help you make a winning impression with several easy-to-use tools, such as the Emoji Picker to add engaging emojis to your Instagram captions.

Plus, you can easily add line breaks to your Instagram caption, different Instagram fonts and hide your hashtags in the first comment to keep your caption looking beautiful. 

Start a Free Trial of Tailwind for Instagram!

Sign up with Instagram

Sell Your Products on Instagram with a Call-To-Action (CTA)

A whopping 87% of users said they took action after seeing product or service information on Instagram. That’s amazing, right? To keep that momentum going, help users take the next steps.

When they finish reading your caption, do they know what to do next? Make it really simple by adding a quick CTA! Examples of straightforward and effective CTAs are:

  • “click the link in our bio”
  • “watch our Instagram story for more details”
  • “swipe up”
  • “leave a comment below”
  • “double tap if you agree!”

You can use a CTA to get more engagement or direct your users to where they can find more information or buy the product. Usually, that’s your website and product pages!

3. Make Product Links Easy to Find

As of now, Instagram does not allow links in captions. That means to figure out how to sell things on Instagram Instagram, you need to find another way to direct your audiences to checkout!

You have several options, like Link in Stories. However, the most customization and ability to link to multiple products and resources is your link in bio!

Include a Link in Your Instagram Bio

link in bio highlighted in instagram bio to make selling on instagram easier

Adding a link to your Instagram profile bio is an easy way to get people clicking over to your sales page!

One link rarely cuts it, which is why a link in bio tool to house multiple URLs is so handy!

Smart.bio is a free, easy-to-use dynamic landing page for all your featured products. You can also include links you want to feature for a long time (like your website, email lists signup, and blog posts).

When you set up your smart.bio, you can create a branded URL with your company name or website. It looks like smart.bio/yourusernamehere!

Wellness for Womanhood smart.bio - an easy way to sell products on instagram/ selling on instagram

If you’ve ever seen or used another link in bio tool before, you know that you usually have to choose static button links OR Instagram post images to link all your content. With Smart.bio, you can choose both!

“This is simply PHENOMENAL. You guys have truly outdone yourselves. I’m convinced this is the best bio tool out there.

It combines the best features of all the ones I’ve seen, and the setup was effortless. Easiest and best thing I’ve done for my social media marketing so far. ❤️”

@shavonnemorrison, Wellness Blogger

Your static links will appear at the top of your landing page, while you can link individual product pages in the posts that talk about them. When you add a link to your Instagram post, it’ll automatically appear on your smart.bio landing page!

Your link in bio tool makes all the difference in driving traffic from your Instagram posts to your website.

4. Try Shoppable Posts and Stickers

Shopping on Instagram is now global, and it’s easier than ever to set up product tags on Instagram posts so your customers can complete their buying journey in-app!

To nab this feature for yourself, you do need to meet some eligibility requirements:

  • 1. You must be in one of the United States, Canada, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, or Australia
  • 2. You need an Instagram business account
  • 3. You must be on the latest version of the Instagram app
  • 4. You must sell physical items that comply with Instagram’s merchant agreement and commerce policies.
  • 5. Your business profile must be connected to a Facebook catalog. This is managed on your business’s Page on Facebook, or through an approved third party!

You can find all the steps to setting up Shopping on Instagram in our guide!

5. Build Engagement on Instagram with Potential Customers

Growing your following will help you in selling your products on Instagram. Simply put, with more followers, you’re increasing the number of potential customers who are regularly viewing your products!

In order to do that, you need to increase follower engagement as much as possible – in other words, the likes, and comments you receive!

The key to unlocking engagement lies in developing a deep understanding of your audience, what they like to see and what is going to make them slow their scroll when they see your latest post in their feed!

Review Your Past Content To See What Resonates Most

You can start getting some valuable clues about what your followers are already responding to by visiting Tailwind’s Post Inspector in your dashboard.

sell your products on instagram by monitoring posts with high engagement - Tailwind's post inspector

Post Inspector allows you to view and sort your past posts by the number of comments, likes, type of image and even the filter you used!

Using these insights, you can determine what type of content your followers are liking the most, and the types they’re scrolling by. That’ll help you make a strategy around producing content that your followers will engage with – and help you sell your products on Instagram!

Use Attractive Images to Entice Your Followers to Engage

According to AdEspresso, there are several types of Instagram images that are performing well on Instagram, and the trend is likely to extend into 2020. These 9 types of images are:

  • User-generated content
  • Behind the scenes photos
  • DIY and how-to content
  • Artfully composed images
  • Content from Instagram influencers
  • Motivational pictures and quotes
  • Contest and giveaway promotions
  • Seasonal or on-trend images

You have a lot of flexibility and room to get creative – it’s simply important to note that grainy, poorly lit or low-quality images won’t elicit as much engagement as high quality or artfully composed shots will!

In fact, a study devoted to the image qualities that can help increase engagement revealed the recipe for an engaging picture on Instagram:

  • lots of background space
  • one dominant color/hue (blues and cold shades often fare better!)
  • low saturation
  • texture (such as shadows or ridges)
  • increased brightness

Try experimenting with different styles of imagery to see what appeals to your audience and receives higher engagement!

Want more tips on taking quality photos for social? Read our post on “How to Create Gorgeous Lifestyle Photography!”

Conclusion: How to Sell Items on Instagram

With Instagram users 25% more likely to be in the top income quartile, businesses and brands like you are trying to figure out new ways to capture the attention of their audience and perfect selling on Instagram!

With our five-step strategy (and Tailwind for Instagram’s time-saving features), increasing your sales is totally achievable! Let’s recap the plan:

  1. Grab more visibility for your products with the right hashtags – Tailwind’s Hashtag Finder makes research a breeze!
  2. Provide product information in your Instagram Stories and captions so curious shoppers don’t have to wander far to find out what they need to know
  3. Showcase your website and post links with Tailwind’s free advanced link in bio tool – Smart.Bio! 🎉
  4. Apply for Shoppable Posts with Instagram to make selling your products on Instagram easier than ever
  5. Prioritize engagement on Instagram so that you always stay top of mind (and top of feed!) for potential customers

Pin It For Later 📌:

Selling On Instagram Decoded: How to Earn More in 2020 - Follow this five-step strategy to maximize selling your products on Instagram - based on the actions real users take after seeing a product or service! #sellingoninstagram #sellingtips #Instagramsales

Do you sell products through your Instagram? Let us know in the comments below.

Dana Nicole

Dana is a self-taught graphic and web designer who now lives in a small town in Denmark and works with clients from all over the world. She helps clients define their brand in order to attract and retain their ideal customers and also teaches businesses how to grow their presence through online marketing and SEO.

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