How to Use Instagram Stories to Get More Sales

Header image - pineapple with sunglasses and Instagram Story product tag

Over the past two years, Instagram Stories has become a much-loved part of the Instagram App – and businesses are using them to drive sales. Would you like to know how you can, too?

Though Instagram was originally designed to be an ‘instant’ photo-sharing platform, recent trends show people focusing more on curating a feed rather than uploading something in the moment. Because of that, Instagram Stories has become the perfect place to share content that is a little less curated and a little more raw.

As someone who has worked in Social Media Marketing for 6 years, I have had to adapt my strategies at the same rate Instagram updates algorithms – no small feat!

Of all the new and ever-changing features, one of my favourites has been the use of Instagram Stories for businesses and brands. The way stories can increase your sales in both direct and indirect ways is hugely exciting!

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Instagram Stories – Can They Really Result in More Sales?

Instagram Stories may seem as though they’re not relevant to your business, but they’re perfect for those looking to boost both their brand and their sales – and isn’t that all of us?

Research shows that 80% of Instagram users follow at least one brand on their account, meaning no matter what your industry is you have a great chance of reaching people via both your feed and your Stories.

69% of people who use stories said brands using stories is a great way to get to know new products and services - Facebook

On top of that, there are also ways to get your Stories seen by people who do not follow you – thereby increasing your reach and growing your followers and potential customers. We’ll talk more about that later.

Why Use Instagram Stories to Drive Sales?

With 1 billion active users and 400 million using Stories daily, it’s an opportunity you can’t afford to miss.

Using Instagram Stories is incredibly important to the growth of your brand as it gives your followers and potential customers another way to hear from you. Whilst you may have people interacting with your feed, a lot of your followers are missing your content because of the way the algorithm works.

Instead of scrolling their feeds, people are now more likely to spend longer clicking through Instagram Stories, especially as people are spending on average 53 minutes a day on the app.

How to Use Instagram Stories to Boost Your Sales – 10 Ways

Now that you know the importance of using Stories in your marketing strategy, let’s look at some of the tactics that will help grow your brand:

1. Be Creative with Your Instagram Story DesignsPickmonkey Instagram Story with a clever design

Although Instagram Stories are designed to be more in the moment, you can still put a certain element of design into them. Whether you use the Instagram Stories features or an external app to design them, people are more likely to watch your Stories if they are well put together.

A great app for this is Picmonkey, as you can create them on your desktop OR your phone using a specially-designed template. At left is an eye-catching design they used in an Instagram Story.

2. Show Behind the Scenes of Your Business

Brassclothing on Instagram Stories - showing a photo shoot behind the scenes

People really love to get a good look at what you get up to behind the scenes of your business. Whether it’s a look at your manufacturing process, your day to operations, or how you send products out to customers – people love having this kind of insight as it makes your business seem more human AND more deserving of their business.

Despite the fact that fans are hungry for a look behind the curtain, only 22% of brands and business regularly share updates that feature the behind the scenes of their business, making this a great way for you to stand out.

Here’s a fun shot from Brass Clothing‘s Instagram Story. Kind of makes you wonder how those models look so natural when the setup is anything but! It also makes you feel like you’re more connected to the talent behind the brand.

3. Encourage People to Interact

Canva uses stickers to ask a question in Instagram Stories

There are lots of different ways you can encourage people to interact with you through Instagram Stories, including asking questions that you can reply to publicly, asking people to vote on a specific subject, or asking people to show their appreciation for a video, product or an image using a slider bar.

It’s easy to see how you could use these features to not only increase engagement and reach, but to conduct research on product development or create buzz around a new product release.

With each update, Instagram is adding more features that encourage interactivity, so I can only see this getting better from here.

4. Repurpose User-Generated Content with Stories

Innersense Organic Beauty uses User-Generated Content in their Stories

If you’re lucky, people will share content that features your products and services on their own Instagram Stories. If they do this and tag you, the you are notified by direct message and there will be an option to share it to your own account. This is a great way to put out content, without having to create the content yourself. And it’s a great way to leverage social proof for increased trust and sales

Organic hair products line Innersense shares images of their users’ breathtaking results.

Did you know you can schedule Instagram Stories with Tailwind? 

5. Promote New Product Launches and Offers

Ruggable highlights their products in an Instagram Story

If you don’t plan to use your main feed to promote launches and offers regularly, sharing these in Stories is a great alternative. Often, promoting offers and product launches on your Instagram Stories feels a lot less spammy and gives you a chance to directly link to the product or sale using the swipe up feature (for those with 10K followers or more).

Stories also give you more of a chance to be creative as you can use the feature to create a series of images and videos that once played in the correct order, act like a mini advertisement for your brand.

Washable rug creator Ruggable  uses Stories to share product images that look too much like ads for the feed, but work well here!

6. Partner with Influencers for Instagram Takeovers

Ashley Home Store Influencer Takeover screenshot

Partnering with an influencer is a great way to get more reach for your brand, especially as they’ll be sharing the content they create on their own personal platforms too.

To hold a successful takeover, simply find an Instagrammer who is influential in your industry, and see they want to take over your Stories for the day. Whether they visit your offices, test out your product or visit a destination on your behalf – they can document their findings on your Instagram Stories.

You may find that influencers will charge for this service. However, it can be worth the investment if they’re driving qualified traffic (that is, customers!) to your page. Ashely Home Store regularly hosts these designer takeovers in their Stories.

7. Share Testimonials to Increase Your Credibility

Ruggable uses customer testimonials for their Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories is the perfect place to share any testimonials your business receives. Whether they’re user-generated and shared directly from someone else’s account onto yours, or they’re something you’ve curated and created from testimonials you’ve received – sharing these can really help increase your credibility within the industry, and more importantly, with your customers.

And because it’s just so great, we’re back to Ruggable – sharing an almost TMI (but very compelling!) customer testimonial at left. 😉

8. Use Location Tags and Hashtags

Bespoke Coffee of NC uses location tagging in their Instagram Stories

If you want your Stories to be seen by people who do not yet follow you, consider using location tags and hashtags. If people click on a location or search for a hashtag, they’ll be able to see a selection of Stories that has been tagged using them. Although it’s not guaranteed you’ll show up, it’s a great way to increase your visibility.

If you’re worried about how location tags and hashtags will make your design look, you can try making them really small or hiding them behind other elements. Notice how Bespoke Coffee & Drygoods makes their location tag subtle; it doesn’t detract from the visual appeal at all.

9. If You Have Over 10k Followers, Add Links

Colourpop Cosmetics announces a new product in their Instagram Stories

Although this feature is only for those that have more than 10k followers, the swipe up feature is the ideal strategy for driving traffic to your site. It’s important to remember not to use this on every Story as it removes the message feature, but if you’re talking about a particular product, service or blog post, then there’s no harm in directly linking to it.

Cosmetics company Colourpop shows you the goods and makes it easy to swipe up to buy now!

Not quite there yet? Get growing your Instagram followers today!

10. Use Product Stickers on Instagram Stories

Similar to the way you can add product posts to your fee, you can also add a shopping sticker to your Instagram Stories, allowing people to purchase without having to navigate to your link in bio and find the item to purchase. Set up product posting and you’ll have the option to include a linked sticker for easy in-app shopping!

In Conclusion:

Whilst Instagram Stories continues to grow in popularity, considering how it fits into your marketing strategy is essential. Not only is it another way to reach your audience, but it’s also a great platform for sharing some of the human elements behind your business. So, how do you use Instagram Stories to increase YOUR sales?

One of the best ways to increase sales from Instagram Stories and posts it to be consistent. And what better way to ensure consistency than to schedule your Instagram Stories and posts ahead of time!?  Tailwind can help! Give it a try today with a [sc name=”free trial of Tailwind for Instagram”].

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How to Make Instagram Shoppable with Shopify

Are you selling products online with your Shopify store? Do you share those on Instagram and love the way it creates brand awareness and customer engagement? Would you like to turn that awareness and engagement into sales from Instagram? Yes?! I thought so!

Look no further than Instagram shoppable posts. Shoppable posts allow your Instagram audience to go directly from Instagram post to purchase! While you can use Instagram shoppable posts with any shopping cart system, Shopify does a lot of the setup for you. SCORE!

First things first, though:

What Are Instagram Shoppable Posts?

Shoppable Posts utilize product tagging – adding a link to an item or items in your store in much the same way you tag a user on Instagram. If the image or video you post on Instagram features multiple items, you can add more than one tag and more than one link (up to five per image). The price of the item(s) is visible on the post and they can click through to purchase in a snap.

What’s the big deal, you ask?

Instagram doesn’t allow linking from individual post captions on our feeds. That can make generating traffic and direct sales from Instagram a bit challenging. But now, with Shoppable posts, You can link right from your images to your products, potentially greatly increasing your sales from Instagram!

Lulus is a rapidly-growing online fashion company based in northern California. VP of Marketing Noelle Saddler has been using product tagging  on her posts and she told Instagram, “Since launch, shopping on Instagram can be directly attributed to over 1,200 orders and over 100K sessions.” 

In fact, the seamless transition from post to shopping experience may be just what’s needed to turn Instagram into a shopping powerhouse for smart marketers.

Instagram Shop Tab

Another advantage to setting up Shoppable posts and tagging products is that you get a new “Shop” tab on your profile which curates all your posts that include product tags – so when your followers visit, they can get right to shopping if they want. Since 200 million Instagram users visit at least one business profile daily, that’s a lot of shopping opportunities you do NOT want to miss out on.

Getting Started:  Make Instagram Shoppable with Shopify

Setting up Shoppable posts on Instagram doesn’t require anything fancy. In fact, you likely already have everything you need:

If you need any of those three, set them up now and come back. We’ll wait. 😉 The rest of the steps should take you less than 10 minutes, total!

Set Up Your Facebook Shop

Your Facebook shop facilitates shoppable posts and product tagging, so get that set up first. Before you start, make sure you have available your sales tax registration number(s), employer identification or social security number, and bank account information if you’re in the US.

  1. On your Facebook Page, click the Shop* tab. If you don’t see the Shop tab, you can change your Page template to the Shopping template.
  2. Click Set up Shop.
  3. Enter your business address and click Next.
  4. Choose your currency and provide the email address for your business on Facebook. Click Next.
  5. Add your state tax registration number for every state you have a business presence in. Click Finish.

*This feature may still be rolling out.

Time to complete: 5 minutes

Link Shopify with Your Facebook Shop

In order to tag products on Instagram, you first need to set up a Facebook Shop! In your Shopify dashboard, click on “Sales Channels” and select “Facebook.” You’ll then link your Facebook account and choose the Page which houses your new shop. All your products are imported automatically, but you can create collections and specify which products you want shown in Facebook Shop (or not!). (More)
Time to complete: 60 seconds

screenshot of a Facebook page store with products

Here, we’ve chosen to show all products in our Shopify store.

Add The Instagram Shopping Channel to Shopify

In your Shopify dashboard, click on “Sales Channels” and select “Instagram.” You’ll be prompted to complete setup by connecting to Facebook. Instagram will review your request and you should have an answer in a couple of days.

When approved, go to your Instagram account on your phone and under “Business Settings” from Settings, look for “Shopping” and make sure your Facebook shop is linked there. That’s it!

Time to complete: 90 seconds plus approval wait time.

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How to Tag Shopify Products on Instagram to Make them Shoppable Posts

Create your image post as usual or you can create a carousel post if you like. Single images can contain up to 5 product tags each, and a carousel up to 20. When you get to the “share” screen where you can tag people, you’ll see a new option to tag products. Click on that to search your products and add the tag. That’s it! Note: Currently you can tag people OR products, not both.

Creating Effective Shoppable Posts on Instagram

Screenshot of Instagram Shopable Post with product tags

Serena and Lily tagged several products in this gorgeous lifestyle image post.

What works best – isolated product shots or lifestyle images with several product tags? It’s worth experimenting, but you may find that lifestyle images which inspire and provide context, along with producing opportunity for multiple tags per post, could be the more engaging option. You can also add product tags to user-generated content, which may be the best option of all!

Planning ahead is the best way to ensure consistent activity on Instagram. While you won’t be able to auto post shoppable posts, you can still use notifications to allow you to plan and post Instagram updates simply and easily. Once you get to the “Share” screen on your phone, you can add your tags. Tailwind makes planning and posting to Instagram easy. Try it out for free!

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Instagram Insights on Shoppable Posts

Naturally, you’ll want to know how well Shoppable posts and product tagging are working for YOU. Tap “view insights” on each post to see how many viewers clicked to get more details or shop now. You can also visit your account Insights and sort by various metrics to see which kinds of products and posts work best for you.

In Conclusion: Go Make Instagram Shoppable with Shopify!

Make it easy for new and long-time fans of your brand to purchase from Instagram by using product tags to create shoppable posts. It takes only about 10 minutes total to set up when you are using Shopify, and you may find it makes a big impact on your bottom line.

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How to Get More Sales with Instagram

This is a guest post from Mitt Ray of

Do you want to get the most out of your Instagram presence? Would you like to learn how to get more sales with Instagram?

If your business follows through on a well-planned Instagram strategy, you should be able to generate plenty of sales, as the average Instagram user spends $65 per order, giving it the 2nd highest average order value among social networks.

So, today I am going to show you exactly how to get more sales with Instagram…

Optimize Your Marketing For Mobile

Since the vast majority of time Instagrammers spend on the platform is on mobile, if you want to get more sales from Instagram, you need to first make sure all your online properties are optimized for mobile devices. This includes your website, landing pages, emails, etc. Optimizing all media for mobile is especially important for companies that use a well-planned marketing funnel, since the success of the funnel depends upon the visitor taking multiple steps on the site.

People who enter your funnel from Instagram through a mobile device will most likely access the rest of your content through a mobile device as well. Make it a delightful mobile experience all the way through the process and increase your chances of making a sale!

Optimize all your marketing content for mobile – before you start working on generating any sales from Instagram.

Post GREAT PHOTOS of your Products and Share Useful Product-Related Content

It sounds obvious, but to generate sales of your products, you’ll need to share lots of product photos as well as photos promoting compelling blog content to encourage people to visit your website.

Not just any old photo will do! Spend time getting the lighting just right (oftentimes outdoor lighting is the best). Try a mix of photos of your product on a plain background, stylish flay lays (like this one from @birdsparty), and lifestyle photos of your product and watch which performs best.

screenshot of instagram imageTo promote your website content and get people into your marketing funnel, you can take some Instagram-optimized background photos, upload them onto an editor, and add in overlay text and icons that promote the funnel. Blog posts and webinars can be promoted with this technique. You might also try NOT using any overlay text, but instead arousing curiosity with the image and clarifying with the caption.

Make sure to accompany the photo with a fun and informative caption, including:

  • What the product is
  • Tailwind hashtag finderThe benefits it provides
  • A call to action on how to get one for themselves – If you are placing a link to it in your Instagram bio, a simple “(link in bio)” will help them find it
  • Hashtags. Relevant hashtags can help people find you and increase engagement. Try Tailwind’s hashtag finder to uncover relevant, useful hashtags for your post.

To make sure that you get the most out of this post, respond to comments on it as soon as you can..  Keep an eye on it for the first 24 to 48 hours at least.

One company that regularly uses Instagram to promote its products is Ben & Jerry’s.

This fun shot introduces their followers to their new non-dairy ice cream. The photo shows the product in action and all the flavors available. Notice the fun and engaging description. Using a question is often a good way to get a conversation started!

They also regularly share recipe videos where their ice creams are an essential ingredient. Can you think of similar ways in which you might promote your products directly and indirectly?

Team up with Influencers

If you want to promote your products to a larger and fresher audience, you should try out Instagram influencer marketing. It has the potential not just help you generate more sales, but if you get the influencer to tag your Instagram account in the post description, you’ll see your follower count grow as well!.

The ROI can also be high. Unwheels, for example, generated $1 million from just three months of influencer marketing. Their investment? A very affordable $61,200!

Instagram Influencers

Working with an influencer – even (especially?!) when it’s a cat – can get your products in front of a whole new audience.

Be careful when vetting influencers you choose to engage, being on the alert for accounts with fake followers and low engagement levels. Partnering with them will do nothing to increase your sales or improve your marketing.

Here are a few tips to help you find the right influencers…

  • Choose influencers relevant to your niche: The influencer you choose should already be sharing content relevant to the products you want to promote. Relevancy ensures that your promotion reaches the right followers.
  • Look for stats beyond followers:. While researching influencers, look at engagement levels. Check for both likes and comments on their posts.

If the photos they post are getting less engagement than you expect (see this chart of average engagement rate by follower count), it may indicate a large number of fake followers. Stay clear of these people.

  • Ask for references: Ask these influencers for references and results of campaigns they have worked on in the past. If possible, contact these clients and find out if they were pleased with the experience and the results.
  • Work with an agency: There are marketing agencies that specialize in working with influencers. Usually they will have a portfolio of influencers they work with regularly and case studies that show results. If you have a high budget, you can work with them. They will save you a lot of time.

Once you have chosen the influencer(s), you can work with them and create an Instagram-optimized photo.

Don’t rush when creating the caption to accompany the photo. Include hashtags as they increase engagement – and don’t forget to tag your Instagram account so that the influencer’s followers can find and follow you easily. Make sure that they schedule the Instagram post at the most engaging time (Tailwind’s Smartschedule will tell you the best times) and if possible, get them to include the link to the product in their bio for a few hours when the post goes live. Don’t forget to add “Link in bio” to help people find the link quickly.

One company that knows how to find the right influencers for their Instagram sponsored posts is Pedigree. When they ran the ‘Buy a Bag, Give a Bowl’ campaign, they only worked with pet owners and got them to share stories about their pets.

The results of this campaign were stellar. It generated more than 62,800 content views and 43 million impressions.

Run Contests Promoting your Products

Contests are usually used to drive up engagement and get followers (70% faster). But you can use contests to drive more sales by making the products an integral part of the contest.

One way to do this is by giving away your products as the prize. While you promote the contest, you will also be promoting the prizes (your product) – building demand for them!

You can also offer people a chance to win when they post a selfie that includes the product or like or tag a friend on the p post If you are running a contest for the first time, try ‘Like to Win’ contests. These only require entrants to like a product photo you post on Instagram. It might look too simple, but all those likes constitute engagement which will increase impressions and (hopefully) sales. They require very little effort on your part and when the prize is relatively small, can be affordable enough to offer on a regular basis.

Drinkwel knows how to make use of Like to Win contests such as the above one. To take part in this contest all people had to do was like the photo and follow them. They featured a product in the photo, which means increased awareness and hopefully, sales.

Track Sales with the Right Analytics Tools

If you want to get the most out of the above techniques and brainstorm new techniques that are more likely to work, you need to regularly track analytics and make changes based upon your findings.

For tracking Instagram analytics I like to use a combination of two tools, Tailwind and Cyfe.

Tailwind helps me track my Instagram account’s activity. Using their Post Inspector I can analyse individual posts to see which posts are getting the highest engagement. It can also help me find trending posts and the Smartqueue automatically suggests my peak times to post.

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Cyfe helps with the web analytics. Their social media dashboard lets me view metrics from my Instagram account along with data from other networks and analytics tools on one screen.

I can also use their mashups feature and compare data from Instagram against data from other software like Google Analytics, Shopify, Unbounce, Stripe, Paypal, etc. to check if my Instagram activity is resulting in traffic and sales.

In Conclusion

These are countless ways to get more sales with Instagram, and all of them can be implemented by anyone.

  • Begin by optimizing your marketing media for mobile.
  • Promote your content through product photos, helpful and motivating descriptions, influencer marketing, and contests.
  • Don’t forget to measure the effectiveness of your marketing methods by using analytics tools.

How do you get more sales with Instagram? Which techniques work best for you? Please leave your comments below.

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