Social Commerce Guide: How to Sell on Instagram in 2022

Want to know how to successfully sell on Instagram? Find out how to effectively promote and sell your products on Instagram in 2022.

How to Sell on Instagram
Portrait for Mark AnkucicBy Mark Ankucic  |  Updated November 10, 2022

In 2020, social commerce surged by 38.9%, and despite numbers slowing down slightly throughout 2021, research suggests consumers will be shopping via social media for the foreseeable future. In fact, social commerce sales are expected to amount to $36.62 billion by the end of 2021.

So how can you make sure that you’re selling your product or service effectively on social media? And more specifically, on Instagram? This article will outline some key steps you can follow to give your business the best chance for success on Instagram in 2021. 

But first, let’s look at how you can sell on Instagram. 

What Does Selling on Instagram Look Like in 2021?

Although Facebook still takes the lead, 12.9% of internet users have purchased via Instagram as of May 2021. 

There are two ways followers can buy from your business via Instagram: using your Instagram store or heading to your website via an external link. Which option you use depends on the product you’re selling and who your audience is. We can’t tell you which to use, but we can look at each option in more detail so you can figure out which is right for your business. 

Spoiler alert: It could be both. 

Instagram Shopping

Instagram Shopping allows your followers to shop directly from your posts and videos. You can tag products in your posts, and users can buy them from within Instagram. 

Here’s an example of a tagged product in a post from Arc’teryx. The tag in the post on the left takes the user to the store on the right. 

Arc’teryx Example

So how do you create an Instagram Store? There are a few steps you need to follow: 

  • Sign up for a business account: You can find out if your business is eligible on the Instagram website. 
  • Connect your account to your Facebook page: You don’t need to have a Facebook shop, but you do need to connect it to your account. 
  • Upload your product catalog: You can either create this yourself or integrate it with an external commerce platform, like Shopify. 
  • Turn on shopping: Once you’ve reviewed everything, make your store live for shopping. 
  • Start tagging: You can now tag your products in posts. You can add shopping stickers to your stories, too. 

Direct Followers to Your Website

If you don’t want to create a store on Instagram, or if you’re selling a service instead of a product, you need to get followers to your website to make a sale. 

There are two ways to do this: 

A “link in bio” allows you to direct followers to your website by turning each post into a shoppable image. Unlike the Instagram store, it links directly to your website. You can create a link using third-party platforms like Milkshake or Linktree, which then sits in your bio. 

ASOS Example

2. Add a link to your Instagram Story

Adding a link to your Instagram Story means users can get to your website while they view your stories. This feature has recently been introduced in addition to the swipe up link, which is only available to verified users or accounts with over 10,000 followers. 

Now, let’s look at four best practices you can follow to sell effectively on Instagram in 2021. 

How to Sell on Instagram in 2022

1. Don’t Be Too Salesy

When it comes to selling on Instagram, it’s hard to refrain from going all-in. You want to promote your business as much as possible to increase awareness and sales, right?

But hold your fire – going too hard can prevent customers from buying.

Studies show that 57% of consumers are more likely to purchase from someone who doesn’t apply pressure. The same principle applies to your Instagram page. 

You need to strike the right balance between promotional content, informative posts, and lighthearted content. It’ll keep your followers engaged and prevent them from thinking you’re too pushy.

Take a look at Preply as an example. The company promotes its language learning service amidst informative posts about learning English and funny memes. If you look closely at the image below, you’ll see there’s only one post out of the six that encourages followers to take action. 

Preply on Instagram

So how can you strike the right balance with your Instagram content? We’d suggest planning your content. This will ensure that you’re not posting too many promo posts and that your content is varied. 

To do this, you can use Instagram scheduling tools such as Sked Social, Hootsuite, and Loomly. 

You can also download the Instagram feed planner from Envato Elements to start planning your content right away. 

2. Repurpose Your Content 

While we’re talking about the type of content you should post on your Instagram, let’s talk about repurposing it too. 

Repurposing content involves reusing any text or images from previous posts or your website and redistributing them on social media channels. It’s a great way to post quality content fast. 

As we’ve already discussed, being able to vary the type of content you’re posting is a good thing when it comes to selling. So what type of content should you be repurposing? 

In all honesty, it could be anything. Quotes from an article on your website, statistics, and old posts from Instagram work well. You could even use graphic content elements, like the images and text from this article about building automation systems. Ultimately, you should repurpose anything you think will resonate with your followers and create an engaging post. 

3. Incentivize Your Posts 

Research shows that 70% of millennials follow brands on social media, and more than half do so to receive cost-saving offers and incentives. 

So if you’re not already doing so, you might want to think about launching a sales promotion on your Instagram feed. It’s a great strategy to increase engagement, build a loyal follower base, and grow your Instagram sales. 

This could be in the form of a discount code, a free online webinar, a buy-one-get-one-half-price promotion, or anything that you think will encourage your followers to make a purchase. 

You could also offer a giveaway. This might not directly increase sales, but it’ll increase your reach. With a wider reach, you can grow your Instagram following and increase your chances of getting more sales in the future.

If you haven’t done a giveaway before, don’t worry! In the following example, Scott’s Cheap Flights hosted a giveaway to offer one of its followers $500 to spend on flights, an upgrade to its elite tier, and a copy of Scott’s book, Take More Vacations

To enter, followers had to tag five friends in the comments and share the post on their Instagram story. The post got almost 20,000 comments. For reference, its regular posts rarely get over 100. 

This giveaway helped Scott’s Cheap Flights increase both reach and engagement. As a result, it has a higher chance of getting more sales.  

An alternative and trending way to incentivize your followers is by directing them to a free quiz

Quiz landing pages can be a great way to capture a user’s attention, offer personalized advice with the results, or help users learn more about themselves – such as this example from Adobe.

Adobe Example

A quiz can be a great way to intrigue customers and optionally capture their email address without being too salesy upfront. 

4. Craft Original Captions 

There are over 200 million business accounts on Instagram, so it’s safe to say that it’s a pretty saturated market. 

If you want to stand out from the crowd and encourage followers to buy, you’ll need original and engaging captions. If you don’t have them, your posts could get lost – and if you don’t get engagement on your posts, Instagram isn’t going to show it to more people. 

But how do you create original and engaging captions? Here’s what we’d suggest: 

  • Think about caption length: A study shows that people engage with longer captions. This doesn’t mean it’ll work for everyone, but look at your analytics and see if longer captions get the most engagement. If so, you might want to think about crafting longer captions for all your posts. 
Hootsuite long captions experiment
  • Make your posts as readable as possible: A big block of text can be hard to read, especially on a mobile device. Use emojis, bullet points, and line spacing to break things up and make them easier to digest. Note: you can’t add line spacing on Instagram itself. Type the caption in Word or Notes first and copy it over. 
  • Put important information first: If you’re writing a long caption, it helps to open with the important part first. For example, if you’re writing a caption about the launch of a product sale, you might start the caption with “ANNOUNCEMENT: PRODUCT SALE COMING SOON” before continuing to explain when it’ll happen and what’ll be included.
  • Use imperative language: If you want your posts to be engaging, use actionable language that encourages the audience to do something. Words like ‘share, try, use, and tap, are all great ways to get people to engage with your posts. 
  • Use hashtags: Hashtags can generate more traffic to your page and help you to reach a wider audience. If you use a scheduling platform like Sked Social, you can automatically generate hashtags based on relevant phrases. 

Start Selling on Instagram Today 

By now, you’ve learned how to sell your product or service on Instagram in 2021 and increase your brand’s engagement.

Remember that Instagram’s algorithm changes all the time, and so does the way people behave online. Ultimately, it’s up to you to figure out what works best for you and your audience to give your Instagram sales the best chance for success. 

And if you want to start selling on Instagram, take a look at Envato’s Instagram graphic templates to start creating high-quality posts on your account.

Guest author: Mark Ankucic

Mark Ankucic is content strategist at Sked Social, an Instagram social media scheduler. You’ll often find him tinkering with SEO, tweaking copy for conversion, and scrolling social to find the latest news in the world of content.

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