How Brands Can Use Instagram to Generate Ecommerce

instagram_and_ecommerceBrands and retailers have been seeking out the best way to tap into Instagram’s colossal database of over 300 million users, 60 percent of whom are between 18 and 35 years old. Up until quite recently, advertising ROI on Instagram has been convoluted at best. Even so, according to a recent report published by online marketing research firm L2, 93 percent of the world’s premier brands have set up shop on Instagram. But now, with the recent additions of clickable Instagram ads and video sharing, ecommerce businesses have an arsenal of powerful tools at their disposal to engage their audiences. So how exactly can brands leverage Instagram’s new advertising tools to boost ecommerce sales? Below are some key Instagram strategies that brands can use to take their online sales to the next level.

1. Instagram’s New Multi-Photo Carousel Ads

The big news is the recent rollout of Instagram’s multi-photo carousel ads which provide four branded images in sequence that users can swipe through. The new “learn more” button that appears at the end of the photo series will be clickable and take users to a new URL within the app where they can learn more about the company, shop their website or donate money. Before this, Instagram’s ads have been used more for show versus sales, which didn’t provide the kind of measurable ROI that advertisers crave. But with the new developments, advertisers can have a more firm grasp on how well their social media ad dollars are being spent.

At this time only select brands will be able to utilize the multi-photo carousel ads, and Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom will give final approval on all ads to keep the app free-flowing and tidy. Also, the ads will only include photos for now, but Instagram is considering future video ads as well. Curious how your brand can use Instagram videos to generate ecommerse? Read on!

2. Encourage User-Generated Content Via Contests or Promotions

One of the most effective ways to engage potential customers is to encourage them to share videos in which they’re using or displaying your product as part of some type of contest or incentive. One of the most successful examples of this is a now-famous Mentos promotion in which people shared Instagram videos of the somewhat explosive chemical reactions that can happen when you combine Diet Coke with Mentos. This promotion dramatically increased sales of Mentos, and boosted the brand’s cool factor. There have also been several hot sauce manufacturers who have encouraged their fan base to film reaction videos of people who are trying their hot sauces for the first time. Encouraging consumer participation will convey a sense of partnership, to where your customers essentially become the “face” of your brand.

3. Publish Inspirational Videos That Appeal to Your Target Demographic

Any time you can share a video that will encourage or inspire your target audience while also integrating the major themes of your brand, you have a winning concept. Yoga and sportswear retailer Lululemon has mastered this practice with their Instagram account, regularly publishing short videos depicting athletic men and women engaging in grueling workouts while donning Lululemon clothes and gear. Using your videos to give your target audience a “vision” of how your products can or should be integrated into their daily lives will create a strong emotional connection with your brand; when you can achieve this, increased sales will soon follow.

4. Promote Newly Released Products

Any new product release deserves a worthy video introduction and promotion. If you can use real employees or members of your team to model your new products, so much the better. American Apparel often implements this practice to introduce new collections.

5. Include Secret “Easter Egg” Promo Codes in Your Videos

This is an excellent way to reward loyal followers. Create a video that includes a promo code that can be found on a particular object in the background, or in some other type of element so that it’s hidden inside the video. Encourage your followers to find the code, which will give them discount off certain products in your online store.

6. Share How-to or Demonstration Videos

Many consumers won’t fully connect with your product until they can see how it can be used in a real-life context. For example, if your ecommerce store markets cosmetics, you can create a tutorial video showing how to achieve a certain look using the makeup that you sell. Any type of video that will offer helpful how-to instructions or product demonstrations will be a definite asset in terms of generating sales for your ecommerce store.

7. Give Your Audience a Peek Behind the Scenes

If your brand has a social following, it’s highly likely that these fans are intrigued by more than just your products; they want to know more about what makes your company tick. You can publish videos that will show your fans a little more about what goes on behind the scenes at your company, giving them a peek into various aspects of your daily operations. For example, a clothing company may give their fans a glimpse of what it’s like to prepare for a fashion show, or a car manufacturer may share a time-lapse video of a car being assembled in their factory. These types of special communications will help followers develop a deeper connection with your brand.

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