Instagram eCommerce: 5 Tips To Leverage Instagram To Market A New Online Store

With over 2 billion monthly active users, Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms today. This makes it a prime destination for B2C brands to market their products in creative ways. As a consumer, you’re likely spending a good deal of your day on Instagram, interacting not only with your friends but also brands.

Being a visual-first platform, it’s particularly suitable for eCommerce marketing (as opposed to B2B, software, and service-based businesses), because you have all the creative liberty to post eye-catching product photos, entertaining and/or educational videos, user-generated content, and more.

This strategy makes it easier to tailor your content in such a way that it resonates and connects with your target audience. The aim is for your customers to end up developing a strong positive perception of your brand. 

The potential of Instagram marketing strategy is limitless, but attempting to achieve that initial traction with your branded Instagram account can be a tall order. Even if you tick off all the best practices, growing your new account organically will take a lot of consistent time and effort.

Thus, assuming you have just one hundred or so followers to begin with on your Instagram business account, how do you reach more potential customers and to get more eyeballs on your business?

Without further ado, here’s how to use Instagram to market your brand new store.

1. Prepare a few posts to front-load your new branded account

What would you think if you stumble on a brand’s Instagram account only to find it’s either empty or has just a couple of posts? A business profile without any interesting content certainly won’t form a good impression on your target audience.

When you start a business, you want to immediately start to build and maintain strong personal relationships with your audience through Instagram. Replying to direct messages and commenting on posts is a great way to start engaging and creating awareness to your followers and potential customers.  

But before you go live with your brand’s Instagram account, consider stacking up a few posts in advance that you can put on your content calendar. Here are a few important tips to keep in mind:

Develop a content strategy: Plan a series of high-quality posts that showcase your products, brand story, and unique selling points. Use a mix of lifestyle images and product close-ups to create a visually appealing feed. Given the informal nature of Instagram, feel free to add an element of humor and fun with memes and reels that people would be inclined to share (more on these in the next sections).

Optimize captions and hashtags: Write short, compelling captions that provide context and encourage engagement (with a CTA such as “Comment your thoughts below!”). Research and use relevant hashtags to expand your reach.

Incorporate visual consistency: Maintain a consistent visual aesthetic across your posts with a predefined color scheme and typography as per your brand style guide. This creates a cohesive brand identity and enhances recognition.

Schedule posts strategically: Use a social media scheduling platform like Keyhole to schedule your posts at optimal times when your target audience is most active. This ensures maximum visibility and engagement. You also get to know your best times to post, optimal post length, top hashtags, most engaging media and content types, etc.

Front-loading your new branded account with captivating posts sets the stage for a successful start.

2. Use Instagram Reels to boost your reach

Instagram Reels is synonymous with reach. With its short, attention-grabbing video format, Reels can help your new online store quickly gain visibility and generate interest.

Instagram has been promoting the Reels format as discovery content, which viewers can swipe through and watch. The platform pushes your Reels to audiences whose content history and preferences match the kind of content you create. This way, your videos’ visibility to new and relevant audiences is high, allowing you to strike the right chord and gain more Instagram followers.

Here are some effective ways to leverage Instagram Reels for promoting your new brand:

Behind the scenes: Offer customers a glimpse behind the curtain and reveal your brand’s identity with a captivating behind-the-scenes Reel. Unveil your creative process, and the inspiration that fuels your products, or the meticulous craftsmanship involved.

These exclusive peeks can also showcase your company’s collaborative dynamics and team culture. By sharing this authentic side, you foster transparency, allowing viewers to better connect and relate with your brand.

Quick tips and how-tos: These videos focus on adding value to your audience while bringing your product some subtle attention. For example, BlendJet creates Reels to share quick smoothie recipes, but the videos involve the usage of their flagship product. Likewise, if you sell any makeup products, you can showcase how they can be used to create a natural look.

The advantage of making such videos is that they are a soft sell and your brand won’t be deemed pushy. Such videos are primarily meant to share creative information that helps viewers achieve something but they also involve the usage of your product.

Product reviews: Use Reels to showcase various use cases of your products and help prospects visualize the benefits they’ll realize if they make a purchase. Making Reels to share an overview of your products introduces your brand to new audiences without overwhelming them with excessive information about your business.

Check out this detailed guide on using Instagram Reels to grow your business.

3. Consider carousel posts aligned with your brand kit

Carousel posts are essentially a series of images (and/or videos) that users can swipe through. They’re a powerful tool for showcasing your products, sharing helpful tips, and telling a visual story while retaining your branding elements.

Here’s how to craft swipe-worthy carousel posts:

Maintain consistent visual identity: Ensure that your carousel posts reflect your brand’s aesthetics, colors, fonts, and overall style. Consistency across your posts helps establish brand recognition and reinforces your brand identity.

Tell a story: Use carousel posts to take your audience on a journey. Feature multiple images or videos that seamlessly connect and tell a cohesive narrative (such as a “Before and After”). This storytelling approach helps engage your audience and creates a compelling visual experience.

Highlight product features: Showcase different aspects of your products within the carousel. Each slide can highlight a unique feature, demonstrate a benefit, or provide a closer look. This allows potential customers to explore your offerings more comprehensively.

Include a Call-to-Action: Don’t forget to include a CTA at the end of your carousel posts. Encourage users to visit your online store, view your catalog, make a purchase, or engage with your brand in some way.

Check out how Nike hypes up their new shoe launch with a neat carousel post.

Here’s another great example of a carousel post from Pepsi that perfectly aligns with its branding.

By carefully crafting carousel posts that align with your brand kit, you can capture the attention of your target audience and get them to dive deeper into your brand.

4. Create original memes

Everyone loves memes. But as a marketing medium, memes are a medium-effort, high-risk, high-reward strategy. A clever, well-thought-out, and relatable meme can be a huge hit, whereas a meme that could potentially offend an audience group can take a hit on your brand. So when it comes to posting memes (and humor in general) as a business, tread carefully.

That said, as a new Instagram account, memes can work wonders in gaining initial followers thanks to their virality factor — people love sharing quality memes with their friends. Here’s how to approach meme creation (and curation) as a brand:

Know your target audience: To create memes that resonate with them and increase the likelihood of them being shared, you need to deeply understand the preferences, interests, and sense of humor of your target audience.

Stay relevant and timely: Keep an eye on current trends, pop culture references, and relevant events. Incorporate these elements into your memes to make them timely and relatable. This will help increase the chances of your memes going viral.

Be creative and original: Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and come up with offbeat ideas. Using meme templates from sites like Imgflip is fine, but also try to create original content that reflects your brand’s unique personality.

Keep it simple and concise: Memes are loved for their simplicity and brevity. Keep your captions short and witty. Use concise language and focus on delivering a clear message that aligns with your brand’s voice.

Add your branding elements: Incorporate your online store’s logo, URL, or relevant branding elements (such as a watermark) into your memes. This way, when your memes are shared, your brand will be easily recognizable, increasing brand awareness and potentially driving traffic to your online store.

Remember, the goal of sharing memes is to entertain, engage, and ultimately drive interest and traffic to your online store. Embrace creativity, stay in tune with your target audience, and let your memes do the marketing magic on Instagram.

5. Set aside a budget for ads

It’s true: on social media provide best platforms for e-commerce. But apps like Facebook and Instagram, organic content’s reach has gone down over the years. What’s more, more and more consumers report finding the perfect product by seeing a targeted ad (49%) over an organic post by a brand (40%).

And so, allocating a budget for running paid ads on Instagram is crucial. The good news is Instagram offers powerful advertising options that can help you reach your exact target audience and drive traffic to your eCommerce store. Here are a few key points to consider:

Define your advertising goals: Determine what you want to achieve with your Instagram ads. Whether it’s increasing brand awareness by increasing profile visits, driving website traffic, or boosting product sales, set clear goals for your ad strategy.

Choose the right ad formats: Instagram provides various ad formats, including photo ads, video ads, carousel ads, and story ads. Select the format that best aligns with your goals and budget, and resonates with your audience.

Target your audience effectively: Take advantage of Instagram’s targeting options to reach the right people. Consider factors such as demographics, interests, behaviors, and lookalike audiences to refine your targeting and maximize ad relevance.

Monitor and optimize ad performance: Regularly review your ad performance metrics and make data-driven decisions to optimize your campaigns. Adjust your targeting, creative elements, and budget allocation based on insights to improve the effectiveness of your ads.

These are just the basics of running a successful ad campaign on Instagram. Check out this in-depth guide on Instagram advertising to learn more about how to set up and optimize your ads for the best ROI.

Wrapping up

Unless one of your reels blows up and reaches thousands of users, successfully marketing a new eCommerce brand on Instagram — just like any other platform — and establishing a strong presence with a respectable follower count is a long-run game.

Plus, with many of your competitors already present on the platform in full swing, standing out as a new business account would be anything but easy. But fret not. If you focus on the five tips discussed above — and keep at it for a few months — we’re sure you’ll find success and fuel sales for your new online store.

variKeyhole’s Instagram Analytics tool lets you monitor your hashtag campaigns, measure your influencers’ ROI, and uncover all your Instagram Posts, Stories, and Reels data in one dashboard. Sign up for a free trial to keep an accurate eye on your Instagram marketing performance and ROI to tailor your efforts for maximum impact. 

Author Bio

Lucy Manole is a creative content writer and strategist at Marketing Digest. She specializes in writing about social media, email marketing, technology, entrepreneurship, and much more. When she is not writing or editing, she spends time reading books, cooking, and traveling.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can Instagram be used for eCommerce?

Yes, Instagram can be effectively used for eCommerce. With its visual nature and impressively large user base, eCommerce brands can showcase products, engage with their audience, and drive sales through Instagram.

2. How do I market my eCommerce on Instagram?

To market your eCommerce on Instagram, start by optimizing your Instagram profile with a clear and compelling bio and a link to your online store. Create visually appealing and engaging content, including high-quality product images, entertaining/educational reels, lifestyle shots, and user-generated content. Include relevant hashtags, collaborate with influencers if you have the budget, run targeted ads, and leverage features like Instagram Shopping to make your products easy to discover and shop.

3. Why Instagram marketing is key to eCommerce success?

Instagram marketing is key to eCommerce success because it allows you to reach a highly engaged audience and showcase your products in an engaging and visually appealing way. Instagram's features like shoppable posts and ads make it easier for users to discover and purchase products directly from the platform. By building a strong brand presence, engaging with followers, and leveraging Instagram's marketing tools, eCommerce businesses can build brand awareness, drive website traffic, and boost sales.

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