Instagram isn't the first platform you probably think of when it comes to social selling.
Facebook is the obvious number one, maybe Pinterest, and Twitter if you're generating leads through direct product or sales announcements. But Instagram? It doesn't even let you hyperlink in descriptions.
Actually, it is starting to gain a pretty solid lead for sales these days. The fact that it is a visual site already makes it prime for marketing (as many brands have discovered).
Now it can act as a kind of social portal to your storefront. You just have to know how to properly utilize it.
Unfortunately there are a limited number of actual tools out there to help you do it. But the ones that are at your disposal are good enough to really make up for that.
Turn Your Photos Into Prints
Photographer Daniel Arnold figured it out, and he made $15,000 in PayPal orders in a single day. All with a single trick that isn't a trick at all: he asked.
Desperate for money, he asked his more than 100,000 followers if they would be interested in perhaps getting a print of any of his photographs for a small fee. The response was overwhelming, and his success was incredible.
This shows something that we occasionally forget, and that is the power of simply asking people to buy from you.
Your Instagram followers probably enjoy your work very much. Why not see if they would like to own a piece of it in real life.
These days there are services like PrintMePoster that allows to easily turn your Instagram timeline into a poster.
It's more suitable for personal use than for selling (unless your timeline is highly thematic). But there are other features that allow you to sell Instagram photos as well.
Another one is MobilePrints, which allow you to create print versions of photos on Instagram (or your mobile phone) in different sizes. It's a pretty new service but something to take a look at if you are into creative photography.
Create an Instagram Store
You can sync up your inventory directly, so that it updates in your Instagram account and acts as a catalog for your followers. Shopseen is an easy to use application that turns your account into a digital storefront.
Just link the two, and once it is confirmed you can upload images into Instagram. From there you can add in descriptions and prices. Payments can be made using credit cards on a secure server the customer follows through your profile link.
While you wouldn't want this to be your only option, it is a good way to expand onto a new social network that isn't so crowded by other businesses.
Plus, it doesn't have the ever changing rules of Facebook, nor does it restrict your reach based on direct promotion.
Utilize Your Description Link
The only place where you can hyperlink to your own asset is your Instagram description and quite unbelievably, there are services that monetize that field to the fullest.
Soldsie creates a custom site that looks exactly the same as your Instagram account to avoid customers' confusion and increase conversions. The app adds that shoppable link to your Instagram bio.
Soldie integrates with WooCommerce and Shopify letting you import your products from there.
Treat Instagram Like a Look Book
Creating a storefront might not be your style. Maybe a look book would be better. You can show off your products for the sake of promoting your brand, without directly selling.
As long as you push for conversions back on your site, you should be able to build a solid foundation.
Elizabeth Victoria Clark is a good example of an indie fashion entrepreneur utilizing Instagram as a look book to increase her sales. You can read how she uses Instagram in her interview for FirstSiteGuide and see her Instagram timeline here.
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