Looking to make money on Instagram?
According to a recent survey by Facebook, 81% of users say that Instagram helps them research products and services. But with over 1 billion monthly users, a somewhat mysterious algorithm, and thousands of creative brands vying for consumer attention, it’s a competitive place to grow an engaged following and make sales.
Here’s the good news: there are still plenty of ways that businesses can stand out from the crowd, attract and connect with their target customers, and make money on Instagram.
Here are 5 strategies to try in 2020:
Make Money on Instagram #1: Sell Your Products Using Instagram Shopping
Thanks to its visual-first design, high engagement, and the shopping-mindset of its users, Instagram has always been a powerful channel for e-commerce businesses looking to connect with (and sell to) their target customers. And it’s getting even better thanks to the recent-ish rollout of “Instagram Shopping,” a suite of features that help streamline the buying process.
Whereas in the past, e-commerce businesses had to rely on the link in their bio to make sales, Instagram has now made it possible to “tag” products in your organic feed posts and stories, or have people discover your products on the Search & Explore page. And thanks to Instagram’s new checkout feature, when you find a product you love, you can now buy it without leaving the app.
Here are a few tips on how to make the most of Instagram Shopping:
Tip #1: Experiment with Different Post Formats
The jury’s still out when it comes to which post format is most effective for driving e-commerce sales. Luckily, you have your pick: you can add shopping tags to your photos, videos, and carousel posts, and product stickers to your Instagram Stories.
If you’re just getting started with Instagram Shopping, it’s a good idea to experiment with these different post formats to find out which delivers the best return on investment. Some businesses like Vitruvi prefer to use shopping tags on their photo posts, while Glossier often uses a combination of photos, videos, and carousel posts to promote their products.
Another consideration is the complexity of the product you’re selling. For example, if your online store sells a complex or hard-to-describe product, it might make sense to focus on videos, carousel posts, and stories – formats that allow you to “demo” your products in more detail.
Catbird uses their stories to make sales from Instagram by showing videos of what their products look like in “real life,” showcasing features that may be hard to communicate in a photo and answering common questions.
Tip #2: Write Captions that Convert
The simple act of including a call-to-action in your caption can go a long way when it comes to driving more sales through Instagram Shopping. For example, adding a simple “tap to shop” in your caption will remind your customers they can immediately purchase the product that they’re viewing.
But we recommend taking it a step further and spending some time writing captions that really convince your followers to make a purchase.
While Instagram is undoubtedly a shopping destination for many, not everyone is ready to take the plunge and make an in-app purchase. By writing longer captions that highlight why you’re selling a product, what’s different about it, and why they should tap the “buy” button, you can build more confidence and convert on-the-fence prospects into customers.
Tip #3: Create Story Highlights for Different Products
Stories may disappear after 24 hours, but you can use Instagram Stories Highlights to showcase high-performing stories with shoppable “Product” stickers.
This is a really popular strategy among fashion brands – like Kith, which uses Instagram Stories Highlights to promote various product collections, or Free People, which highlights their seasonal catalog.
What’s so great about this strategy is that because Instagram Stories Highlights live front-and-center on your profile, they’re perfect for connecting new visitors to your products in an organic way.
Pro-Tip: Create pro-looking Instagram Story Highlight icons in Spark Post. It only takes 90 seconds! Learn how below:
Looking to get started with Instagram Shopping? Check out Instagram’s guide for getting started with the feature.
Make Money on Instagram #2: Drive Traffic & Make Sales with the Link in Your Bio
Even with Instagram Shopping exploding in popularity, driving traffic through the link in your Instagram bio is an effective way to make sales from Instagram – you can use it to drive traffic to your website, product pages, promotions, and so much more.
Of course, since you only have one link to work with, you need to be strategic about how you use it. Here are a few tips on how to optimize the link in your bio:
Tip #1: Add a Call-To-Action for the Link in Your Instagram Bio
If you’re using the link in your bio to make e-commerce sales, it’s important to include a call-to-action that tells users what’s in it for them if they click-through. For example, if you’re offering a new promotion or limited time offer, you should include these details in your bio.
The same is true for your Instagram captions. Like with your Instagram Shopping posts, it’s important to include a call-to-action that inspires your followers to click the link in your bio, like “shop this look by clicking the link in our bio.”
Tip #2: Use a Third-Party Link in Bio Tool
To make the most of your bio link, it’s important to ensure that the website you’re linking to is optimized for mobile traffic, since people will be clicking it from the Instagram app on their phones.
One such tool is Linkin.bio by Later, which lets you turn your Instagram feed into a clickable, mobile-optimized landing page so your followers can find exactly what they’re looking for, whether it’s a blog post, newsworthy article, or a specific product page.
By creating a shoppable landing page with Linkin.bio, and then driving their followers to visit that link, businesses can link each Instagram post to a specific product page, making it easier for their followers to find exactly what they are looking for.
Make Money on Instagram #3: Add Links to Your Instagram Stories
If you have over 10K followers on Instagram, you’re one of the lucky accounts that can add direct links to your stories and encourage their followers to “swipe up” to shop the item or learn more. Although this feature is a game-changer for businesses hoping to make money on Instagram, there are several ways to make it even more valuable for your brand:
First off, it’s always worth teasing a link in your Instagram Stories. Whether it’s done verbally or through a text caption, providing a quick explanation for why someone should “swipe up” is a good start when it comes to driving more clicks.
Equally, it’s a good idea to add an eye-catching GIF that encourages more “swipe up” activity. There are plenty of ready-made options to choose from, but you can also take a page out of Ban.do’s book and create your own custom “swipe up” GIF.
In addition to calling out your links and adding a GIF, you can also animate your stories to drive more clicks. Get started creating easy vertical videos in one tap. These sales-driving Adobe Spark templates belo can help you get started–just tap to edit. To make them move, use the iOS app and tap animation to apply an effect.
See more Instagram Story templates!
Make Money on Instagram #4: Create Product-Focused AR Effects
There are countless reasons why businesses should create their own AR effects for Instagram Stories, but one of the biggest has to do with showcasing your products and making money on Instagram.
We’ve seen cosmetic brands like Kylie Cosmetics use AR to let their followers virtually try on their makeup, furniture brands like Havenly show what their products would look like in people’s homes, and fashion brands like ASOS create virtual fitting rooms, allowing people to try on shirts, sunglasses, or entire outfits to see how it fits their shape and style.
By creating these custom AR filters and effects where people can “try out” products, businesses are virtually integrating themselves into their follower’s daily lives, which can only help drive more purchases. So it’s no wonder why forward-thinking e-commerce brands are incorporating AR into the Instagram experience.
To make things even easier, Instagram recently announced that its beta testing a new feature that will allow brands to add AR effects to their product pages! With the new Spark AR integration, users will be able to virtually “try” products before making a purchase in the app.
The feature is currently in a closed beta with a handful of brands, including Warby Parker and Ray-Bans, but it’s certainly a sign of things to come.
Make Money on Instagram #5: Run an Influencer Marketing Campaign
The right influencer partnership can help you get more followers, engagement, leads, and make more sales – so it’s no wonder that influencer marketing is on pace to become an $8 billion dollar industry in 2020.
What makes influencer marketing such an effective tool for e-commerce sales is that it removes the barriers of traditional advertising because customers are introduced to your brand from a trusted source (the influencer) on an authentic, casual platform (Instagram).
Of course, it isn’t as simple as partnering with a random influencer and watching the money roll in – there’s a strategy to it. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Tip #1: Partner with “Relevant” Influencers
It goes without saying that if you want to be successful with your influencer marketing, you need to find the right influencers for your business – otherwise, you run the risk of partnering with an influencer who doesn’t hold any influence in the niche or “vertical” that you’re trying to market to.
For example, if your business sells natural deodorants, it makes sense to partner with an influencer within your niche market – like cruelty-free cosmetics or vegan supplements. That way, your business will be placed in front of people who are already interested in your niche, so it’s easier to convert those followers into customers.
Tip #2: Ask Your Influencer Partners to Tag Your Products in their Posts & Stories
While influencers have been priming their followers to “shop their stories” for ages by adding product URLs and “shop now” CTAs, thanks to a recent update, influencers now have the ability to products directly within their posts and stories, just like businesses.
This is obviously hugely beneficial to e-commerce businesses hoping to make money on Instagram through their influencer partnerships because it gives them yet another channel to drive sales within the app.
Until now, influencers had no direct way to sell products on Instagram. Sure, they could ask their followers to click the link in their bio or swipe-up on their Instagram Stories, but without the ability to actually tag products in their posts, any sales they generated had to occur outside the Instagram app.
Now with the new shopping tag, influencers can act as real salespeople for the brands they represent, driving purchases directly within Instagram.
Ready to make money on Instagram? Just start by following these 5 strategies and you’ll be raking in the dollars in no time! Just remember to track, measure, and learn from efforts so you can grow and improve your strategy in the future.
Taylor Loren is the Head of Content Marketing at Later, the #1 Instagram marketing platform. She was named a LinkedIn Top Voice for social media marketing, and you can follow her on Instagram at @taylor.loren for more Instagram tips and a look inside life at Later.