7 ideas using Instagram for ecommerce marketing

By 18th October 2013Digital Marketing, Social Media

Are you on Instagram? Feet on the beach, food, latte art, airplane wings, circle of feet, some more airplane wings, another pair of feet on the beach…  This is pretty much my Instagram feed and I’m loving it. Seeing what my friends are up to by just watching images is fun, convenient, and an easy way of communicating.

Instagram is an online image and video sharing tool and a social network – all in one. Since its launch in late 2010 it has become extremely popular. They recently hit the 150 M follower mark and are showing no sign of slowing down in terms of popularity. Part of Instagram’s success is due to the fact that it facilitates and streamlines a common mobile behavior, namely sharing images. Being a native mobile platform, driven by visuals, it also speaks to a very broad audience.

So, how can you start using Instagram to drive engagement and sales for your ecommerce site? Some products and services might work better on Instagram than others of course. Likewise, some target audiences are more likely to be on Instagram than others (have a look at this post about social media statistics on user demographics). No matter your business though, there are always new and creative ways to reach out. To get you started, we has created a list of useful ideas on how you can use Instagram for ecommerce marketing.

1. INSTAGRAM CONTEST

Instagram can be used to run a contest. Ask your customers to share their best photos wearing your product, or eating your cakes, sporting your shoes etc. Remember to have a good incentive for the winner. You can pull in the images on your website, give a discount price on a product or hand out a gift card. A great example of a funny and engaging Instagram contest is Ben & Jerry’s #captureeuphoria contest where they asked their fans to share their euphoric moments.

2. BEHIND THE SCENES

I don’t know about you but I really like to see what happens behind the scenes whether it’s from a factory line, a restaurant, movie, you name it. Share images from what happens behind the scenes at your work. Does your customers know what your complex production line looks like, or have they seen your office dog, do they know what your baker looks like?

Outdoor ECCO Shoes photo shoot

ECCO Shoes photo shoot

3. PRODUCTS IN REAL LIFE

One of the challenges of ecommerce is that you cannot touch and try the products you are buying until after the purchase. Help your potential customers by giving them in-use photo examples. What does the Halloween costume you’re selling look like on your kids, or that rucksack on someone’s back hiking?

Two skiers wearing rucksacks

Haglofs rucksacks in use

4. BALANCE FUN WITH WORK

Although it’s interesting to see what kind of products you offer, it’s also nice to see some personality. Show who you are by sharing fun pictures every now and then. What do you do on your job breaks, did you go on a fun day out with the office, un-conventional use of your products..?

A man in a tiger suit on a snowboard

Rome Snowboards on Instagram

5. BUILD YOUR FOLLOWING BASE

No matter how great your images are, you will gain few followers unless people know you are active on Instagram. Start by connecting your Facebook account to your Instagram and add an Instagram icon to your site to let your site and Facebook visitors know that you’re on Instagram.

Use relevant and popular hashtags to become “findable” on Instagram.

Follow your followers. Give them some love. They have actively decided to follow your brand. The least you can do is to follow them back. Remember to also engage with others by following, commenting and liking!

Do you have a blog? Embed images from your Instagram every now and then into your blog to make sure you’re found.

6. PLAN

Instagram is similar to Twitter in many ways e.g. the use of # and @. However, the pace is much slower. You don’t have to upload a new photo three times a day! Having said that, you should still have a plan of action around things or topics you want to post. Stick to your plan, see what works, tweak your plan (if necessary) and keep posting.

7. GEOTAG YOUR PHOTOS

Are you a local business? Make sure to geotag your photos so people know where to find you!

There are many more ways in which you can use Instagram and we haven’t event touched on the possibilities for the 3-15 seconds video feature. In fact, we would love to hear your ideas about how you can use video (or photo) on Instagram.