How To Set Up Instagram Shopping + 12 Brands That Are Killing It

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Sam Hackett

Published: Jul 1, 2020

Last Updated: Sep 28, 2020

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Instagram has been an excellent marketing tool for businesses for quite a while, but Instagram shopping makes it even more directly useful for brands. With Instagram shopping, you can make it incredibly easy for your followers and anyone who sees your post to purchase your products. In fact, they can do this directly within the Instagram app without interrupting their scrolling session too much.

It’s no secret that the Instagram platform is designed to keep users on the app. Between Stories, IGTV and Lives, they’ve created new ways for users to create content. They also make it difficult to add clickable links: only in your bio, DMs, and the swipe-up feature if you have 10,000 followers, a verified account, or buy Story ads. Instagram shopping goes one step further and allows brands to sell their products directly within the Instagram app.

Getting your Instagram shopping account can be a little tricky, though, and we don’t want anything to stand the way of you making sales on IG. So, let’s walk through how you can set up Instagram shopping for your business.

How to Set Up Instagram Shopping

There are four easy steps you need to do to establish your Instagram shopping account and begin to sell on the app

1. Check Your Eligibility

The first step, as with everything, is to make sure that you’re eligible to have Instagram shopping on your account. Not everyone is, so this is where you need to start. If you’re wondering if you’re eligible, here are the criteria Instagram has created:

  • Agree to and comply with their policies
  • Have a business account on Instagram
  • Have a Facebook page connected to your Instagram account
  • Sell physical products (service providers cannot sell with Instagram shopping at this time)
  • Have a Facebook catalog attached to your accounts

The primary thing to focus on in this stage is whether or not you sell physical products. If you do, you can easily meet the rest of the criteria, and we’ll show you how to do just that.

2. Connect Your Instagram to a Facebook Catalog

If your Instagram account isn’t a business account, fix that first. 

  • Simply go to your profile, and then to settings. 
  • From there, you’ll see “Switch to Professional Account.” 
  • Click that, fill in any additional information if necessary, and then you’ll be good to go!
how to set up instagram shopping

Once your account is a business account, you’ll need to connect it to your business Facebook page. 

  • To do that you’ll go back into settings, and then click on business. 
  • Then you’ll see the option to “Connect a Facebook Page.” 
  • From there you’ll have the option to connect to an existing page or create a new one. 
  • Choose whichever matches your need, and then follow the prompts Instagram gives you until your accounts are linked.

Then you’ll need to set up your Facebook catalog if you haven’t already done so. 

  • To do that, make sure you’re logged into Facebook and go to facebook.com/products
  • Then select “Create Catalog” and choose your inventory type. (This needs to be ecommerce for selling on Instagram shopping.)
how to set up instagram shopping
  • Then you’ll need to upload your product information. You can do this in bulk or manually. Or, if you’re already selling online through a program like Shopify, you can simply connect that program.
how to set up instagram shopping

Once you have your catalog created, it’s time to link it to your Instagram account.

  • You’ll want to go to your Catalog Manager within Facebook. (This is where you first created your catalog.)
  • Choose the catalog you want to link to your Instagram account.
  • Select “Channels” and choose “Instagram Shopping.”
  • Then add your Instagram account and connect the two!

3. Sign Up for Instagram Shopping in Instagram

Once you have everything set up, you need to actually activate it within the app itself.

  • Go back to your profile and choose “Settings.”
  • Choose “Business,” and then click on “Set Up Instagram Shopping.”
  • Follow the prompts to submit your account for review.

It’s important to note that it could take a few days to a week for Instagram to evaluate your account and actually give you the shopping permissions. When they do, you’ll get notifications to finish your setup and start selling.

4. Start Creating Shoppable Posts

Once you have everything set up, the last thing to do is turn your normal posts into posts that sell. When you go to create a post, you can tag your photo just like you would tag a friend or a brand that’s featured in the post. Instead, though, you can tag a product that’s sitting in your catalog. It works the same way as tagging anything or anyone else. In videos, you can tag up to five products.

Feed posts aren’t the only ones you can make shoppable, though! You can make your Stories shoppable, as well. The process is just as easy as tagging your feed posts. Create your Story the way you like it, then click to add a sticker, just like you would for engagement or any other fun addition. There you’ll see the option to choose a product tag. This will add a shoppable sticker your viewers can click on and purchase right there.

So now you know how to create shoppable posts, but we don’t just want to leave you there. We want to give you the inspiration and motivation to start selling on Instagram today. So, here are 12 awesome brands that are killing the Instagram shopping game.

(And if you don’t have a physical product that you can sell directly within the app, stay tuned. You can definitely still learn a lot from these powerhouses and how they’re selling on Instagram! Some of these tactics and tips can be used if you’re simply talking about your product or service or are working to sell through direct messages or your website.)

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12 Brands that are Killing the Instagram Shopping Game (and How They’re Doing It)

We’re not only going to highlight 12 great brands, but we’re also going to share 12 different tactics you can use to promote your Instagram shopping experience to your followers

1. Use Video To Showcase Your Products – Primal Kitchen

Primal Kitchen is always in their Stories showcasing their products. Sometimes they do this through video, other times they highlight their customers, and sometimes they simply post mouth-watering photos of recipes. Every time they include a shoppable sticker that highlights the particular product they’re talking about in that Story. 

Video can be particularly compelling if you’re showing your followers how to use the product. People are more likely to purchase if they know what they’re going to do with it. This could be showing a recipe, five ways to style a scarf, or any other type of tips and tricks. You could even answer some FAQs – just make sure you remember to tag your products! 

Instagram shopping story

2. Use Images That Match Your Profile’s Aesthetic – Primally Pure

You always want to make sure your followers feel like they’re in the right place. Creating and maintaining a cohesive grid is important to establishing your brand identity on Instagram. Your shoppable posts shouldn’t look or feel any different from the rest of your feed. If you change them up too much, your loyal followers might not realize they’re yours, and they could keep on scrolling past.

Creating shoppable posts that match your typical aesthetic make them feel more organic and less salesy. Speaking of that, once you begin to post shoppable posts, do so consistently. You don’t have to include a shoppable tag every single day, but the more often you post them, the more comfortable your followers can become.

3. Use Searchable Hashtags in Your Posts – Further Food 

It’s no secret that hashtags are one of the most lucrative tools when it comes to attracting new people to your posts. People search for hashtags, and you want to do everything you can to have your post land on that Explore page. The best way to do this is by using good hashtags. Choose hashtags that plenty of people are searching, but not one that’s so popular that it’s overcrowded and you won’t stand out. (Avoid #food – that will get you nowhere.)

Hashtags help your post to get more views, which shows the algorithm that it’s a popular post.

Then, it will be more likely to show up in the shopping feed on the Explore page. If you click over into the Explore tab and then choose Shop from the top, you’ll find an entire suggested post page filled with shoppable items. You want your post to land there – and the best way to do that is by using hashtags and generating views.

Post:

Hashtags:

4. Use User-Generated Content to Promote Products – Wishful Skin 

Sharing user-generated content (UGC) is a great chance to mix up how you’re talking about your brand and your products. It’s great to post consistently about how wonderful your products are, but after a while people might begin to get tired of it. Some people don’t even trust brands fully when they talk about themselves – they’d rather hear praise coming from a real person like them. That’s the magic of UGC.

When your customers tag themselves using or wearing a product (or even just taking a gorgeous styled shot of everything they have), you can repost those posts and use them to promote your content. Make sure you get permission before you repost, and then share their compliments with your audience. It’s a great way to give your content team a small break from creating posts, while still giving the people what they want.

You can also go one step farther and run a contest. Outright ask your followers to share pictures of themselves using your product. Offer them a great prize (for some brands, the chance to be featured is enough; for others, a physical or monetary prize works better). Then, use their entries as your UGC to promote your products.

5. Utilize the Carousel Feature – Calia

This is a great tip for anyone selling on Instagram: use your carousel feature. It can be a fun way to add some variety to your feed in general, but it’s a great tool for selling. You can showcase multiple shots in one post to capture every angle of the product. Or, if you’re selling a collection or bundle, you can give each item in the group its own time to shine on its own slide.

We all know that sometimes people scroll past our posts without reading or engaging with them. When they refresh their feed, sometimes they’re re-shown the posts they scrolled past. With a carousel post, your audience will be shown the second (or third, or fourth…) slide in the carousel. This makes them feel like they’re seeing a completely new post because the image will likely be at least a little different than the first slide. This gives you yet another chance to capture their attention and convert them with your shoppable post.

If you don’t believe us, believe the statistics. According to research by Socialinsider, carousels have an engagement rate of 1.92% while images are 1.74% and videos are 1.45%.

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6. Apply Product Tags Accurately – Huda Beauty Shop

Don’t rush through your tags. Just because they’re simple to add doesn’t mean they should be an afterthought. After all, without these product tags, you aren’t able to sell anything directly on Instagram. So, take your time and make sure your tags are accurately placed. 

If the photo you’re using only has one product in it, you have slightly less to worry about here, although it’s always a good idea to place the tag directly on the product itself. However, if your photo has multiple products, you want to be extra careful about your tags. It would be a very bad user experience to tap a pair of sunglasses you love only to find out that they’ve been mis-tagged with a bottle of sunscreen. Make sure that your tags are placed on the corresponding product so you don’t disappoint any of your shoppers.

You also want to be careful with how many products you tag. With a single-image post, you can use up to five tags. The same is true for video. If, however, you use a multi-image carousel post, you can use up to 20 tags. Just because you can tag five or 20 products, though, doesn’t mean you have to do so. Don’t purposely overcrowd your photo just to be able to add more tags. It’s much more efficient to showcase fewer products if it means you have a more well-composed image.

7. Get Feedback From Your Followers – Ipsy

One of the beautiful things about social media is that you can be talking to your followers and your customers fairly constantly. In fact, you can ask them for feedback on your products right within the app. Whether you want to post a poll in your feed post or in your Stories or ask them to drop the name of their favorite product you offer, seek out feedback. 

That’s the best way to make sure you’re in tune with your followers and creating what you want. It’ll also help you pre-validate any ideas you might have for new products. If you think something’s great, but your audience doesn’t like it as much, it’s better to find that out before you put the time and energy into creating and testing it.

8. Promote Deals or Sales in Your Posts – Chartreuse & co

Telling people about a deal you have can be a great way to encourage them to buy. If you include that information within the post where you’ve tagged the product, that might be the last piece of encouragement your audience needs to go ahead and make the purchase. You can also use this idea to announce when products are back in stock, whether you’re running a sale on them or not. 

It can also be a good idea to mix up your deals. Maybe you have a few “standing sales” your followers can count on – like a twice-a-year clearance. Then, try adding some pop-up sales every once in a while to catch them off guard and encourage them to purchase even if they weren’t necessarily planning on it.

9. Plan your Posts – Angelic Bakehouse

Planning your posts in advance is a great strategy for a number of reasons. First, it allows you to truly be strategic with your content. If you can, consider releasing a product on the same day every week. It will get customers excited and have them check back on your profile on a regular basis.

Beyond that, though, planning your posts in advance lets you look at your entire posting schedule before any go live so you can see how your posts look next to each other. You’ll know that you’re posting consistently and can rest assured that your followers will always be seeing new content from you, whether it’s shoppable or not.

10. Showcase All Your Product Options – Urban Outfitters

Many products come in a variety of options, whether that’s size, color, flavor or any other differentiating factor. When possible, show off all your options. This way you’ll capture your audience’s attention, and even if one style isn’t for them, they have a higher chance of finding something they like.

You can do this by having many products in one image or by creating a carousel post. Or you can combine the two: put lots of products in the first picture, and then spread them out throughout the rest. This helps you attract attention and then give each product its own chance to shine.

11. Apply Different Product Shots – Modesens

There are so many different types of shots you can use to capture your products. If you can, mix up the style of shot you use. This keeps your feed looking interesting, and it applies to non-shoppable posts, too! Keep your audience engaged with a variety of angles, styles and colors. Here are some of the most common:

  • Mix up your backgrounds and colors to create some different looks, but stay on-brand with your aesthetic.
  • Flatly shots are typically taken from above, and they can create some interesting angles.
  • Lifestyle images showcase your product “in the wild,” as people use it.
  • Detailed shots really zoom in on your product to capture any unique details.
instagram shopping grid

12. Create a Narrative – Spearmint Baby 

Storytelling is a great way to showcase (and sell) your products. Many people purchase out of emotion, so by sharing a story you can help them connect with your product on a personal level. Whenever you can help someone envision your product in their life, whether it’s for them or someone they love, you help them trust your brand and also make them want your product and what it will bring them.

Wrapping it up

Which of these 12 brands and their tactics do you think will be most useful for your brand to follow? As you could probably tell, you can use many of these simultaneously. You can repost UGC into your Stories and add a shoppable tag. Or, you can create a video and add it to a carousel post. Mix and match these strategies however you like. If you have products to sell, now is the time to create a catalog and start posting about them. Your customers are waiting for you.

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