How to Make Sales with a Shoppable Instagram Feed
Trying to get your Instagram followers to visit your website is hard enough, but only being able to use the link in your bio? We know the struggle. But there is a way to add custom links to each of your Instagram posts: by creating a clickable, shoppable Instagram feed.
Not selling anything? You can still use these strategies to drive traffic and link to specific blog posts, videos, or websites from your Instagram feed. Here’s how to do it:
Why Instagram for Ecommerce?
Instagram is great for sharing creative and engaging visual content, but it’s also an effective platform for driving ecommerce sales. In fact, according to a recent study, 78% of consumers make purchasing decisions that are influenced by a brand’s social media.
There are 3 main reasons why Instagram is so great for ecommerce sales:
- Shopping mindset: Instagram users are online shoppers. According to a study by Iconosquare, 70% of Instagram users have searched for a brand on Instagram, and 62% follow brands on Instagram because they “love the brand.” This makes Instagram users the perfect audience because they’re high-intent, online shoppers!
- High engagement: Even though trends are showing that Instagram engagement is dropping, the social platform is still producing higher engagement for brands than both Twitter and Facebook. What makes the social platform so popular is that it’s basically Facebook, boiled down to its single most engaging function: sharing visual media. Throw in some brilliant photo filters and you’ve got one of the biggest and most engaged online communities to date.
- Visual platform: Feeding off the previous point, because of Instagram’s visual format, the social platform holds massive opportunities for online stores looking to showcase their products. Instagram Video, in particular, can hugely compliment your Instagram ecommerce marketing. Think about how much of your product you can showcase in a 60 second video compared to just one image!
So selling directly from your Instagram should be a piece of cake, right? Not so fast.
While many brands have achieved success selling directly from Instagram, getting users from your Instagram feed to your online store can be really, really difficult.
Why Selling on Instagram is Difficult
Over the past two years, Instagram has released a number of updates to make the social platform more shoppable, like adding a “Buy Button” on paid ads and “Carousel Ads” for businesses. But none of these updates address the underlying issue that continues to limit Instagram as a sales channel: you can’t add clickable links to Instagram captions.
Instagram only gives users one clickable link in the app, which is the link in your bio. And while a lot of businesses use the link to send Instagram users to their homepage, for ecommerce businesses that want to send followers to specific product pages, the lack of hot links is a huge challenge for Instagram ecommerce marketing.
Of course, there are a few creative ways to get around Instagram’s pesky limitations, but none of them really offer a solution.
1. Referring to the link in your bio
A common tactic to get around Instagram’s restriction is to add “link in profile” or “link in bio” to a photo caption, directing your followers to your bio where they can click on the website link. In fact, both #linkinprofile and #linkinbio are some of the top-used hashtags on Instagram!
You can either leave the link in your bio as a general one, like later.com/blog, or you can switch out the link in your bio to drive your followers to a specific URL. For example, if you’re hosting a giveaway, you could update the link in your bio to take your audience directly to the giveaway page.
Why it falls short: Instagram’s photo feed is no longer chronological, so when a brand’s post says “link in bio,” the link in your bio might not correspond to the Instagram post. Because of this, it can be really difficult for followers to track down a specific item shown in an Instagram post. A lot of Instagram users use the platform as a source of inspiration before making a purchase. They’ll scroll through a brand’s photos, browsing their products to see which ones they like the most. But if that product is 10 or 15 posts back, they might not know where they can buy it.
2. Including a URL in Instagram comments
A second way that Instagram users have tried to get around the restriction is by placing URLs in the comments underneath their posts.
Why it falls short: These URLs aren’t clickable! So in order for one of your follower to get to that webpage, they would have to highlight the URL, copy it, exit the app, open a web browser, paste the URL into the address bar, and click “enter.” It’s way too many steps, and very unlikely to drive much traffic.
A second problem has to do with attribution. When mobile users copy and paste your URL into a web browser, the referral source doesn’t get registered by Google Analytics, so you’re not able to tell where your traffic is coming from, which is super important for optimizing your social Instagram selling strategy.
How a Shoppable Instagram Feed Can Help
Without the ability to embed links to specific product pages, Instagram is a bit like a shopping window where you can admire the products but never buy. And it’s proving to be a big problem for ecommerce brands that want to monetize their accounts.
Since Instagram only gives you one clickable link, we created a tool called Linkin.bio that makes it easy to shop your Instagram feed. Linkin.bio is a landing page that resembles your Instagram feed and displays your posts as clickable images. See it in action here on Stylebop’s feed.
When one of your followers clicks on the link in your bio, they’ll be taken to a web and mobile-optimized landing page that resembles your Instagram feed and displays your Instagram posts as clickable images. You can add unique links to your Instagram posts, and then schedule or publish them through Later. When your followers visit your Linkin.bio page, they can click on any of your Instagram posts to visit the product page that your photo is about.
You can link to multiple websites and pages and direct your Instagram audience to the right content and products, all without changing the link in your bio.
There are a few existing tools to help you create a shoppable Instagram feed, with the high end starting at $2000/month for Curalate’s Like2Buy platform. Linkin.bio is part of Later’s premium plan, which starts at just $16/month for 2 Instagram accounts, plus the ability to schedule Instagram posts!
Simply put, Linkin.bio is a platform that turns your Instagram followers into customers by eliminating the need for users to open a separate browser to search for a product. By enabling your followers to find your products within two clicks, Linkin.bio closes the gap between your feed and the checkout process.
So what are you waiting for? Start using Later and Linkin.bio today!