Practical Ecommerce

Optimizing Instagram for Ecommerce: 10 Tips

Nearly all Instagram users access it from their smartphones. Ninety-five percent of users are younger than 35.

Nearly all Instagram users access it from their smartphones. Ninety-five percent of users are younger than 35.

With 300 million active monthly users and 30 billion photos shared to date, Instagram is one of social media’s great success stories. This social channel is entirely visual, focused on the sharing of photo and video content. Instagram has attracted a predominately young audience — 90 percent are under 35 years old — and offers brands a high propensity for engagement.

Instagram has no sharing algorithm, unlike Facebook. If a user logs in frequently, she has the potential to see every piece of content from the accounts she follows. Instagram has become the platform of choice for many brands since Facebook’s organic reach is so limited.

In this article, I’ll review 10 key tips and tricks to build your company’s Instagram following and increase its engagement.

Optimizing Instagram for Ecommerce: 10 Tips

1. Always add a link to your profile. The profile link on Instagram is the only place to add a clickable link. All other URLs appear as plain text. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to drive traffic.

2. Forget Twitter. Instagram offers the ability to link up with, and potentially auto post to, various social networks. The integrations with Facebook and Tumblr are fantastic. But the Twitter integration is lacking because Twitter does not support previews of Instagram content. This means that your Twitter followers can see a only short text description and Instagram branded link — unless the followers click away to see the content on Instagram.

3. Create custom locations. You may not be able to add a clickable link, but you can use the location field to add a text link for users to copy and paste into their browsers. Alternatively, use this space to add a call to action, directing the user through to your profile for the link. The best way to do this is to upload your photo and then select the edit post option, to type in your web address or call to action in the location field.

4. Hashtags rule. Hashtags are one of the most popular tools to navigate throughout Instagram and find new accounts to follow. They’re more functional on Instagram than on Facebook and Twitter. Hashtags can be anything from simple keywords to topical phrases. Here are few commonly used Instagram hashtags.

  • #TBT. Short for “throwback Thursday,” this hashtag is used to reference memories and highlights from your past.
  • #OOTD. This hashtag stands for “outfit of the day.” It’s often used by bloggers and fashion brands
  • #nofilter. This is for photos that don’t use any of the filters offered on the app. It frequently highlights natural beauty and good photography skills

Other popular hashtags are #photooftheday and #picoftheday, in addition to keywords like #fashion, #style, and #family. You can see a full list here:

5. Think small. Instagram’s main point of access is via mobile apps. Thus, the vast majority of Instagram users will be looking at content on a smartphone screen. Be mindful that any copy overlaying an image is readable on a small screen, and also that the image is focused and grabs attention as the user scrolls through content. Curalate, the social media platform, offers some helpful tips to help you create imagery that really performs.

6. Use add-on apps. Once you’ve mastered the basics of Instagram, you may find the app’s editing capabilities limited. Luckily there are many accompanying apps that can help you create different content formats and even edit images more accurately. My favorites are Regram, Afterlights, Layout, and Hyperlapse. Here are seven more.

7. Repurpose content. Exclusive Instagram content is always the best, but content from other networks can easily be repurposed on Instagram, too. This is most effective in creating shortened versions of existing video content. With some basic editing tools, you can turn your existing long form video assets into 15-second clips to hook in your audience and drive interest in the longer story.

8. Be part of the community. The community of comments and likes around Instagram content is hugely important. Make sure you schedule time to comment on posts you like, seek out key influencers, and check for any brand mentions.

9. Represent your customers. Reposting — “regramming,” to use the Instagram terminology — photos that your users tag or mention can be a fantastic way to strengthen the brand experience. This can also be a useful way to show current and potential customers how your products can be used — from everyday scenarios to the plain crazy.

10. Post daily. The most successful Instagram communities are active daily. Post at least once a day to maximize your reach.

Samantha Collier

Samantha Collier

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Comments ( 6 )

  1. Carlos Rivera September 3, 2015 Reply

    Great tutorial on how to get setup quickly on an app that I do not use very often. I truly appreciate the primer! Thank you!

  2. Evan September 3, 2015 Reply

    Once a day? More like 5-10

  3. Elizabeth Hollingsworth September 6, 2015 Reply

    Has anyone got updated stats on sales from Instagram?

  4. Kylene September 14, 2015 Reply

    #3 is not available any longer – with Instagram launching Ads for everyone, they’ve taken away the option to add a custom location, which many of us used for a CTA. :\

  5. Stephanie February 10, 2016 Reply

    Great article, sometimes getting a instagram set up can be tricky for many businesses. One tool I have found very helpful in managing instagram accounts for business is schedugram. I am currently in the process of trying to figure out content to put on instagram for

  6. Riley March 2, 2016 Reply

    Instagram’s awesome, agreed, and there are so many apps that anyone can find smth suitable. My personal favorite is, but i approve Stephanie’s choice of schedugram, it’s also useful.