If you want to get heard and your products in front of a target audience, Instagram is your best bet, as it is an excellent platform for customer engagement and retention.
Competing in an oversaturated online market is hard and simply setting up a flashy e-commerce site is not enough to draw the sales you want. Using social media strategies to promote your online store, creating a community and turning your e-commerce site into something more than just a place to buy products actually helps increase sales.
As you might have noticed, there’s unparalleled growth in digital marketing, especially in mobile and visual platforms. While Facebook usage dropped slightly in 2013, sites like Pinterest and Instagram continue to build massive amounts of traffic.
So, the question now is:
How do you use Instagram for e-commerce?
The power of Instagram is that it allows you to connect directly with current and future customers—developing a relationship that leads to sales, as consumers tend to shop with retailers they feel like they can relate to and “know” the brand. Transparency on Instagram allows you to build that relationship with your customers.
Harness the power when you use Instagram for e-commerce by following three steps:
1. Engage with customers already using Instagram
With over 100-million users actively using the app, there’s a good chance that some of your customers are posting photos of the items they bought from your online store. Pay attention to what they’re saying– positive, happy reviews are great word-of-mouth exposure for your e-commerce site and boost sales.
Negative comments are an opportunity for you to reach out immediately and turn the bad experience into a good one. To err is human, and reaching out to your customers to address the situation reveals that there is a genuine and invested human voice behind your business. Developing that rapport is key to gaining consumer trust, which, in turn, can lead to customer loyalty and increased sales.
Posts shared socially usually have a short shelf life. As new photos are posted, older ones are moved further back on a user’s feed. Convert Instagram posts from customers into content that’s part of your online marketing efforts.
Launch a page on your e-commerce site dedicated to Instagram photos showcasing your product. Alternatively, you can create a blog post using the favorite Instagram posts of the day, week or month. Repost Instagram photos featuring your product onto Facebook or Twitter or other social media outlets. Not only will using these images in other outlets “reward” your loyal customers and followers, but also prolong the visibility of these customer-generated posts. Thus, using Instagram for e-commerce by building a community.
Another bonus from reposting customer Instagram photos is that now you can link the image to the corresponding product page on your e-commerce site.
3. Join-in with relevant posts
Up to this point, you’ve been letting the customer lead the conversation. Enter the conversation and establish your voice with content that your followers will enjoy and want to share.
Give your customers a glimpse at behind-the-scenes corporate culture to create that sense of transparency and camaraderie. Post photos of new products as you would use them and add shortened links in the comments—but don’t bombard your followers with heavy promotional materials. You want to establish rapport, so post and share like a real person, rather than a company looking for a sale when you use Instagram for e-commerce.
With Instagram, you can target your desired audience and engage them in a conversation, developing a relationship that can lead to excellent word-of-mouth and loyalty. In a saturated e-commerce world, savvy consumers tend to buy from retailers they trust and “know.” Instagram can be used as somewhat of a shortcut to building that feeling.
This is a guest post from Marcela De Vivo.
Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer for HostPapa in Southern California whose writing specializes in e-marketing, web hosting, health and travel industries. As the owner of Gryffin Media, she follows these tips to engage her audience and expand her network.
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