Since Instagram started in 2010, it’s grown over the years to become a powerhouse social platform for marketing and business endeavors. Knowing this, the platform has consistently offered more and more features to help brands and businesses make good use of Instagram for their business needs.
Instagram shopping is one of those improvements, and it’s been going strong now for a few years, helping brands and businesses to offer their products and services from directly within the Instagram platform.
It’s now incredibly easy for your followers and viewers to see and purchase your products through shoppable posts, eliminating the need for them to be funneled to an outside website for purchasing and website viewing.
Because of this, the process is much more streamlined and your products can sell directly within Instagram in just a few taps. If you’re not taking advantage of this feature yet, what are you waiting for?
Instagram is designed to keep users on the app with all of its different content formats, including IGTV, Instagram stories, in-feed posts, reels, and lives, so there are plenty of ways for you to engage your followers and get them checking out your products.
It’s not possible to add clickable links on the platform save for in your Instagram bio (one link) and if you have access to the swipe-up feature on Instagram stories, so the addition of shoppable posts has been pretty revolutionary in how brands and businesses interact with their followers on Instagram.
Creating shoppable posts on Instagram is pretty simple, but doing it the first time can be a bit of a challenge. In order to help you make the most of Instagram shopping for your business, we’ve put together this guide on how to set up IG shopping and 12 best practices to keep your shopping posts going strong.
For each of the best practices, we’ve included a brand or business that is doing exemplary work in that area so you can see what the feature looks like when it’s really used on Instagram. Let’s go!
How to Set Up Instagram Shopping
You can set up Instagram shopping by following these four simple steps. Once you do that, you’ll be ready to continuously create Instagram shopping posts that increase your profit and sales directly via the Instagram platform.
1. Check Your Eligibility
The first thing you’ll need to do to take advantage of Instagram shoppable posts is to verify that you’re eligible to implement the feature on your account. Because it’s not available to all users, this is an important part.
This is the criteria to establish eligibility for Instagram shoppable posts:
- Agree to and comply with all set policies
- Have a Business Instagram account.
- Have a Facebook page that is linked to your Instagram account
- Sell physical products (at this time, products aren’t available to be sold via Instagram shoppable posts).
- Have a Facebook catalog attached to your accounts
If you meet the basic criteria, the last one, the Facebook Catalog, is the next step in getting your posts to be shoppable on Instagram. Even though it seems odd that you have to do this on Facebook, remember that Instagram and Facebook are highly integrated and things like Instagram ads are also managed through Facebook.
When you confirm you’ve met all other criteria, let’s get started on creating your Facebook Catalog.
2. Connect Your IG to a Facebook Catalog
If the only thing you didn’t have is a business account, you can easily fix that and we’re going to show you how:
- Visit your profile and hit the Menu icon in the top right corner, then hit Settings
- Scroll to the very bottom and tap the Switch to Professional Account option
- Follow the prompts on the screen and you’re good to— when they ask you, choose the business (not creator) option.
After you’ve got your business account set up, you’ll need to make sure it’s linked to a business Facebook page. Here’s how:
- Navigate back to your Settings and then click Business
- You’ll see the option there that says Connect a Facebook Page
- You can then either connect your existing Facebook business page or create a new one.
- Follow the subsequent prompts until you’ve successfully linked the FB page.
Once these two things are done, you can then begin to set up your Facebook catalog if you’ve never done so before. Follow the steps:
- Log into your Facebook and visit facebook.com/products
- You can then choose Create Catalog and select your inventory type, which must be Ecommerce if you want to use Instagram shoppable posts.
- In the next step you’ll be uploading your product information, which can be done both manually and in bulk. If you’re already selling on an e-store like Shopify, you can also link that ecommerce platform to make things easier.
- After you’ve set up all of your products and your Facebook catalog is complete, you’ll then link the catalog to your Instagram account.
To link your Facebook catalog to your Instagram account:
- Visit the Catalog Manager in Facebook where you first created your catalog.
- Choose the catalog you want to link to your Instagram
- Select Channels > Instagram Shopping
- Add your Instagram account and you’ll be all connected!
3. Sign Up for Instagram Shopping
Now that all of this is set up, you’ll need to go back to the Instagram app and activate it from there. Here’s how:
- Visit your profile, tap Menu > Settings
- Tap Business > Set Up Instagram Shopping
- Follow the prompts to submit your account for review and approval
Instagram first must evaluate and confirm that you are, in fact, able to use the shoppable posts on your account, which can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. They’ll then either give you the permissions or deny them, but if you’re legitimately selling products and have done everything correctly, you’ll have no problem here.
You’ll be notified that they approved your request and you can start creating Instagram shopping posts!
4. Start Creating Shoppable Posts
Once you’ve been approved, you can then turn your normal posts into posts that feature your Instagram product tags, effectively making them shoppable. You can even go back and make previous posts shoppable, so don’t feel like you have to delete everything and start over.
To make a new post shoppable, upload the post as you normally would, and on the last screen you’ll be able to tag your products just like you would another Instagram account. Each post allows you to tag up to 5 products. If you use carousel posts, you can tag a total of 20 products throughout the whole carousel post.
To edit previous photos, simply visit your profile and tap on the post you want to make shoppable. Tap the three dots in the top right corner and hit Edit. From there, you can add the appropriate shopping tags and save your changes.
Instagram in-feed posts aren’t the only ones that can be shoppable, though. Your Instagram stories can also be shoppable, and it’s basically the same process as you’d follow for posting new in-feed content.
Create your story, edit it and adjust it as you want, and then hit the Sticker button. There, you’ll have the option to add a product tag, putting a shoppable sticker on your story and allowing users to purchase from right there within your IG story.
Now that you know the steps to creating an Instagram shoppable post, it’s time to optimize them and make them as high quality as you possibly can. We’ve got 12 tips to make your Instagram shoppable posts sell more along with the brands that are making it happen! Let’s see what they’re up to.
Note: Even if you don’t have the IG shoppable posts feature just yet, you can still learn a lot about how to market your products (or services) from the following accounts, so read on! Many of these tips can be implemented even without shoppable Instagram posts.
12 Brands That Are Rocking the Instagram Shopping Game: How They’re Doing It
This combination of 12 methods to boost your Instagram shopping includes 12 real-life examples of brands that are making it happen on Instagram. If you implement these tactics, there’s no doubt that your Instagram shoppable posts will be bringing you more sales in no time.
1. Use Video to Showcase Your Products — Primal Kitchen
Primal Kitchen is the king of video product showcasing. They often use their Instagram stories and even their in-feed posts to showcase their products in appealing ways. Primal Kitchen uses their own video content but they also feature a lot of user-generated content, which is another best practice that we will talk about in tip 3.
They use a combination of Instagram stories, in-feed videos and reels, as well as in-feed photos that are incredibly mouthwatering to sell their products. You can see in many of their photos that they use a shoppable tag to lead their viewers to check out the product, get more details, and even buy it directly on their website.
You don’t have to use videos exclusively, but they add a rich element to your content strategy that can help your followers and viewers see the product, understand how to use it, and get a better idea of what it really looks like.
You can give tutorials about your products— showing a recipe, ways to wear the product, or how a user can take advantage of it in their daily life. You can also answer some FAQs about the product. Don’t forget to tag it and also use shoppable posts! You can make all sorts of Instagram content— both photo and video— shoppable, so don’t miss out.
2. Use Images that Match Your Profile’s Aesthetic — Benefit Cosmetics
As soon as your followers land on your profile, they should know that they’re in the right place and immediately get a vibe for who your brand is and what image it projects. When you create and maintain a cohesive aesthetic on your profile page, you’re likely to establish a professional and captivating brand identity on Instagram.
Your shoppable posts should also be integrated into this aesthetic— they don’t need to look or feel different at all. The best thing about Instagram shoppable posts is that they fit seamlessly into the rest of your content strategy, avoiding the need for annoying or spammy advertisements.
Instagram notifies users that the post is shoppable by placing a small shopping bag icon in one of the corners of the post, so don’t worry about your followers and viewers noticing— Instagram tells them.
When you create shoppable posts that match your Instagram aesthetic, your organic content strategy will be upheld and users are more likely to feel at home and feel like a part of the shopping process instead of you spamming them out with salesy posts. This is likely to deter shopping instead of increase it.
Keep your Instagram shoppable posts natural and a part of your everyday content style, just like Benefit has done so smoothly.
3. Use User-Generated Content to Promote Products — H&M
As we saw with Primal Foods, User-generated content (UGC) is one of the best ways to get authentic and natural content to make a connection with your followers. If you consistently post UGC, it’s clear that people love your products and are frequently using them and sharing about them.
If you are the only ones talking about how great your products are, people are going to begin to get suspicious. After all, people don’t want to hear you go on and on about how awesome you are. They’d rather see other users getting featured and telling them through UGC.
H&M is a big brand that knows how to feature UGC. In their Instagram bio, they tell followers that they can be featured by tagging their brand and using their hashtag #HMxME for a chance to be featured. This helps to generate tons of content and then H&M can choose which ones best work with their profile and aesthetic.
They then post the UGC into their feed and make the content shoppable! How great is that? You can get excellent content from users, build relationships with your community, inspire others to tag you, and make a shoppable post all at the same time! UGC is also known to get higher levels of engagement on Instagram.
UGC is also very common on Instagram stories, so you can feature content from people who tag your brand there as well. Maintain a healthy balance between your own content and UGC; use it as a strategy and you definitely won’t be disappointed with the results.
4. Include Searchable Hashtags In Your Content — Further Food
Hashtags are a vital part of Instagram and you must have them if you want your content to get out there to more people. Using popular niche-specific hashtags is the key to discoverability on Instagram and you have to try and get your content seen by not just your followers, but also new users.
If you want your post to get more reach and even possibly land on the Explore page, you should be integrating hashtag strategy into your shoppable posts. Know your niche-specific hashtags that are commonly followed or searched by people who care about your type of content.
Avoid overly-generic hashtags that are used by a ton of people; these push the posts down the hashtag feed too quickly and your content is unlikely to be seen by anyone because of this.
Shoppable posts can end up on the Explore page, and when you get a lot of engagement (likes and comments) and appear as a strong competitor in hashtag feeds, your content could be one of those shoppable posts that users come across on the Explore page.
You can use up to 30 hashtags on your Instagram content; you can post them within your caption, at the end of your caption, or as the first comment on your Instagram posts so it doesn’t muddy up the story or information that your caption is expressing. Further Food prefers to use their hashtags in the first comment so that their captions are effective and engaging for their users.
5. Apply Product Tags Accurately — REI
You have time to make sure you create your shoppable posts on Instagram with care and preciseness. Your product tags should be well-integrated into the content and not simply something you just throw on at the end.
Take photos with the intention of adding the product tags and make sure that the tags match the photo in terms of content. Then, you have to ensure that the photo isn’t overwhelmed with tags and that the user can easily see which product is which.
If you only have one product tag, this doesn’t cause much of an issue, but when you start to add content that has more than one, you may have to do some extra work. Make sure these tags correspond with the correct product so that your followers and viewers can easily access what they’re looking for.
REI does a great job at this. They post very product-centered photos that are pleasing to look at and also authentic, then using product tags that pertain to the product featured. They don’t go overboard with their product tags and also use a nice mix of other content.
One great example is a photo of REI Flash hiking boots. REI has a version of this for men and women, so they tagged the product for both men and women in the post, which includes all potential buyers that are looking for a unique model of the same product. Score.
You can add up to 5 tags in a single photo, so if you use many, keep them spread out and scaffold them so that they don’t overlap or interfere with each other. Use your product tags wisely and not to bombard the customer.
6. Integrate Different Product Shots — Old Navy
If you take the same old photo to showcase your products, people are going to think that you’re boring and lacking creativity. For better performance with your Instagram photos and shoppable posts, mix it up in your content creation.
You should try to feature people as well as products if this fits your brand image so that you can keep your followers engaged and also show a versatile range in your content. It will give your feed a bit of variety and catch the attention of your followers and viewers.
Use a mix of styles, angles, colors, and focal points. These are some tips to help you do that:
- Use a good combination of different backgrounds and colors to change the look of your photos (always staying on brand, of course)
- Take photos from both directly above the products as well as in front of the photos; give some new perspectives on your products.
- Zoom in on your products and give people an up-close look at your product and all of the unique aspects of it.
- Get some shots of people actually using your product(s) through lifestyle shots.
Old Navy does a great job with this— they have a wide range of different photos, from above, up close, featuring models and family shots, UGC, and more. All of their images align with their brand image to create a lively and positive Instagram feed.
7. Create a Narrative — Spearmint Baby
Giving users a peek into your brand and creating captivating stories is an excellent way to show off your products and make sales at the same time. You want to evoke emotion in your followers and have them connect with your brand so that they’re more likely to purchase something.
If you can get your followers and viewers to feel something and to connect with your brand on a personal level, they will be able to envision that product in their life or in the lives of those they love.
Giving a true picture of who your brand is and what you’re all about through posts that tell stories and narratives is an excellent way to build a relationship with your community and build trust that leads to more purchases.
Spearmint Baby does exactly that— their Instagram bio reads “Building a business & raising a family! / This is my American Dream!” People can connect with this statement and also get to see their stunning products and lovely children in their Instagram content, much of which is shoppable.
8. Promote Deals and Sales in Your Posts — Bath & Body Works
You should always encourage your followers and viewers to purchase by letting them know when deals are available or on the way. You can include this information in a variety of locations on your Instagram, including within the post where you’ve tagged the product.
It’s a good idea to generate hype around your deals and sales before it’s live; if you don’t tell your followers and keep them posted on what’s coming, they won’t be building up any anticipation or planning to make a purchase. Let them know amazing offers are coming a day or two before they arrive.
You can announce products that are newly launching, when a product is back in stock, and when sales and special promotions are on the way. You should plan to have some sales that users can always count on, such as a few annual clearances, and then implementing some pop-up sales now and then to motivate more purchases.
The masters of sharing deals and sales is Bath and Body Works. Sales and promotions is a huge part of their business model and they use their Instagram and user-generated content to build some serious hype about the deals that are out there and what customers can expect.
9. Do Market Research and Get Feedback — Ipsy
One of the coolest things about having an active and engaged following on Instagram is that you can easily communicate with your customer base and stay up-to-date with how they feel and what they think about your brand.
You can even use the platform to gain insight through market research. Because Instagram is such an interactive platform, there are plenty of features you can take advantage of to get some ideas about what your followers and customers want more of and what’s working.
Use Instagram stories to post polls, questions, and rate products to boost engagement and also see how followers feel about your ideas and your products. You can even include a call-to-action (CTA) in your photo caption and ask them to comment with their favorite product— there are plenty of ways, so be creative.
You always want to deliver what your followers and viewers want, so having regular communication with them through Instagram is a great way to stay on top of it and get live, actionable feedback. It also boosts your reputation because you’re constantly visible to your followers.
It’s so easy to engage users through Instagram stories; they’ll be able to do some fun polls and they won’t even realize that at the same time you’re gaining valuable feedback to keep producing content that delivers sales and engagement.
10. Create Carousel Posts — Calia
If you’re selling on Instagram, you should definitely be using the carousel post feature, also known as gallery posts. You can mix up your content and add a bunch of variety by using carousel posts and also enhance your shoppable Instagram content.
You’ll be able to showcase different shots of the same product in one post, capturing all angles and looks of the product. Alternatively, if you’ve got a collection of products or a bundle, you’ll be able to group each item together but feature each one individually so that users can see them together and separately.
Carousel posts are also great because they offer users multiple chances to see your content in the feed; perhaps one time they will see one photo, and the next time they refresh their feed, another post from the carousel will show up. This helps them to get more exposure to your brand from the same post.
Engagement for carousel posts are the best on Instagram at almost 2%, so definitely incorporate them into your IG strategy.
11. Showcase All Different Product Options — Urban Outfitters
Oftentimes, products can have a variety of different styles, colors, flavors, shapes, and more. You’ll want to make sure that you feature all of those different elements to get your audience’s attention and know that there are options for them too.
You can use carousel posts to feature each product one by one, or combine them in pairs or groups throughout the carousel. You can also use Instagram stories to showcase different types of products and give an inside look at options. IGTV can also be used in this way.
When you use different types of content formats to show your products off, you get your audience viewing a lot of content pieces that you can advertise amongst each other. Urban Outfitters is a pro at showing off all of their different styles and product options in a bunch of different content formats.
12. Plan and Schedule Your Posts — Angelic Bakehouse
The final thing you should do is plan out your posts. As we mentioned above, the last thing you want to do is take a bunch of content photos and hopefully throw on some product tags as an afterthought. Your content strategy should be well-planned and cohesive so that you can get the most out of your shots.
You can also then plan additional strategies, like when you release products, when you make product announcements, what types of content come out when, and more. You will build loyal viewers this way— imagine if every Tuesday you do a Tuesday Takeover and people know to check your profile to see new and interesting content from industry experts.
Angelic Bakehouse is a great reference for strategic content planning (although they’re definitely not the only brand/business out there doing it, of course). They have different types of content, including infographics, product features, video, shoppable posts, and more.
Their captioning and hashtag strategy goes to show that they have everything well thought out and scheduled for posting. They take into account different holidays, such as 4th of July, and also even planned a giveaway into their strategy.
Give yourself a fighting chance and don’t throw your content together at the last minute. Using a schedule planner like Later can help you to get things in order in advance, even allowing you to see what your feed will look like before it goes live.
If you want your hashtags to be ready to go, you can use a hashtag generator like Task Ant that allows you to create go-to hashtag sets that are easy to copy; they also provide different hashtag insights and stats so you can know which ones are performing best in your niche.
Final Thoughts: Instagram Shopping and Best Practices
All in all, there are plenty of things you can do to enhance your Instagram shoppable posts and your content strategy in general.
Use a combination of these 12 best practices to really elevate your Instagram shoppable posts and get your Instagram content generating more sales than ever!