There’s no doubt about it, Instagram has become a cash cow.
Not only has it been a top method for advertising, as of 2018 it has morphed into a direct stream of revenue thanks to shoppable Instagram posts and stories.
What once started as a way to post heavily filtered photos of your coffee has become a major revenue stream for both businesses and influencers alike. The ability to shop directly from Instagram caused eCommerce users to rejoice. With only a few taps, Instagram users can purchase items viewed in their feed without even having to leave the app.
In this blog post we’ll explore the what, why, and how of using Instagram shoppable posts to help you make more money.
What Are Shoppable Instagram Posts
Instagram shoppable posts officially rolled out in 2018, but they began testing back in 2016, so there’s a good chance you’ve come across them at some point already in your feed.
It’s easy to identify shoppable Instagram posts. The posts are marked with a “View Products” pop-up or small white circle with the shopping bag icon. When tapped, a little bubble will pop up with more product information. It’s possible to tag more than one product, so you may see multiple bubbles within one post.
Each little pop up bubble is a link to the individual product. From there, a user can tap on a bubble in order to shop without even having to leave Instagram.
It’s also possible to tag products within Instagram stories, too, making it easy to bring products to consumers through more than one method.
Why Use Instagram Shoppable Posts
When it comes right down to it, selling is a numbers game. The more eyes you can get on your product, the more sales you’re going to make.
So what does this mean?
That’s right. Loads of potential customers casually scrolling through their feed multiple times a day. Many of them are ready to make a purchase if the product is amazing and the process is easy.
Shoppable Instagram posts create a link between an eCommerce platform, such as Shopify or Big Commerce, and your business Instagram account. It makes it possible to shop and purchase directly within Instagram.
Prior to the integration, businesses would have to direct potential customers to the link in their profile so they could purchase. However, the more hurdles there are to purchasing, the less likely the sale will be closed. Research shows that online shoppers are inherently lazy. People don’t want to jump through hoops to purchase something…even if those “hoops” are only a few finger taps.
Eliminating the need to leave the app in order to purchase increases the likelihood that the sale will be closed, now making Instagram a lean, mean, revenue machine.
Getting Set Up For Instagram Shoppable Posts
Requirements For Getting Started
In order to create shoppable posts on Instagram, there’s a few requirements that need to be met first:
- You must be located in one of the 46 countries where this feature is available.
- You need to have an Instagram business account (as opposed to a personal account).
- It’s required that you be on the latest version of the Instagram app on either iOS or Android – update now if it’s been a while.
- Your business must sell physical goods that comply with Instagram’s merchant agreement and commerce policies.
- Your business profile must be connected to a Facebook catalog. This can be created and managed on Business Manager, directly on your business’s page on Facebook, or through Shopify or BigCommerce.
If you’ve met all the above requirements, you’re ready to move on to the next step. There are a couple different options for getting set up to create your own shoppable posts on Instagram.
Option #1: Create a Facebook Catalog With Facebook Business Manager
In order to tag your products in your shoppable posts, you need a catalog of products to link up with. You can use the catalog feature within your Facebook Business Manager account to accomplish this.
To set this up, use the Facebook Page that is connected to your Instagram business profile.
Click on “Business Manager” in the upper left corner, navigate to “Assets” and then click on “Catalogs” in the drop down menu. Next, click on the blue “Create Catalog” button. There’s also the option of selecting an existing catalog, if you have one.
After naming your catalog and selecting the type of products you intend to sell, you can start adding product info.
For more in-depth instructions, refer to this handy Facebook Guide.
Option #2: Use Shopify To Create A Shop On Facebook
If you’ve been using the eCommerce platform Shopify for your business, it’s relatively simple to set up a shop on Facebook using their Facebook integration. All that’s required is at least a Basic Shopify plan or higher.
To get started, install the Facebook sales channel if you haven’t done so already. This will automatically create a shop tab on your Facebook page displaying your Shopify products.
If you need a step-by-step walk-through, refer to the Shopify guide about selling on Facebook.
From here, it’s just a few more clicks to set up the ability to sell on Instagram.
In order to connect the products in your Shopify store to your Instagram business account, you need to add the Instagram sales channel to your store.
To do this, go to your Shopify admin page and click the “+” button next to the Sales Channel heading.
Then click “Add sales channel”, select Instagram, and then click “Add Channel”.
Once that’s done you’ll need to log in to your Facebook account page to authenticate your Instagram account in the sales channel.
The last step in the process is to open your Instagram app, navigate to your Business Settings, and tap on “Shopping” to enable the feature.
Option #3: Use BigCommerce To Create A Shop On Facebook
BigCommerce is an alternative eCommerce platform that can also connect your store’s catalogue to your Facebook Page.
To set it up, begin by opening Channel Manager on your BigCommerce account and clicking “Get Started” next to Facebook.
Next, you’ll be asked to confirm that you’re using a compatible currency and to sign up for a Facebook account if you don’t have one yet. You’ll then review the product requirements and click “Get Started”.
Then, fill out your details on the Configuration page. This includes your phone number, business email, and the Facebook Page you’d like your Shop to appear on.
For more details, check out the complete BigCommerce guide.
After Facebook has approved your catalog, you can go back into Channel Manager and click “Get Started” next to Instagram to confirm that your store meets all necessary requirements.
How To Add Shoppable Tags On Instagram
Now that you’ve done the back-end work to create your catalog, it’s time to get the ball rolling in the Instagram app.
But first, you need the approval of Instagram. Your account will be reviewed by Instagram before you can be granted access to create shoppable posts. This process can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. You’ll get a notification from Instagram once you’re given the green light to start selling.
You’re almost there!
The last step is to connect your product catalog to your Instagram business account. To do this, go back to the Shopping section in your Instagram settings and tap on “Products”.
From here you can select a product catalog to connect to your account. After that, simply click “Done” and you’re ready to roll!
Creating Shoppable Instagram Posts
Now that you’ve set everything up, the fun part can begin!
Adding shoppable tags to your Instagram posts is actually very quick and easy, especially compared to all the other work you just did.
To do this, start like you normally would for any other Instagram post in your feed. Add your image, filters, and any other edits and click on “Next”.
When you reach the Share page you’ll notice the new option to Tag Products right below the option to Tag People.
The process is much the same as tagging people. Simply tap on the product you wish to tag. Your product catalog will pop up, allowing you to search for what you need.
You can tag up to five products per post (although, keep in mind that simplicity is often best). Also note that you’re not able to tag both people and products in the same post, but it is possible to tag people in the post caption if you’d like.
Once you’ve tagged everything you wanted to, tap “Done” and you’re ready to share your post!
Adding Shoppable Tags To Instagram Stories
Posts within your Instagram feed aren’t the only ones that can be utilized for a direct revenue stream.
Your Instagram stories can also be made shoppable with only a few taps.
Add your desired image and then click on the sticker icon at the top of the screen. You’ll see the the “Product” option with a little shopping bag icon next to it. Just like tagging posts in your feed, you can search your product catalog and specify the correct one.
Measure, Tweak, Repeat
As with anything in business, it’s important to measure the impact of your shoppable Instagram posts and track progress.
Fortunately, Instagram business accounts provide access to analytics for their shoppable posts.
You can see how many people viewed the product information, clicked through to the product page, or actually purchased. It’s helpful for keeping tabs on what does and does not resonate with potential buyers and tweaking things where necessary.
With so many possibilities for increased revenue, incorporating shoppable posts into your Instagram strategy is a no-brainer. It’s an easy way to continue to build your business and succeed as an Instagram master.