How to Sell Stuff on Instagram in 2021

Why should digital marketers and their clients care to sell stuff on Instagram? In a recent Instagram survey, 83 percent of respondents said Instagram helps them find new products. With over 1.3 billion active user accounts, Instagram offers a large captive audience, waiting to be influenced by attractive business content that tells them where to spend their money. Because of the reach and high levels of engagement, Instagram presents a selling opportunity that should not be missed.

Small and medium-sized business clients lean on digital agency experts to help them spend their money to make more money. The digital marketing expert’s job is to make sure clients look good online and have varied avenues for selling.

Can you sell items on Instagram?

Simply put, yes. Since its inception, Instagram has evolved due to demand to include selling capabilities. The complication is in the number of ways to sell items on Instagram. This includes using link stickers, ecommerce platform integrations, partnering with influencers, and using integrations for adding multiple links in a bio. That’s just the shortlist. We’ll get into the details including how-to steps and advice throughout this article.

Boost engagement with a business account

Most business clients will be familiar with Instagram, and maybe even have a personal account. The first step in selling on Instagram is creating or converting that account to a business profile. An Instagram business account grants users access to account performance insights.

The Instagram Insights tool gathers intelligence from the demographics of followers to engagement and content data. With such insights, account managers can track when followers are most engaged with the content. This allows the business to ensure posting is scheduled for the days and times that are likely to get the most follower engagement.

Insights also track the number of clicks per post. Some types of posts are more popular and get more clicks, so insight helps users know what type of post to create to get high engagement.

How to set up an Instagram Business account in three easy steps:

Step 1. From the profile screen, tap the three horizontal lines in the top right corner and select settings.

Step 2. Tap Account, and then tap Switch to Professional Account.

Step 3. From there, choose a category that best describes the business, and then select “Business.”

Sell stuff on Instagram with Link stickers

Replacing the swipe-up link in Instagram stories, the Link sticker is a tappable sticker that can be added to a story. This sticker takes users to an external website. With the “Add Yours” Link sticker, users can now respond to stories in a thread as well. Instagram is currently working on making Link stickers customizable beyond the current option of color choice.

Story links are no longer only restricted to verified accounts with over 10,000 followers. Now everyone’s favorite mom and pop shops can feature product drops with a clickable link sticker in their stories.

How to add a Link sticker that drives traffic to a website in four easy steps:

Step 1. Create a story

Step 2. Select the sticker tool from the top navigation bar

Step 3. Choose the “Link” sticker from there and add the site link

Step 4. Put the sticker on the story and tap it to update the color

Instagram link stickers

Sell stuff on Instagram with ecommerce platforms

Instagram offers seamless integration with a number of platforms. Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, OpenCart, and Magneto are included in the long list of ecommerce options. All of these third-party ecommerce platforms can offer a quick and easy setup of an ecommerce website for clients who don’t currently have a website with selling functionality.

WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that can easily be added to a WordPress website. A client using Shopify will be able to quickly connect their Shopify website with ecommerce functionality to their Instagram Business account.

Sell stuff on Instagram using influencers

Influencers can be local or big-name celebrities -- someone who is well-known in a specific industry, or generally a person with a large following who makes money through sponsorships. These sponsorships come from brands that have a similar audience to the influencer,  making it a good fit to sell their products. Selling on Instagram with an influencer provides an engaged ready-made audience that will trust a product or brand because they trust the influencer.

Using Instagram Insights to understand clients’ follower demographics is helpful in choosing an influencer to promote the client’s brand. Ensure the influencer is relevant to the brand to optimize selling potential. 

Influencers add credibility to a product or brand. It’s in the name, an influencer has the power to influence their followers to make purchase decisions. The price tag attached to hiring an influencer varies and depends on a number of factors. These include the number of followers they have, the type of post they are being asked to provide, and their celebrity status.

How much will it cost to hire an Instagram Influencer?

To break down the cost of an influencer, on average an image post will receive the most click-throughs and ranges from $150-$2000, a story may cost between $50 and $700, and a video post ranges from $200-$3000.

Add multiple links in bio

One of the obvious shortcomings of Instagram is the inability to add clickable links to a post. The way around this is to use a link tool that allows multiple links to be added to a client's Instagram bio. It is standard practice to add a short clause stating “link in bio” on any post that followers may want to know more about. 

There is still only one spot for a link in the bio, but third-party companies were savvy enough to recognize this gap in the market years ago. Businesses wanted capabilities within Instagram to showcase multiple links. As these tools evolved, users can now choose to use a tool that shows links with descriptive words like Linktree, or even images that match the post in the feed. This second option is becoming more popular because it builds a more follower-friendly bridge between the post and the link in bio.

Conclusion

It can feel overwhelming for small and medium businesses with so many different tools and techniques available. But it shouldn’t be a chore to sell stuff on Instagram, just remember the massive opportunity this market represents. Digital marketing professionals can help clients and prospects overcome the stumbling block of getting set up. The first step in selling online is always to ensure a website has ecommerce capabilities. From there, selling on Instagram is a great next step.

About the Author

Emily is a Content Marketing Specialist at Vendasta. Over her career, Emily has worked as a Marketing Strategist, freelanced as a Social Media manager, and enjoyed working events for local and national not-for-profit agencies. When she's not researching her next blog topics you can bet she's challenging a friend to a card game or planning a hike in the wilderness.

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