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How to Sell on Instagram – 6 Tips that Actually Work

Learning how to sell on Instagram offers businesses of all sizes incredible opportunities to reach their target audience and drive sales.

In September 2017, Instagram announced their business community has grown to two million advertisers, up from one million advertisers back in March.

From major brands to local mom-and-pop shops, businesses around the world are driving proven results with Instagram. According to a recent report, 75 percent of Instagram users take action, such as visiting a website or making a purchase, after looking at Instagram ads!

1) Optimize Your Instagram Business Profile

Instagram profiles are becoming the new homepage, as more and more consumers are turning to Instagram instead of Google to search for brands. This means you should be spending as much time and effort curating a beautifully-designed Instagram feed as you would creating your website.

Your Instagram Business profile should include:

  • Profile photo: Choose a photo that is on-brand (like a logo) which makes your company easy to identify.
  • A Well-Crafted Bio: Your bio should include a clear description of your business that speaks to your audience. Let them know exactly what you have to offer.
  • Link to shop: The URL section of your bio is the only clickable link you can add to your Instagram page – so make sure you’re using it! This is a great place to drive traffic from your individual posts and Stories. Creating a unique URL for this section will also give you the opportunity to track visits to your website from Instagram!
  • 2) Using Instagram Ads to Reach Your Target Audience

    With continued changes to the Instagram algorithm and heightened competition to have your content be seen, Instagram ads will become a critical part of Instagram marketing strategy for businesses.

    Once you’ve set up a Business profile on Instagram, you can then decide how much you want spend, where you’d like the ad to be seen and how long you want to run it for. Instagram allows businesses a variety of targeting options to best suit your businesses needs.

    Running your own Instagram ad campaign isn’t that difficult, but it can be intimidating to many small business owners and influencers who haven’t done it before.

    Fortunately, it’s not as hard as you think! The easiest way to run ads is by promoting posts you’ve shared on Instagram. Just select the post you want to boost, then hit the “promote” button once it’s posted.

    Instagram will automatically pull in a “similar audience” that you can share the post to, or you can easily create your own audience in the app by choosing an interest, age range, and the genders you want to promote to.

    Once you’ve set up your audience and budget, make sure to give your ad one last look over before hitting “Confirm.”

    You can start with a small budget and run your ad for a few days to test things out. To track how your ad is performing, click “View Results” in the bottom left corner of your ad. Remember, Instagram Ads can take practice, so make sure you continue to tweak your boosted posts and audiences until you get the results you want!

    The best Instagram ads for driving ecommerce sales includes messaging that clearly explains how to make a purchase.

    Take @thebouqsco for example. In the example below, they use the call-to-action “Shop Now and save” in the caption followed by a short description of the offer. They also use “Shop Now” as a call-to-action for the button to to encourage users to make the purchase.

    Basically, The Bouqs Co. simplifies the buying process. The ad makes it super clear what they are offering without any extra distraction. It’s important you keep your messaging simple, not to distract users from the goal of your post.

    How to Sell on Instagram with Instagram Stories Ads

    In March 2017, Instagram released advertising in Stories, offering brands yet another paid opportunity to reach more people. These immersive, full screen ads lets your business use targeting and reach capabilities that make your ads personally relevant to the people you want to reach.

    While photo ads will likely retain their top spot well into 2018, statistics show that Instagram Stories ads will see the most growth. In fact, “30% of businesses plan to create Instagram Stories ads in 2018, while only 8% did in 2017”.

    These ads pop up in between Instagram Stories of accounts you follow and can make a large impact on potential customers:

    You’ll notice a small “Sponsored” tag in the top right corner and a Call-To-Action (“Learn More”) at the bottom of these ads. Again, adding an additional call-to-action at the bottom of your ad can also be helpful for those interested in learning more.

    You have a choice in Instagram Ads to create either a video or a photo. Whichever you choose, make sure your initial clip is attention-grabbing. You’ll need to catch the eyes of those who quickly tap through stories.

    Instagram Stories have become a great way for businesses to make deeper connections with their followers and show off their brand’s personality. In 2017 Instagram reported “one in five stories on Instagram gets a direct message from its viewers.” Instagram Stories offer you chance to connect with their followers on a daily basis, without cluttering up your feed. Make sure you’re not missing out on this great opportunity to connect with future customers!

    3) Creating Instagram Stories With Product Links

    Instagram Stories is exploding in popularity, and the feature has over 300 million daily active users, more than double Snapchat! As Instagram Stories continues to grow in popularity, it’s no surprise businesses are continuing to find new and creative ways they can sell using this feature.

    Instagram Stories is the perfect opportunity for businesses to engage with audiences on a more frequent and personal basis. Many brands use Instagram Stories to capture their products in action, promote special offers or showcase new items.

    In 2017, Instagram graced users with 10,000 followers or more the ability to add links to Instagram Stories, which was great news for retail brands and publishers. This is a huge Instagram trend right now, and can help you grow your email list, sell products, drive traffic, and more.

    When adding a link to Instagram Stories, you’ll notice a small arrow and “See More” text appear at the bottom of your image. Since this small text may be unnoticed, you can add text directing users to “Swipe Up” for added visibility.

    The Instagram algorithm now takes into account all the interactions you receive on your Instagram Stories as well, such as replies or when your stories are sent to someone.

    The more that a user interacts with your Instagram Stories, the more likely your posts will show up in their feed.

    A great Instagram hack to get around the algorithm is to take advantage of Instagram Stories engagement opportunities, including the polling feature or “Swipe Up” option (if you have over 10k followers).

    We’ve also been seeing a lot of micro-influencers telling their followers to “DM me for a direct link to this product!” which is a great way to drive people to your inbox, build relationships with your followers, and ultimately increase the chance of your posts showing up on their feed.

    These are all great tactics to drive your customers to engage with your brand and a way to make sure you stay “top of mind” with your audience.

    4) Building a Shoppable Instagram Feed

    This year you can also expect to see more of Instagram and Shopify’s new shopping feature integration, as it’s set to be released to Shopify’s wider user base in 2018!

    According to Shopify and TechCrunch, “Instagram is already a ‘significant’ driver of Shopify merchant store traffic, so being able to convert said traffic right on the platform instead of round-tripping could result in a big boost of additional sales.”

    Instagram’s shopping feature allows businesses to tag products that are available for sale, and then let users purchase them directly within the app. Instagram product tagging is currently in testing and only available to an initial group of Shopify businesses however once the test phase is complete, this feature will be available to everyone.

    Shopify plugins like Shoppable Instagram Galleries makes it easier than ever for your business to make sales. Their Instant Purchases feature lets visitors add to cart and buy the liked items directly from images on your feed! Businesses can create a custom gallery to showcase their products, then simply add the gallery’s link to their Instagram profile bio.

    Creating a shoppable Instagram feed like Later’s Linkin.bio feature is a popular strategy for businesses looking to drive sales through Instagram.

    Here you can see @meundies custom URL in their bio, where they can direct users through post captions and Instagram stories:

    Linkin.bio is a landing page that resembles your Instagram feed and displays your posts as clickable images that you can link directly to a product page. This makes it easy to build a clickable, shoppable feed that links your audience straight to your content. You can also link to multiple websites and and pages, all without changing the link in your bio:

    When one of your followers clicks on the link in your bio, they’ll be taken to a web and mobile-optimized landing page that resembles your Instagram feed and displays your Instagram posts as clickable images. When your followers visit your Linkin.bio page, they can click on any of your Instagram posts to visit the product page that your photo is about.

    5) Offering Instagram-Only Promotions

    Shoppers love a good sale or promotion. Instagram is the perfect place to promote a sale, new product launch or discount code exclusively to your followers. You can either add your promo information in a caption or in Instagram Stories, encouraging users to click the link in your bio to take advantage of the offer.

    If you’re running an Instagram-exclusive promotion, you also can create a teaser on your other social networks to drive traffic to your Instagram business profile. Promoting exclusive Instagram-only promotions (for example, a special discount code for your followers) among your other social networks will encourage audiences to follow your Instagram account to make sure they don’t miss out on future offers.

    6) Establish Partnerships with Instagram Influencers

    Instagram influencers continue to be a hot topic as collaborations and sponsorships have nearly replaced traditional ads and are a huge part of a social media strategies today. Consumers today don’t trust traditional advertising — they trust people. Recent research from Nielsen shows that consumers trust personal recommendations above brand advertisements.

    The easier it is for a customer to picture themselves using your product, the easier it will be to sell to them.

    Influencer marketing gives brands a unique opportunity to reach a niche and engaged audience.

    Although it may initially seem like a risk to invest large amounts of money into influencer marketing, it’s important to consider exactly what you are paying for.

    Consider advertisers that spend upwards of $5 million (excluding production costs) for a 30-second Super Bowl commercial to reach more than 100 million viewers — who may or may not be the brand’s target audience. A series of Instagram posts by a fashion blogger with 500,000 followers and a cult-following, could sell out an entire product line within 24 hours.

    If you don’t have the budget to partner with a big influencer, consider finding a micro-influencer. These influencers have a significant, but not massive following, usually ranging anywhere from 1,000 to 100,000 followers. Micro-influencers are typically much more willing to do an “in-kind” agreement, trading product for promotion. If you’re a small business, investing in micro-influencers could be a great way to help drive potential customers to your page.

    79% of businesses rank engagement as the most important factor when evaluating who is an ideal influencer, followed by quality of followers (70%) and industry or niche (67%).

    It’s important you spend more time thinking about your strategy and campaign goals before getting started on your influencer marketing campaign. Setting up crystal clear goals will drive initial planning decisions and help you determine the best fit for your partnership.

    While working with an influencer, it’s important to make the paid partnership feel as natural as possible. Sitting an influencer in a chair to talk about how great your product is will likely come off as an advertisement and will quickly lose your viewer’s attention.

    For example, lifestyle blogger Jacey Durprie’s latest partnership with Biossance aligns perfectly with her brand, as she frequently shows off her morning routine and favorite products. She keeps it conversational, asking her followers their favorite “beauty hacks” and shares one of her own:

    The partnership feels very natural, without looking like a typical advertisement.

    Whichever route you chose, influencer marketing is here to stay. Influencer marketing is a great way for you to tap into a niche and engaged audience, to build brand awareness and most importantly, drive sales.

    Figuring out how to sell on Instagram will take some practice in order to determine what methods work best for your business.

    By
    Matt Smith

    Matt Smith, is the founder of Later an Instagram marketing and post scheduling platform. Smith had previously founded several startups including online course platform Thinkific.

    Merry Christmas 2017

    Christmas Tree at Penang Times Square

    I would like to take this opportunity to wish my readers a very Merry Christmas! Now is the season of greetings and cheer. Many malls have put up decorative Christmas trees with tinsels, baubles, wrapped gifts and the Star of Bethlehem. I shall be going overseas for holidays from 14th onwards and back after Christmas or rather boxing day on the 26th of December. Boxing day is called as such and refers to opening of presents and wrapped gifts. In the meantime, there will be no updates during this period from 14th – 26th December 2017.

    Can you find me in the picture above? It is near my dwelling place at Times Square and on the left side is The Wave still under construction. This awesome mesmerising Christmas tree was set up near Penang Times Square and is one of the better decorated ones in Penang, besides Queensbay Mall where the magic of Christmas comes alive!

    Happy Deepavali 2017

    Empire Subang Gallery Kolam

    First of all, I would like to wish my Indian readers a Happy Deepavali today, which is a public holiday for everyone. I love taking Kolams, or designs of coloured rice beads spread on the floor to create works of art. Above is a snapshot of the Kolam taken in Empire Subang Gallery, Kuala Lumpur. I was there for lunch and some business matters. This post may be a little late since I wanted to blog about it yesterday; but alas, the internet was down due to faulty splitter. It was resolved this morning, on a holiday like Deepavali.

    Straits Quay Kolam

    The kolam above was snapped in Straits Quay when I was there for the Matta Fair on the 6th Floor of the Convention Hall. Browsed around for a tour and went downstairs to meet up with my spouse at Uncle Albert’s Restaurant for some seafood chowder and fruit juice for dinner. The kolam here has elephant trunk design, typical of mystical India with elephants.

    M-Mall Kolam

    Here is the kolam below my condo at M Mall and you can see the logo of the one and only M Mall in Penang. It is a happening place and still is despite the controversies. Well, everything is settled now and I am happy things have returned to its status quo. The kolam here is certainly attractive, awesome and pretty! Happy Deepavali again!

    TheLovelyShop123.com – Time for Christmas Shopping Online

    TheLovelyShop123.com - Time for Christmas Shopping Online

    TheLovelyShop123.com was set up in time for 2017 Christmas shopping online as a general store selling women’s floral dresses from S, M, L, XL, 2XL, 3XL, 4XL to 5XL, sweaters for winter, hoodies, faux jewelry, iPhone 5 cases, pet clothing, etc. Select products that relate to your style and story. Free shipping for orders over $100. There is also a currency converter for your convenience. The items will be shipped to your destinations around the world via ePacket from China.

    Yes, this is a Shopify store made with love exclusively for you.

    Time for x-mas shopping online

    Above are some of the products that are more affordable for your leisurely browsing. The hosting and server is secure and it uses robust, safe and secure payment gateway of Paypal to accept credit cards like Visa and Mastercard. You can shop with confidence and all your data is secure with shopify, the fastest growing e-commerce platform. Take note, the products and items are carefully selected and more will be added in due time. So come back often and check out for the latest offerings.

    Here is a sample picture of a hoodie of beagle doggie pooch for pet lovers. Simply click on the image above or here to see more of the Christmas themed hoodies that are of high quality with kangaroo pockets.

    Dinner at New Dragon Gate Seafood Restaurant

    new dragon gate restaurant

    I just had dinner at New Dragon Gate Seafood Restaurant with my business partner and spouse, inside Red Rock Hotel, formerly known as Mandarin Hotel along Macalister Road. It is located conveniently near our condo and we were out for dinner at around 9:00pm where most of the eateries are closing.

    lights of fortune

    This lights of fortune with crystal ball on top caught my attention and I took the opportunity to snap it for posterity. It has the shape of Chinese money of gold nugget.

    myself

    That’s me seated on a carved wooden chair at the lobby of Red Rock Hotel just before dinner on the first floor.

    ambience

    This is the ambience with lilac coloured covered chairs with white ribbons and red lanterns suspended on the ceiling.

    serviette

    This is the printout or design of the restaurant serviette with address, logo, etc.

    tofu

    This was the first dish of black and yellow Japanese tofu, topped with fried mushrooms, spring onions and red chilies. It was quite delicious, with soft texture that is ubiquitous of tofu.

    scallops with lotus root

    Here the second dish was served consisting of scallops with sliced lotus root, green peas, asparagus and carrots.

    cod fish with black Japanese sauce

    This was the third and final serving of 2 piecces of cod fish with black Japanese sauce, garnished with honeydew melon scoops, radish flower and green salad on the side.

    dishes

    These are some of the appetisers like peanuts while waiting for the main dish to arrive which was tofu with chilies, pu-er tea, on an embroidered table cloth.

    fruits

    Here are free fruits on the house consisting of cut watermelon, honeydew and papaya.

    leaflet of set meals

    This green leaflet put on the table for the taking show the various set meal combinations with respective prices. Overall, the food was good with plenty of privacy – just the 2 of us were dining in an entire empty restaurant that can cater to a wedding banquet. I shall be going down south tomorrow morning to Kuala Lumpur and by Friday, will be down south further and come back to KL to attend the Mooncake Festival sponsorship dinner table of 10 that was paid for by our company in a hotel.

    Hence, this blog may or may not be updated for another week as I shall be on the go all the time traveling for work.

    How to Stay Productive when you are Tired

    How to stay productive when you are tired

    The above infographic is long, well developed and took much time preparing. It is self-explantory and this gives me some tips as well on how to stay productive even when I am tired.

    1) Do the most important task first;
    2) Take a 5-minute break every one hour;
    3) Deactivate emails and phone notifications; (This is a no go for me as they have to be on while I am working)
    4) Stretch your legs regularly;
    5) Drink a cuppa of coffee;
    6) Work from a coffee shop for 1 hour; (Well, I work from home)
    7) Drink water from a bottle with hydration tracker;
    8) Work while standing up; (I will walk around and read newspapers)
    9) Listen to soothing music; (by this I only listen to sentimentals)
    10) Work by a Window to get fresh air;
    11) Keep a bottle of peppermint oil on your desk;

    Well, the above summarises the infographic created by a talented designer with artistic tendency. I hope you find it informative, just as I have and it helps me to continue pushing to my limits and work hard for my retirement savings. Not forgeting I now have a 5 month old Pomeranian puppy and 2 white Holland Lop rabbits and 2 brown Holland lop mixed with long haired Angora rabbits. It is a full time job taking care of them.

    Dined at Ah Yat Abalone Restaurant, Genting Highlands

    2 days ago, I stayed at Tower 3 of First World Hotel with triple beds, a double and single beds for only RM 110 per night to take a good break from work. We drove to KL, met with some clients and then drove to Genting Highlands where I booked the room using my membership card.

    Above was lunch with red table cloth at a restaurant halfway to Genting Highlands mountain and located near Goh Tong Jaya where there is a cheaper hotel and rows of eateries. We ordered simple meal like prawns omelette, stir-fried vegetables and steamed fish. I also bought myself oblong grapes and blueberries for $25 total. The grapes caught my attention, as the normal size is usually round, but this is apparently cultured and longish in shape.

    The photo on the left shows the menu of $99++ / person with a set of 6 dishes; starting with sharks’ fin soup, then followed by abalone in thick gravy with vegetables, fried fish fillet, rice wrapped in lotus leaf, almond soup and egg tarts.

    Above is the abalone in sumptuous gravy and pak choy with fish maw. It was delicious and ambroisia. Till the next post or thereafter, I will show photos of the ambience and our room.

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