Instagram is no longer just about sharing vacation photos. If you’re going to put in the effort to build a following, you want to know that there’s real potential to general revenue on Instagram!
Marketers are recognizing the powerful potential to generate revenue on Instagram, and many entrepreneurs are taking advantage of its popularity to launch new businesses.
Here are five ways you can use your Instagram account to generate sales:
1. Market Your eCommerce Store
Instagram, with its focus on visual content, is an ideal platform to showcase products you sell through your own eCommerce products.
Even though Instagram doesn’t yet support a direct way to buy from Instagram posts, have no fear, Shoppable Posts are on the way!
Instagram realizes the power of their platform as a drive of product sales, and they aren’t going to miss the opportunity to capitalize on it. That’s going to be a big win for anyone with an ecommerce store!
But just because we are still waiting on the global roll out of shoppable posts doesn’t mean you can’t make Instagram work as a sales channel now. Apps, such as Soldsie, Inselly, and Instaorders, allow you to do just that. You can also simply post a short link or an easy-to-remember URL, so customers can copy and paste it into their browsers to reach your product page.
There are also other less direct approaches you should be doing on Instagram to get more visibility and sales for your ecommerce store, as you don’t want your Instagram feed to feel like a continuous sales pitch.
Running contests that feature your products as prizes are a very effective way to call people to your store, while adding the excitement and fun of the potential to win something for free…everyone loves to win! Ask people to follow your account and tag a few friends to enter a contest. This will help put your brand in front of more people similar to your current followers and therefore more likely to become your customers.
Also, make sure to feature new products on your Instagram account, and consider using Instagram as the place where you give ‘early access’ to new products, making members of your community feel like they get a special benefit.
Finally, showcase customers using your products. Seeing people “just like them” using your product is a great way to provide social proof and entice prospects to make a purchase. Putting your products in context and showing them in real-life setting helps potential customers imagine how they’d benefit from the use of your products.
Warby Parker uses a lot of user-generated content on their Instagram feed to show their products “in action:”
2. Market Products And Services As An Affiliate
Don’t have your own store or products to market? No problem!
Affiliate marketing is one of the fastest ways to start monetizing your social media presence because you don’t have to create a product or service to sell.
Simply sign up at one, or several, of the many affiliate networks and you’ll have a huge variety of product and service options to promote. Consider CJ, Shareasale, Amazon, and Ebates as good affiliate networks to get started with.
When you sign up as an affiliate for a brand, you get a tracking link or a promo code. When your followers use that link or code to make purchases, the sales are tracked back to you and you’d receive a commission.
Since you can’t have an active hyperlink in your posts (the only clickable link is in your bio,) an easy-to-remember promo code is often the most convenient way to incorporate the promotion into your posts.
Kristyn Ann at Glamour-Zine features outfits and accessories that her followers can purchase through her links:
3. Sell Sponsored Posts
When you have a sizable number of followers in your niche, and being regarded as tastemaker, trendsetter or trusted expert, you have the opportunity to get paid by brands to share sponsored posts.
This is how the Kardashians and Selena Gomez are making millions from their Instagram accounts, but you don’t have to be a celebrity to make this work! In fact, brands are looking to partner with ‘micro-influencers’ because they get such a good response from their smaller, more engaged audiences.
Where do you find brands that will pay you for posts on Instagram? Take a look at sites like TapInfluence, Shoutcart, Grapevine, Crowdtap, and indaHash for an eye-opening experience into the possibilities!
It’s important that you build trust with your audience. When you feature a product, your followers are more likely to make a purchase.
For selling influencer campaigns to be a sustainable business model, you need to be selective about the brands you feature, and only promote those that you can truly recommend.
You also need to maintain the trust of your followers so you need to be transparent when a post is sponsored. Most influencers mark their posts with hashtags such as “#ad” to make that clear.
Kate La Vie partners up with Naked Juice and integrates the product into her posts:
4. Generate Leads For Your Business
You can use Instagram to reach prospects and generate awareness for your business. For many service-based businesses, sending followers to their lead magnet sign up page is an effective strategy.
You can also use your posts and Instagram Stories to promote limited-time exclusive offers only available for your Instagram followers, asking them to respond in a specific way to claim the offer. This allows you to capture their contact info and makes them feel special at the same time, a win-win.
Use hashtags to help your posts get in front of the right target market. Don’t forget to mention your lead magnet in your bio and include a link to the landing page.
Foundr Magazine has a call-to-action in the bio section to get their followers to sign up for a free issue:
But this works equally as well for brick and morter type businesses, such as this Massage Parlor:
5. Sell Information Products
Information products — with their low costs and high profit margin — are a great way to leverage your time and effort while adding a stream of income to your business.
It’s important that you build trust with your followers, and position yourself as the subject matter expert.
Besides sharing relevant and useful content, you can post photos of you and your team to nurture relationships with your audience by associating your company with faces of real people. Photos of you or your team of experts participating in panels or presenting on stage are also very powerful to help build credibility.
Sites like PaleoNewbie.com are using Instagram to market their recipes for and books to the paleo crowd:
A little Easter Rainbow meal of Ham, eggs, Brussels and sweets. A winning combination! 😋 Now off to enjoy some sunshine. Happy Sunday! #paleo #glutenfree #veggies #fitness #fitfam #foodie #fruit #fitfood #healthy #healthyfood #nutrition #foodie #igers #igfood #beautifulcuisines #feedfeed #yummy #goodeats #delicious #breakfast #eatclean #cleaneating #eattherainbow
Would you like to learn more about how to use Instagram to build an audience and sell products and services?
DigitalMarketingLab has a free video training on our ‘Six Step Influence Sales Process‘ you can use to build your influence and sell on Instagram in any market.