How To Use Instagram To Grow Your E-Commerce Business (With Zero Budget)

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As Instagram continues to grow, businesses have increased their advertising on the platform. Whether it be through buying ads or marketing through influencers, an e-commerce business relies heavily on social media to get their name out.

But how can you do it with no budget?

The first step would be to create a business profile for your brand and start gaining followers. Here’s how to do that…

1. Take advantage of Instagram’s business features

After creating an account for your e-commerce business, you can convert it to a business account in the settings on your profile.

This allows you to add your business information and see analytics on how your posts perform.

You can view analytics on your followers’ engagement from how many people click on your links to when your followers are most active.

Say your followers are on your page the most from 3-6 p.m.; schedule your posts during that time and see your engagement rise.

Keep tabs on which posts get more likes and do more of those kinds of posts.

2. Create an aesthetic and post high-quality photos

Instagram is all about the look and feel of a feed.

Generally, the more unified your posts are, the more appealing your profile is to viewers.

Try picking a color or filter that every photo would have, e.g. a sepia filter, light pink theme, or white background.

Post photos of your products but alternate with posting other engaging content.

Take high-quality photos, and if you can afford to take some extra time or money to make videos showcasing products, even better. Videos are even more engaging for potential customers.

3. Find and engage your target audience

The number one tip to growing your following on Instagram is to be active.

You can find your target audience on Instagram by searching through the profiles of similar business accounts. Leave likes on people’s photos, comment nice things, and ask to collaborate. You can also look for posts and profiles by searching hashtags relevant to your business.

Go to a larger business’ page and look through the comments on their posts; engage with their followers by liking and replying to their comments.

Follow small businesses similar to your own, be engaged on their profile, and reach out to them. Find creative opportunities to collaborate, and their followers may become yours as well.

4. Use hashtags to promote your products

Many people use hashtags as a way to find posts and profiles similar to their own. Think of some hashtags relevant to your business. Some generic ones include:

  • #smallbusiness
  • #smallbiz  
  • #womanownedbusiness

If you own an online women’s apparel shop, a few to try would be:

  • #womenapparel
  • #fashion
  • #womensstyle
  • #OOTD
  • #model

Be sure to also research what hashtags are trending at any given time and incorporate those if they are relevant.

5. Vary the types of posts you make

Most businesses don’t only post photos of their products; that would be like one giant advertisement page and would not engage followers.

Give your feed some personality with lifestyle shots, inspirational quotes, or question posing.

Keep up with the news in your industry and share posts that your followers may want to see.

When collaborating with other companies, be sure to let your followers know too.

If you offer any coupons, make sure to let your Instagram followers know.

Try hosting a giveaway contest that promotes more engagement on your profile or website. For example, ask your followers to refer friends to your business, sign up for emails, or share your posts.

Giveaways are incredibly efficient at drawing people in because, let’s face it, everyone loves free stuff.

When you collaborate with an influencer or blogger, repost their photos on your feed. This not only livens up your feed but if your followers respect the influencer, they will likely further respect your brand.

Additionally, if your followers ever tag your business in a photo of them using your products, repost it!

6. Use Product Tags

Instagram has a feature for business accounts to tag their products.

When viewers click the “View Products” tag on a photo, it takes them to a listing of products with descriptions and prices.

Viewers then have the easy option of clicking on a link to your website and buying the product from there.

You will first need to set up an e-commerce catalog on your business Facebook page and link it to your Instagram account.

When creating a catalog, most businesses link it to their website, so customers can check it out there rather than Facebook. Then, go to your Instagram profile’s settings > Business > Shopping on Instagram and follow the instructions.

Your business will need to be approved by Facebook and will likely take a few days.

Growing your e-commerce business on Instagram is time-consuming and can result in some failed attempts to connect with people.

However, social media is so important for the growth of online brands. A customer base is all about loyalty, so create a profile that fosters engagement and your sales will come naturally.

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grow e-commerce

Fiona Morgan is currently a blogging intern at LadyBossBlogger. She attends Asbury University in Kentucky and is studying journalism with a minor in art. Fiona has an interest in blogging and a passion for using writing to help others. Her hobbies include traveling, biking, painting, and photography.

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