Back in October 2010, Instagram was founded purely as a photostream social platform. Following the trends of other social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, no surprising that Instagram has been turning into such a big promising e-commerce platform. But how promising can it be?

Instagram has been making a huge stride in social media with over 300 million active monthly users, 32 billion photos shared, and 2 billion post likes happening every single day in the last five years. Almost 17% of internet users are on Instagram ( this number is growing still) and this means that there is a big pool of potential online shoppers you can reach.

In terms of engagement rate, in comparison with Twitter, Instagram has a much higher engagement rate per post :

insta vs. tw in engagement

I am not going to waste your time by rambling about how effective selling in Instagram can be for your business because these numbers say themselves well. Let me move forward to the comprehensive guide with tools and tricks that can help you an awful lot with bringing in sales, engaging with customers and thriving your business in social media.

#1: Don’t make your commercial pictures overdone!

What makes Instagram special and unique in the first place is user’s ability to edit photos easily with various filters and editing options. Thanks to Instagram, making creative and artistic photos has never been so simple and quick for everyone. Yet, some people seem to unwisely exploit the filters in creating their photos, making them overdone and somewhat look so unreal.

Overdone photo in Instagram

Instagram shoppers are online shoppers looking for authentic images that reveal the most honest looks and features of the products. If you are not an excellent Photoshop guru, don’t risk your chance of impressing customers by overdoing product images on Instagram. Instead, just make them clean and attractive with elegant filters and editing tools without changing the natural colors and shapes of the products.

Nice filtered photo on Instagram


#2: Use hashtags wisely to find followers and potential customers.

Do you know that with each hashtag symbol (#) you put in front of a keyword that matches with your photo, you’ve expanded your reach by 10 times or even more than that?

It seems simple and tempting to just pick up as many hashtags as possible to put in your post, as long as it contains words seemingly related to your products. No! For Instagram to work in e-Commerce, you need a smart strategy with hashtags to really reach target customers and get your products spread out. Here are 03 notes you need to think about when making use of hashtags:

  • Remember the “SOR” aka Specific – Observant – Relevant: to reach target customers who are specifically looking for your products, use industry relevant and specific hashtags so that they can easily find you. For example, if you are selling Nike sneakers shoes, use #Nikesneakers or #Nikeshoes insteads of #shoes or #sneakers only. Also, keep an eye on hashtags on similar products or businesses like yours because as you may discover popular hashtags that you yourself wouldn’t think of. Searching for commercial hashtags is like searching for keywords in google ads: you have to do put yourself in the shoes of your customers and try to answer the question “What hashtags will they most likely type in search box if they want to find items you sell?”
  • Some hashtags to capture new followers: when you first start your Instagram channel, besides current customers, you need to broaden audience base by capturing new followers on the network. One effective way is to take advantage of popular hashtags at the beginning. It is suggested that you make use of 25 Most Popular Instagram Hashtags for Getting New Followers.
  • Suitable number of hashtags in one post: The more the better? That’s not the way it works for Instagram. Too much hashtags on a post will make it look messy, unstructured and overwhelming. In average, the posts with the highest number of interactions have 11 hashtags attached.

Taking all these 3 notes into account, my advice is that you make a good combination of both SOR and popular hashtags for a post, ideal number would be around 10-12.

#3: Run giveaway and contest campaigns to live up your Instagram

Giveaway on Instagram

Everybody loves winning awesome prizes. Giveaway and contest are among the most popular ways to increase social media engagement on Instagram.

Creating a contest / giveaway on Instagram is simple, but make sure to clarify what your goal is, what audience you target and how much in budget do you have for the campaign if you want to launch a cost-effective campaign.

#4: Don’t forget a call to action in every post.

The story is about engagement. If there is no follower’s engagement, your content is doing nothing effectively for your own brand. So the goal is to build customer loyalty, amplify your message through each post and get people to share it.

A call-to-action can be presented in many attractive ways: a statement, a question, a challenge that asks your followers to do something, a survey poll or an invitation to submit something. If possible, give your followers some kind of incentives to encourage them to take the action.

CTA in Instagram

#5: Post Behind the scene (BTS) photos from your business.

Last but not least, do not ignore the benefits that behind the scene photos may bring to your business. What happens at your business right now? What is a normal work day at your office like? How funny are your staff in break-time?

Daily BTS snapshots add a human nature side to your company, create a friendly look with customers and thus make people more likely to trust and do business with you.

Behind the Scene photo


Instagram is continuously expanding with more and more opportunities for e-Commerce business day by day. Thus, don’t let yourself stay out of the track. Get on it now and make the best out of this channel to capture every potential sales in your conversion funnel.

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