Social media platforms are a fun place to hang out. Therefore it stands to ask ourselves: Is it ok to sell on Instagram?
People go to Instagram for
- Social Interaction
People do not go on social media to be sold to.
Let us repeat that and include Instagram.
People are not on Instagram to be sold to.
Why then are we going to teach you how to sell on Instagram?
It’s one of the most frequently asked questions in our Social Media Manager’s Facebook group; “How can I sell on Instagram?”
You should know this; smart marketers don’t sell on social media.
Instead, smart marketers create communities of super fans and take these dedicated fans to their own website, landing pages, messenger bot and email list before selling them anything!
Of course, we know anyone can place Instagram ads at any time and blow huge ad budgets, but that’s not always sustainable for most small business and entrepreneurs as a long-term solution.
Today, we are going to show you a four-step system – that you can rinse and repeat – to grow your Instagram community organically, and how to fill that community with potential customers before inviting the members of that community to your owned online real estate where you can close the sale.
Harness Organic Instagram Power with Hashtags
While Instagram is owned by Facebook there are some vast differences in the way these two platforms work and perform for users and marketers.
While Facebook’s algorithm is making it harder and harder, but not impossible to grow a follower base organically, Instagram’s secret power play is enhanced by hashtags.
Before implementing a hashtag strategy and posting to Instagram, there are several things that need to happen to set your Instagram account up for success.
- Set up your Instagram account
- Optimize your Instagram bio
- Set up your account as an Instagram business profile
- Connect your Instagram account to your Facebook Page and Business Manager
Whether you plan to use the main Instagram feed for Instagram posts, or you are excited to include Instagram stories to your line up of content, hashtags should be added to ensure engagement and discovery!
It is important to note that if you are a social media manager managing multiple Instagram accounts for small business clients or large corporate clients, you will need to find a way to manage more than five Instagram accounts at one time, which is the current account limit on the Instagram app.
User-Generated Content on Instagram
User-generated content on Instagram is a much overlooked way to gain traction and attention.
“Look at user-generated content by other Instagram users as adult show & tell”
What is more exciting and empowering than to have other people sharing for you? People want and desire what their friends have – use this knowledge to your advantage as you market on Instagram. Use this knowledge to fuel the fires of desire (more on that later in this article)
Take These 4 Steps to Sell on Instagram
Today we invite you to familiarize yourself with the AIDA method, pioneered in 1898, and apply AIDA to sell on Instagram!
“In 1898, the American advertising and sales pioneer, E. St. Elmo Lewis developed a practical sales tool using the latest Scientific Management insights. He created his AIDA funnel model on customer studies in the US life insurance market to explain the mechanisms of personal selling. Lewis held that the most successful salespeople followed a hierarchical, four layer process using the four cognitive phases that buyers follow when accepting a new idea or purchasing a new product.”
The AIDA model describes the basic process by which people become motivated to act on a purchase and is based on external stimuli from sales representatives.
This motivation to make a purchase depends on:
- AWARENESS of the existence of a product or service;
- INTEREST in paying attention to the product's benefits;
- DESIRE for the product.
Lewis held that the fourth stage or mental state, ACTION, was a natural result of moving through the first three stages — that desire leads to action.
Let’s look at how we can apply these four principles to Instagram.
How to Raise Awareness to Sell on Instagram
The first letter in AIDA is A for Awareness (or Attention)
With over 1 billion users on Instagram, attention is hard – but not impossible – to come by!
Here are some ways you can raise awareness and grab the attention of both your current followers as well as those who don’t know you and your brand, yet!
- Captivating Headline
- Unique Photos
- Colors and Motion or Movement
Your number one goal in this phase is to stop the scroll!
Captivating Headline: Yes, your words should make someone want to stop and read – your headline should scream ‘Here is something interesting – go and read it!’
Unique Photos: Use all you’ve got to create a different but branded look! Use photo editing techniques and photo apps to make those pictures stand out to stop that scroll. Have you ever tried vertical photos on Instagram? Do you know anyone who is? Try something new!
Colors + Motion: Motion draws attention, so does color. Pick vibrant colors or pick something that’s not vibrant but make it unique with filters and other design elements!
How To Keep Interest to Sell on Instagram
The second letter in AIDA is I for Interest.
Now that you’ve stopped someone mid-scroll, you need to keep your audience interested.
With the beautiful pictures you post, offer something additional, without cost or commitment. Offer to help solve a problem by providing additional information and free resources.
Example: a beautiful picture of food, could be the lead-in to a 10 free recipes PDF.
Deliver value, over and over again.
How to Flame Desire to Sell on Instagram
The third letter in AIDA is D for Desire
The key to this stage is consistency, to keep showing up.
Become a trustworthy source of information, motivation and inspiration. Become desirable, reliable and show up!
Flame the desire for new content; condition your audience to look for your new content by using recurring weekly posts. At this point, asking for fans to ‘turn notification on’ is not a big ask.
How To Move to Action to Sell on Instagram
The last letter in AIDA is A for Action
You do not need a physical product to entice your fans to take action on Instagram. You do not need shoppable posts or a way to sell products on Instagram.
What you need is a clear call to action – not call to buy – as part of your marketing plan.
- Click the link in my story to ….
- Find the link in my bio and ….
- Tag a friend if you like to try …
- Join my free webinar, click this lin k…
- Download the free guide to …
- Ask to join my Facebook group by clicking the link …
Your goal needs to be to move your audience off of Instagram.
Only then can you truly ‘sell on Instagram’.
What Products Can You Sell on Instagram?
Last but not least, what can you sell on Instagram?
Once you’ve moved these community members to your messenger bot, your email list, your Facebook group or a text messaging service, it is time for the last step.
If you are an Instagram influencer, you already know you can pretty much sell anything to your super fans by using a call to action – using email, text messaging or chatbots once they are off of Instagram – and it might look like this
- Book a consult
- Sign up for coaching program
- Listen to my music
- Schedule meditation time
- Buy my lessons
- Join my workshop
- Purchase this product
Boring old shoppings posts, products shots and product tags are not always needed to make that sale…! You can sell just about anything using ad spent; hotel rooms, rental cars, clothing, tickets, makeup, accessories, and so much more.
Ads and shopping posts have a place in your overall paid marketing strategic plan.
By using the AIDA method you can organically build your community, your lists and sell on Instagram continually!
Just rinse and repeat these steps, and if something's not working, go over each and every step as outlined above and find the part that's not working just right and improve to keep the flow of new super fans coming.
I am a Certified Social Media Manager, Strategist, International Keynote Speaker, Organic Specialist and Agile marketer! Blogging is my creative outlet. Running, hiking and skiing are how I recharge. You'll recognize me on stage and online by my always present orange glasses, a nod to my Dutch heritage.