Today we’re going to talk about setting up your own Instagram Shop. Many of you may be surprised that you can have your very own shop on Instagram. It’s a great way to reach customers who can’t be reached via traditional web marketing methods. Too many companies today focus solely on SEO, and they forget that social is beginning to overtake traditional marketing technics.

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What is an Instagram Shop?

An Instagram Shop is exactly what it sounds like. It gives your brand the possibility to have a store right on Instagram. A great feature is that you’re able to tag items in your store in posts. This is the only way on Instagram that you can effectively promote a product in a clickable way. This is key, and we’ll talk about it later. Instagram is very limited in how they allow you to promote things and the shop feature gives more flexibility.

Why do you want to have an Instagram shop?

Instagram is quickly becoming a significant social media platform. The biggest mistake businesses make is thinking that this is a platform for sharing useless pictures. Yes, there’s plenty of that going on. But, the same thing could be said about all social networking sites. No one thinks that Facebook Ads are useless because people are sharing pictures of their lunch.

All of these platforms give you the opportunity to reach new customers, and that’s why they’re essential. It’s not uncommon for people these days to spend the majority of their time online at social networking sites. The traditional means of reaching these people on the WWW are not working like they used to. Changing with the times is essential, and that’s why social is the place to be for many brands in today’s market place.

Instagram has limits built into it:

If you’re a user of Instagram, then you already know this. You’re only allowed to have one link in your profile. That’s it. Why this is has been debated over the years. It could be a measure to cut back on spam. Though, it could also be a means of making sure that the only way to promote something is by using paid Instagram services. The answer may lie in both, but, companies do exist to make money. It wouldn’t be too surprising if the bottom line were the most important factor in Instagram’s decision to heavily limit the amount of promotion that users can do.

How to promote your shop:

Now let’s turn our attention to how you can promote your Instagram Shop. Having a shop is useless if no one is shopping there. The first thing you need to do is think like a potential customer. This is why it’s so important that you enter into a niche that you’re familiar with. You don’t need to be an expert, and it’s entirely possible to outsource the entire process. With that said, if you’re on a budget, then outsourcing is not an option. You should be marketing products that you’re familiar with and understand what makes people buy them.

Tag products from your shop:

You aren’t going to be able to post URLs of your products in posts. As you know, Instagram doesn’t allow anyone to post URLs and this also goes for shop owners as well. The way you get around this is by posting tags to items in your shop. They do allow this, and if someone clicks on the tag they will be taken to your product.

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This is the only way that you’re going to be able to promote the products in your shop in posts. These are the limitations everyone faces, and it creates unique challenges to promoting your products. Though, it’s challenging and not impossible. That’s the key thing to understand throughout the entire process.

How to get free traffic to your shop:

There are various means of getting paid traffic to your shop. You can promote posts by buying advertising or by paying an influencer for shoutouts. All that is good, but you’re probably searching for ways to get traffic for free. The real lure of social networking sites is free traffic. There is an almost unlimited amount of free traffic to be had if you’re willing to work for it. Yes, there is work involved. Those who are willing to put the time into it will be rewarded with quality traffic that converts into sales.

It’s all about engagement:

You can easily fall into the trap of thinking that the most critical number is the number of people following you. It wouldn’t be entirely accurate to say the number of followers you have is meaningless. You do need a significant amount of followers to make money using any social platform. Those numbers become inflated when people only think huge amounts are required. You don’t need hundreds of thousands of followers to make money. Instead of thinking in terms of followers, think of engagement.

A person who follows you that doesn’t engage with your content is useless. Anyone who doesn’t consume your content can’t be marketed to. That means things such as bots who follow back everyone is worthless. People who do the follow/unfollow method in hopes of building up a bunch of followers are making a big mistake.

They have tunnel vision in that they think the only thing that matters is how many people follow them. Those numbers are useless if they include people who don’t interact with their content. It’s important to note that Instagram like any other social networking site is loaded with bots. As you can probably already imagine, bots don’t buy anything. They’re useless and won’t help your bottom line in the least.

How to increase engagement:

The recipe for increasing engagement isn’t complicated to follow. You need to post content that people interact with.

Any piece of content that gets little to no interaction is worthless. How you get people to interact with your content is by sharing pictures and videos that are directly related to your niche. The best way to get people to interact is by posting unique custom made content.

The most interaction comes from content that people have never seen before. This means you should always try to create pictures of the items you’re selling. There’s nothing wrong with having a few of the items in your hand and making unique content out of them. Just remember, you don’t have to be in the pictures. You want the item to be front and center and not yourself.

Viral content equals free advertising:

Every time someone shares your content on Instagram you’re getting free advertising. Hopefully, now you can see why it’s so vital for you to create quality content. The people who share your content are the ones who will help your shop grow. It’s going to take you some time to understand what type of content goes viral in your niche. The effort is well worth it since you can get free traffic that will buy things. You will also get organic followers this way who will share your content as well.

Too many online sellers want a hands-off approach to selling online. They don’t want to have the product in their hands and take pictures with it. The one thing that can separate your success from others is by doing more than what they do. If you want free traffic, you’re going to have to put in the work to get it.

The stock photos of your product aren’t going to go viral. They won’t make someone want to share a post with a friend. How often do you interact with Instagram content that’s a stock photo? The answer to that question is never, and you shouldn’t expect other people to behave differently than yourself.

Shortcuts can be very dangerous:

You can find sellers who can sell you everything under the sun when it comes to Instagram. You can buy followers and almost everything else. What you can’t buy is interaction. Never fall into the trap of buying followers or anything similar. It will throw off your engagement rate, and this will harm your account. Allow everything to grow naturally and make use of hashtags.

There’s nothing wrong with reaching out to influencers in your niche and also people who have active accounts which share the same interest. What you don’t want to do is try to game the system because it’s not possible. The algorithm Instagram uses can’t be manipulated too much. The only way you can truly manipulate the algorithm is by producing quality content that gets interaction naturally.

Build a quality Instagram account, and you will benefit significantly from it. You’ll be able to make money from it for quite a long time. You shouldn’t spend too much of your energy worrying about a lack of followers in the beginning. Instead, work hard to perfect the content production process. You’ll get followers organically if you produce quality content that utilizes hashtags. Allow the process to start slow and gradually build up.

You’ll learn along the way, and that’s when the followers will come. Also, make sure to do more than spam the platform in hopes of making money. Interact with people who post messages to your content. Customers love it when companies respond to them. Allow your playful side to come out and be creative when responding. When you connect with people on this level, they’re more than likely to share your content with others.