Instagram is a marketing powerhouse. According to Hootsuite, 81% of Instagram users have used the social network to research and discover new products and services. But online traders often miss the opportunity. Too many people just focus on sharing product images, without connecting with prospects.

I’ve put together in this article seven types of content that ecommerce merchants can use on Instagram to connect and engage with their followers.

Ecommerce content for Instagram

User generated. Instagram can be the best social platform to engage an ecommerce audience. Customers can use a merchant’s branded hashtags to share authentic experiences (videos or photos) with their products. Consumers view user-generated content as trustworthy.

Consider “rescheduling” customer posts to your Instagram page or using Instagram stories to feature user content that highlights your brand.

Wayfair’s #WayfairAtHome campaign is a great example of using user-generated content. The campaign highlights how Wayfair customers use its products in their homes. The campaign has approximately 56,000 shares of posts. It’s a powerful way to build social proof around the Wayfair brand.

Wayfair highlights how customers use its products in their homes.

Interactive content like contests and polls is relatively new to social media. But it’s an effective way to engage an audience and learn about customer preferences for your products. Photo contests can help ecommerce businesses increase subscriber numbers while producing fun and relevant content.

Sock Club, an e-commerce subscription service, uses Instagram stories to run contests that pit sock designs against each other to determine customer preferences.

Screenshot of Sock Club's Instagram page

Sock Club uses Instagram stories to feature contests that pit sock designs against each other.

Way of life. A common mistake of e-commerce merchants on Instagram is not understanding lifestyle marketing. Avoid posting too many photos of what you are selling. Instagram is not an online store. It’s a platform to share your lifestyle. Your messages should reflect this cultural philosophy.

Do not fill your feed with commercial product images on white background. Instead, focus on telling stories and bonding. One of the easiest ways to do this is by having lifestyle stories on your products.

Nike’s Instagram page does an amazing job selling shoes. But the page doesn’t include any product prices, just stories of people wearing his shoes.

Screenshot of Nike's Instagram page featuring a female athlete.

Nike’s Instagram page does an amazing job selling shoes. But the page doesn’t include any product prices, just stories of people wearing his shoes.

Products in context. Placing products in their proper context while telling a story can boost sales. Glossier, the online beauty company, does a fabulous job creating in-context makeup tutorials that explain how to use their products together. Showing customers in real life scenarios how your products enrich their lives enables shareable content.

Screenshot of a Glossier makeup tutorial on Instagram

Glossier’s makeup tutorials explain in a real-life setting how to use her products together.

In the wings. One of the best ways to connect with consumers is to explain how your product is made or the day-to-day operations of your business. I use it in my own original painting business. An example of more traditional e-commerce is Warby Parker. Her Instagram page and stories reveal behind-the-scenes footage of the company’s key milestones and moments.

Screenshot of Warby Parker on Instagram showing his first spectacle frames

Warby Parker discusses his milestones and key moments, such as the first spectacle frames.

Funny and inspirational quotes spark engagement. Instagram users love to share and comment on quotes. But they’re more powerful when they align with your brand and help sell your products. User-generated quotes can strengthen social proof. Reposting funny memes from subscribers can trigger an organic viral campaign. Drunk Elephant, a skin care provider, posts jokes that often have nothing to do with skin care, but it’s hard not to share them with friends.

Screenshot of a joke on Drunk Elephant's Instagram page

Drunk Elephant posts jokes that often have nothing to do with skin care, but it’s hard not to share them.

Influencer partnerships, done right, can create compelling content. But avoid partnerships that only promote your product. Instead, create authentic experiences that help grow your audience. Daniel Wellington, an online watch company, reportedly used micro-influencers on Instagram to help boost sales to $ 180 million in five years. Talented influencers can solve two problems: how to advertise your products and generate quality images for later use.

Screenshot of Daniel Wellington's Instagram page

Daniel Wellington used micro-influencers on Instagram to increase his sales to $ 180 million in five years.



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