It’s no surprise that Instagram advertising tops the list of trending platforms for marketers worldwide. Equally, if you’re an ecommerce marketer, you’ll probably already be convinced that it’s one of the top two social networks for product discovery and engagement, especially for businesses in areas such as fashion, beauty, fitness and travel.

So, even if you are already active on the platform, why should you focus more resources on maximising your Insta efforts?

Instagram now has a staggering 1 billion monthly users, up from 800 million last September. Over 50% of these users are outside of the USA and around 500million+ of those users are active daily. That’s a huge engaged audience, just waiting to discover brands like yours.

Instagram is now considered to be one of the most influential social media platforms on the planet. Its image-based ads within the user timeline work similarly to parent platform Facebook’s own paid placements. There’s also the ‘Stories’ feature and live streaming available.

Many brands have used Instagram to great effect, especially when it comes to connecting with the lucrative Millennial and Generation Z audience. There are still millions more though that could significantly improve their Instagram marketing efforts.

If your business just isn’t making as much of Instagram as it could, try incorporating these tips into your monthly activity:

Stop selling, start communicating

It sounds odd but modern day Millennial and post-Millennial audiences are extremely sensitive to over promotion and hard selling. Far too many ecommerce brands and businesses seriously overkill the percentage of their posts which are intended to sell, sell, sell.

It’s important to try and tell your story, communicate the brand’s message or show your place in the consumer’s ideal lifestyle without directly selling to your Insta fam. Beautiful, aspirational imagery featuring products or services in a subtle way is likely to be much more successful than a blatant product placement.

If you feel like your images aren’t getting the likes and comments you deserve, it could well be time to take a step back from the sales speak and instead focus on the lifestyle angle to better connect with users.

Show your products in use

Not every product is the most photogenic when presented as a static image or draped over a mannequin. And even if it is, it doesn’t always show what the product (or service) can do for the end user.

Showing your product in action or depicting your service being delivered is often a much more successful strategy and could see you hitting closer to home with your audience. Highlight key features visually without having to talk about them. Showcase how your product will fit into the user’s day-to-day life and the problems it solves or benefits it delivers.

Showing your products in use in a natural environment means you can limit the sales pitch in the caption, and help your viewer to easily visualise how it will benefit them. A picture, as they say, is worth a thousand words!

Treat Instagram like a social network not an advertising outlet

Quite simply, remember to continue to interact with your audience after you post. Even though the act of posting an image of your product can feel like a kind of advertisement, remember that Instagram is built in such a way that users can respond, comment, tag and share your picture – something which standard ads don’t offer. This communication and interaction means you NEED to respond to fans.

Acknowledge and reply to all comments – or certainly to as many as humanly possible- and commit to managing your community 24/7. A great example of an eCommerce brand doing just that is Silk Fred. The clothing retailer makes a habit of acknowledging shares and comments which helps to build a sense of community.

Do not leave it to your users to manage your community for you; your brand needs to show it has a voice and that you care about the views of your users, positive or negative. No only is this quite simply good practise for managing your social platforms and showing your audience that you’re attentive. It also means that sales and complaint handling can happen right there on the platform much of the time.

Do you need a guiding hand to help shape your approach to Instagram? If you’re struggling to get the most out of the platform, contact our social media team today to find out how we can help.