How to Sell on Instagram? – (Ultimate Guide)

Umer Idrisi Avatar
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Hey there, fellow entrepreneurs and Instagrammers of Pakistan!

If you’ve been wondering how to turn your Instagram followers into loyal customers, you’re in the right place.

Today, I am going to explore the world of Instagram selling (eCommerce on Instagram).

Whether you’re a small business owner, a budding influencer, or just a student looking to make a few extra rupees, this guide is for you.

Instagram isn’t just about pretty pictures anymore. It’s a powerful sales platform that, when used correctly, can skyrocket your business.

So grab a coffee, sit back, and let’s get started on turning those double taps into rupees.

Why Sell on Instagram?

Before we get to the how, let’s talk about the why.

Instagram has over 2 billion active users. It’s a billion customers! Bloomberg reported in 2022.

Not only that, but you’ll also have access to Instagram Shopping, Stories, and IGTV, which are the perfect tools to showcase your products and creatively interact with your audience.

Instagram is a visual-first platform and therefore is the perfect place to showcase products.

It’s also very interactive as well, with features that make it possible to connect with potential customers and build a community around your brand.

By using the right strategy, you can convert those followers into dedicated customers, which will lead to a considerable increase in sales and help you establish an e-commerce brand.

How to Sell on Instagram

Whether you want to sell products or services, you won’t have to invest in ads to start making money through Instagram e-commerce from the very beginning.

This means you can get sales with a free account and can run ads after you have sufficient funds.

Pretty cool, right?

Here’s how to leverage Instagram’s features to drive sales effectively and for free and boost your business online in Pakistan:

Step 1: Set Up Your Instagram Shop


First things first, you need to set up your Instagram Shop before you start saying that you are selling on Instagram.

This feature allows users to browse and purchase products directly from your Instagram profile.

Here’s how you do it:

1. Convert to a Business or Creator Account

To access the full range of Instagram’s business tools, you’ll need to switch to a business or creator account.

Here’s how:

  • Go to Settings: Tap the three lines in the upper-right corner of your profile, then select “Settings.”
  • Switch Account Type: Go to “Account” and select “Switch to Professional Account.” Choose “Business” or “Creator” based on your needs. Business accounts are ideal for companies and retail, while creator accounts are perfect for influencers and public figures.

If you don’t see these options, you may have to create an Instagram from an eligible country such as USA and UAE, you can ask a friend or use VPN for this (but its against Meta’s policies).

2. Connect to a Facebook Catalog

To use Instagram Shopping, you need a product catalog linked to your account.

This can be done through the Facebook Business Manager (now Meta Business Suite).

  • Set Up for Meta Business Suite: If you don’t have one already, create a Meta Business Suite account with your free Facebook ID.
  • Create or Connect a Catalog: In Meta Business Suite, go to “Commerce Manager” and either create a new catalog or connect an existing one. Ensure your catalog is populated with your products.

3. Sign Up for Instagram Shopping

Once your catalog is ready, it’s time to sign up for Instagram Shopping:

  • Go to Settings: Navigate to your Instagram profile, then tap the three lines and go to “Settings.”
  • Set Up Instagram Shopping: Under “Business,” select “Set Up Instagram Shopping.” Follow the prompts to submit your account for review.

Meta (Instagram and Facebook’s parent company) will now review your account, which can take a few days to complete.

4. Tag Your Products

After a successful approval, you can start tagging products in your posts and stories:

  • Create a Post or Story: When you create a new post or story, tap “Tag Products.”
  • Select Products: Choose the products from your catalog that you want to tag.

These methods make it easy for Insta users and your followers to shop directly from your content.

Step 2: Create Killer Content

Now that your shop is set up, it’s time to create content that sells.

Content is the heart of your Instagram strategy.

Here are some tips to make your Instagram posts and stories irresistible (catchy):

High-Quality Images and Videos

This might sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people overlook it.

You can invest in a good camera or smartphone like iPhone or Samsung flagship series, and make sure your lighting is on point. Clear, high-resolution images make your products look more appealing to potential customers.

  • Use Natural Light: Whenever possible, shoot in natural light. It’s the best way to capture the true colors and details of your products.
  • Edit Carefully: Use editing apps to enhance your photos, but avoid over-editing. You want your products to look as realistic as possible.

I recommend you to use Canva or Adobe Photoshop for making more interesting and professional images and videos and remove background too.

Engaging Captions

Your Instagram post caption is your chance to tell a story, create an emotional connection, or just make your audience laugh.

Be authentic, use a consistent brand voice, and don’t forget to include a call-to-action (CTA).

  • Tell a Story: Share the story behind your product, how it’s made, or how it can be used.
  • Ask Questions: Engage your audience by asking questions and encouraging them to comment.
  • Include a CTA: Encourage your followers to take action, whether it’s visiting your website, checking out a new product, or participating in a giveaway.

Just make your audience talk about your post and products by using your custom hashtags or brand name.

Use Stories and Reels

Instagram Stories and Reels are fantastic for showing your products in action. Give behind-the-scenes looks, share customer testimonials, or create fun, short videos that highlight the features of your products. Think like a tiktok creator for this step:

  • Behind-the-Scenes Content: Show your audience how your products are made or packaged.
  • Customer Testimonials: Share stories from happy customers to build trust and credibility.
  • Product Demonstrations: Use Reels to demonstrate how your product works or to showcase its unique features.

Short videos about why your products matter can be helpful for you to sell more.

Step 3: Leverage Influencer Marketing

Influencers can be a game-changer for your Instagram sales strategy and also to boost brand authenticity.

Here’s how to do it right:

Find the Right Influencers

Look for local influencers who align with your brand values and have an engaged audience. Micro-influencers (those with 10k-50k followers) often have higher engagement rates and can be more affordable for a startup like yours.

  • Research Thoroughly: Look at potential influencers’ engagement rates, the quality of their content, and their followers’ demographics.
  • Use Influencer Platforms: Tools like AspireIQ, Upfluence, and Traackr can help you find and connect with influencers in your niche.

You can also reach out to influencers who are currently active and being talked about.

Build Relationships

Don’t annoy your customers, don’t just slide into their DMs with a business proposal. Instead, engage with their content, comment on their posts, and build a genuine relationship first.

Here’s how:

  • Engage with Their Content: Like and comment on their posts, and share their content when relevant.
  • Personalized Outreach: When you do reach out, personalize your message. Mention why you think they’re a great fit for your brand and how you can benefit each other.

Just try to interact with your customers and make sure you always start a conversation with a new greeting.

Create Authentic Partnerships

When you do collaborate, make sure the content feels authentic and purely user generated (UGC). Influencers’ followers can tell when something feels forced and just a paid promotion. Give them creative freedom to showcase your products in a way that fits their style and voice:

  • Provide Creative Freedom: Allow influencers to create content in their own style. This ensures the partnership feels genuine.
  • Offer Value: Ensure the collaboration is mutually beneficial. Offer fair compensation and perhaps some perks like free products or early access to new releases.

Tip: You can use Fiverr to get UGC content.

Step 4: Engage With Your Audience

Engagement on social media is key to building a loyal customer base.

Here’s how to keep the conversation going:

Respond to Comments and DMs

Show your followers that you value their input by replying faster.

Respond to comments on your posts and answer any questions that come through your DMs promptly.

  • Be Prompt and Personal: Respond quickly and personally to show your followers that you care about their opinions and questions.
  • Solve Problems: Use DMs to handle customer service issues privately and efficiently.

Run Giveaways and Contests

These are great for boosting engagement and attracting new followers on Instagram.

Make sure the prize is something your target audience will love and create rules that encourage people to share your content, follow you and comment on your posts or share your content:

  • Clear Rules: Set clear and simple rules for participation.
  • Attractive Prizes: Offer prizes that are highly desirable to your target audience.

Use Hashtags Wisely

Hashtags can increase your reach and visibility. Use a mix of popular and niche hashtags relevant to your products and audience and as well create your own unique hashtags.

  • Research Hashtags: Use tools like Hashtagify or RiteTag to find trending and relevant hashtags.
  • Create a Branded Hashtag: Encourage your followers to use your branded hashtag when sharing content related to your products.

Step 5: Analyze and Adjust

Last but not least, keep an eye on your performance metrics.

Instagram Insights provides valuable data on how your content is performing over a give timeframe.

Pay attention to what’s working and what’s not, and adjust your strategy accordingly.

Monitor Engagement Rates

Look at likes, comments, shares, and saves to gauge how well your content is resonating with your Instagram audience.

  • Track Engagement: Use Instagram Insights to monitor which types of content generate the most engagement.

Track Website Clicks and Sales

You can use tools like Google Analytics to track how much traffic Instagram is driving to your website and how many of those visitors are converting into sales.

  • Set Up UTM Parameters: Use UTM parameters in your links to track where your traffic is coming from.
  • Analyze Conversion Rates: Look at the conversion rates of your Instagram traffic to see how effectively your content drives sales.

Experiment and Iterate

Don’t be afraid to try new things as social media platforms are seeing big changes nowadays.

Test different types of content, posting times, and ad strategies to see what works best for your audience.

Here’s how:

  • A/B Testing: Regularly test different content and ad variations to see which performs better.
  • Stay Updated: Keep up with Instagram updates and new features to stay ahead of the curve.

Advanced Tips and Tricks

Now that you’ve got the basics of selling on Instagram down, let’s dive into some advanced tips to help you take your Instagram sales to the next level.

Use Instagram Live

Instagram Live is a powerful tool for real-time engagement.

you can use it to:

  • Launch New Products: Create excitement around new product launches.
  • Host Q&A Sessions: Answer questions directly from your audience to build trust.
  • Collaborate with Influencers: Go live with influencers to reach a broader audience.

Leverage User-Generated Content (UGC)

User-generated content can significantly boost your credibility as everybody now just want to see what common people on social media are talking about and UGC is the best way for you to make your products more relevant to your potential customers.

So, encourage your customers to share photos and reviews of your products.

  • Create a UGC Campaign: Run a campaign encouraging users to share their experiences with your products using a specific hashtag.
  • Feature UGC: Share user-generated content on your profile to build trust and community.

There are some platform that gives you UGC on your demand, you can also use Fiverr and other freelancing platforms for this.

Utilize Instagram Shopping Stickers

Shopping stickers in Stories allow users to purchase products directly from your Insta stories.

  • Tag Products: Use shopping stickers to tag products in your stories.
  • Create Highlight Reels: Save these stories in highlight reels so they remain visible beyond the 24-hour limit.

Optimize Your Profile

Your Instagram profile is your digital storefront.

Make sure it’s optimized to attract and convert visitors into customers who keep coming back for more:

  • Profile Picture: Use a clear, recognizable profile picture, preferably your logo.
  • Bio: Craft a compelling bio that clearly states what your business is about and includes a CTA.
  • Link in Bio: Use tools like Linktree or Shorby to create a landing page with multiple links to direct traffic to different parts of your business.

Engage with Your Community

Building a community around your brand is crucial for long-term success and most just overlook this.

Here’s what you should do:

  • Create a Community: Foster a sense of community by regularly engaging with your followers and encouraging interaction.
  • Host Events: Host virtual events, such as live Q&A sessions, workshops, or product launches.

So, that was all about how you can sell on Instagram without spending a rupee on ads, etc.

However, if you wish to run ads on Instagram, you can read below:

Step 6: Utilize Instagram Ads

If you have the budget, Instagram ads can give your sales a significant boost.

Here’s how to get started:

Define Your Goals

What do you want to achieve with your ads? More followers, website traffic, or direct sales? Clear goals will guide your ad strategy.

  • Set Clear Objectives: Decide whether your primary goal is brand awareness, website traffic, or conversions. This will help shape your campaign.

Target Your Audience

Instagram’s ad platform allows you to target users based on demographics, interests, and behaviors.

Use this to your advantage to reach potential customers who are most likely to be interested in your products but not able to find organically.

  • Audience Insights: Use Instagram’s analytics to understand your audience better and tailor your ads accordingly.
  • Custom Audiences: Create custom audiences based on your website visitors, email subscribers, or previous customers.

Create Compelling Ads

Your ad should grab attention within the first few seconds.

Use high-quality images or videos, a strong CTA, and make sure your ad copy is concise and to the point and you can also use that UGC content for promoting your products.

  • Visual Appeal: Use eye-catching visuals and clear, bold text to draw users in.
  • Strong CTA: Encourage users to take action, whether it’s visiting your website, buying a product, or signing up for a newsletter.

Enough right?

Of course, selling on Instagram is not as hard as it looks like, all you need is consistency and patience.

FAQs

Here’s a list of some commonly asked questions about how to sell on Instagram:

How much does it cost to sell on Instagram?

It’s free! You don’t need a budget unless you want to run ads on the platform.

Is selling on Instagram profitable?

Absolutely a yes. By implementing the strategies above, you can convert followers into paying customers and pay nothing.

How do you sell on Instagram?

You can sell on Instagram by building trust with your audience, using Instagram’s features to drive engagement, and guiding followers into your sales funnel.

What’s the best thing to sell on Instagram?

Both products and services and even digital products can sell well on Instagram. The key is to understand your audience and offer what they need or looking for.

How many followers do I need to make money on Instagram?

The more, the better, but you can make money even with a smaller, highly engaged following. Focus on engagement rates and moving followers through your sales funnel.

Can I make money on Instagram without selling anything?

Yes! Features like Instagram Live and Reels offer ways to monetize through ads and fan support without directly selling products.

Do Instagram Reels make money?

Yes, Reels can generate income through ads and bonuses for high-performing content and that’s a bonus for those with huge reach and followers.

Conclusion

Selling on Instagram is all about being authentic, engaging with your audience, and leveraging the platform’s free features to showcase your products in the best way possible.

You can follow my guidelines, and you’ll be well on your way to turning those likes into sales.

Remember, Instagram selling success doesn’t happen overnight and is a game of patience and persistence.

Just stay consistent, keep experimenting, and most importantly, have fun with it.

Happy selling on Instagram!


There you have it—a complete guide to selling on Instagram. Whether you’re just starting or looking to boost your existing sales, these strategies will help you make the most of this powerful platform.

Do you have any questions or need more personalized advice? Feel free to reach out. Here’s to your Instagram success!

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