How to run a business on Instagram: special features for e-commerce

You can make money and run your own business on Instagram with no need to rent an office or even have a website

How to run a business on Instagram: special features for e-commerce. Source: shutterstock.com

Instagram was initially just another social media for quite a while. However, the situation dramatically changed several years ago. And if some creative individuals were playing around with this social network before, now it is a full-scale e-commerce tool and a competitive marketplace.

PaySpace Magazine offers you some tips and practical advice on how to use this powerful contemporary tool.

How to make money on Instagram

Instagram is a popular social network, where photos and videos are the primary content. Restaurants, boutiques, flower shops, outfit stores, and many other types of entrepreneurship that can make a “glamourized picture” of their goods/services have realized that they can make money using even just one Instagram account.

You have no need to rent an office, furnish a store, or even have a website to build a business now. A systematic approach and creative thinking are all you need to run a thriving business on Instagram.

Let’s start from the very beginning.

Creating an Instagram account: profile picture, name, history

The first things Instagram users see are little round profile pictures and the profile description (jumping ahead, we affirm the picture and description should be catchy, but clear, in all ways). You should also let users know how and where they can contact you.

The account name should probably somehow refer to the brand name. Source: pexels.com

Instagram business account name

The account name should probably somehow refer to the brand name. In short, it has to be something a potential client would type into the search field.

The best nicknames mostly match the company names and do not contain any extra words and excessive phrases, like “official”, “original”, “the best shop” etc. It will also be helpful to have one nickname for all social media you are registered in. This is how a subscriber can easily find you in a network they use.

Avatar

We all know the old saying “do not judge the book by its cover”. However, many people do. That is why you should not neglect your profile picture.

Your Avatar is the main attribute of your profile, it is your “social network face”. It should be catchy but elegant, without superfluous details.

You should also let users know how and where they can contact you. Source: pixabay.com

Profile info

You should clearly understand what exactly people have to see on your page that will pique their interest. It is what you have to add to the description, like goods and services, address, phone number, geodata, motto etc.

Profile description

Studies show that many human beings remember only 20% of what they have read, while they remember 80% of what they have seen. That’s why you have approximately five seconds to attract the attention of a prospective client, who has visited your online shop for the first time.

Make sure that you did not forget to fill all the necessary profile data:

  • the company name;
  • short description of your business;
  • your contacts;
  • your location;
  • link to your website (if you have one).

Make sure that you did not forget to fill all the necessary profile data. Source: unsplash.com

How to take good Instagram photos using a smartphone

The previous groundwork that has been laid down will be effective only in synergy with good content. You do not have to be a professional photographer with tons of expensive equipment to take decent shots in the 21st century.

It is enough to know the three fundamental rules of good photo content:

  1. Use smartphones with a good camera (bravo if you have a good camera, or your friends have one);
  2. Daylight (natural light) is always better;
  3. Use the same filtering or app-editing settings for all your photos. That is how your account will be conceptual, with uniform (unique, if you are creative) style.

It is enough to know the three fundamental rules of good photo content. Source: pixabay.com

What to write in posts?

You should define your purposes and be able to answer the question, “What am I doing here?” Mainly, there are two options: Instagram can be a shopping site, or it can be a tool for communication with clients. The second option suits those, who already have a store. Thus, Instagram won’t be the primary source of sales, but it can increase them significantly.

Actually, it is not so hard to prepare advertising or post text. Anyway, you should always put yourself in a client’s position. What would they think after they have read your post, and what would they do?

Make all your information understandable to the wider public. Precise figures and specs sometimes are not so clear for clients as they seem to be for you. For example, let’s assume you sell power banks. Your description of the particular model says, “capacity is 8000 mAh.” It is not clear from the current statement how many times will an average user be able to charge his/her smartphone. However, if you will write something like “8000 mAh will provide you up to 4 phone charges”, it would be much easier for a prospective client to decide whether they need this item or not (this also will spare them from superfluous cares and thoughts). A post should also contain a call to action, like “buy now”, “call now”, “order” etc.

Actually, it is not so hard to prepare advertising or post text. Source: pixabay.com

It is better to avoid pattern phrases and cliches. “The best quality”, “The lowest price”, “Unique production line”, “Reliable service”, many empty words… you know?

Replace them with real info:

  • “The best quality” for “robust metal housing/made of steel”;
  • “The lowest price”. You can write an actual price of the item. If it is truly lower than a competitor’s, you can compare your price with others;
  • “Unique production line” for “we produce items based on your individual preferences”;
  • “Reliable service” for “5-year warranty”.

Hashtags

A hashtag is a convenient tool, which helps users to easily find posts/messages with a specific theme or content.

For instance, #powerbanks_Insta, #powerbanks_US, #powerbank.

How to make money with advertising

Now let’s move away from online Instagram stores, photos, and hashtags. Let’s talk about advertising and incomes from it.

Let’s talk about advertising and incomes from it. Source: shutterstock. com

First and foremost, you should not set ads sales income as the primary aim. Excessive profit-seeking can only be detrimental to your Instagram profile and business as a whole. Chasing a rapid returns strategy can merely turn your profile into a stagnant page, sometimes called a “content cemetery”, full of ghosts (advertising posts). The main point is that your primary aim here (if we are talking about making money using advertising) is not to scare off your clients by the use of excessive ads during the “startup” period. You may say something like “Okay, what’s next? I’m going to make money with ads anyway, the more ads I have, the better for me. The ones who would like to unsubscribe will do it anyhow, won’t they?” And this is the point where we don’t agree with you. If you provide a significant amount of decent content during a relatively long period of time, users are used to it, and will always be ready for something new and interesting. They will probably remember you as “that channel/page/profile with fascinating content”. In this case, users will most likely be willing to endure a bit of advertising if it means they will get their familiar, good old-fashioned interesting content they are used to. But that happens a little later, when users have settled into your content and discovered all the pros and cons of interaction with you and your profile.

Searching for clients

There are multiple ways to sell advertisements. First and easiest, as well as the most pleasant and low-effort case, is the way when brands that want to be advertised are searching for you, and eventually, find you. From a certain “hit rate”, in other words, a degree of popularity, such situations will happen quite often. If your profile is in popular demand, you may even have to choose among different offers.

There are multiple ways to sell advertisements. Source: shutterstock.com

But you won’t get these generous offers right away. Waiting for those famous brands who will start “bothering” you with their offers from the first days of your account at the very least is naive. Keep on promoting your profile and only fill it with quality content. Furthermore, you should look for potential clients. Contacting such clients is a variation of well-known cold calling. Mostly, people try to avoid this part of the journey, but it is an essential part, just review your attitude towards it. Actually, there are lots of companies which need advertising, but they don’t do it on social media. The reasons for this are numerous, but mainly they just do not believe in the effectiveness of such methods, or maybe it is about an unfortunate experience they have had before. The good news is that you can still convince them using facts and figures. Search for such options using keywords, and pay close attention to those, who used to buy context advertisement.

In any case, when you find a company/brand to cooperate with, do not overprice your service. The price must be reasonable, and the best way to know the price for your service is to figure out what is the average price for profiles with approximately the same number of subscribers.

Do not forget about the monitoring of the market and analysis of the activity of your competitors on Instagram. Your aim is to compile a detailed list of digital entrepreneurs working in the same niche. Hashtags, which have been mentioned above, will dramatically help you.

So the most important thing is to have a concrete offer. It is not about “just an offer”, it is about a real business proposal that demonstrates the benefits of working with you right here and right now.

So the most important thing is to have a concrete offer. Source: unsplash.com

The things to avoid in advertising

First of all, you should avoid suspicious ads. Chasing “overnight income” is too short-sighted. Maybe you’ll get a couple of thousand dollars, but it can cost you your profile. What posts are considered to be suspicious? Firstly, it is any post containing explicit or hidden alcohol/tobacco advertising materials (not to mention drugs, even legal ones).

Secondly, you should pay attention to an ad’s consistency. If a user has clicked the link from your advertisement post and doesn’t find the promised content/item/service etc, and they don’t appear to be an indifferent person, this user will most likely write to the service tech support. One or two complaints will not make a dent in your online business. But rest assured, multiple complaints can cause you real troubles. After all, ending up in the ban list is easier than you think.

Instagram tools for e-commerce

Instagram developers understood that online shopping (via social media) trends became increasingly established, so they decided to facilitate the process. Therefore, they launched several tools which were aimed at boosting the performance and easing the shopping process for both purchasers and salespeople. For example, Instagram introduced the “shopping tag” feature in 2016. This feature allowed the tagging of items in photos (like users use to tag people when they post a photo or video). So users can easily buy the tagged item directly from the app with a single click. The next step was launching payments for commerce. Instagram developers added a native payments feature to the application. This feature lets users register their credit/debit card and set up a security pin. Therefore, users can pay for purchased items without the need to leave the app. This new feature has already launched in the USA and is available for multiple users and companies. The next step was a decision to consolidate the success of previous novelties, so Instagram introduced a couple of new updates. The latest feature makes it possible to click links to buy products from stories and the explore tab, and it is available for users from 46 countries. According to the latest statistics, there are more than 90M accounts that engage with Shopping Tags.

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