How to leverage Instagram to drive eCommerce sales!
A guest article by Sumit D, co-founder of Incent Social. Incent Social is a lightweight Instagram marketing suite designed to bring the power of user generated content and social engagement to your Shopify store.
Instagram has grown leaps and bounds over the last few years and has become the go-to social network for the internet generation. One can’t really argue with the numbers:
- Instagram has more than 400 million active users. On an average day, 80 million photos are shared and it cloaks up 3.5 billion likes every day.
- If we look at the top 100 brands in the world, 90% have an Instagram account 96% of US fashion brands are on Instagram.
What makes Instagram perhaps the most important channel of user acquisition and engagement for any brand is the inherently visual nature of the platform. The true power of Instagram lies in the capabilities it offers to connect with users in the most accessible and relatable form that there is: photos!
Promotional strategies such as Instagram ads and influencer marketing are surely instrumental in driving growth on Instagram. The key challenge, however, lies in providing a measurable and causal link to sales and incremental revenues. This is where people-powered marketing and user generated content play a crucial role.
Following are the simple steps to leverage Instagram brand presence to drive website traffic that, in turn, leads to incremental sales:
How to turn your customers into brand advocates:
Word of mouth still remains the most effective form of marketing. A recent Forrester Research study on the topic revealed that 70 percent of consumers are strongly affected by real-life user endorsements when making a decision to purchase a product or a service. Instagram is the ideal platform to reach out to the otherwise inaccessible social circles of your customers through their visual endorsements. In this digital age, user generated content is the new word of mouth.
Launch a campaign to collect authentic UGC:
A reward campaign enables brands to mobilize their customer and follower base to create authentic UGC. People find it naturally appealing to show off what they recently purchased and what better platform than Instagram to leverage this behavior? Successful brands use it to their advantage by asking their customers to share their photos and selfies with the product. The key here is to reach out to your customers at the right moment (say just when the order is fulfilled) and turning their excitement for the new purchase into an endorsement for the brand.
Offering your customers an incentive, say a discount or even just a chance to get featured on your website, is a great way to encourage brand advocacy. Once your UGC reaches a critical mass, a snowballing effect kicks in and customer photos start pouring in.
Invite your customers to register for your Instagram campaign through multiple channels like email, social media posts, etc.
- Reward your customers with Instagram contests:
Contests and giveaways create a sense of excitement and buzz around your brand and that helps you in reaching to a wider audience. It is important to zero in on a particular theme for the contest so that it offers sufficient room to the participants to get creative.
Having clearly defined terms and conditions, such as eligibility, start and end dates, guidelines, winning criteria and rewards, can make your job lot easier. Rewarding your customers with something that is relevant to your brand but also what they crave for goes a long way in creating a sense of loyalty and personalization.
Sugar Cosmetics, a cosmetics brand recently ran #bestsugarfind contest, in which participants were asked to share their favorite product on Instagram and why they liked it. This is a great example of how to make engagement super easy.
- Select an appropriate campaign/contest hashtag:
A hashtag is essentially a unique identifier for your campaign or contest to collect and curate user generated content. A simple yet memorable hashtag that appropriately reflects your brand identity can do wonders to your Instagram brand presence as your customers and followers start using it on a frequent basis.
How to use UGC as a social proof to reduce path to purchase:
Reward campaigns and contests help you create enormous assets for your brand in the form of user generated content. Adding a social proof on your website in the form of shoppable galleries and fanreels, helps you leverage these assets and drive incremental sales.
- Create beautiful storefront galleries to create a sense of trust:
Featuring customer photos on your website in the form of galleries and fan-reels allows you to build a strong social community of fans and influencers around your brand. Real customer photos help in creating a sense of legitimacy and trust among your casual website visitors, particularly in the moment of uncertainty.
Showcase your user-generated content on your website in the form of shoppable galleries and fanreels.
- Tag your photos with products and make them shoppable:
Tagging user generated photos with products and making them shoppable significantly reduces path to purchase and helps you drive impulse purchases. This makes the product discovery more organic and social. In doing so, brands can naturally take up the role of navigator, cleverly guiding the user journey.
In summary, harnessing user generated content with people-powered marketing can be an extremely effective way not only to create a strong brand presence on Instagram but also to drive traffic and significantly increase incremental sales
Incent Social’s Instagram marketing suite enables brands to run Instagram reward campaigns / contests and create shoppable galleries. With our app, you can:
- Incentivize and reward your customers to share their photos, selfies, endorsements on Instagram.
- Collect and curate user-generated photos on Instagram that relate to your brand.
- Create stunning shoppable galleries connecting customer photos with actual products to inspire impulse buying behavior.