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Selling on Instagram - Turn Your Followers Into Customers

Posted 05/04/2019

Selling On Instagram

E-commerce has been steadily on the rise for the past few years and is expected to continue its upward trend. People trust online business much more than they used to in the past and they've gotten quite used to purchasing products or services online (thanks Amazon). However, competition has never been fiercer than today in e-commerce, so you need to know what you're doing now, more than ever or you risk losing money and time. Due to these facts, I've decided an article about selling your products or services online is in order.

You may recall that in my articles about the various ways you can monetize your Instagram account, I touched upon the topic of e-commerce. However, due to the complexity of the subject and the above facts, I've decided an article about selling your products or services on Instagram is in order.

Before you start selling on Instagram

I'd just like to preface by saying that all the advice I give in this article is meant as a general guide. Because every niche is different, you'll have to use some common sense and figure out your ways of doing things.

First of all, you need to scope out your competition. Don't be lazy on this step, as without proper market research, ANY business will fail. Find your largest competitors and most successful competitors and take note of what every one of them is doing or did to get where they are. Compare yourself to them, try and see if you can differentiate yourself from them and offer something unique. Don't be the same as everyone else if you want a long lasting business model.

Be unique, stand out and offer your customers something they can't find anywhere else.

Also, get ready to put in a lot of hard work, because the competition is fierce and the market is huge.

Know your target audience

After you analyze your competitors, you need to do the same with your target audience. By doing this, you can build your marketing strategy and figure out what you need to suit their preferences. Of course, it will be different for every niche, but I'll start with some general tips and tell you how to narrow it down a bit later.

Have a good-looking website

You need a nice website for any e-commerce venture, but I'd say even more so for selling on Instagram. First of all, if your traffic is coming from Instagram, which is a primarily mobile app, the website needs to be mobile friendly and responsive. This is a must, and there is no going around it. Even Google says that your site needs to load fast and be responsive for mobile devices or they will punish you with lower rankings. If you plan on selling on Instagram, build your website for mobile first in mind. You can test your website using google's free tool, pagespeed insights.

If you plan on selling on Instagram, build your website for mobile first in mind. Building websites with mobile first in mind will be beneficial anyway since the number of Internet users on mobile devices has become bigger than those on PCs (source: Statista).

Figure out what your target audience likes

The easiest way to work this out is by looking at your posts. Remember to not go too far in the past as the engagement ratio will be skewed (because you probably had fewer followers in the past compared to now). Take note of the top posts by engagement and see if they have something in common. Is it something your followers are passionate about? Could you make a product out of it? Could you maybe use it in an ad? Of course, you can also check your current products for bestsellers and analyze that, but you don't need me to tell you that.

Selling On Instagram

After doing that, head on back to your competitors and look at their posts and products. Take note of the tops posts again and go through the same process of analyzing. Also, look at the posts whose intent is to sell (product posts, any form of self-advertisement) if there are any. If you find some with high engagement analyze them to the bone and figure out why they were so successful.

Finally, look at Facebook and Instagram Ads in your niche and check for high engagement. However, be careful, as this can be misleading since people often run engagement ads on Tier 3 countries because it's cheap. After that, they use the same ad and target potential customers. However, a good number of comments in English, tagging friends, etc is a good sign. Analyze those ads just as before and try to apply the same logic to your posts. You can also find new, interesting products this way.

Split test, split test, split test

This is probably the most important tip of this guide. You need to split test everything you do, and I mean everything. From your content, products and even Calls-to-Action (CTAs). Everything you do and everything new you introduce, you need to split test and choose the best option. This way, you're doubling down on the winners and letting the losers go. Try different pictures of your product, some with people using them (if applicable), some with the product alone, different backgrounds, etc. Maybe your followers prefer a question in the caption? You'll never know until you split test and nobody can do that for you.

Use different forms of kick-ass content

This is pretty self-explanatory. Don't just post pictures. Use everything Instagram has to offer and constantly be engaging with your followers. If they're not busy watching your video or commenting on your photo, you can be sure they're watching your competitors. Of course, don't spam, but build a presence and a community around you.

Before we end, I'd like to mention one more thing. Use the Swipe Up function. This is the single, most important update to selling on Instagram as it allows you to put links directly into your Stories. I covered this in my article on Stories.


Selling on Instagram isn't easy nowadays. However, with so much profit on the table and so much potential customers, it really shouldn't be. In this guide I didn't go over the parts of choosing the best product or delivery logistics, that wasn't the point. This guide was meant to serve as a great way to start selling your products on Instagram and converting your followers into customers.