How to approach Instagram for your eCommerce site Social media in 2018 is an unchallenged sphere in the realm of online marketing – a free, simple and effective way to mass communicate with millions of people. Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are continuously developing for the online consumer. It is an eCommerce marketing vehicle that is free and can be used advantageously to generate more sales, more page views for your websites and more of a following for your brand.Taking advantage of these platforms will give you the opportunity to approach your customers at a face-to-face level and prompt a relationship with them to market your products and your eCommerce site successfully. It redefines the friendly approach of marketing, gives a sense of ‘real time’ communication and emphasizes the human aspect of eCommerce.Of all the social media platforms available, Instagram is one of the fastest growing platforms with a huge audience reach. Establishing your organization on Instagram will give you the opportunity to market your eCommerce site on a platform that you can easily style to have the same look as your website, which will help to grow your brand.InstagramInstagram is continuously updating and adapting its platform to suit the way it’s used and operated by its millions of users. It is the third largest social media platform after Facebook and YouTube, and in June 2018, Instagram passed the milestone of 1 billion users. In addition to this, the number of daily Instagram users is around 500 million. This is a huge audience for your eCommerce site to access in a down-to-earth and friendly approach to eCommerce marketing.The global appeal of Instagram is also advantageous and if you’re looking at expanding your eCommerce site internationally but are unsure about how to achieve this, then this platform is a great place to start spreading the word. 80% of Instagram’s users are from outside the US which opens up a huge global market of consumers for you to attract to your website.Business profilesInstagram has lots of features that make it attractive from a business perspective. It continuously updates and tailors its features to the needs of a business, including links in Instagram stories, shop pages and collaboration tags in images. Initially users have the choice between a business and a personal profile. To set up a business profile you have to link an active Facebook page and categorize yourself per the category system.Opting to use their business profile feature gives you access to your analytics including impressions per post, discovery of your content by new accounts per post and the clicks onto your profile per image. It also allows you to include a contact email on your profile and your website link.You can learn a lot about your audience through Instagram which will give you an insight into who your customers are and how you can develop marketing strategies that will be attractive to them. The business profile allows you to see where your followers are located giving you an edge for geographical marketing, their age range and the times when they are most active. This can help you to understand and target the followers who are most applicable to you. You can then spend some time planning how to attract those who aren’t your stereotypical customers and share your content when you know your followers will be active on the platform, increasing the engagement and response to your site.VisualizationIf you are a business sharing physical products online, Instagram is a great platform to show your customers what you offer as well as your top products. Investing time in creating content for the platform that is unique and stands out will help to elevate your brand on Instagram. If successful, this will ultimately create a following for your eCommerce business that transfers into website views and product/service sales.The grid pattern allows users to take in your feed in one quick glance when they click into your profile. It is important to develop content that speaks for your brand, what you want to promote, and your eCommerce site will allow you to convert them into potential followers and sales. It is a great and fun way to show your creativity and the fun side of your business, which emphasizes the customer-seller relationship.Resources such as Photoshop and Canva are great places to experiment with creating Instagram graphics as opposed to traditional photographic imagery. Unveil one big picture at a time by creating a collage or share your pictures in rows of three to further define your brand’s imagery. Instagram is a great place to create a more personable side of your brand and connect to your customers on a less commercial level.HashtagsHashtags are a great way to explore Instagram and find accounts that are similar to your own or that you can take inspiration from. It is a huge search engine that can work to your advantage by hash tagging your images so people who are interested in that kind of content can find them. Users who don’t already follow you can click through onto your profile, discover more of your content and head over to your website.It is a great way to market your content for free across a huge platform and doesn’t restrict your profile to only your followers. Some accounts share content that uses a particular hashtag which again increases your reach and chance of gaining more followers and eventually, sales. There are many reasons why Instagram hashtags are important for marketing your content across the platform, but find out five reasons here (https://newbirddesign.com/5-reasons-instagram-hashtags-important/).Face-to-faceSocial media re-emphasizes the traditional approach of face-to-face contact in a modern context. It allows you to chat to a mass audience in what can feel like a one-on-one setting and Instagram Stories is a great resource on the platform to do this. You can share behind the scenes information on the day to day life of your eCommerce site – for instance the packaging of orders, sneak peaks at website re-design or new product ideas. It allows customers to feel in the now with your business and gives them a sense of importance and loyalty to your brand.You can also put a face behind the brand by chatting directly to the camera which allows customers to again feel that sense of connection, visualize who you are and feel as if they know your business on a personal level. It is an approach to marketing that is personable and friendly in today’s modern world.IGTVA recent development in Instagram’s continuously updating features is the introduction of IGTV, which is a separate app run by Instagram that allows users to watch videos uploaded by creators. Unlike Instagram, IGTV uploads are not limited to one minute and can be up to one hour long.Videos are full screen and vertical, so they can be viewed easily on mobile phones. IGTV allows you to create an extension of the brand you are already developing on your Instagram profile. Any followers you have on Instagram might want to see behind-the-scenes content, and IGTV allows you to create edited video content to share with them, increasing your relationship with followers and potential customers.As it’s such a new addition to the platform, changes and advancements to IGTV will occur regularly in the foreseeable future.Match your business to your brandUltimately, Instagram is a great platform to develop and progress the eCommerce business that you have already been developing on your website and in your marketing strategies. We can help you to develop your eCommerce site with Magento (https://newbirddesign.com/magento/) and this allows your website to symbolize the branding that your business stands for. Instagram is a great platform to continue this image and it is free to use! There are a host of Magento themes available which will suit your site and once you have the basics down you can begin to grow that presence on Instagram.The link feature on Instagram also allows you to directly connect your eCommerce site to your profile on the platform. You can insert a link in your bio and links within your stories – these allow your followers to move directly to your site and ultimately create sales for you.