How to Start Shopping on Instagram Now!

Soon, all BigCommerce customers will be able to use Instagram shopping. But as the timeless adage goes, opportunity favors the prepared mind. To make the most out of this opportunity, it is important to know how it works. This primer offers practical advice on how you can hit the ground running. Here’s a quick guide on how to start shopping on Instagram

1. Get up to date

Facebook, across all its brands, is known for continual improvements released as frequent updates. If Instagram shopping tags are not available on your app, then the application you have installed is not up to date or the shopping feature is not available for your region.

2. Keep in sync

Instagram gets your product list from Facebook. So to keep your Instagram feed up to date, you need to sync the product catalog with your Facebook Shop for the brand. For BigCommerce users, this is easily achieved by using Channel Manager’s “connect your store with Facebook” feature.

3. Take the tour

On the options tab in Instagram’s business profile, there’s a products link. This link takes a user to a tutorial on products.

4. Authenticate

To use Instagram Shopping, the business account must be authenticated via Facebook. When the two accounts are connected, Instagram will sync your products. If there is more than one catalog, you get the opportunity to choose which catalog to sync.

5. Using Instagram’s Shopping

Once the product catalog or catalogs are synced, you are ready to use Instagram Shopping. Using this feature is as easy as uploading a photo, which you have always been able to do. On the captioned dialogue, you have new options: tag products. Use the search bar to search for the product in the picture from your catalog and select it.

6. Multiple products

If there are multiple products in the picture, it should not be a problem. Instagram shopping tags allow you to add up to five products. Each time you tag a product, be sure to move the tag to an appropriate spot on the picture. Instagram then pulls the product information from your Facebook Catalog and adds a link to your store. Once you click on the share button, your product(s) will be live on Instagram shopping.

But technology, as has been shown repeatedly, is not a substitute for sound business practices. During the piloting of Instagram shopping, certain practices improved the success rate for brands on Instagram shopping. Some of the practices were:

Focus on experiences and stories: IG should not be an extension of your catalog. Instead, it should be a visual storyboard. During the piloting, the brands that grew the most drove fan engagement by building stories or experiences around their products and not just by posting pictures of their products. Pictures shot on a mannequin got fewer views than flat lays. However, selfies and street shots got most views and responses.

Great images and captions: It is important to always bear in mind that many users are on Instagram for personal reasons and not for business. They are there for connections with family and friends, meaning your business should fit into that personal feed. As such, high-quality pictures of experiences with apt captions that do not have commercial overtones are most likely to blend in and drive engagement.