Instagram can be a brilliant platform for getting your designs out there, making sales, and boosting your brand awareness – however, few people actually manage to get this right. It’s a little more complex than posting pictures of your designs and crossing your fingers for luck. For those looking to learn how to sell on instagram, you need a solid strategy. Let’s take a look at what you need to do to experience merch sales like never before:
How to Sell on Instagram #1: Set Up An Effective Posting Strategy
You’re going to need to commit to creating regular posts – posting in a lackadaisical way is a no-go, and a reason many creators and small businesses fail. Avoid posting as and when you feel like it, and instead have a consistent strategy that you can stick to.
Scheduling your posts using quality software will ensure you don’t deviate from your strategy, and it can be extremely helpful in the beginning when you’re getting the hang of things. While a couple of daily posts per day can be optimal and ensure steady success, it’s a good idea to have at least 10 posts banked, just in case. Don’t forget to use hashtags to reach a wider audience – but ensure they are a little bit more specific, as your posts will get lost in a sea of other posts when using vague and broad hashtags. Be smart about the hashtags you use to ensure your posts are actually viewed, and viewed by the right people to boot!
Using high quality pictures to grab the attention and accurately show what you’re trying to convey is crucial, too. Filters and borders should be avoided for an accurate portrayal of your designs, but choosing a specific theme for your grid could help you to draw in a specific target audience. Many creators like to make a consistent looking grid by choosing a color scheme.
How to Sell on Instagram #2: Link Your Designs To Instagram
If you’re not going to link to your Spreadshop, what’s the point in posting your designs in the first place? People won’t know where to buy them, and you could miss many sales opportunities without even knowing it. Linking is really easy to do, so remember to do it. One of the best ways to add links into your profile is to add a free LINK TREE account. You can use the same Link Tree on other socials like TikTok and Twitter if you realy want to up your game. Get a Link Tree here.
In every one of your posts, link to the relevant product detail page to make it easier for people to buy. The easier you make it for them, the more doubt you can help to eliminate. Shoppable instagram posts are a brilliant way to tempt your audience to buy, or at least make them think about it for a later date. This should increase the chances of making somebody who enjoys your designs a customer.
While Instagram doesn’t allow clickable links within posts (yet), everyone knows what “link in bio” means these days. So be sure you include your merch shop link in your bio so people can click on it as soon as they find your profile. Being able to find your link in multiple places will make buying a breeze for your audience.
How to Sell On Instagram #3: Engage With Your Followers
Engaging with your followers is the way to build strong relationships, develop a community, and get people to want to buy from you in the first place. Having a follower isn’t enough, because you could easily lose them if you don’t interact with them and try to help them feel like part of your world.
The Pro’s say: “Engaging with your followers consistently will endear them to you and ensure you can grow and maintain your audience over time. To do this, make sure you focus on creative content that your audience finds useful, and this will go a long way to getting them to engage with you – ask questions, and start conversations with them to get the ball rolling.”
Posting about active promotions and creating stories can also improve your engagement, as it could encourage people to respond to your stories. Creating polls and asking questions on your Instagram story – perhaps asking which designs your audience prefer – could also help you to get better engagement. You can use your stories to show off your merch just like you would your posts, and don’t forget to include links so people can swipe straight up and buy if they see something they like.
How to Sell on Instagram #4: Put Value Above Everything Else
Creating valuable posts is the most important thing you can do. Putting value above everything else will ensure you strengthen your presence on Instagram. The Instagram algorithm has changed countless times, but value is here to stay!
You should ensure your posts are so valuable that your audience wants to not only comment and share them with their friends, but save them to look back at later.
Pro tip: ‘Saves’ are far more important than likes, so don’t put all of your focus on getting as many likes as possible!
Consider who your audience members are, what questions they might have, and things they might be interested to know. Write content specifically to help them, and always keep them in mind as you create it. Don’t just skim the surface of certain topics; ensure you dive deep and provide as much information as possible. Don’t be afraid to share your expertise, as it’ll show people that you actually know what you’re talking about.
Pro-Tip: USE REELS! If you have a message you’d like to share that’s related to your merch, you could use reels to talk about that. Videos are the most popular medium for sharing valuable information, and are more likely to be consumed by your audience.
Always go for quality over quantity, though: don’t create content for the sake of it. You want your audience to come back to you because you’re a reliable resource.
How to Sell on Instagram #5: Have personality
It’s not good anymore to have an overly ‘corporate’ personality when you’re creating your Instagram content and brand personality. Show off who you are, and don’t be too formal. Of course you must remain professional, but don’t be afraid to be friendly. Be humorous. Show off your personality every time you write or post. Make sure you aim to ‘stay on brand’, and remain true to your voice and what you’re all about. This will make you a more consistent brand and people will instantly recognize your voice when you post something.
Pro-Tip: TELL STORIES! People will relate to you better when you show off your personality, and especially if you tell stories. Tell stories related to your brand, your merch, your designs, how you come up with ideas, and anything else you can think of.
People relate to stories more than anything else, and this is a huge part of selling products in 2021. Don’t forget to incorporate emotion – even talk about times you have failed, and things you’ve learned. People will get to know you and resonate with you on a deeper level.
How to Sell on Instagram #6: Re-post Customers In Your Merch
People are going to want to see what your merch looks like in the real world, so re-post customers in your merch if they tag you. Your audience will enjoy seeing it on different people of various sizes and styles, and they get a good idea of how they would look wearing your merch. It creates social proof, too, so your audience feels confident that your merch is high quality and worth the money. Plus, when you re-post your customer photos, you help to strengthen that bond and make them want to buy from you again.
How to Sell on Instagram #7: Ask For Reviews and Share Them
If you don’t ask you won’t get, so ask for reviews and share those with your audience. A quick video review, or even a written review can be reposted to Instagram and show people that your merch is high quality and worth it. A good way to make sure you get reviews is to offer incentives. Provide a discount code, or some other incentive to give people the desire to leave a review!
How to Sell on Instagram #8: Pay Close Attention To Your Analytics
If you ignore your analytics, you can never truly know what works best for you. You want to have an idea of as many variables as possible. What products are getting the most attention on your grid? Which posts are getting the most saves and engagement? You can learn so much from your analytics and use them to improve your strategy over time. Without them, you’ll be playing a guessing game, and this does not guarantee results. If you track everything effectively, you’ll be able to grow your Instagram account and following, as well as create more sales and build your reputation as a great designer.
You’re going to need a business account to do this, so make sure you have one set up. As well as being able to use Instagram Insights, you can share information about you, such as your website and contact information, and you can post promotions. It’s easy to switch your regular account to a business account, so don’t worry about setting up a brand new account unless you need to.
It can be a good idea to pepper certain relevant topics into your Instagram posts, but having an account that covers too many topics and is too diverse may not be a great idea for selling your merch. If you post 10 pictures of your partner and your dog to only 1 picture of your merch, you’re probably going to struggle to see the success you deserve.
It could be a good idea to create separate Instagram accounts: one for your life and interests, and one purely for your merch and designs. Ultimately this is up to you and what works for your brand or lifestyle.
How to Sell on Instagram #9: Get Creative
Boring, flat content that only shows your merch, without anything different about it won’t help you. How can you make things more interesting? Content creators have to come up with new ideas constantly, so consider yourself a content creator as well as a merch designer. Think of ways you can switch up the pictures on your grid, make them more attention grabbing, and make them more enjoyable to look at. You can use other designers or content creators for inspiration, but remember that straight up copying is a bad idea. It’s always a good idea to credit and thank them for their inspiration, too!
Even better, how about partnering up with an influencer or somebody with a big following?
You will be able to get more traffic and interest this way, and keep your feed as interesting as possible. See if you can network with other designers and create content together, or see if you can get influencers to wear your merch and post about it. Sometimes, all it can take is one great influencer to wear your merch and you will notice a huge improvement in your success!
You can learn a bit about what to do and what not to when working with an influencer to sell your merch by watching the informative real experience review video below:
How to Sell on Instagram #10: Utilize Instagram Ads
While many beneficial aspects of Instagram don’t cost a thing, if you have a budget, it could be a great idea to pay for ads. With paid ads, you can ensure your merch is shown to your target audience as they browse Instagram – even if they don’t follow you. You get to decide who your merch is shown to based on things like age, interests, location, and more. Once you’ve made your mind up and set your budget, you’ll be able to start advertising virtually right away. You should then keep a close eye on your results as you go, paying attention to your analytics. When the campaign is over, you can use the information you’ve gleaned from insights to run an even better ad campaign next time. It’s all about tweaking your approach until you know what works best for you and your merch!
What to do if you’re just starting out?
Selling merch on Instagram won’t happen right away if you have yet to build a following. You need to start posting, and make an effort with every post – even if it’s to 10 followers.
Pro-Tip: Act like you have an audience already, do thorough research, and you should begin to grow that following and sell your merch.
Sometimes you can learn best by watching what has worked for others. We recently did a weekly challenge with our Shop Launch Challenge participants. Check the comments section here for tons of ideas and tips on what worked and what didn’t work well.
Be sure to follow us on instagram @spreadshop. Use the comment area here to post a link to YOUR instagram account or share what’s worked best for you. We’d love to follow you and see what you’re up to! See you there!