How to sell on Instagram?
Instagram is a great free tool to sell your products and connect with your customers and if you're new to the platform it can be challenging to know how to leverage it and show up and sell.
On their live seminar at Pure London, Elizabeth Stiles and Lucy Hitchcock, identified 5 key steps to sell on Instagram like a professional. They both have thousands of followers and managed to build their own businesses.
Elizabeth is a fashion brand consultant with a background in fashion buying and Lucy is the founder of Sassy Digital, a digital marketing agency and Partner in Wine, selling wine cooling bottles and tumblers.
5 key steps to sell on Instagram
Many people feel a little bit nervous about being on social media or may find it difficult to be talking on camera. They both advised not to let the fear of what people think be an impediment to promote your brand. The main point is to focus on your brand purpose.
“I get out of bed in the morning. I really just enjoy the moment where I get a Shopify notification and know someone has bought something I posted on stories”. Lucy Hitchcock
You do need to put in the work. Lucy creates an average of 20 to 40 posts per week while Elizabeth tends to spend at least an hour per day posting on Instagram. She says it’s important not to hold yourself back and go for it.
“It doesn’t matter how many people are following you, I want you to show up like Rihanna at the Superbowl and just assume people are interested.” Elizabeth Stiles
You need to consider why your brand is on Instagram and the purpose of the platform itself. It’s all about bringing people into your brand and moving them through the customer journey, from discovering your brand to potentially buying from you.
This is a really hard question that varies considerably from impulse buying to someone who only starts buying from you after following the brand for months. This is basically content marketing, by creating content on Instagram you’re actively attracting your ideal audience.
The main point is to make sure you’re showing that consistent first impression. They suggest having a colour palette, specific fonts, and overall aesthetic that your brand sticks to, so that if someone puts their hand over your Instagram handle, they can always recognise it.
When it comes to storytelling, perseverance is crucial. Lucy posted 12 videos before going viral with 800 000 views, generating so much growth that products were sold out in just three days.
“If you can tell your story in the way that you would do to your friends and your family and curate it in a very inspiring way, it can do absolute wonders for you.” Lucy Hitchcock
Another important element if to resist the temptation of jumping straight to the end when you’re telling a story. Elizabeth gives the example of the dress she’s wearing, if you’re only showing the finished product, it can feel a bit cold.
She says it’s much better to talk about the fabric, where did it come from, the inspiration for the print pattern… When communicating the story of your brand, you need to be telling the beginning, middle and the end of that story rather than just the last page.
When nurturing your audience and building brand loyalty and trust, they recommend not only talking about your product but around your product. For Partner in Wine, Lucy doesn’t talk about products anymore because she’s trying to build a community of wine drinkers, so it’s more about wine education.
Fashion brands can think of creating content about suppliers and core sustainability values, beyond the sole purpose of selling a product. If you have a swimsuit made of recycled fishing nets, show how they are collected from the bottom of the ocean, and share your vision.
Tone of voice is really important, as if you’re talking to your mates down the pub. When you’re nurturing your customers it’s good to consider how you make them feel and create an emotional bond.
Unless you are working with a PR company that is driving traffic to your website, you do need to work on your Instagram account, otherwise it can very quickly become an expensive hobby.
The more time you spend on it the more you reap the rewards, because you’ll get to know what your customers like and what they don’t like. Elizabeth gave the example of an aeroplane that takes more than 50% of its fuel to take off and the rest of the fuel carries through the journey.
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