Instagram Stories for eCommerce: Why Bother and How to Use Them
Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Hugh Beaulac, SMM manager and content strategist at MC2.
Instagram has gained in popularity over the last few years. Today, it’s the fastest growing social media network with the most engaged audience. According to Business Instagram, there are over one billion users on the platform in which 80% of Instagrammers follow at least one business, and 60% of people discover new products in-app.
In other words, Instagram has great sales potential for eCommerce businesses. The company knows it, so it rolls out more and more business-specific features like product tags and eCommerce checkout to improve the customer shopping experience.
If you want to sell your products fast, give short-lived content a try. In fact, back in 2016, when Instagram Stories were introduced, no one could have predicted the rise of ephemeral content.
Today, over 500 million Instagrammers create or watch Stories daily, so it has become easier to use urgency to increase sales. Why? With a limited lifespan of 24 hours, this content creates the FOMO (fear of missing out) effect, so users spend much time watching Stories. For brands, this means a great opportunity to increase sales fast. It’s no wonder that more and more brands use Instagram Stories these days.
Best Practices of Using Instagram Stories for eCommerce
1. Product Announcement
With a great number of competitors on the market, having a diverse line of products is a proven way to attract new customers and keep existing ones. Moreover, the number one reason why modern customers follow their favorite brands on social media is the fact that they are interested in your products or services. People want to learn about your new products before the launch, so you need to spread a word about this launch to build anticipation, and using Instagram Stories is a great idea.
For example, Summer Fridays announced a new product launch via Instagram Stories and invited niche influencers to cause a buzz among their communities.
When you spread the word about your new product, you help potential customers understand more about the way it works and get them excited about it. As a result, people are waiting for the launch day to give it a try.
2. Time-limited Deals and Offers
If you want to increase eCommerce sales via Instagram, you need to give your followers a solid reason to give your product a try, so it’s important to keep a focus on your current product offering that helps to solve customers’ problems without spending much money. Thus, it’s no wonder that sharing time-limited deals is a great way to grab your followers’ attention and encourage them to become customers.
People want to find the best deals on the market, so sharing time-limited offers is a proven way to grab their attention. Here’s how Whole Foods Market promotes its deals via Instagram Stories:
Although short-lived content disappears within 24 hours, it’s important to create eye-catching Instagram Stories that encourage followers to learn more about your deals, and therefore become your customers.
3. New Product Launch
If you’ve launched a new product, that’s great. It gives your customers an additional reason to buy your products. However, having a new product means nothing unless you have customers who are interested in giving it a try. Since the majority of Instagrammers discover new products on the platform, you need to promote your product via Instagram Stories to cause a buzz around it.
Let’s take Dunkin’ Donuts, for example. In honor of the pumpkin coffee launch, the company used Instagram to tell its followers about the new product. Dunkin’ created Instagram Stories to introduce the full list of Pumpkin’ stores in an interesting way:
As one of the largest coffee chains in the world, Dunkin’ has many Instagram accounts for different countries, but it knows that the main audience uses its official page to search for the branded information. With nearly 12,000 locations in 36 countries, the company needs to inform its local customers about the 8 re-branded stores where they can buy new pumpkin coffee beverages.
4. User-Generated Content
In the era of sponsored posts and paid advertisement, customers find peers’ reviews and recommendations as social proof to make the right purchase decisions.
In fact, 87% of customers trust product recommendations from friends and family. For eCommerce brands, this means that posting user-generated content is a must. When potential customers see fan-made content, it gives them a solid reason to trust your brand and choose it from the variety of other options on the market.
With Instagram Stories, it’s easy to publish user-generated content without clogging the main feed up with images. Apparel company Converse not only publishes user-generated content, but they also add photos to Instagram Stories Highlights to make it easier for new visitors to get social proof fast:
If you’re not a large company, it can be difficult to encourage customers to create user-generated content for you. Thus, you can collaborate with niche influencers to make fan-made photos that can stimulate other customers to take photos of your product.
The Bottom Line
Instagram has become a great marketplace for eCommerce brands that want to sell their products in-app. With the popularity of Instagram Stories, it’s easier for companies to increase eCommerce sales without spending much time. Moreover, there are several proven Instagram Stories ideas that grab your audience’s attention and encourage them to take this desired action faster.
Hugh Beaulac is a content strategist at MC2 website who also works freelance as an SMM manager to help SMBs grow online. With the love for social media, Hugh keeps an eye on digital marketing trends and writes for top-notch websites to share his marketing tips and tricks.