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5 Tips on How to Use Instagram for eCommerce

Mary Clare Riordan • August 10, 2015

By Jess Jenkins, Digital Consultant

I’m sure you’ve all heard of a ‘little’ social media platform called Instagram, but how many of you are actually using it the right way for your business? With 300 million monthly active users posting 70 million photos per day, Instagram can be a highly useful for brands if they use it the right way. Here are five tips I suggest you follow in order to take full advantage of the platform for your business.

Express yourself. Instagram is fantastic for brands looking to relate to customers. It’s important to remember that Instagram users are not flocking to your brand’s account for coupons or quotes- they want to get to know you! Give your audience an insight into what inspires you. Let your brand be a tastemaker! Don’t just post your product catalog or recycle images from other social channels, and definitely don’t post overly promotional content. Instagram is dynamic and it demands that brands stay down to earth; by giving customers an exclusive look of what’s behind the scenes, they’ll get a better feel for your brand and feel closer to your company.

A photo posted by Jack Rogers (@jackrogersusa) on

Jack Rogers connects their shoes to one of their earliest fans, Jackie O, to portray the brand’s lasting fashion legacy

Don’t stress out! Content creation can often be time consuming and involve a lot of hard work.  But when it comes to Instagram, realize that content is all around you. Creating something sharable is as easy as snapping a pic at the marketing team meeting, digging up a great throwback, or capturing that can’t miss moment that is trending. Let your brand complement the beauty that Instagram brings out of every moment and let what you sell coexist with your fan’s personal feed.


A photo posted by IT’SUGAR (@itsugar) on

IT’SUGAR took advantage of Shark Week by showcasing their product in a unique and creative way

Learn from the platform. Instagram can give you invaluable insight on how to speak to your customers. Keep track of mentions and likes by your customers when it involves your brand.  This will give you an idea of what people are saying about you and enable you to interact directly with your customers. You can also track, collect and leverage user generated content to further sell your products. The opportunities to engage are endless.

Vineyard Vines used an adorable user generated pic to sell a limited edition t-shirt

It’s not all just about photos. Being successful on Instagram means capturing the essence of your brand in unique and engaging ways (see tip #1). But this doesn’t mean just sticking to photographs. Consider using video to creatively engage your customers and promote your brand and message. GoPro makes great use of video, particularly UGC, on its Instagram page to showcase its product in action. These videos reinforce the brand’s persona to the audience as a cool, thrill-seeking, up-close-and-personal way to see the world.


A video posted by gopro (@gopro) on

GoPro uses UGC to showcase a talented skateboarding feline in honor of International Cat Day (hover to play)

Make Instagram a part of your marketing campaigns. Whether centered on a product launch, event, or an ongoing user-generated content (UGC) acquisition campaign, make sure you take full advantage of this channel in all your marketing outreach. Check out Need Supply Co.’s fantastic summer contest, which uses Instagram, influencers, and partnerships with other brands to transcend the traditional online sweepstakes.

Want to learn more about how best to use social media for your eCommerce business? Check out these other LYONSCG articles!

Paid Social Media to Promote Your Brand, whitepaper

Social Commerce: How to Effectively Monetize Social Media, blog

Mary Clare Riordan

About the author

Mary Clare Riordan

Mary Clare Riordan is the Marketing Programs Manager at LYONSCG. When she's not running creative demand generation campaigns, you can find her cheering on Boston sports and Marquette basketball, running along the Chicago lakefront, or spending time with family and friends.

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