Building A Sales Machine on Instagram
If you want to sell on Instagram consistently, there are a few steps you need to take to build your
foundation. Let's take a look at how to get started.
Step 1: Get a Business Profile
If you've got a personal profile, that's a good start. You're already familiar with how the platform
works and may have gained a following by simply sharing your content. To jumpstart actual sales,
however, it's essential to convert to a business account.
Business accounts have far better user metrics than personal accounts, which have basically none. It's
tough to get information on users directly from Instagram, and the platform also strongly discourages
the use of third-party apps that "spy" on your followers.
You'll get a range of dashboard metrics directly from the platform and can use those to make better
decisions about your reach. This is a critical part of getting started.
How to switch:
- Log into your personal account.
- Go to your profile page and tap the three lines at the top right.
- Click settings
- Scroll down to "switch to business account."
- That's it! You're done.
If you ever decide to switch back, you can follow the same set of commands to revert to a
With business profiles, you'll gain access to a ton of data, not only about your follower base
but also about activity around individual posts. This information will come in handy for the next few
steps as you build your selling empire.
In addition, you’ll get access to CTA buttons to help direct customers to your site and the
possibility of having swipe-up links on your stories. Instagram doesn't allow linking directly in posts,
so you'll need to make your CTA easy to follow.
Step 2: Connect to Facebook
You may already have a Facebook account, and if so, it's time to connect the two to sell on Instagram.
Your Facebook page is a vital part of ensuring that you have as much traffic as possible in both
You'll want to begin using Ad Manager to connect and coordinate any of your ads to both platforms
for the best results. You'll also be able to compare your Facebook and Instagram metrics to get a better
understanding of your audience's movements.
Step 3: Build Your Brand
Who Is Your Audience?
While it would be great to sell to everyone, trying to be all things to all people isn't going to help
your sales. Instead, it's time to do some market research to identify your ideal customer to help focus
your efforts. Here are the things to think about.
- What solution are you offering?
- What kind of person is looking for that solution? Be specific here.
- What information are they looking for?
- What is their emotional trigger?
These questions will help you tailor your content so that you attract exactly the type of person looking
to buy your specific product, service, or other option. This step is critical to tailoring your profile,
your content, and your hashtags.
What Is Your Mission?
New generations of consumers want to connect deeply with companies and people who share the same values
as they do. Your mission tells your customers what your business is all about and provides a connection
that could lead to brand loyalty and organic traffic through referrals.
Once you hone in on your mission, you'll be able to have a cohesive set of content options that attract
your ideal audience.You'll also be able to make a plan for your sales.
What Is Your Content Strategy?
A solid content strategy helps attract and keep your customers. Instagram is all about the visual, so
you'll need a cohesive look for your Instagram feed. You’ll also want to establish a set of strategies
for what to post and how often. You can tweak things as you go along based on how individual posts
Instagram stories can be a little looser and are great ways for your audience to see the real you. Use
stories for behind-the-scenes videos, quick sales, candid moments, and other more casual photos.
Planning out 90 days of content in advance can help you decipher your strategy. The more cohesive your
content and your brand, the more likely you are to attract your target audience in the first place.
Step 4: Post, Post, Post
You've got your profile set up, and your branding strategy is in place. All that's required now is to be
consistent with posting. Each post should have a purpose and should direct people to your sales page or
While Instagram doesn't move quite as fast as Twitter or Snapchat, you'll still need fresh content for
your audience to find. It's critical to be consistent in posting fresh content so you'll show up
regularly in searches and in your followers feeds.
You'll also need to research hashtags to help your content get found. Take a look at your competitors’
sites and do some hashtag research. Once you've found some relevant hashtags, click on them and look at
the feeds. If they match yours, you've probably encountered some winners.
Step 5: Start Running Ads
Once you get the hang of your content and your audience, you can begin putting some money into running
ads. These help you appear in front of potential customers by targeting specific characteristics.
Since you’ve linked your Instagram and Facebook pages, you'll have access to Facebook's Ad Manager. You
can set up your ads to run on both accounts, or you can use the Instagram-only settings. As people react
to your ads, you can adjust and tweak them to help with your sales conversions.
You can also pay a small fee to promote your content within Instagram. That will help ensure your
essential content gets in front of people.
Whether you decide to focus on promoting content or creating targeted ads, these steps can help you gain
bigger audiences and help drive conversions. You have the potential to get back your invested money
several times over.
Step 6: Explore Instagram Shopping
If you're selling physical products, you'll want to check out Instagram Shopping. Users will see your
content and have the option to "view products" for more direct links to make purchases.
You'll need to set up your product catalog and add product tagging. Combining Instagram Shopping with ads
helps you make use of Facebook and Google algorithms for increased traffic and the chance to reach a
By the time customers reach your landing page, they will have already gotten information about your
product and how much it costs. They're more likely to convert because they're considered highly
qualified leads at this point.
Keep in mind that Instagram Shopping works with physical products rather than services. Services
industries and offerings will need to rely on other Instagram features.
Step 7: Explore the Careful Use of Influencers
Influencers can be another way to get your product in front of a new audience and lend credibility.
Influencers have different rates, but many charge a small amount per user. Consider this strategy
carefully as you craft a marketing campaign. The influencer's mission and content strategy — their
overall brand — should match well with the product you're selling. Otherwise, things could quickly turn
As you are looking at possible influencers for your product, don't discount the ones with smaller
audiences. Ten thousand followers can be a very productive way to showcase your products if your
influencer and you have the same mission and branding.
This can be an affordable way to market to new audience members while also adding the instant
authenticity of your influencer. It's a solid strategy if you have a physical product, but you can also
do this with services.
Tips For Sales Content
Instagram is still a casual app, and users don't appreciate being sold to with every post. After all,
you're using Instagram to build relationships with your customers, not shout at them. When you first set
up your account, you might be tempted to create shoppable content at every turn.
Instead, think of your content in three categories:
- Content that helps your customer.
- Content that identifies with your customer.
- Overt sales content.
Your most frequent type of content should be things that help your customer with some of their most
pressing problems and concerns.
The second most prevalent type of content should be content that helps build connections — giving
behind-the-scenes info, telling your story, sharing your struggles, etc.
Your sales content is then necessary to remind your audience what your products are and that they're
available. However, this content should make up a small but regular faction of your overall content. For
example, If you have four helpful posts, you could then make three connection-coordinated pieces of
content and then two pieces of sales.
Arrange these in a nine-piece grid for consistency, and you'll have the best chance of attracting your
customers and closing those sales.
Selling Services On Instagram
If you don't sell physical products, you can still use Instagram to make sales. You'll want to set up
your business profile and plan out your content based on your market research and your target
Instead of setting up a Shopping feature, however, you'll focus on your content and your stories to
provide incentives for people to purchase your services.
Set up your Bio link to reflect your latest offer. You can also sign up for third-party services to
integrate with Instagram, giving people the chance to click the link in your bio to discover more
You'll use your content to provide education, connection, and value to your audience. As you're planning
your calendar, you'll need three types of content:
- Help/Value content
- Posts that answer a question, offer a suggestion, or solve a problem for your
- Connection building
- Behind-the-scenes posts or candid posts in keeping with your mission. These
help you establish a connection with your audience.
- Posts that inform your audience of your services or directly promote something.
You'll want to keep promotional posts to a minimum in favor of the other two. The majority of your posts
should be helpful, the next amount should be connection-building, and the least amount should be
Here are some content ideas you could use to build your grid and your stories:
- Reveal your process
- Give a behind-the-scenes look
- Answer a question
- Tell part of your story
- Highlight an existing customer
- Shout out complementary products
- Create tutorials
- Show a step-by-step
Pay careful attention to your business metrics to help you refine the posts you create and the hashtags
you use. These metrics will tell you how each type of content performs so that you know what your
customers are looking for.