This article originally ran in 2019 and is part of our annual countdown of the most-viewed stories from PR Daily.
Every organization wants proof that investing in social media marketing programs goes beyond awareness metrics.
Social media strategies are becoming more integrated with business objectives, serving as a formidable revenue driver. What’s particularly intriguing is observing the opportunities offered in social channels that allow users to click buy-direct content. In line with that trend, Hootsuite estimates 28 percent of organizations plan to implement a social commerce plan this year.
This particularly impacts B2C marketers who turn to Instagram as the social platform to engage younger potential customers. Approximately, 76 percent of U.S. users are under the age of 44 with 59 percent of those users 30 or younger. Particularly noteworthy is that 72 percent of teens use the social network daily.
Retailers are taking advantage of Instagram’s shoppable tags feature and creating shoppable posts to further tap these demographics.
What are shoppable posts?
Before October 2017, adding a link to your Instagram bio was the only organic way (without sponsorship) for stores to drive traffic from Instagram to their landing pages.
However, with the emergence of shoppable tags, brands can now turn their Instagram accounts into visual storefronts by adding product tags to their images and linking to product web pages. Once a business has set up Instagram shoppable tags, a shopping bag icon displays in the corner of each shoppable image post.
You can check out an example by viewing this link from your smartphone.
So far, Instagram allows organic posts to include shopping links, so it’s important to build your following and add hashtags relevant to your audience and products in your posts. To stretch your post further and reach more potential buyers, you can add as many as 30 hashtags.
After you’ve tagged products in nine posts (Instagram’s self-imposed rule), a shop tab will show up on your profile that lets users browse your shoppable posts—all in one place.
Do shoppable posts move the meter?
Instagram shoppable posts turn your fun Instagram account into a real sales tool. More than 90 million Instagram users click on shoppable posts every month, allowing them to find, research and purchase products in-app, rather than being navigated to a separate domain or checkout page.
For brands fully invested and taking advantage of the feature, the results speak for themselves. Tyme is an e-commerce store that specializes in hair-styling tools and observed a 44 percent increase in traffic to their website since implementation. Other brands like womenswear brand Lulus had more than 1,200 product orders and 100,000 visits to their site since the feature’s testing stages.
Stay true to your Instagram strategy
Like any new social feature, it takes time for widespread adoption. However, marketers are now experimenting to take advantage of this Instagram feature to generate website traffic and direct sales.
Because social media users are trending toward expecting an in-app purchasing experience, and because company executives want to see a direct line from social media to sales, there are obvious benefits for giving shoppable posts a try. Retailers should also keep an eye on this feature moving forward to see if or when Instagram will layer on advertising.
While shoppable posts have been exciting for the Instagram marketing mix, it’s crucial to preserve best practices for any Instagram marketing program. Make sure to upload hi-resolution images to create the optimal visual experience for users. If you fall short of the fundamentals of the platform, your storefront will cause potential customers to bounce elsewhere.
Jeremy Juhasz is the director of social media for Cookerly PR.