It’s estimated that 60% of Instagram users have discovered a new product via the social network, making it a key focus for eCommerce brands.
However, for many online stores that are only just dipping their toe into the Instagram ecosystem, it can all be a bit overwhelming. Especially when it comes to determining what content to share.
Many inexperienced eCommerce Instagrammers make the mistake of sharing only product-focused images, neglecting the stories feature, or forgetting to connect on a human level with their audience.
So, then, what type of content should an eCommerce brand share on Instagram?
Here are eight tips to point you in the right direction.
#1. Customer photos
Instagram provides an excellent opportunity for eCommerce brands to collate user-generated content. By creating a branded hashtag and encouraging your customers to share their authentic experiences with your products on Instagram, it develops a public library full of powerful social proof by association.
To make the most of the content generated by your customers, you can ‘re-gram’ their posts on your company’s Instagram page or via the Stories feature.
For example, K9 Sport Sack regularly reposts customer photos as a way of generating social proof for their products:
User-generated content on Instagram.
#2. Influencer partnerships
Despite the buzz about town, influencer marketing on Instagram is not as easy as some people would make you believe.
Yes, if handled in the right way, influencer campaigns can be extremely profitable for eCommerce brands. However, the days of straight product promotions are dwindling.
Instead, the best eCommerce brands are seeing the best return on investment from influencer partnerships when they take an “inbound” approach. They are working with influencers in an authentic manner to proliferate the reach of their branded hashtags, drive opt-ins for their mailing list, and build a community of followers – rather than going after a direct sale.
Much like you would do with the user-generated content mentioned above, you can utilize content created by your influencer partners on your own account. For example, shoe brand Dr. Martens have a Stories highlights category assigned to “Collabs” where they showcase their influencer partnerships and other collaborations:
Influencer collaboration on Instagram.
#3. Interactive content
Interactive experiences, such as contests and polls, are growing in popularity on Instagram. And for good reason, they attract a LOT of engagement.
For eCommerce businesses, photo contests are a great way to increase your reach on Instagram and grow your subscriber base. Just make sure you follow the rules!
For example, innovative sock brand, Sock Club, regularly use the Stories feature to run giveaways with their audience:
Contest on Instagram.
The built-in poll functionality on Instagram Stories is also a winner, helping you interact with your audience and learn valuable information about their preferences.
#4. Products in focus (with context)
As I insinuated at the beginning of this article, too many product-centric Instagram posts are a mistake made by many eCommerce brands… However, they still should be a component of your content strategy.
The important thing to take into account with product photos is that you share them with relevant context. You want your Instagram followers to visualize themselves using your product. You can create this experience by placing your products in real-life scenarios and day-to-day situations.
Lush Cosmetics is one eCommerce brand who use a variety of product-focused images which help customers visualize how they could use their products:
Product photo on Instagram.
Instagram is a ‘social’ network, which means that people expect your brand to be human and engage with them in a personal manner. If they feel emotionally disconnected from your brand it becomes less memorable and they are uninspired to interact with your content.
Posting photos and videos of your business from behind-the-scenes is a great way to break down the corporate walls and connect with your audience.
Warby Parker, for example, uses the Stories feature to humanize their brand by having their employees answer customer questions:
Behind-the-scenes story on Instagram.
#6. Content that aligns with a lifestyle
If you can blur the lines between business and pleasure, by aligning your brand with a way of life, you open up a world of opportunities. As a lifestyle brand, you become less intimidating. People will share your content without feeling as if they are promoting a product. They will choose to associate with you because it helps them identify with their interests, personality, and the way they want to live their life.
Fitbit, is one brand who emphasize the ‘active lifestyle’ on their Instagram account, which strengthens their mission as a business:
Lifestyle content on Instagram.
#7. Inspirational quotes
Inspirational quotes, if they align with your brand and lifestyle, have a way of sparking significant engagement on Instagram. There is something about a well-positioned quote that taps into our emotions and makes us want to share it with the people we believe would also connect with its meaning. This form of content may not be right for every eCommerce brand, but if you can find a way to include quotes in your strategy, you can expect a spike in engagement.
Meal-delivery service, Freshly, does a great job of weaving quotes into their Instagram content stream:
Inspirational quote on Instagram.
The disappearing nature of Instagram Stories entices users to interact and share. They also have positional prominence on both Facebook and Instagram – it’s the first thing someone sees when they log on to these social networks.
As an eCommerce brand, you can utilize the Stories feature for an array of different types of content. Product tutorials, polls, user-generated content, behind-the-scenes footage, and product announcements, are just a few examples of the undeniable power of Stories.
Pottery Barn, for example, uses Stories to educate their audience about the efforts they make to be more sustainable:
Example of a Story on Instagram.
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