The Essential Guide to Instagram Marketing for Ecommerce Stores

Half a BILLION people browse Instagram every day. Yes, billion with a ‘b’, which makes it one of the most active social media sites in the world. So how can you tap into that audience to get more sales for your online store? Instagram marketing, my friend.

Read on to learn how to optimize your profile, create appealing posts with relevant hashtags, increase engagement with Stories and Highlights, and build an active following of legit users (no bots, fake accounts or goblins allowed).

Engaged Instagram Followers

Create Your Instagram Profile

Setting up your profile is pretty simple. Just enter your contact info, write a keyword-optimized bio and pick a memorable profile photo, like your logo.

You’ll also want to use some hashtags (more on those below) in your bio and add a link to your site in your profile. Depending on your brand, you may want to throw some emojis into your bio as well.

Use Relevant Hashtags

Hashtags are clickable links that start with the ‘#’ sign. When someone clicks on a hashtag, they’re taken to all posts tagged with that hashtag. Using hashtags makes it easy for users to find your photos when searching for specific keywords. Instagram users can also follow hashtags they’re interested in.

To find the best hashtags for your brand, head over to Webstagram. Type in a search term related to your products (like “catfashion”) to see the most popular hashtags related to that term.

You can also search for target keywords directly in Instagram and check out your competitors to see what hashtags they’re using. Search for a few different terms related to your brand and create a list of relevant hashtags that you can copy/paste every time you create a new post.

You can use up to 30 hashtags per post, but most people find that using 8 to 10 gives the best results. Be sure to revisit your hashtags every few months as popularity will change over time.

Decide What to Post

Instagram’s algorithm favors posts that get organic engagement. That means good content is essential if you want to get seen.

Obviously you’ll want to post high-quality product photos (learn how to take awesome photos for less than $20). But what else are visitors looking for? Here’s a few ideas:

+ Behind the scenes – Make followers feel like they’re really getting to know you.

+ User-generated content – Most people love being featured, and posts like these show that you’re engaged with your followers.

+ Employee spotlights – Help people form an emotional connection to your brand by showing the people behind it.

+ Business milestones – Invite followers to celebrate things like your 1000th order with you.

+ Inspirational quotes – These are a perennial favorite on Instagram.

+ Contests/giveaways – People love free shit.

Create Stories

Stories are short-lived posts that disappear after 24 hours. Why would you want your content to disappear? Because Stories are seen as more authentic. They’re quick, informal posts that are well-suited for mobile engagement.

And unlike regular Instagram posts, you don’t have to spend hours getting the lighting just right, taking a million pics to get the right angle and finding the perfect photo filters.

Taking Instagram Photos

So what should you post in your Stories? Behind the scenes content is great. Ask your staff to introduce themselves or show off your workspace. You can also promote events to provoke a little FOMO, and you can always share user-generated content made by your followers (be sure to tag them).

Another great way to use Stories is to go live. Followers can interact with you in real time, which can really increase engagement. Host a Q&A, talk about your products or interview someone interesting. Once the live broadcast is over, you can set it to play with the rest of your Stories.

Feature Highlights

Highlights are featured on your profile right under your bio. They’re a great way to show off what your brand is all about to first-time visitors. Use them to give second life to your Stories and tempt people to follow you so they won’t miss any of your future Stories.

For best results, try creating multiple Highlights. You could set up an “about us” Highlight, various product collections, seasonal events or user-generated content. Whatever you choose, make sure it tells the story of your brand.

Use Product Tags

This is where the money is. Once you’re approved by Instagram, you can add tags to your photos that look like a little white box with the product name and price.

Instagram Product Tags

If a visitor taps on a product tag, they’ll be shown an image of the product, the description, price and a link to your site for purchase. That makes product tags an excellent way to remove obstacles and pounce on a buyer’s purchase intent when it’s at its peak.

Once you have 9 product tagged posts, you’ll get a Shop tab on your profile page. Customers can tap on it to view all your product posts and shop directly from your Instagram page. Make it rain!

Get More Followers

So you’ve set up your bio, you’ve got a few posts and maybe some Highlights and Stories up. Now how do you get people to follow you?

The number one way to get authentic followers is to go to your competitors’ Instagram profiles and engage with their audience. Those folks are already into products like yours, so following them, liking and commenting on their photos is a great way to get engage with a “warm” audience.

Using the right hashtags will also help you get more followers. Be sure that your hashtags are relevant to your brand and products, and that people are actually searching for those keywords on Instagram.

Run a giveaway that requires people to follow you and tag a friend for a chance to win one of your products. Not only will you get more followers from people hoping to win, you’ll also get more eyes on your profile through those tagged folks.


Instagram is truth. Instagram is life. If you’re not using it to get more sales for your business, then you might as well go eat a rusty bag of salsa.

Instagram is truly an amazing way to market your brand and make it super easy for people who are already interested in your niche to buy your stuff. Get on it.

About the Author

Gennifer is the Marketing Manager at ByteStand, where she lives and breathes customer service education while sipping coffee in her pajamas.

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