We are often asked by our ETSY seller community, “How do can we use Instagram to promote our shop?” If you too are struggling to promote your shop on Instagram, then read on.
But before getting into the weeds of Instagram marketing, let’s make sure we have a handle on taking great photos. Why? Because Instagram is a highly visual platform. If our pictures are not on-point, the tactics will be of little use. If you need a helping hand with taking good product shots, then check out our Tips for Product Photography.
So without further ado, here are our top tips to help you promote your ETSY shop on Instagram.
Switch to a Business Account
If you are a serious small business owner, meaning if your ETSY shop is more than just a hobby for you, then it’s best to keep your business account separate from your personal account. It’s not a good idea to mix the two—be it in real life or in the world of Instagram. Here’s why:
- Different Audiences: Your friends and family are there to support you and your business but they are not necessarily your ideal customers. Similarly, your ideal customers might enjoy seeing some behind-the-scenes photos of your life, but they don’t necessarily want to know what you had for breakfast every single day.
- Getting Found: Once you switch to a business account and provide a contact information, an email or a call button will appear in your profile, making it easy for prospective customers to call you, email you and/or find your location on the map.
- Analytics: Instagram’s business analytics tools, called Insights, gives a quick look at how your Instagram content is working for you. It shows you the analytics for impressions, reach, and follower information within the past week. You can also get insights on individual posts by clicking on ‘View Insights’ link in the post.
- Instagram ads: With an Instagram business account, you can create an ad and promote a post directly from within the feed. This is not possible in a personal account.
Daria Danilova’s Instagram business account dasha_eeee
Instagram Multiple Images
Up until recently, you could upload only one image per post. Now, however, Instagram allows you to upload 10 images per post. That means, just like your ETSY shop, you can post multiple images on Instagram to tell the story behind your brand. Include shots taken from different angles, highlighting all the features and details of your product.
Sharing ‘behind-the-scenes’ and ‘meet the maker’ shots is a great way to add a personal touch to your feed and to connect with your audience on a personal level. You can even include work in progress shots as well as packaging shots. Remember, the more photos you use, the more information you’re giving your customers. So don’t hold yourself back!
While photos are most important on Instagram, don’t underestimate the power of a great caption. Humans connect with people or things that they can relate to or that they can get inspired by. Don’t be sales-y. Instead, use your writing in a way that evokes emotions in your prospective customer. Tell a story, describe the process, maybe even start a discussion to capture the interest of your followers.
Natalya of natalya1905 creates a captivating caption that stirs the reader’s imagination
Experiment with Hashtags
Hashtags are the easiest and the fastest way for a new account to get in front of its target audience. Learning to use hashtags effectively can make or break your Instagram game.
- Make sure to use all 30 hashtags to go with each post. If you think adding them to the caption makes your post look spammy, then add ‘em to the first comment.
- When you are just getting started on Instagram, use the Search tab to see which relevant hashtags are trending. Example, #makersmovement is a popular one in the maker community.
- Instagram also gives suggestions for related hashtags when you use the search bar for relevant hashtags. If you add very popular hashtags like #ETSY, your post will easily get lost within millions of other posts that use the same hashtag. On the other hand, using a highly specific hashtag like #patchworkquilting, will be of little use as very few people would be using it. Instagram however, does help you choose your hashtags wisely. You will notice that as soon as you start typing the hashtag in the caption, it’ll show you exactly how many people have used that particular hashtag.
- PRO TIP: Save your list of hashtags in the notes app on your phone. Then simply copy and paste them into your Instagram post to save time.
- Change your hashtags every few weeks so make sure it doesn’t get stale.
- Once you get comfortable with using hashtags, take it to the next level by launching a hashtag campaign and creating a hashtag for your shop with your brand name in it. If used correctly, this can bring a ton of free followers to your shop. For example, if you sell wall art in your ETSY shop, create a hashtag with your business name and you can tell your customers, “I love seeing my artwork in your home. Please share some pictures and don’t forget to use the hashtag so I can find you.”
Whatify encourage its followers to use #whatifycommunity to get featured in its feed
Be Consistent Rather than Frequent
Your posting frequency should be consistent with your goals. Some brands succeed with just one or two well thought out posts per day. While some others, if they are sharing photos from an event, will share as many as 10 photos per day. According to a recent study by Buffer, major brands share 1.5 times per day.
See what frequency works best for your business and then be consistent with it. As Neil Patel says “posting frequency is not all that important for your Instagram marketing. Instead, what you should focus on is consistency.”
PRO TIP: Cross post some of your Instagram post to other social media accounts like Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter ever so often. Not only will it lighten your load of constantly creating unique content, but also keen the branding and voice consistent across all platforms.
Get a Linktree Account
Instagram only allows one link in your bio. With Linktree, you can use the one link, but you are also able to direct your users to multiple landing pages. How? Check out this screenshot of Lauren Espy’s Instagram account. Notice the linktree link in her profile. When someone clicks on the link in the bio, they are directed to a page that gives them multiple landing page options to choose from. This means you can drive your customer to your ETSY shop, your personal blog, a free digital download, or any other marketplace that you sell your products in.
Create Product Videos
Videos are a powerful tool to promote your shop. It gets your audience to stop scrolling and start paying attention. While it can be a little intimidating at first, but once you get started, you will soon get the hang of it.
- Hashtags are not limited to photos alone. Make sure to use relevant hashtags in your videos as well.
- One of the advantages of having a business profile is that you can run ads and we all know videos make for great advertising content.
- Post your videos at peak times to get more views on your video. The more views and engagement you get, the more your video will be shown to your target audience. You can use Instagram’s analytics to see which days and times work best for your audience.
- Don’t rely on the sound as the video will need to be tapped for the sound to play. So make sure you have other attention grabbing elements in the form of vibrant colors, some action, logo and/or engaging text.
- Behind-the-scenes and work in progres videos work very well.
- If possible, give your videos a professional look by using a video editor like iMovie, Wondershare, Cinefy.
- Think of creative ways to show off your item in a video. If you run out of ideas, just ask a friend to shoot a video of you creating your products.
Heesoo Lee’s product video beautifully captures her new ceramic piece
Create Instagram Stories
Your followers want to learn more about you and your products. Instagram stories allow you to connect with your audience at a personal level. The real-time glimpse of your everyday life just makes your business more real. Show your followers how you source the material, how you make the product, and the other interesting details that make your story stand out from the crowd.
Posting photos, creating a great caption and using hashtags is just half the battle. The other half is interacting!
- If someone leaves a great comment on your post, or a prospective customer inquires about your products, make sure to reply to each one of them. You never know where your next big order comes from!
- Follow others from the industry and fellow ETSY sellers for inspiration and support. You will find that a lot of them will follow you back.
- If you find a caption speaks to you, take a moment to ‘like’ the post and leave a meaningful comment. This is a great way to start a discussion with a fellow ETSY seller or a prospective customer.
Contests & Giveaways
One of the fastest ways to get more followers, increase brand awareness or get rid of your unsold stock it is to host a giveaway.
- Partner with an influential blogger to host the giveaway, and ask them to give you a shout-out to their followers
- Connect with fellow ETSY sellers to cross promote each others giveaway/content with their fans.
- Promote the giveaway in ETSY forums and communities
Once you have some following on Instagram, you can collaborate with other ETSY sellers and trade shoutouts. What that basically means is, you post about a fellow handmade seller on Instagram and ask your followers to check out their shop. The other seller does the same. This is a great way to get a quick and free exposure to hundreds or even thousands of potential new customers.
Promote a Sale
Instagram is a great tool to promote your sale. But remember, when promoting a sale on Instagram, moderation matters, otherwise you risk losing your followers. Direct your followers to your shop using the link in your profile. That’s where you should share detailed information about your promotion.
Use it as a Marketing Research Tool
Take some time to really understand what resonates with your customers the most. Go through your follower’s profiles to learn more about them. Study your industry-specific hashtags to see what products are getting most likes and engagement. You can even use Instagram to get customer feedback on a new product line. For example, if you make baby blankets, you can ask your followers if they like your new design idea. This also makes the customer feel more invested in your brand.
Make it Your Own
Lastly, much like any other success in life, there is no secret sauce for success on Instagram either. It all comes down to trial and error. Try and figure out what photos, captions, images, or tone of voice connects with YOUR audience the most. What time of the day is giving you maximum engagement? What kind of tie-ups or collaborations is working for your business? There are many articles that claim to know the answers. But the truth is, there is no ‘one size fits all’. What works best for your account, can only be discovered through experimentation.
At the end of the day, stay authentic, stay true to your brand’s voice, and don’t forget to have fun.
We’d love to know if you have any other ideas or suggestions for our ETSY readers. Please share your thoughts in comments!