Learning how to sell on Instagram is easier than ever with shoppable Instagram posts. The steps to selling on Instagram include using a business profile and having great photos since Instagram is a very visual platform. The real work is in marketing your products once you’ve got your account set up.
Here’s how to sell on Instagram in five steps:
1. Check Eligibility for a Shoppable Instagram Account
Instagram limits those who can sell products using shoppable posts. Only those in 59 countries, so far, are eligible to sell. It’s important to understand that should you also travel to a market outside of the 59 allowable countries, even temporarily, you may lose the ability to tag products. It can take up to two weeks for you to regain access to tagging capabilities.
Physical products are the only items you can use shoppable Instagram posts with, so services and digital products like online subscriptions and membership sites are not allowed. High-risk merchants are also not allowed, which means no adult products, no cannabis, and no selling of animals. Instagram wants users to make purchases because they get a small cut. They take an industry standard at 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction directly from the seller.
Users must have a business account that’s connected to a Facebook page to set up shoppable posts. Plus, users must have an updated Instagram app.
You can sell digital goods and services on Instagram, but not through a shoppable post. You will simply have to direct users to the link in your bio to make purchases because they cannot shop directly from Instagram like they can with shoppable posts.
2. Switch Instagram Profile to a Business Account
If your business is using a personal Instagram account, you will have to convert it to a business account to create shoppable posts. It does not cost anything to do so.
Here is how to convert a personal Instagram account to a business account:
- From your profile, tap the three horizontal bars in the top right corner of the screen
- At the bottom of this screen, tap Settings
- Then you’ll tap Account
- Next, click on Switch to a Professional Account
- Then select Business, and tap Done
Now, connect a Facebook business page to your Instagram account following these steps:
- From your Instagram profile, click Edit Profile
- Select Page under the section titled Public Business Information
- Choose the Facebook Page you want associated with this Instagram account, or select Create a New Facebook Page if you don’t have one yet
You’re now set up as a business account and a Facebook business page. You can now run ads on Instagram, and you’ll be able to create shoppable posts.
3. Connect Your Instagram Account to a Catalog
There are a few ways to connect a catalog to your Instagram account. You can use the do-it-yourself method through Catalog Manager within Facebook, or you can go through an approved Facebook Partner like BigCommerce or Shopify. Another alternative is to use Square Online Store, which is ideal if you don’t want to set up a large catalog.
Here’s how to set up your catalog to sell on Instagram:
Connect a Catalog the DIY Way
You can connect an already established catalog or you can create a new one. You will want the ability to create product tags and stickers, so choose an ecommerce Catalog.
Here is how to set up an ecommerce Catalog using Catalog Manager:
- Go to Catalog Manager
- Click Create Catalog
- Choose ecommerce Catalog
- Add items to your inventory by clicking Upload Product Info
- Name your catalog
- Select Create
Here is how to connect your Instagram to an existing catalog:
- Go to Catalog Manager
- Choose your catalog
- You will now be on your Diagnostics page; click More Ways to Use Your Catalog
- Select Instagram Shopping
- Click Connect Your Instagram Business Profile and then Connect Account
Using Channel Manager From BigCommerce
Setting up shoppable posts using Channel Manager is easy. You’ll click on Channel Manager and then Instagram. You’ll see a green check mark that will tell you if you’ve met the eligibility for a shoppable Instagram account.
If you do not have a green check mark, you will need to click Setup Facebook and then Connect to Facebook.
To connect your Facebook account to BigCommerce, you will need to click Continue as ______. This should say your first name. If it doesn’t, click Cancel and open a separate window. From there, log out of Facebook and into the Facebook account you want associated with BigCommerce, and try again. You will also need to grant permission to BigCommerce to receive your information from Facebook.
Once you’ve linked your Facebook account, you will need to select which business Facebook page you want to associate with your shop.
After selecting the right page, add your business address, and contact email address.
If you have offices in any US states, you will need to choose the states and include your Tax Registration Number. This is so they know how you should be taxed. Otherwise, click Next.
After entering your shop details, select your shipping and return policies. BigCommerce even lets you select free shipping. Keep in mind that you are required to ship your product within seven days.
Before entering your payment details, you must agree to Facebook’s Commerce Product Merchant Agreement. The terms that you agree to include that you’re following commerce policies, and you’re going to abide by their rules. If you don’t abide by them, they can kick you out.
Now that you’ve accepted Facebook’s Commerce Product Merchant Agreement, enter your payment details so that you get paid for anything you sell.
From the drop-down menu, select your business category so that Facebook taxes you properly. For example, toys and cookware get different tax treatment than food, so it’s important to let Facebook know which category your products fall under.
Payments are direct deposited into your checking account. Provide your routing number, bank account number, and the name on the account before clicking Finish.
You will get a message indicating you’re all set once you enter your bank details. Note that this only means you’re done entering your banking details—you will have a few more steps after this.
When you are finished inputting your payment details, click Next.
Facebook will ask for a more detailed category so they may rank and index your shop. You may select one or more categories.
After sending your products to Facebook, you should now have a green check mark indicating you’ve connected BigCommerce to your Facebook Shop.
Linking a Shopify Store
Setting up a Shopify store so that you can sell on Instagram is simple. By using Shopify, your inventory syncs across any social media platforms and online marketplaces.
Here is how to link Shopify to your Instagram account:
- When logged in to your Shopify admin page, click the + button next to Sales Channel
- Click Instagram
- Select Add Channel
- Log in to your Facebook account page to authenticate your Instagram account in the sales channel
Once you have your catalog connected to your Instagram account, you need to request account approval. You will do this by clicking on Settings from your profile page, then Business, and tap Shopping on Instagram. Approval is typically granted within three business days but can take longer. To check the status of your approval, click on Shopping in Settings.
Integrate Square Online Store
A Square Online Store uses your existing Instagram account posts to create an online store in just a few steps. The best part is that you don’t pay anything until you make a sale. Then, it’s just standard payment processing fees of 2.9% plus $.30 per transaction.
To get started, simply connect your Instagram account to Square. Then, tag your Instagram posts that have your products and click Publish. This creates your own online store, all without the time and expense associated with other ecommerce platforms. Note than you can skip steps four and five when choosing this option.
4. Turn on Product Tagging in Instagram
You’ll receive notification about your approval from Instagram, and once you receive it, you can move onto setting up product tagging on Instagram. To enable product tagging on Instagram, follow these steps:
- Go to your profile
- Tap Get Started at the top of your profile; if you don’t see this, tap the gear icon found under the three horizontal bars on your profile page
- Tap on Shopping
- Hit Continue
- Choose your product catalog
- Select Done
After you’ve turned on product tagging, you can move on to the next step.
5. Upload a Photo & Tag Your Product
In order for shoppers to buy your products from a photo, the product needs to have a tag that tells what the product is. This allows a user to purchase the product without ever leaving Instagram. Tagging your products on Instagram is simple.
Here are the steps to add tags to your products on Instagram:
Using a Static Instagram Post
Upload an image as you normally would, adding any effects or filters, and then tap on the product you want to tag in your image. Note that filters can change the color of your product, which buyers might have a problem with. From here, enter the name of the product, and select them as they appear in the search. You can tag up to five products in a single image, and up to 20 products in a multi-image post.
Tagging a Product in an Instagram Story
For Instagram story product tagging, you will also upload an image like you normally would. From the sticker tray, select the Product sticker. From there you can pick the product you want featured and you can move that sticker anywhere you want it to be featured in the image. Then you share it.
How It Works When Shopping on Instagram
When a user interacts with Facebook and Instagram, data is collected about their activity. This allows them to tailor a user’s experience. For this reason, every user has a different look to their discovery page. To capture the attention of your desired audience, it’s important to use relevant hashtags.
Similarly, no two shopping feeds will look the same. When a user sees something they want to purchase, they can view which products are tagged and go straight to the website, all without actually leaving Instagram. It’s important to note that with hashtags, even non-followers can discover your products.
6. How to Optimize Your Instagram Posts for Sales
Instagram is a very visual platform, which means that your Instagram profile and posts need to fit your brand. Your posts should not consist of too many selfies or product-only pictures. In fact, if you’re showcasing a product, it’s best to display it as it’s being used so it doesn’t seem too salesy. Encourage your customers to tag you in their posts containing your product for a chance to be featured—these posts can see an increase in engagement of as much as 30%.
You can also start an ambassador program if you don’t yet have many customers. Ambassadors will receive a few items in return for creating and posting images. You can then use these images in your own social media posts.
Oftentimes, businesses will offer an affiliate link for the ambassador to use so that any product sales that occur based on their own posts will get them a percentage of the sale. Generally, this is 10% to 15%. You can even work with an influencer network like Find Your Influence to provide free products to influencers in exchange for social media or blog posts.
7. Tips for Selling on Instagram
With shoppable posts, selling on Instagram is now easier than ever—particularly if you already have an established audience. What if you don’t have a large network of buying customers? We have sourced some of the best tips for marketing on Instagram.
- Retarget using ads: If someone visits your online store but doesn’t make a purchase, you can run ads to retarget that visitor on social media. This person might just need more exposure to your brand before making a purchase.
- Post five to 10 Instagram stories per day: Stories help humanize your brand, and you can use them to gain valuable insights into your customers. Share things like tips, testimonials, how your products work, polls, and gifs. Use a call to action like “swipe up” or “DM for details.”
- Use hashtags in your posts and stories: People used to advocate using 30 hashtags for each post, but now people see that as hashtag spam. Instead, a few targeted hashtags that are really relevant to your post is all that’s necessary.
How to Sell on Instagram Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
This section includes the most frequently asked questions about how to sell on Instagram.
How do I know if my Instagram Shopping tags are performing well?
You can view Insights on your Instagram products. On a shoppable post, click View Insights just below the post to see how it is performing. You can also see the performance of a shoppable story by swiping up on that story.
Can I have shoppable products on Instagram if I’m not in the US?
Yes, there are 59 countries eligible to create shoppable products on Instagram. You can see those here.
How many products can I tag on an Instagram post?
You can tag up to five products per single-image post or 20 products per multi-image post.
Can I create a shoppable Instagram if I only sell services?
At this time, Instagram only allows products to be sold on Instagram.
We have a team. Will everyone on the team get to use product tags?
Yes, anyone logging into the business account will be able to tag a product.
I have old posts with my products. Can I go back and tag them now?
Yes, you can edit old posts with product tags. However, if you have a multi-image post with product tags, those cannot be edited once published. You can also use Square Online Store to tag old posts.
What happens if I delete a product from my Facebook shop or catalog?
The product tag will be removed from your Instagram post and you will lose any insights you have about that tag.
Having your products shoppable on Instagram is a great way to get in front of an enormous audience that is already likely to buy. Learning how to sell on Instagram is easy, and the real work begins when you market your shoppable Instagram posts.
To make the selling process even easier, get your start with Square Online Store. It has the most straightforward setup process, and you only pay when you make a sale. Sign up in just three easy steps.