Instagram is an extremely lucrative platform for advertising, spreading brand awareness, and promoting your business. With over a billion active monthly users, businesses can reach a huge audience on Instagram to market their products and services. Instagram has made their platform even more useful for businesses by making it possible to shop directly in the app.
Instagram has been testing more shoppable features since 2016, but in the last year they have made the platform even more consumer and business friendly.
Businesses can now add product tags on their posts to link directly to products featured within the post. Instagram has also added a native shopping feature, so users don’t even have to leave the app to make purchases and can save their payment information for future purchases.
All businesses should take advantage of Instagram and other social media as a marketing and advertising tool, but those that fit into the right criteria can also benefit from selling their products right from their Instagram posts, stories, and on their profile.
In the past, businesses could link to products on paid Instagram ads, but not on posts. Now, with product tags on regular posts, businesses can link to their website and product pages on any post. This is especially useful for e-commerce brands looking to increase sales. The tags look like this:
Shoppable Instagram posts have the shopping bag icon in the corner. When you tap on the image, product tags will appear, similar to how it looks when you tag a friend in a picture.
Instagram accounts with a shopping catalog will also feature their tagged products on their profile under the “Shopping” tab. When you click this tab, you can see all available products on Instagram.
Clothing, jewelry, and shoes are some of the most popular products selling on Instagram, and with product tagging, it’s easy to tag the items in pictures so that interested customers can easily purchase them. This way, customers don’t have to search on your website for the exact shirt they saw in a post – the link is right there for them.
Even easier, Instagram added native payment options, so users don’t even have to leave the app to complete their purchases. This one-stop shopping on Instagram can improve sales and makes it more convenient for users to purchase products directly on the app. Instagram will save your payment information so that repeat purchases are even easier.
Why Set Up an Instagram Shop?
If you sell products online, why not sell them through Instagram? Making your Instagram shoppable will make it easier for customers to find and purchase your products, as they can see them directly on their social media.
This way, if a follower likes a pair of shoes featured on your account, they can buy them right away. Without that option, many potential customers may be interested in the shoes but forget to look them up or decide it’s not worth the effort.
Not all businesses need to set up shop on Instagram, and many probably aren’t applicable – there are guidelines for who can use these links, and you have to apply through Instagram.
Those that fit the criteria, especially e-commerce businesses, should take advantage of Instagram’s new features. Instagram reports that 60% of people say they find new products via Instagram, and over 200 million Instagram users visit a business profile daily. The potential for new customers and sales is huge, so businesses should absolutely sell through this popular platform.
How To Make Your Instagram Shoppable
Setting up a shoppable Instagram account takes a few steps. Businesses have to apply to Instagram to receive shopping features, and must fit into certain criteria to get approved.
We’ll cover the necessary criteria to add product tags on Instagram. To sell through Instagram, your account must be attached to a Facebook account with a product catalog to choose from. There are a few ways to set up Facebook and Instagram shopping features.
Who Can Create Instagram Shopping Tags?
Not all accounts are eligible for Instagram product tagging and shopping. Instagram approves and denies accounts at its discretion, but there are a few necessary requirements:
- Must comply with Instagram’s merchant agreement and commerce policies.
- Have an Instagram business account.
- Connect the Instagram business account with a corresponding Facebook page.
- Primarily sell physical products.
- Have a business account connected to a Facebook catalog.
- Operate in one of the approved markets.
How To Set Up Facebook for Instagram Shopping
Since Facebook owns Instagram, you’ll have to set up your product catalog on your connected Facebook account. Most businesses should already have corresponding Facebook and Instagram business accounts, but if you don’t you can easily set one up.
Once your accounts are both set up as business profiles and connected to one another, you have a few options for how you want to set up your shop on Facebook:
- Create a Product Catalog on Facebook Business Manager
- Add a Shop Section on Your Facebook Page
- Set Up a Shop on Facebook Using Shopify
- Set Up a Shop on Facebook Using BigCommerce
Create a Product Catalog on Facebook Business Manager
Using Catalog Manager on your Facebook business page is the easiest option if you already have an existing product catalog, although you can also easily create a new catalog on Facebook.
Follow these steps to set up a product catalog via Facebook Business Manager:
- Log into Facebook Business Manager (must be the owner of the Facebook business page).
- Under Settings, choose “Data Sources” > “Catalogs”
- If you have an existing catalog, click it to add new items via Catalog Manager.
- If you don’t have a catalog, click “+Add” and choose a name for the catalog. You’ll then be taken to Catalog Manager to complete the process and fill out all necessary information.
Once your catalog is set up, you can submit your Instagram account for review.
Add a Shop Section on Your Facebook Page
You can also connect your Instagram shopping account by creating a shop on Facebook. This would allow you to sell your products directly on Facebook as well as connect those products to Instagram.
Follow these steps to set up a shop section on your Facebook business page:
- On your Facebook business page, click to “Shop” tab (if you don’t see this tab, click here).
- Read and agree to the merchant terms and press “Continue”.
- Choose between “Check Out on Facebook” or “Check Out on Another Website” depending on your preferences. Checking out on Facebook requires PayPal or Stripe.
- Depending on your choice, follow the continuing steps to create your shopping page.
There is a third option, “Message to Buy”, but this is not supported by Instagram and will not allow you to set up Instagram product tagging
Facebook also provides more information on setting up your shop.
Set Up a Shop on Facebook Using Shopify
Facebook also has e-commerce partners to make it easy for businesses to set up shopping via Facebook and Instagram. Shopify is one such partner, which is a paid service to set up e-commerce shops on social media.
If you have a basic Shopify account or higher subscription, you can set it up to integrate to Facebook. Your products can be set up in Shopify and then connected to Facebook and Instagram.
To connect your Shopify to Facebook and Instagram, first install the Facebook sales channel on Shopify to create a shop section on your Facebook page. Once that’s set up, you can easily add the Instagram sales channel by clicking “Add sales channel” on your Shopify page and verifying your Instagram account via Facebook.
Shopify provides more information on setting up Instagram sales channels here.
Set Up a Shop on Facebook Using BigCommerce
Another Facebook and Instagram e-commerce partner is BigCommerce. Similar to Shopify, you can set up your products via BigCommerce and connect them to your social pages. If you don’t already have one, you’ll have to purchase and set up a BigCommerce account first.
On your BigCommerce account, click “Get Started” next to Facebook to begin the setup process. You’ll have to configure the accounts and provide some basic information as you follow through BigCommerce’s setup. Once Facebook has been approved and set up, you can connect Instagram through the same process.
BigCommerce provides more setup instructions for Instagram here.
Apply for Instagram Product Tagging
If your account fulfills all the criteria for creating a shoppable Instagram account and you’ve set up a catalog through one of the four options on Facebook, you can apply for product tagging capabilities.
Follow these steps to apply to make your Instagram shoppable:
- On your Instagram’s profile page, tap the three horizontal line icon at the top right.
- Tap “Settings” > “Business” > “Shopping on Instagram”.
- Follow the steps to complete your application.
Instagram will take a few days to approve or deny your application. You can click “Shopping” under settings to check up on your status. Once you’ve been approved, Instagram will send a notification so that you can set up your products.
Add Shoppable Tags on Instagram Posts
Once you’ve been approved by Instagram, navigate back to the “Shopping” tab under settings and add your catalog. Since the catalog or shop should already be set up on Facebook, it’s easy to add it to Instagram. Click the catalog you want to connect and press Done.
With your catalog added in, it’s easy to tag posts with shoppable tags. When creating the post, “Tag Products” will appear right below “Tag People” on the same page where you add your caption. Tap “Tag Products”, search for the product name featured in the image, and drag it to the correct location just like you would to tag a friend.
Keep in mind that you can only tag products on images, not videos, GIFs, or Boomerangs. You can add up to 5 product tags per single image, or 20 product tags in a post with several images.
Go back to old posts and tap the three dots in the right corner and “Edit” to tag products.
Add Shoppable Tags on Instagram Stories
You can also tag products on Instagram stories. Instagram stories have grown in popularity, with 500 million daily active users of this feature – making it a great place to advertise products.
To add product tags on Instagram stories, simply click the add sticker button and a “Product” sticker option should appear.
Search for the product, drag and drop it on the right location of the image, and finish editing your story. Once it’s ready to share, viewers can tap the image to view the products and purchase directly from the story.
Shopping on the Instagram Explore Page
Instagram also added a shopping channel on the Instagram Explore page. Here, users can scroll through a feed of all shoppable content and make purchases directly from the app. They can look by category or just on the main shop page based on their interests and activity on Instagram.
Since Instagram Explore is tailored to individual users’ interests on the platform, these pages are different for each user. There is a chance your shoppable content could end up here, improving sales and helping your business grow its following.
Creating a shoppable Instagram account is a great way for businesses to sell their products directly through the app. Instagram also sets up Insights for businesses selling on Instagram, so you can see which products and posts perform the best to improve sales.
Marketing your products on Instagram has never been easier, and since it’s free to set up product tags, it’s worth a try.