Should I sell on Instagram? An Overview of Instagram as a Marketplace

Posted by Michael Watt on

Social media has been around for a while now, with the new generation having grown up in the world of Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and other platforms. However, as soon as we think we are getting to grips with these platforms, they change, evolve or collapse! In this blog we will discuss the potential that social media, specifically Instagram, has in terms of growing a business. 

Consumer Trends

Whenever anyone has tried to sell anything in the past or present, they have always tried to find where peoples ATTENTION is. In the past it was radio and newspaper, then television and now the internet and specifically social media. Things change, and as we look to the future we must now consider voice technology and virtual reality - having this self-awareness of the fact that retail, e-commerce and marketing are fast-moving, ever-changing industries will help you to evolve also.

There has been and continues to be a huge opportunity for individuals to make money by selling items through social media. Instagram is becoming more and more popular due to the visually-rich app gaining a huge, ever-growing audience. It has become part of teenagers and young adults lives, showing that this generation will grow up feeling comfortable with purchasing items from sellers on the app.

Opportunity

 If you are currently considering starting to sell items on Instagram, I would suggest to get started as the opportunity is definitely there and it will be for a good amount of time. The platform is still growing and recently announced that they will be adding an on-platform check-out option. The time to start building your following and brand is now. 

The great thing about selling on Instagram is that it completely disrupts the e-commerce marketplace, creating a level playing field for sellers and giving us as users access to a platform used by hundreds of millions. This means it becomes a meritocracy, with the people who are willing to put in the time and effort to produce good content and pictures attracting the most attention. 

How to Start

Starting a new account is very easy and intuitive, which is why I won't go into too much detail. Once your account is setup, make sure you explain yourself in your bio, have a profile photo that fits with your branding. 

When taking product images, think about a specific feel/creative that you like and run with that, making sure that your images fit with this creative. Having a simple product shot with a pure white background is for Amazon - followers want to see your creative style on Instagram, so express yourself, add a little zest but always remember that the product should be the focal point. 

Hashtag, Hashtag, Hashtag. I would suggest at least 12-15 hashtags for every product post, more if possible. This is how you will find organic followers - people who are searching for things that you are selling. Don't underestimate hashtags or get embarrassed to use lots, #toyourheartscontent. 

Ads - use them! Promote your listings by running ads on your products - I cannot push how great ads can be and how much they are worthwhile. If you really want to grow, run ads against against your target demographic, specifying data such as age, location and interests. Again, do not underestimate ads and don't be afraid to run them. If you are currently selling on Instagram and have never ran an ad, do a test now and spend £5-£10 and monitor the results. 

Take part in the platform and use it as its meant to be used. Comment on things you like, like things you like and generally be a good user - when you comment something semi-interesting, people will check your profile out. 

Find others to collaborate with. Don't be a loner - use the platform to message other sellers asking for advice, collaboration or just to simply say hi. There is always room for kindness and if you offer to help others without expecting anything in return, this gathers up lots of appreciative people who are rooting for you, want to help and will when the opportunity arises. 

Where to get your products? This is the part when I  jump in and do my sales pitch - but hear me out! If you have not checked out our website - go and have a look around! We have recently started our dropshipping system that you can use to list all of our products without even having to buy them first! Have a look at our dropshipping page, which is a very low-risk way to start! Instagram sellers are successfully using us to sell our high-end, luxury branded products right now. Right, thats my sales pitch done! 

In our appendix we have an example account of a current customer. By no means is this account perfect but the pictures are clean and clear, the products are set out very nicely and the overall feel of the page is uniform and neat and tidy. He also has nice branding with his clear and simple business/brand card in each photo. A great example to follow for those starting out. 

Diversify 

Just as Instagram may sound like the best thing since sliced bread, be aware that this will not last forever. Facebook captured a generation and was extremely popular but we can already see that the younger generation use Facebook far less and are more more active on Instagram and Snapchat. This leads to my first main point - don't put all your eggs in one basket! 

Instagram may seem like the golden goose at the moment but think about your goals and aims - what are you trying to do: build a business? make extra to pay for a holiday? Sell one item a week to pay for your weekly cheeky Nandos? 

What happens if Instagram suddenly crashed and was offline for a week? Does that mean you would be offline for a week, making no sales? What if an emerging new platform suddenly popped and everyone migrated over to that - would your "business" be gone overnight? 

I don't want to sound like a Negative Norman, but seeing this bigger picture could really help you in the long-term. The solution to this problem is to diversify and build up your business wherever you can - Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Youtube, Depop, Website, Ebay, Amazon. It may sound daunting but it is a simple strategy that requires work - if you put in the work to build up multiple streams of income from multiple different sources, your business will be alot safer and will grow quicker. You will have more ATTENTION! 

 

Appendix

Instagram example account - www.instagram.com/_bychristian/


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  • Hey

    I want to say what a beautiful site you have!.
    I am a regular customer of your shop.
    I had visited your webshop last month, and I saw a very nice item i wanne order.
    But I have a question! today I wanted to order it, but can not find the item anymore in your store.
    The item looks like the first picture on this website. http://bit.ly/ScreenshopSunglassModel4637

    I hope you will sell it again soon.
    I’ll wait.

    Sincerely

    Amy Joyce on

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