Instagram Ecommerce Marketing: Making The Most Of The Gram

By Rodney Laws | Ecommerce

Mar 05

Online business owner looking to grow your audience? Instagram has over one billion active users and is fast becoming the go-to social media platform for ecommerce marketing. 

Instagram has come on leaps and bounds since being purchased by Facebook in 2012, pushing on to become one of the most popular social platforms on the web. 

Adopting a well crafted Instagram ecommerce strategy can help your brand reach new audiences and generate valuable leads. In this article, we share the following marketing hacks to help you make the most of the Gram: 

  • Why Instagram is so good for ecommerce marketing
  • How to make the most of ecommerce marketing on Instagram (with tips)
  • Measuring your ecommerce marketing efforts on Instagram
  • Setting up an Instagram shop to capitalise on new leads

Read on as we explore the world of ecommerce on Instagram and show you how to effectively craft engaging content and market your business to a community of loyal followers. 

Why Instagram is so good for ecommerce marketing

Ecommerce on Instagram is particularly successful because the platform allows marketers to grow a big following with minimal budget. 

As a powerful marketing tool, Instagram can help brands (of any size) boost awareness and put themselves on the map — it has a hugely active user-base, framework for engaging content, and plenty more scope to get creative with your campaigns. 

How to make the most of ecommerce on Instagram


Instagram ecommerce marketer learning how to make the most of the Gram.

Image: Pixabay

To make the most of ecommerce on Instagram you need to pay close attention to the following elements: 

  • Content & imagery
  • Hashtags
  • User-generated content (UGC) 
  • Influencers
  • Instagram stories

Read on as we delve into these factors and help optimise your Instagram account for ecommerce success 

Content and imagery

Every major social media platform boasts a unique selling point for ecommerce marketers.

Twitter has snappy character-limited copy and Facebook provides access to active communities — but Instagram stands out by emphasising exquisite visuals through eye-catching imagery. 

When marketing your ecommerce store on Instagram, it’s all about getting the balance right; too many product photos make you appear too sales-focused. Post too often and you risk crowding your followers’ timelines and annoying everyone. 

Successful ecommerce Instagram campaigns are a rich tapestry consisting of a range of different posts: 

  • Company culture/lifestyle
  • Behind-the-scenes photos/videos
  • Exclusive footage from live events
  • Product promotion (note that we’ve put this last on the list — users don’t want relentless adverts for products or services)

Create a varied catalogue of content and you’ll build a connection with your audience. 

Equally, content is king, but only if it’s consistent. The world of social media is quick to forget, so it’s important to maintain your ecommerce marketing efforts over a long period. 

Here are some ways to make sure you’re consistently posting good quality content on your ecommerce Instagram account: 

  • Automate the scheduling process using a service like Hootsuite
  • Create a content calendar outlining your plans over the next three to four months

Staying fresh and consistent is at the heart and soul of any marketing strategy, so get creative and don’t let up. 


Twitter doesn’t have a patent on hashtags; they can be just as effective as part of your ecommerce Instagram marketing strategy. 

Hashtags are essential categorising tools — they bring key topics together into a neat visual package, so it’s important to make sure your hashtag placements are on target so you can make the most of the platform. 

To be a successful ecommerce brand on Instagram, your hashtag strategy has to: 

  • Use market research: just as keyword research is vital for SEO, identifying a bank of relevant hashtags ensures your ecommerce Instagram efforts are being targeted at the right audience for the right reasons. 
  • Embrace a diverse hashtag strategy: using relevant research, select a blend of generic and specific hashtags to drive impressions and engagement with your post. 
  • Get the technical specs right: think about how many hashtags to use per post (9-11 is a good rule of thumb for smaller brands) and where you place them. For instance, many users add hashtags to the first comment rather than their main post because it reduces clutter. 

Hashtags are the ultimate complementary pieces to your Instagram posts. They help target your efforts and encourage engagement — but only if you know how to make the most of them, 

User-generated content (UGC) 

Experiencing a creative drought and struggling to come up with exciting new ideas? Don’t worry — over 95 million photos and videos are uploaded to Instagram every day, making it a content goldmine for your ecommerce business in every sense of the word. 

Learn to embrace user-generated content (UGC) because it’s a fast and effective way to strengthen your Instagram presence without having to invest lots of time and effort. Best of all, you get massive exposure while leveraging your customer community, which proves hugely beneficial for any ecommerce brand. 

The best way to take advantage of UGC and source original content is to host a contest via your Instagram account. Ask followers to submit snaps with branded hashtags (follow this guide if you’re unsure how to create one), set a theme such as ‘most inventive use of our product’ — and award a prize as a trade-off for brand exposure. Now you’ve got a whole bank of ready-made content for your socials. 


Social media has made it possible for anyone to garner popularity without the exposure of mainstream media. As such, many established ecommerce brands are offering big money to leverage the use of these newfound celebrities.

Often we think of these brand/influencer collaborations on a macro level like Molly-Mae Hague signing a six-figure fashion deal with online retail giant PrettyLittleThing. But in practice, influencer marketing can operate just as effectively for smaller brands with a much more niche focus. 

Instagram is a hotbed for micro-influencers — social stars with a follower count around 10-100K whose reach may be smaller, but whose influence can still pack a punch when it comes to marketing your ecommerce brand. 

Unsure about some benefits of working with a micro-influencer as part of your ecommerce Instagram marketing strategy? Read this guide and discover why your ecommerce business ought to establish an influencer marketing program to complement your Instagram efforts. 

Instagram stories

An Instagram story is a fast interactive way for your followers to keep updated with your brand by checking what you’ve done, where you’ve been, and what you’re planning over the last 24 hours. 

While you might be familiar with this hyper-popular feature, do you know how to make the most out of it for ecommerce on Instagram?  

Here are some top tips to help your ecommerce brand make the most of Instagram stories: 

  • Focus on media elements: think aspect ratios and quality source images — you don’t need to be a professional photographer, but you do need a grip on what’s aesthetically-pleasing to the user
  • Show unfiltered personality: despite the platform being rife with filters, showing an unfiltered personality on your Instagram stories helps you establish a more relatable connection with your audience. 

Loosen the creative reins and have fun creating stories to go with your ecommerce marketing efforts on Instagram. 

Selling on Instagram 

Mastered the nuances of ecommerce Instagram marketing? Great news. Now it’s about time you learn how to capitalise on newfound leads by selling on the platform. 

One downside to running an Instagram marketing campaign is the restrictions it poses on clickable URLs…

Links are the lifeblood of ecommerce, allowing users to flow down the marketing funnel and land on your sales pages — but much to the dismay of many marketers, Instagram only allows clickable links in your profile bio or through a swipe up menu on Stories.  

Thankfully, as the platform evolves its ecommerce offering, Instagram has become more accommodating to the odd like or two through some of its newer selling features: 

  • Instagram Shop
  • Checkout on Instagram

Read on as we provide a quick overview of how to get involved with ecommerce on Instagram. 

How to set up an Instagram Shop

Want to get stuck into ecommerce on Instagram? As with Facebook Shops, you can create an Instagram Shop, where you can turn your account into a profitable sales channel. 

Ecommerce sellers can integrate their product catalogues with their Instagram accounts through a shop tab on their profiles, but only if you can demonstrate your trustworthiness. 

Setting up an Instagram Shop requires you to comply with a series of platform demands: 

  • Ensuring your business meets Instagram’s commerce policies
  • Sells physical goods in a supported market
  • The profile is set up as a business account and linked to a Facebook business page

Sounds like a lot of trouble to go through? While setting up an Instagram Shop might feel like an unnecessary hassle, in practice, they remove friction from the purchasing process by helping shoppers check prices and learn more about specific products, all without leaving Instagram. Trust us, it’ll be worth it in the long run.

How to set up Checkout on Instagram

Instagram wants people to remain on the platform, so ecommerce stores have to rely on selling via its profiles rather than channelling traffic to its homepage. 

Enter Checkout on Instagram: an upcoming fully-fledged and secure sales channel for ecommerce that opens up a more direct revenue stream for your online store. 

Screenshot of the new Checkout on Instagram for Ecommerce stores.

Image: Instagram Business

Businesses can open a functional ecommerce shop on Instagram using Facebook’s Commerce Manager, or by integrating platform partners such as Shopify and BigCommerce

Instagram’s latest Checkout on Instagram feature was first released as a closed beta for US users in 2019, with a few of these popular brands all involved:

  • Zara
  • Adidas
  • Dior
  • Prada
  • Kith
  • Mac Cosmetics 

Fast forward a year or so and Instagram are announcing a much wider rollout of this exciting ecommerce tool, meaning all eligible stores and creator accounts have access to the feature. 

If your ecommerce store isn’t already on Instagram then what are you waiting for? 

Instagram helps ecommerce businesses engage their satisfied users, be this through creative content or a slick platform store. 

With 1 billion users and counting, the role Instagram plays in social selling is growing faster than ever before. It’s time to get involved.