The Rise of Instagram and Shoppable Posts During Covid-19 (and How to Integrate Them Into your Business)
As physical contact was severely limited through 2020-21, social media soon became the primary method for many people to spend time with their friends and family. The ‘new normal’ quickly became a life lived through screens and the use of social media shot up compared to the previous year. Twitter, a social media network that had previously been in decline, suddenly rose to prominence again as it became a lifeline for many who wanted real-time updates.
While video sharing app TikTok saw monthly visits rise by nearly 600% when compared to 2019, it’s average viewers didn’t manage to top 500 million. In contrast, popular picture sharing app Instagram saw monthly visits rise by 43%, reaching 5 billion visits per month. A year previously, in March 2019, Instagram had launched their new project, Checkout on Instagram, which allowed users to purchase from the app. By late 2020 they had unveiled their brand new ‘Shop’ tab, allowing users to avoid leaving the app and to purchase directly through Instagram itself.
Buying with a single tap
Instagram reports that it has 1 billion users, and at least 90% of these users follow at least one active shopping brand, often visiting their pages every day. With such a high amount of brand content being followed, it is unsurprising that 130 million Instagram users were tapping on shoppable posts each month during 2020. Sponsored posts and advertisements are becoming more prevalent on the average user’s feeds, and what was once a simple photo sharing platform has fast become a major marketing hub.
It is clear that, in order to keep up with one of the most prominent marketing trends, brands with something to sell are going to need to invest more time and effort into their social media presence. Specifically this would include Instagram, and to a lesser extent Facebook, both of which now offer the choice to produce shoppable posts.
To help you better understand how you can take your business onto Instagram and allow your customers to purchase with the instant access they are looking for, we have put together this brief guide for you to follow.
Are you eligible?
It should be noted that not everyone is going to be able to take their brand to Instagram’s shopping option; there are a few criteria that need to be met before you can get started. To begin with, the business must be located in one of the following locations; North America, Latin America, Europe, Middle East, Africa or Pacific Asia. For a full rundown of the eligible countries within these regions, you can read the entire list on Instagram’s site.
Next, rather than a personal account, the Instagram account should be either a business or a creator model and needs to be connected to a Facebook Business Page (let’s not forget that Facebook has owned Instagram since 2012). Finally, the business needs to sell a physical, tangible product. Services are not able to be sold through shoppable posts, and the goods that can be sold must comply with Instagram’s merchant agreement and commerce policies.
Once these criteria have been met, and you are confident that your brand and products are eligible, you will be able to move onto the next step.
Share your product catalog
Once you are satisfied that your product catalog is accurate, extensive and representative of your brand, you will need to upload it to the site. This can be done in two ways, but to avoid confusion we’re only going to look at the simpler option.
The preferred method is to manually upload the items using the Facebook Business Manager; this shouldn’t be confused with your Facebook Business Page. From the Business Manager, find the Commerce Manager and start to set up your catalog. Luckily, Facebook has set up a useful ‘how-to’ guide to keep things nice and simple. It is important to ensure your catalog remains accurate; if the prices of your product change for any reason then don’t forget to change them through Business Manager.
If you are using an ecommerce platform such as Shopify, then you will be able to follow the simple and automated functionality of your ecommerce platform. For Shopify, just go to ‘Sales Channels’ in your main menu and then navigate to ‘Facebook’ and finally ‘Instagram Shopping.’
Set yourself up for approval
If you’re eligible and your catalog has been uploaded without any problems, then you’re ready for the final step; the review to make sure everything is above board and appropriate. Once again, this contains a few steps you will need to follow, so take your time and make sure you’re doing everything correctly.
Firstly, on your professional Instagram dashboard, under ‘Grow Your Business’, you will find ‘Set Up Instagram Shopping’; click on this. On the next page, click the blue ‘Get Started’ button. From here, it is a simple matter of selecting your recently uploaded catalog and hitting the big blue ‘Submit for Review’ button at the bottom of the page.
This approval process can take a few days so don’t worry when you don’t receive an immediate response. In addition, before your submission is approved you may be contacted and asked to provide extra information, such as domain verification. This is all completely normal and shouldn’t be a cause for concern. When this is finished you are ready to start selling on Instagram.
This article was created by Mediareach Advertising, a leading London-based digital and social media marketing agency.