If you’ve been on Instagram, I will bet you’ve bought something after seeing a beautiful picture. Or even you might have investigated products after you swiped up. Let’s face it - Instagram WORKS when it comes to selling. But it can be extremely confusing if you don’t know how and where to start. Lots of you may be wondering, how to sell on Instagram? We will go over the basics and tips of selling on Instagram through photography.
Did you know there are 1 billion people on Instagram? That’s one-seventh of the world. Think about how large of a network that is and how many opportunities you have to sell on Instagram. If you have products that involve pictures, you need to be utilizing Instagram. Instagram is a great selling tool because the audience is so wide and the quality, creativity, and technique keeps improving. Overtime, brands started to realize the strong connection you can have directly with followers and it converted to sales. Instead of spending millions of dollars on a 30-second ad, it became better for businesses to invest in social media to serve as their own advertisement.
Since lots of companies rely on social media and brand image, particularly Instagram to sell products, it’s become much more competitive. However, it’s also opened up the opportunity for creativity when it comes to selling products on Instagram. Here is our list of ways to change up or get started on an impressive Instagram feed.
- Clear Message and Consistency
- Grow Your Audience
- Make The Colors Pop!
- Crop to Pop!
- Creative Ideas of How to Present Products
- Get Up Close and Personal
- Tell Your Customers a Story
- If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It
- Keep it Simple
- Flat Lay Photography
- People Connect with People
- Is it GIF or JIF?
- Why Take You Own Pictures?
- You Need to Add Video. Period.
Clear Message and Consistency
If you’re going to sell, you need to start with the basics. Who you are as a brand and what you’re all about. The quicker you narrow that down, the sooner you can be selling on Instagram. Figuring out your message and sticking with it is the best way to gain and maintain your audience. You won’t know how to advertise if you don’t know who your target audience is.
Once you figure out who you’re selling to, you know your message, now it’s about promoting that message and delivering with consistency. An account that exemplifies this is the famous @tiffanyandco. If you saw one of their pictures without their name, you’d know who it is because they have a signature style that’s consistent as a brand. Always make sure you are keeping up and posting several times a week, it’s the only way to maintain and grow an Instagram following.
Resource from @Tiffany_selling products on Instagram by brand image
Grow Your Audience
Part of selling on Instagram isn’t just about having beautiful pictures but an audience you grow and will want to buy the products you have to offer. Now that you’ve established your message, determined your target audience, and developed your flow of consistency, it’s time to grow your audience. This takes lots of work.
It’s honestly not really about how many followers you have as it is, how many followers will buy your products. That’s why it’s important to take nice pictures but also connect with your audience. No matter how big or small your audience, it’s important they want to buy your products and you use Instagram to directly sell to your audience.
Make The Colors Pop!
Instagram displays thousands, possibly millions of pictures per day. With so many hashtags and pictures, it can be easy to scroll past great content. You don’t want people to miss your pictures, right? One way we suggest to “stop the scroll” is to use vibrant colors to make your products pop! Bright and vibrant colors always work to get people to stop and look. Using bright colors is the easiest way for your Instagram account to stand out and grow your Instagram followers. An example of using colors and patterns is @halocreamery -- they know how to make their products stand out using colors.
Even if you don’t have colorful products, with the magic of photoshop and various apps, you can still achieve a colorful look to your products and you don’t have to be an expert! There are great apps that can simplify the process. @Lightroom by @Adobe is the most used by photographers, that includes a monthly or annually subscriptions. Another option and one of our favorites is @snapseed. First of all, it’s free. Second, it works incredibly well and easy for beginners, and third, even if you don’t understand the settings, they have a variety of filter options.
Resource from @halotopcreamery_selling products on Instagram by brand image
Crop to Pop!
We talked about color pop, but another clever way to make your products pop is to be creative about cropping your pictures. Most of us use cropping to make pictures more symmetrical or cut out parts we don’t like but we never consider this tool as a highlighter. You can use it to accentuate designs or features on your products. Cropping is another simple and easy way to change up your photography style.
Cropping pictures is a great way to feature more products within one picture. Lots of companies angle products and use cropping to feature more items in less space. A company that does a phenomenal job is fitbit, they know how to use the crop feature to their advantage. This might take a little extra imagination but used effectively, it will help sell on Instagram.
Resource from @fitbit_selling products on Instagram by brand image
Creative Ideas of How to Present Products
The cool thing about photography is how creative you can get. Truly -- there are endless opportunities. If you have the budget, get to the drawing board (literally) and start coming up with ideas of how to display products that would be effective for selling products on Instagram.
You can use items like: pillars, boxes, different and colorful fabrics, items with varying textures, tables, chairs, create an entire room set up, etc. We could keep going with this list because the possibilities are endless. To get some ideas of what we mean, one company that does this well is @altercosf. If you feel that creativity isn’t your schtick, use Pinterest to help gather some inspiration. We aren’t encouraging you to copy another brand but you might see an image that inspires how you can display products and add a little creativity to your Instagram.
Resource from @altercosf_selling products on Instagram by brand image
Get Up Close and Personal
Zoom in might become your new favorite feature. Depending on what products you have, taking pictures zooming in might be helpful for at least some, if not all of your products. Having close up details of your products might help you sell on Instagram.
If you use pictures zoomed in, you can get a better sense of detail. Cosmetic companies are a great way to use zoom to their advantage. @maccosmetics is one of our favorite companies that uses the zoom in method to help advertise products. Especially if it involves intricate details or special fabrics, zooming in can help display effectively rather than an overall shot of an item. Not only does it look creative on your Instagram, but it can also help build value in your products and easier to sell on Instagram.
Resource from @maccosmetics_selling products on Instagram by brand image
Tell Your Customers a Story
When talking about effective advertising on Instagram and connecting with your audience is the art of telling a story with your imaginary. Lots of companies use this technique and one of our favorites is @vans. You can develop an entire marketing strategy by continuing a story and will help you grow Instagram followers over time. Telling a story allows customers to be connected with the products, the company and it can overall translate to sales on Instagram.
Resource from @vans_selling products on Instagram by brand image
If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It
You may have heard this line before. But listen to the word of the wise on this: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The same saying can be applied to the product photography on Instagram. Since there’s so much content on Instagram, there’s a desire to keep things new and fresh, always. But it’s not a “one size fits all” situation. If you have a style or pattern that works for YOUR brand, then stick with it! There’s no reason to not continue to do something that’s working. Plus, you can always tweak it slightly to switch it up but do what works for your brand.
One example we love is @symmertrybreakfast. All of the pictures are of breakfast but all the pictures are similarly taken with symmetry that creates an aesthetically appealing style, although there’s little change. It’s consistency to that style works for them and if it ain’t broke, don’t change it.
Resource from @symmertrybreakfast_selling products on Instagram by brand image
Keep it Simple
It’s tempting to want to add props, backgrounds, and additions to help pop and prop your products. Another way to switch up your Instagram and make your products prop is to simply keep it simple. A minimalist style isn’t just a great way to change up what you’re doing already but for some companies, it might be the best direction for all your photography. Know who keeps it simple? @appointedco and we love their minimalist aesthetic. Especially if you’re working with lots of colors or designs, you might want everything else in the picture and background to remain simple and clean. Even using a white background for a clean look and to make the actual products in the picture pop! It’s the best way to accentuate items and colors to help sell your products on Instagram.
Resource from @appointedco_selling products on Instagram by brand image
Flat Lay Photography
Lots of people think you need to invest in props to hold up products for photography and to give your pictures depth. Of course, it's great to get creative but often people overlook a simple yet effective way to take pictures of products, “Flat Lay Photography.” It’s an inexpensive way to display your products and still attract your audience.
The term “Flat Lay” photography is exactly how it sounds. Or, maybe just flip it around, “lay flat.” It just means taking photos of products laying flat on a surface. Although it might now sound exciting, it’s an effective way to view products and still be creative. You can arrange them to display particular features and display designs. You can arrange them so they compliment or contrast each other. You can also arrange products to make designs.
An example of flat lay photography we love is the @sephoracollection. They lay all the products out which gives a customer a visual of all the products and colors. It puts them side by side to see all the options. Flat lay photography is an effective way to promote products on Instagram.
Resource from @Sephora_selling products on Instagram by brand image
People Connect with People
Often one of the best ways to grow your Instagram following and connect with people is to have people in your pictures to create a human connection. Lots of brands find this effective to sell products on Instagram. For example, the brand @nicandzoe uses people to wear their clothes to better promote their clothing line. Products like clothes are best with models, not just to have a human connection but it shows how these products fit, how they look on real people, not just laying flat or on a hanger.
You can use people in pictures even if you don’t sell clothing. You can use hand models to hold products or if you sell handbags, show a model wearing it. Consider taking action pictures of a model using the product. If you feel like you can incorporate people into your pictures, we highly recommend it. It gives people the image of themselves using the products and easier to sell on Instagram.
Resource from @nicandzoe_selling products on Instagram by brand image
Is it GIF or JIF?
It doesn’t matter if you pronounce it GIF or JIF, people love them and you should consider incorporating them into your Instagram. It’s a great way to include imaginary and/or humor to your brand. As important regular photography is, it’s nice when companies can break up their style by adding a GIF once and a while. One of our favorite companies that does a superb job is @chobini. They use pictures of their yogurt and images of ingredients to make their imagery more interesting than stand alone pictures. Especially if you don’t have a wide range of products and aren’t developing new products, still pictures might get redundant and GIFS are the best way to spice up your Instagram feed.
Why Take You Own Pictures?
Some companies have taken the easiest but still effective route to their instagram feed by only using customer pictures. It doesn’t have to be for all your pictures but re-posting pictures from customers is a fantastic way to connect directly to them and hopefully will convert to instagram sales.
An example perfect for this is @gopro. The Go Pro camera is meant for taking action shots with a small camera equipped for rough adventures and clear action shots. What better way to show off your product than having customers who love it send pictures of them using it? The last benefit of this is not only can you connect with customers but it will help grow your Instagram following much quicker with people sharing pictures and tagging your company.
Resource from @gopro_selling products on Instagram by brand image
You Need to Add Video. Period.
We know, we know! This article is supposed to ONLY be about taking beautiful pictures on Instagram, right? Video is a HUGE part of Instagram and selling. You can’t talk about the importance of beautiful pictures to help sell on Instagram if you don’t mention the importance of video.
Did you know about 80% of people will buy products if they see a video of it? That’s a huge percentage. Meaning: you DO need to add video if you’re serious about stepping up your Instagram game. Just like we’ve explained in this article, Instagram is basically a new way to view commercial and commercialized products. A company that knows not just the importance of video but how to make mini commercials on Instagram is @oreo. They know how to entice people to buy their products.
We hope we’ve provided and presented lots of ideas so you know how to sell on Instagram using photography. As you can see, there are lots of ways selling on Instagram while sticking to your brand and utilizing all the resources you have. Taking great pictures and creating an outline that represents your brand is the best way to sell on Instagram. Having consistency with these techniques is the best way to grow your Instagram following and quickly convert into sales on Instagram.