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How to Actually Generate Sales on Instagram

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Awareness is Fine. Sales are Better. Here’s How to Start Selling on Instagram Once and For All

I bet you’re sick of articles teaching you how to grow your Instagram following by now.

Most of the articles about Instagram do that. Teach you surefire or rapid ways to grow your followers.

But a large Instagram following is about as useful as yet another hipster’s coffee pic if you can’t translate that following into sales.

So, where do you go from here? How do you turn your Instagram following into customers?

If you don’t, you’ll be losing sales to your competitors.

60% of Instagram users find new products on Instagram.

What’s more, at least 30% of Instagrammers have purchased something they first found on the platform.

That’s clear proof the selling potential is there.

Want to know how to get in on the action? Implement these tactics and watch the sales roll in.

Add a CTA to Your Posts

You need calls to action in your captions that convert.

You’ve probably seen all of the other 25 million business profiles on Instagram do it.

So, why aren’t you doing it?

If you think it isn’t worth the effort… You’re wrong!

75% of users take action (e.g., visit a website or tell a friend) after seeing a brand’s post.

And, Mathieu Laca, a contemporary portrait painter, proved that. He drove 688% more traffic to his website with Instagram.

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However, many of the 75% see a CTA and oblige.

Because let’s be honest.

Most of us scroll through Instagram in a daze.

Unless a brand tells us to do something, we keep scrolling through the endless flurry of quotes, selfies, and Kardashian butts without pausing.

Hence, you need to get a strong CTA in there.

A CTA that can grab people’s attention.

A CTA that directs them to make a purchase or carry out some other action that puts them in your sales funnel.

Here’s how to do that:

1. Create a sense of urgency.

Great CTAs make you want to act fast.

This post from Starbucks does it brilliantly:

starbucks instagram contest

Look at the caption: “Only 5 days left to play for a chance to win…”

This adds power to the call to action, “so join #MyStarbucksRewards today.”

You can do something similar.

If you have a special offer on your products or something out of the ordinary coming up (like a one-time course), then allude to the fact that there is a limited amount of time on this deal or experience.

Phrases such as “Don’t miss out” or “Only 48 hours left” add a sense of urgency.

It will make people want to make a purchase ASAP.

2. Use active language.

It seems pretty obvious.

But you’d be surprised if you knew how many brands don’t use active language in their CTAs.

Active language means actually telling users to take an action.

It’s the difference between, “My book is available to pre-order now” and “Pre-order my book now.”

Remember how we talked about Instagram users not taking action unless you tell them to?

Well, this is the part where you tell them to do something like “Click the link in my bio” or “Download on iTunes” or “Visit our site.”

Here’s a fantastic example from Cup Noodles:


There’s a lot of active language here:

“Click the link in our bio, save the valentine, print at home, and make someone’s day!”

Cup Noodles is raising brand awareness here with their CTA.

They’re basically creating a fandom, and that only leads to more sales of their product.

You can emulate this tactic. Or simply use active language to direct users to your sales link.

Write Captions that Encourage Engagement

Engaging captions are key to making sales.

It’s not just about the call to action. If you post too many CTAs, you’re crossing into spam territory. It gets annoying for the user.

I recently followed a new celeb on Instagram and noticed that virtually every post of hers was sponsored.

Thanks, @proteinshakeIdontcareabout. #boresnore #juststop

Similarly, not every one of your brand’s posts should explicitly be about your products.

And not every post should contain a CTA.

Even if your goal is to get sales.

Consider posting interesting images with engaging captions.

You might have an 80:20 rule.

80% of your posts are fun, engaging posts related to your niche. And 20% of your posts are about your product and aimed at making sales.

If the majority of your posts aren’t engaging, your followers aren’t going to see the sales posts.

Don’t just take my word for it.

A couple of years ago, Instagram changed their algorithm. They made the move to show you posts “you might care about the most.”

insta algorithm 1

The more you engage with another user’s posts (likes, comments, shares, etc.), the higher up their posts will be on your feed.

Posts are not in chronological order.

What does that mean for you?

If people don’t engage with your posts, they’re less likely to see them.


You don’t want that to happen.

If you sell using Instagram, then a lack of engagement will affect your bottom line.

So here’s how to write more engaging captions:

1. Use Instagram’s lighthearted tone.

You know your audience. And they expect a certain tone of voice from your brand.

But the nature of the platform is lighthearted.

That’s something you should roll with. Put it this way: you’d look strange if you used the same kind of serious, intense tone on Instagram that you might use on LinkedIn.

What works on one social platform doesn’t always work on another.

Find a balance between your tone of voice and the easygoing tone of Instagram.

So keep it fun. Keep it cute. Maybe use a meme or a cute, cheesy pun here and there like this:


And don’t forget emojis.

Posts with emojis get 43% more interactions. Talk about engaging!

Here are some of the most-used emojis on Instagram:


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Use these emojis to boost your engagement rates.

2. Use engagement tactics.

Keep an eye out for the tactics people use to get more engagement.

Because there are clever ways to encourage users to comment on your posts. And there’s nothing wrong with partaking in a little competitive research.

As far as engagement tactics go…

There’s the classic line, “tag a friend.”

It might look something like this:

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(Image Source)

Or you might ask your followers a question.

Because when you ask a question, you’re likely to get an answer.

Like this:


You know that every person (and their dog) thinks their pet is the most adorable in the world. So they’re going to answer this question.

It’s also a good idea to mention other users via their handle (@person) whenever a post is collaborative.

It’s a good way for your users to discover new profiles and new, exciting things.

Here’s an example:


Don’t forget…

Engagement like this puts you higher up in their feed. And when you’re higher up in their feed, they see your sales posts.

Use Instagram Shopping Tools

When it comes to selling on Instagram, there’s a HUGE problem.

It was no doubt the first thing you noticed when you decided to use Instagram as a sales tool.

You can’t add links to products in your posts. You can only have a link in your bio.

But people are making sales on Instagram.

30% of users have bought something they first spotted on Instagram.

So what you’re probably asking is, “how did they get to that stage?”

An image would have to be seriously appealing to convince someone to take the time to go from your Instagram post to your site and then search for that product.

Surely, people are too lazy for that. Or they’re too used to the instant gratification afforded by social media and the Internet in general.

What kind of wizardry is at play here then?

Enter Instagram shopping tools.

1. Have2Have.It

You can use this tool to create a storefront that looks just like your Instagram page.

The way it works is simple.

You put your Have2Have.It link in your Instagram bio.


The page has the same look and feel as your Instagram.

Like this:


The user taps the image they saw on your Instagram to access that particular product directly on your site.

What a way to increase conversions!

I bet the song “Finally” by CeCe Peniston is playing in your head right now…


This is an app that works slightly differently.

The user takes screenshots of images from Instagram influencers.

They are then able to shop the products featured in the pic.

Take a look:

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Find out if your followers use this tool.

You’ll know if they’re using as they will have a link in their caption or the icon on their images.


If they do, then figure out how best to optimize your Instagram page for it.

3. Shopify

Here’s something you need on your radar.

Shopify is currently testing in-app shopping for their sellers on Instagram.


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It looks like the perfect way to sell on Instagram, right?

I can’t wait until it drops!

Collaborate with Influencers

Influencer marketing is an effective way to make sales.

Everybody is talking about it. So you know you should try it.

Here’s the fact of the matter: if you don’t, you could be missing out on some serious revenue.

On average, there’s a $7.65 return on each dollar spent on influencer marketing.

It works because users trust and admire certain influencers.

Therefore, they are likely to purchase a product endorsed by their favorite influencer.

But how do you get it right?

Well, Instagram is certainly the place to go for influencer marketing.

Influencers prefer Instagram over other sites by a landslide.234930

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Here’s what you need to know about influencer marketing on Instagram:

1. It can fit into any budget.

You don’t have to shell out millions to collaborate with a celebrity.

To be honest, I couldn’t see Kylie Jenner posing about your weed wacker anyway.

How much an influencer will cost you usually depends on the size of their reach.

Take a look at this graph:


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As you can see, you can collaborate with an influencer in your niche who has a decent following for less than $150.

If you use an influencer marketplace such as Shoutcart, you can sort the results by price.

Business and marketing opportunities continue to grow on Instagram.

You can request a variety of options from influencers, such as having them wear your brand’s clothing or mention your homeware.

The most popular category for paid posts on Instagram is “lifestyle.”

So if you have a lifestyle brand, then you certainly want to jump on the influencer marketing bandwagon.

2. You can find influencers yourself.

You can find and contact Instagram influencers yourself.

Search your branded hashtags to see which Instagrammers are already talking about your brand.

Or search hashtags relevant to your niche.


But make sure you vet influencers carefully as it’s possible for a user to buy a following. “Influencers” with paid followings won’t help your bottom line.

On the other hand, if an influencer’s following is genuine, you can see incredible engagement.

But interestingly enough, as an influencer’s following grows, engagement tends to decrease.

Markerly found that those with 1,000 followers receive likes 8% of the time, while those with 10 million+ followers only receive likes 1.6% of the time.

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So it turns out that bigger isn’t always better.

You want to choose an influencer with lots of positive engagement so that their endorsement of your brand is more effective.

When vetting an influencer, you should also ask yourself the following questions:

Do their post aesthetics align with my brand? What is their history of working with brands? What is their area of expertise or specialization? And if your company is location-specific, is your potential influencer also local?

3. You can also use tools to find influencers.

Let’s face it: we’re all looking for ways to work more simply and efficiently.

For the sake of simplicity, it might be easier to find the right influencers with tools such as BuzzSumo, NinjaOutreach, and

With NinjaOutreach, for instance, all you need to do is type in your keyword.

From there, search through a database of millions of influencers.

The platform contains lots of information for each influencer including their contact details and website.

Instagram influencer searching

You have all of the details for each influencer in one place, so it will be easy to reach out to them and discuss the potential of collaborating.


Growing your audience on Instagram takes time and effort.

Make sure it was a good investment by unlocking the potential of your large audience.

You need to take that next step and turn it into sales.

Taking the time to write a strong call to action can pay off.

Engage your following because if you don’t, your posts may get lost in their feed.

Use shoppable links to make it easier for your followers to buy your products.

And finally, take advantage of the power of influencers to draw people to your products.

As Instagram continues to grow, there is potential for your sales to grow too. The sales are there waiting for you. You just need a few tactics to nudge them down your sales funnel.

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