How & what to sell on Instagram and increase your revenue

How & what to sell on Instagram and increase your revenue

If you’re looking to grow your business and add additional revenue streams, look no further than the popular photo-sharing social media platform Instagram. With Instagram’s shopping capabilities—and over 2 billion users—you can easily start selling products through your Instagram business account.

Throughout this article, learn more about the benefits of selling on Instagram, how to get started, and 10 ideas of what to sell on Instagram.

Let’s get started.

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Benefits of selling on Instagram

Not sure why you should bother with Instagram? Trust us—there are quite a few benefits. Here are the top three you need to consider.

Reach your target audience

Instagram has 2 billion monthly active users. With a user base that large, you can bet your target audience is likely there. Plus, those users spend an average of 30.1 minutes every day browsing the platform, scrolling through photos, liking, following, and engaging with content.

If you have product photos or mockups, Instagram is the perfect platform to share those on. Due to its visual nature, product photos and videos fit right in, and sharing them can be a great way to reach an even wider audience of potential customers.

Create another revenue stream for your business

Because you can create an entire shop with Instagram, you’re able to turn the social platform into an entirely new revenue stream for your business. Certain businesses are even eligible for checkout on the platform, which means you can promote and sell your products completely on Instagram without your customers having to ever leave the platform.

People are using Instagram to research products

Instagram shares that 70% of its users look to Instagram for their next purchase. This means that not only can you reach a large group of your target audience with your products, that audience might be shopping around for a product like yours.

What are the requirements to sell on Instagram?

If you’re interested in selling products—both physical and/or digital—on Instagram, there are just a few eligibility requirements to keep in mind.
You must have an Instagram business account (not a personal account) that is linked to a Facebook business page.

  • Your account must comply with Instagram’s Terms of Use and Community Guidelines.
  • You must only share listings of products that are listed on your actual website.
  • Third party listings from sites like Amazon aren’t applicable for Instagram shopping.
  • You must be located in one of the countries where Instagram shops are supported.
  • You must “demonstrate trustworthiness.” Essentially, you must have an active, authentic, established presence on the platform.
  • You must share accurate information about your products, pricing, etc.
  • Refund/return policies must be clear and transparent.

If you meet these criteria, you can go ahead and start setting up your Instagram shop. Note that you’ll need to create a catalog with your Facebook page before you can start linking products to your Instagram shop.

How to sell on Instagram

Want to start generating even more sales for your business? Let’s walk through the steps of getting your Instagram shop set up and how to let customers know you’re open for business.

1. Set up your Instagram shop

Step one is actually setting up your Instagram shop. As mentioned, to do this, you’ll need to have an Instagram business account that is connected to a Facebook business page.

Once you’ve gotten that taken care of, follow these steps:

  1. Set up your catalog with Meta’s Commerce Manager. This means that if you so choose, you can also sell via your Facebook page and not just only on your Instagram.
  2. Upload your inventory. You’ll need to add images, descriptions, links, pricing info, and a SKU number if applicable for each product. Note that if you have a Shopify shop (you can connect your Teachable account to Shopify with Zapier), you can import this information automatically.
  3. Set up your checkout option (businesses in applicable regions can use Instagram checkout).
  4. Create collections to organize your products and make your Instagram shop look more like a real online store.

Once you’ve taken these steps, you can start promoting and selling your products on Instagram.

2. Tag products in your Instagram content

Now that your shop is set up, it’s time to start tagging products from your Instagram shop in your posts, stories, and reels. This way, when someone sees a photo of a product they love, all they have to do is tap it to view the product and make a purchase.

Here’s an example of what this could look like on your Instagram posts:

tag your product

Tag just a single product or tag several, depending on what’s pictured. It’s easy to do—when you’re creating a new post, the “Tag products” option will appear on the screen when you’re adding your caption and other final details before you publish.

3. Create a wide variety of content

You can feature and tag products in your regular Instagram posts, your reels, and your stories—so make sure you’re creating a wide variety of content and taking advantage of this feature.

Meet your audience where they are. Some go through stories of the accounts they follow, others scroll through reels, and others simply scroll through their feed or the explore page. Make sure you’re creating different types of content that features your products to give your audience an even bigger chance of discovering them.

4. Partner with influencers

Work with influencers in your industry to further promote your products and your brand. You can even give the specific accounts you work with permission to tag your products in their posts, creating a seamless process for those introduced to your business via influencers to easily purchase your products.

5. Share user-generated content

If you’re lucky enough to have existing customers take photos and videos of your products, ask them if you can repurpose them onto your own feed. User-generated content (or UGC) helps create an authentic vibe that doesn’t feel like marketing content. Integrate as much UGC as you can into your strategy—and of course, don’t forget to tag your products in each one.

6. Run Instagram ads

Finally, consider allocating some of your marketing budget towards Instagram ads. You can still tag products in these ads, but you can also create a call-to-action to your full Instagram shop, enabling ad viewers to start shopping around.
There are a number of different types of ads with various objectives. Play around with different ad types until you discover the ones that get you the best results.

What to sell on Instagram

You might already have an established business with products to sell. But if not, you may be looking for inspiration to get started. Here are 10 ideas of things you can sell with Instagram’s shopping tools.

1. Clothes

Clothes and apparel are a common product sold on Instagram. Tons of online boutiques take advantage of Instagram shopping to increase sales and reach a wider audience of customers.

Here’s an example of boutique Dress Up and its Instagram shop. The store is even offering a 20% discount on select products through Instagram and has categorized products to make it easier to shop on the app.

online store

2. Accessories

Accessories—jewelry, sunglasses, shoes, etc.—is another great product to sell on Instagram. You can sell handmade jewelry—there are many polymer clay and metal working brands selling handmade jewelry on Instagram.

Or, you can go a more traditional route, like Ring Concierge below. The brand creates fine jewelry and sells it on their website, while also creating a shop on Instagram. This makes it easy for them to tag products directly in their content, increasing sales.

business account

3. Makeup

Instagram is a common place for people to look for makeup inspiration, learn more about how to better apply makeup, and—of course—purchase makeup products. This means selling your makeup products on Instagram can help bring in more sales—whether you have an established brand or want to create your own products.

Here’s an example of what your shop could look like from Tarte Cosmetics:

instagram business profile

4. Skincare

Skincare products cover a wide range of options: face masks, face washes, creams, moisturizers, and more. You can even include hair care products here if you’d like.

Here’s an example of a shop on Instagram selling skincare products:

business account: skincare

5. Workout gear

Workout gear—yoga mats, fitness clothes, fitness products, protein powder, etc.—are all great products to sell on Instagram. Many users love to peruse the app for workout ideas and motivation, so putting your products in front of that audience can help build a larger customer base.

Here’s an example of fitness company Bala’s Instagram shop:

Instagram business account: workout gear

6. Art

Are you an artist? While many artists have one-off drops, others have consistent products available. If you’re one of the latter, consider offering your regular products via Instagram’s shop.

Here’s an example of what this could look like from artist Ashley Longshore:

instagram business account: art

7. Online courses

While the past few examples we’ve covered have all been physical products, you can sell digital products on Instagram, too! Link your digital products on your website to your Instagram shop to start selling courses on the app.

Here are a couple of examples of what this could look like:

instagram business account: online courses
instagram business account: online courses

8. Digital downloads

Another digital product to sell is various types of digital downloads. Checklists, guides, workbooks, templates, etc. These are very popular products—and you can easily sell more of them right on Instagram.

Here are a couple examples on Instagram shops with digital products on sale:

instagram business account: digital downloads
instagram business account: digital download

9. Food

Food can be a tricky product to sell online, but many bakeries and other companies have figured it out. Maybe you’re selling hot sauce, cereal, baked goods, or something else that can easily package and travel well. Consider offering your products via Instagram!

Take a look at this Instagram shop, The Marshmallow Co. The brand has listed a number of types of marshmallows for sale that its customers can easily buy right off of Instagram.

instagram business account: food

10. Furniture

And last, but certainly not least, is furniture! While bulky, if you have a website that you use to sell furniture, you can easily translate that to an Instagram shop.

Here’s an example of popular furniture brand West Elm’s Instagram shop:

instagram business account: west elm

Start selling on Instagram

Get started selling your products on Instagram—whether it’s a physical product or a digital product like an online course—and bring in even more income for your business. Let Teachable help you get started selling digital products like courses, coaching sessions, downloads, and more.

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