Social media selling platforms are fast becoming the free and easy way of expanding the visibility of your products and making some sales too!
In this BEAM (Business Expertise and Advice for Makers) post we’ll be uncovering and sharing how Instagram and its owner, Facebook, are linked to providing a powerful selling platform with little or no budget, to huge audiences.
Instagram need to knows
70% of shoppers turn to Instagram to discover new products and with over 1 billion users globally that’s a huge marketplace to showcase your lampshade products. Instagram launched its in-house Instagram Shopping platform in 2017, along with the addition of being able to shop in via Instagram stories, using product tags.
What percentage of Instagram products are handmade?
Instagram isn’t a ‘handmade only’ platform, so any product can be sold by an account holder, as long as it’s not service. It is however a well-known hangout for crafters, due to it’s visual content. Makers, as we know are a kind community and like to support other makers, so selling via Instagram certainly won’t do any harm to your lampshade business!
What are the selling fees?
There are no selling fees – setting up your Instagram shop is completely free, although there are a few small hoops you’ll need to jump through for the setup. Instagram is owned by Facebook, therefore to set up Instagram Shopping, you’ll need to use Facebook as an access point for your inventory.
How easy is it to set up?
Instagram Shopping is easy to set up and you’ll need to do the following, but note that the process is not instant and there potentially a few days wait to have your account verified.
Convert your personal Instagram account to a business account (this also gives you the advantage of having access to Instagram insights allowing you track where your likes, saves and reposts)
Create a Facebook Page for your business to connect to Instagram as part of the process (note this is not a Facebook Shop, just a Facebook Page)
Set up a Facebook catalogue of products for exporting into Instagram
Once your catalogue from Facebook to Instagram
Request for your account to be verified (this is the waiting part!)
In advance it’s good to have the following to hand:
At least 10 product images to load to your Facebook Page – remember these will eventually end up on Instagram, where visuals are a high priority
Think in advance about your product tags and write them in advance with clear distinctions between similar lampshades – you can use the same product tags on Instagram Stories too.
What are the benefits of selling on Instagram?
Connect your sales to your website - Via Facebook you can connect your Instagram shop to your own website – use the instructions here to do this.
Instagram checkout – Currently only available in the US, this Instagram led payment service, will at some point arrive in the UK, but come with fees, as with all similar payment services.
Ad campaigns – As Instagram doesn’t allow clickable links in post, apart from in your bio the only other way of leading potential customers to your website is to link this in a caption or message, but this is clumsy leaving the customer to copy and paste this into their browser. Instagram advertising however does allow you to include links, but obviously, there is a cost to this added benefit. Using the advertising platform Ad Manager (which is also the Facebook advertising app) you can track website traffic by using your own URL and start to set up adverts for your Instagram shop.
What are the cons of selling on Instagram?
You’ll need a website as you can’t link your Instagram shop to an Etsy, Folksy or any other marketplace platform.
As the information about your lampshade-making business is limited to the bio, you’ll need to work hard to show what your brand is all about with images and videos.
Ideally, you'll either have or need to build a following. Work hard at getting your content quality and posts the best they can be and plan ahead for your Insta stories. Don't forget to show Behind The Scenes of your account once in a while, so maybe lampshades being made, a sneak peek at your studio, etc.
If you want to know more about advertising on Instagram check out this post here and a here are a couple of great Instagram accounts to follow to help you with ideas and inspiration; @shop and @instagramforbusiness
Instagram - @cheekypickleshades
Facebook - @cheekypickleshades
How do you find Instagram as a selling platform for your lampshades?
Instagram is an amazing platform for showcasing product as it’s primarily a visual media used for inspiration. I notice spikes in website sales if I’m particularly active on Instagram with feed images and stories. The product links to my website are incredibly easy to use as everything integrates seamlessly between the Instagram platform and my website, which is run via Shopify. The only struggle is finding the time to manage my account, as creating good content is time consuming. I try to build this in when I can and not see it as a burden or something to fear, it can be a wonderful, welcoming and fun space to explore!
What are the benefits to you as a seller?
There are many benefits to using Instagram, the main ones being the fact that I can direct people to my feed to look for inspiration on bespoke designs. I like to showcase these via this platform, and I know from likes and comments that my bespoke designs are really popular. It’s also a good way to connect with other designers and makers, and can be an incredibly supportive community. I’ve collaborated with other small businesses, interior designers and influencers via Instagram, it just requires a lot of time investment to establish and nurture relationships.
What made you start selling on Instagram?
It was a no-brainer really. I have a personal Instagram account and use this for inspiration in life, be it home, travel or fashion. So it seemed an obvious platform to showcase my brand in an effort to become an account that would inspire others and demonstrate how beautiful handmade lighting can be.
Any tips for selling on Instagram that could help other lampshade makers?
Lots! Here are my top tips:
Ensure you create consistent style with your imagery as this creates a more attractive and cohesive feed
Try to plan content in advance so that you mix things up a little. I try to intersperse my ‘for sale’ products with other images linked to the business, perhaps a situ shot and quote from a client, a picture of me, or a bespoke design. I think people respond well to variety and you should consider your Instagram feed as a magazine
Be true to yourself. Instagram can be a very intimidating space and it’s easy to compare what you’re doing with others, trying to emulate their success. I’ve found that focusing on my own style and product has helped me to stay within my own lane and not try to become something I’m not
Ensure you check your website analytics (if you have them) as you can track where your sources originate. This is useful to correlate Instagram activity with website traffic and sales
In this BEAM (Business Expertise and Advice for Makers) post we’ll be uncovering and sharing how Instagram and it’s owner, Facebook, are linked to provide powerful selling platforms and tools with little or no budget, to huge audiences. .
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