Live Commerce: Instagram Ecommerce Strategy: How to Create an Organic Marketing Plan

The business case for Instagram ecommerce is strong.

Advertising on Instagram is exploding. And the tools for selling on Instagram via Shopify have arrived.

Unfortunately, for high-volume merchants, all that paid action rests on an organic Instagram ecommerce strategy that can feel like a total mystery. Some sort of left-brain act of artist divination.

Good news … it’s not.

In this article, we’ll pull back the curtain and reveal five commandments that govern organic Instagram ecommerce strategy. After all, this is the foundation upon which everything else stands or crumbles.

1. Thou Shalt Know Thy Instagram Audience

Before posting anything, you have to know who you’re posting for.

Odds are you already have buyer personas for your store. If not, Richard Lazazzera’s How To Build Buyer Personas For Better Marketing can help immensely. After diving deep into the sea of demographics, Lazazzera surfaces this example of “Alex” for a fictitious company:

While vital, this sort of persona is typically as far as most of us go. It nails personal characteristics like age, interests, and income, but only touches lightly on psychological elements like “Motivation” and “Concerns.”

On Instagram, where emotions and relationships rule, you need to go one step further.

To do that, take each of your personas over to Copyblogger’s “empathy map.” There, Demian Farnworth offers a four-fold approach for “crawling inside your customer’s head.” The idea is to first identify the “feelings, thoughts, or attitudes” of your buyers and then to develop “vicarious” experiences driven by content:

The best way to flesh out your personas with the empathy map is to follow the biggest influencers in your niche and pay attention to what resonates and sparks a response. Even mundane elements like knowing your target followers’ geographical location help so you can post during the times they’re online.

The golden rule of targeted marketing is getting niched.

That’s all the more true on Instagram. Major brands like Birchbox, Starbucks, and Old Navy each use separate accounts to segment geography and demographics.

Your approach to Instagram — whether you’re just getting started or already up and running — has to revolve around the people you’re going to reach, just like any powerful marketing plan:

  1. Demographic personas
  2. Empathetic personas
  3. Segmented accounts

2. Thou Shalt Share Content Tailored to Thy Brand

Instagram’s love of brands and products makes it perfect for ecommerce. In fact, L2’s Instagram Report found:

Sixty-five percent of the best-performing posts on Instagram feature products, while 29% feature a brand ambassador or influencer.

When deciding what to share, the takeaway is clear: never be afraid to feature products.



However, not everything should be a picture or video of your product.

You’ll need to define from the outset what other aspects of your business or personality you’re willing to share. Social causes, motivational posts, and behind-the-scenes visuals of you and the people who make your business run all bring out your human side.

As Foundr Magazine — who grew their following from 0 to 10,000 in just two weeks and now have 1.5 million followers — points out:

On Instagram, engagement is king.For best results, we found images that trigger an emotion or questions that elicit some thought work really well.

Alternatively, you can also…

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