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What Is Patreon? A Creator’s Guide To Making Money in 2022

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So your podcast audience has exploded, but the revenue from those fancy sock ads isn’t exactly covering rent yet. Or maybe you’re tired of social media algorithms hiding your content from even your most dedicated followers. Enter Patreon, a platform that makes it easy for content creators to monetize their online following!

With Patreon, users can launch a personalized subscription-based site in just a few easy steps, allowing creators to offer exclusive content to subscribers and generate a consistent monthly income.

Our Patreon deep-dive will help you learn the ins and outs of this platform and determine whether becoming a Patreon creator is the right move for you.

Bonus: Download a free, fully customizable influencer media kit template to help you introduce your accounts to brands, land sponsorship deals, and make more money on social media.

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What is Patreon?

Patreon is a membership platform that allows creators to run a subscription service for their content. Instead of setting up their own website and payment platform, creators can easily launch a personalized Patreon page in a few steps.

On Patreon, paying subscribers are called patrons. Each patron pays a fee for exclusive content from creators.

Patreon launched in 2013 and has over 3 million monthly active patrons and more than 185,000 registered creators. As of spring 2021, Patreon was valued at $4 billion.

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Creators can offer subscriptions for a variety of services. Popular content formats include:

  • Video (38% of creators)
  • Writing (17%)
  • Audio (14%)
  • Photography (6%)

The Patreon app is also available for iOS or Android.

How does Patreon work?

Patreon allows creators to monetize their content by creating a paywall and charging patrons a subscription fee to access their work. This transparent business model is great for both creators and patrons.

Creators know when their monthly earnings will be paid out and can rely on this income to support their work. In addition, patrons can see exactly how their subscription supports the creator and upgrade or cancel their membership with the click of a button.

So what is Patreon used for? Creators can use the Patreon platform for all types of content:

Writers might share short excerpts of stories with their Twitter followers. Then, to drive readers to their Patreon, they can let them know that the full piece is available by subscribing to one of their membership tiers.

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Example of how a writer uses Patreon to promote their work

Source: patreon.com/raxkingisdead

Photographers who post examples of their work on Instagram can use Patreon as a vault for their content. They can also entice patrons by offering special perks like physical prints of their favorite images.

Example of how photographers use Patreon

how do photographers use Patreon continued

Source: patreon.com/adamjwilson

Podcasters can easily engage with their listeners on Patreon. The Community tab functions as a messageboard, where patrons can leave messages and chat with other listeners as well as the podcast hosts. Patrons might get early access to episodes or receive special content like bonus episodes or a look behind the scenes.

example of how podcasters use Patreon

podcasters use patreon to post updates

Source: patreon.com/lovetosew

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Musicians can post new tracks ahead of their release date or share b-sides and demos with fans.

an example of how musicians use Patreon, this is a link to a full song that is only available for paying subscribers

Source: patreon.com/pdaddyfanclub

Performers and streamers can also take advantage of Patreon’s secure, private livestream feature to charge a fee for an online performance.

Patreon's livestreaming options

Source: patreon.com/posts/livestream

In general, Patreon is a great opportunity for new creators to build a community and widen their reach, while high-profile or celebrity creators can use Patreon to interact with fans in a whole new way.

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How much can I earn on Patreon?

The platform is flexible enough to accommodate creators of all followings, so average Patreon income varies.

How much of your existing audience will convert to Patreon subscribers depends on many different factors, including:

  • The type of content you create
  • The perks you offer to patrons
  • Your membership tier fees
  • The size of your current audience
  • Your marketing efforts

Patreon's inverted funnel shows how patrons are only a small percentage of your total audience

Source: blog.patreon.com/figuring-out-how-much-you-might-make-on-patreon

So, how much can you expect to earn? We’ve put together a hypothetical example based on a creator with 10,000 followers on Instagram (their primary social channel).

Total size of following 10,000 (Instagram)
% of “passionate” followers (who would click through to learn more) 10%
Traffic from Instagram to Patreon page 1,000
% of traffic that converts into patrons 1-5% (10-50 patrons)
Average value of each patron $5
Total monthly Patreon income $50-$250
See also  How to Use Instagram Reel Insights to Make Better Reels

If that doesn’t sound like much, keep reading. We’ve got tips to help you grow your fan base and increase your Patreon earnings.

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How do I start a Patreon page?

The process of signing up as a Patreon content creator is simple. Go to patreon.com/create to get started:

1: Select a category that describes your contentPatreon signup process

You can pick up to two categories:

  • Podcasts
  • Illustration & Animation
  • Music
  • Communities
  • Local Business (restaurant, yoga studio, venue, etc.)
  • Videos
  • Writing & Journalism
  • Games & Software
  • Photography
  • Other

2: Does your work contain 18+ themes such as real or illustrated nudity?

Patreon requires creators to state if they will offer 18+ content

This question will require you to answer Yes or No based on the type of content you plan to offer.

3: Pick your currency

Patreon offers 14 currencies to choose from, including USD, CAD, Euro, GBP, AUD, and more. Your memberships will be priced and paid out in the currency you choose.

4. Do you want to offer exclusive merchandise?

For an additional fee, Patreon can handle merchandise production, global shipping and support. This question will require you to answer Yes or No to continue. You can always select No at this stage and add merch to your plan later on. (Don’t worry, we discuss this in more detail later on)

5. Want to reserve a custom URL for your Patreon page?

To do so, you must connect at least one social media account (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or YouTube) so that Patreon can verify your identity as a creator. This will allow you to set a custom URL for your Patreon, such as patreon.com/hootsuite.

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Your Patreon page is almost ready to launch!

How do I customize my Patreon page?

After you’ve completed the initial set-up, the page editor will take you through a few more steps to customize your page.

Start with the basics

Once you’ve created your Patreon account and verified it via email, you can start building your page.

First, give your Patreon page a name, then create a headline. Your headline should be a short description of your content that tells people what you do, like “creating weekly podcasts” or “writing essays.”

Upload images

Next, you’ll be prompted to upload a profile photo and cover image. Patreon requires every account to have two photos. These are the recommended formats:

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  • Profile picture: 256px by 256px
  • Cover image: at least 1600px wide and 400px tall

Write a compelling About section

Your Patreon About section is the first thing potential patrons will see when they land on your page, so be sure to paint a compelling picture.

A good About page will follow this basic structure:

  • Introduce yourself. Who are you and what do you do?
  • Explain what your Patreon is for. Why are you using Patreon to support your creative career?
  • Explain how the funds will be used. How will you use the money you earn on Patreon to continue creating? Patrons appreciate transparency, so be as clear as you can.
  • Thank readers for checking out your Patreon. Share your enthusiasm for the future of your work!

You can also embed an image or add an intro video to this section. Visuals are helpful because they allow patrons to see exactly what they will get when they subscribe.

Select your tiers

Start by choosing a fully customizable tier starter kit based on the type of content you offer (video, music, podcasts, visual art, writing, local business, all creators).

Patreon will then recommend starter tiers based on your selections. These tiers are fully customizable and can be tailored to your preferences.

Patreon suggests tiers depending on the type of content you create

For example, these are a few of the recommended tiers for Illustrators & Comics. Patreon has a customizable starter kit available for every type of content.

Decide if you want to offer merch

Patreon can also help you offer exclusive merch items to your subscribers.

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The platform allows you to customize your items (like stickers, mugs, tote bags, apparel, and more!) and select the tier(s) that will receive exclusive merch. Patreon then handles the production, shipping, tracking, and support.

Connect your socials

Linking social media accounts to your Patreon helps confirm your identity so your patrons can subscribe with confidence. You can link Patreon to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

Set up payment

As a creator, this is probably one of the most important steps. Let’s make sure you get paid!

See also  Instagram Reels Algorithm: Everything You Need to Know

You’ll need to provide the following payment information to receive your Patreon payouts:

  • Payment schedule (either monthly or per creation, depending on your plan)
  • Your currency
  • Payout settings (how you’d like to get paid and tax information)

Select your Page Settings

Almost done! Patreon requires a few more pieces of information to get started.

You’ll add basic account info at this stage, like your legal name and country of residence. This account information will not appear on your public page. You’ll also set a few visual preferences, like the color you want to use for the links and buttons on your page.

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This is also when you’ll determine how transparent you want to be as a creator. You can choose to make your earnings and number of patrons visible to all page visitors. Patreon recommends making this information public, but it’s up to you.

You’ll also be asked whether your work contains any adult content. Patreon does allow adult content on the platform, as long as it conforms to their terms of use. Just be aware that if your page is marked as adult content, it won’t come up in the Patreon search results.

Preview your page, then hit the launch button!

Congratulations! You’ve officially launched your Patreon.

Note: Patreon reviews your content when you launch. Reviews usually take minutes, although some content takes up to 3 days to review. You can continue editing your page after you launch.

You can create the following post types:

Text Choose a compelling title, then type away! Text posts allow you to embed one or more images within the text or upload attachment files for your patrons to download.
Images Image posts allow you to upload photos or embed image URLs from other sites. This post type automatically generates a gallery when you upload multiple photos. Patreon supports multiple photo formats, including .jpg, .jpeg, .png, and .gif file types up to 200 MB.
Video To create a video post, you can paste a video URL from another site or connect Patreon directly to your Vimeo Pro account. Patreon supports embedded YouTube or Vimeo links.
Livestream Patreon supports livestreaming via Vimeo, YouTube Live, or Crowdcast. Creators get access to automatic recordings, live chat, analytics, and no time limit. Note that some of these options carry an additional fee.
Audio Audio posts allow you to upload files or embed audio URLs from other sites. You can also upload a thumbnail image for your file, such as album art. Patreon supports .mp3, .mp4, .m4a, and .wav; file size must be 512 MB or less.
Link Insert the link you’d like to share with your patrons. The post will display a preview of your link. Write a description in the text field below to explain why you’re sharing this link with your audience (ex. Sharing your website or Instagram profile).
Polls All Patreon membership tiers can run polls, which is a great way to get feedback from your patrons and learn how you could grow your subscriber base. Select a minimum of 2 poll options, or add up to 20 options for patrons to choose from. You can set an expiration date and check the poll results anytime, and you can also export the results as a CSV file.

Every post type allows you to add tags to your post so patrons can easily search by category (for example, “monthly update” or “bonus episode”). You can also choose who can see this post (public, all patrons, or select tiers).

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You might have special or time-sensitive content to share with your patrons. In that case, you can create an early access post to allow select tiers to see it before anyone else. You can even add special fees to access a particular post if needed.

Advanced post types include:

Welcome Notes Send your patrons a personal welcome note & email when they join. This can be customized for each subscription tier. You can add or remove this feature at any time.
Goals These posts give you an opportunity to describe what you’re working on and help patrons understand how their subscription supports your creative work. You can set two types of goals:

Earnings-based (“When I reach $300 per month, I will …”) or community-based (“When I reach 300 patrons, I will …”)

Special Offers Create your own personalized offer to draw in patrons and give them access to exclusive content. You can choose from existing benefits, such as custom stickers, early-access tickets, and 1:1 chats, or design an offer that best represents your work.
See also  What is Social Listening, Why it Matters, and 10 Tools to Make it Easier

How much does Patreon cost?

For Creators

Creating a Patreon account is free for creators, but fees apply after creators start earning money on Patreon. Creators can expect to pay between 5-12% of the monthly income they earn on Patreon, depending on their plan type.

Patreon currently has three plans available: Lite, Pro, and Premium.

Patreon currently has three plans available: Lite, Pro, and Premium.

Payment processing fees also apply.

For Patrons

Creating a Patreon account is free. However, monthly subscription fees will vary depending on which creator(s) patrons subscribe to and which membership tier they select.

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Creators set their own membership tier structure. Some creators charge a flat fee:

patreon creator kate beaton charges a flat fee

Source: patreon.com/katebeaton

Other creators operate a tiered pricing structure that offers more perks to patrons who pay a higher fee:

The Love to Sew podcast Patreon

Source: patreon.com/lovetosew

Patrons can upgrade or downgrade their subscriptions at any time. It’s also pretty easy to cancel if they no longer wish to access the content.

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How can I make more money on Patreon?

If your Patreon needs a little help getting off the ground, it’s time to get strategic. Here’s how to grow your Patreon income using a multi-pronged approach.

Expand your total addressable audience

Start by focusing on growing your following on other social media platforms (like Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc.).

If you don’t have a presence on multiple platforms, now’s the time to start! Expand your marketing strategy to ensure that you are reaching as many potential subscribers as possible.

Not sure where to get started? Check out our guide to the newest social media apps and platforms for inspiration.

Grow your percentage of “passionate” followers

Create a video or text post to tell your story and build a personal connection with followers. Explain how supporting your Patreon page benefits you as a creator, and describe how your Patreon income allows you to create more content or gives you the flexibility to be more creative.

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Drive traffic to your Creator page

Mention your Patreon page everywhere: add a link to your social media bio(s), bring it up in podcasts or interviews, and include a link in your monthly newsletter or e-blast. Repetition will help drive traffic, and increased traffic can result in higher conversion from potential subscriber to patron.

Use free content to convert traffic into patrons

Free content is a great way to entice potential patrons. Give visitors a sneak peek of your Patreon content to let them know what to expect if they become a patron.

Create a few public (free) posts to give potential subscribers an idea of the type of content they can expect. You can also run giveaways or special promotions to generate buzz (ex. “sign up before the end of the month to be entered in the draw”).

Grow the average value of each patron by creating more membership tiers

Having multiple membership tiers can incentivize existing patrons to “level up” and pay more for their monthly subscription. Create special benefits or rewards tailored for your content type and add value for your patrons. Make sure to differentiate between your tiers so patrons can easily see what they’ll get when they upgrade.

Keep learning!

The Patreon polling feature is a great way to get feedback from your patrons and gain insight into why they subscribe to your content so you can figure out how to grow your subscriber base.

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The Patreon Blog is a great resource for creators who want to learn more about running and growing a creative business or stay up to date with Patreon’s updates and new features.

Save time managing your social media presence with Hootsuite. Publish and schedule posts, find relevant conversions, engage the audience, measure results, and more — all from one dashboard. Try it free today.

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7 Tools to Help You Remove the Background from an Image

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Wondering how to remove backgrounds from images? Whether you’re a business owner looking to spice up your product photos, or a blogger who wants to create beautiful header images for your next post, there are plenty of tools available to help you get the job done.

Keep reading to explore seven online tools that can help you remove backgrounds from images quickly and easily.

Download your free pack of 72 customizable Instagram Stories templates now. Save time and look professional while promoting your brand in style.

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7 tools to help you remove the background from an image

1. Adobe Express

adobe express remove background from image tool

Source: Adobe Express

Adobe Express combines the power of Photoshop with the ease of Canva. Whether you’re looking to edit an Instagram photo or design a new event flyer, Adobe Express offers point and click online photo editing that rival some of the world’s best tools.

Adobe Express is available as an online or mobile tool, which makes it easy to use on the go. The tool also comes equipped with professional photo editing and design tools to make your newly minted photo look its best.

If you’re looking for an easy-to-use, all-in-one solution to remove the background from an image, Adobe Express should be your first choice.

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Features:

  • Create transparent backgrounds easily
  • Simple online tool
  • Available on mobile
  • Professional photo editing and design tools

2. Photoshop

woman in sitting yoga pose on transparent background

Source: Adobe Photoshop

For creators with a little more experience, Adobe Photoshop is a great background remover tool. With Photoshop, you have more control over the results and can create some truly stunning content.

Use Adobe Photoshop to make your Instagram images stand out. Or, remove the background from an image for a website banner to create a clean product shot. The possibilities are endless when you remove the background from an image in Photoshop.

See also  How To Search on TikTok for Just About Anything

Features:

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  • Automated or manual background removal
  • Custom backgrounds with Brush tool
  • Expert edge refining tools
  • Professional photo editing tools

3. removebg

baby in crib against half transparent and half visible background

Source: removebg

removebg is an online tool that lets you remove backgrounds from images for free. removebg uses an AI editing tool to remove the background from images in just a few seconds.

Make a transparent PNG, add a coloured background to your image, or play around with custom graphics in this simple online background removal tool. Plus, removebg integrates with popular software like Figma, Photoshop, WooCommerce, and more.

Features:

  • Remove background from image in seconds
  • Transparent and colour background options
  • Integrations with popular workflow software
  • Process 1,000+ files per upload

4. Retoucher

sneaker shown with three different background options

Source: Retoucher

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With Retoucher, you can remove the background from your image in seconds. Use Retoucher to make your headshot stand out or create memorable digital ads.

Plus, Retoucher offers a wide range of tools to help you perfect your photos, including a remove background tool that uses artificial intelligence, photo retouching, and more. You can even add shadows to product images to make them more eye-catching to potential buyers.

Features:

  • Download image in any format
  • Manual and automated background eraser tools
  • Crop, cut, and colour functions
  • Product photo testing using e-commerce integrations

5. Slazzer

image of man and woman shown in multiple formats including transparent background and non-transparent background

Source: Slazzer

Slazzer uses AI power to remove the background from your images. The platform offers an online tool, which is best for removing the background from a single image. Or, use the desktop application to remove the background from thousands of images at once.

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Plus, Slazzer integrates with all major operating systems, including Windows, Mac, and Linux, so you can process millions of images if that’s more your style.

Features:

  • Remove background from image in seconds
  • Process 1,000+ images with online tool
  • Process 1,000,000+ images on desktop tool
  • Integrations with popular apps
See also  How To Schedule Instagram Reels in 10 Easy Steps

6. removal.ai

image of man and woman shown in multiple formats

Source: removal.ai

For a tool that takes it all the way, look no further than removal.ai. This tool can remove the background from images with a single click, and it even supports batch processing for removing the background from multiple images at once.

Removal.ai also lets you automatically detect and remove subjects in photos. It can even handle tough jobs like removing hair and fur edges. Other features of removal.ai include text effects, marketplace presets, and manual background eraser tools.

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Features:

  • Remove background from image in 3 seconds
  • Process 1,000+ images in a single upload
  • Marketplace presets for e-commerce
  • 100% GDPR compliant file storage
  • Dedicated customer support line

7. Microsoft Office

flower with leaves in the background and white backdrop

Source: Microsoft Support

Did you know you can remove backgrounds from images in Microsoft Office? That’s right, Microsoft offers an automatic background removal feature for its users.

To remove backgrounds from images on a Windows computer, open the image you want to edit. In the toolbar, choose Picture Format -> Remove Background. Or Format -> Remove. Background.

If you’re using a Mac, open the image and click the Picture Format tab. Then, select Remove Background.

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If you don’t see these options, make sure you’ve selected an image file. Vector files, like Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), Adobe Illustrator Graphics (AI), Windows Metafile Format (WMF), and Vector Drawing File (DRW), will not have a background removal option.

Features:

  • Remove background from image
  • Available on iOS and Windows
  • Integrates with wider Microsoft Office suite

How to remove the background from an image (easy and free way)

Here’s a quick rundown on how to remove the background from an image for free using Adobe Express.

See also  Instagram Reels Algorithm: Everything You Need to Know

To use Adobe Express, simply open the tool in your browser and upload the photo you want to edit. The background will be automatically removed.

Click Customize to refine the cutout further or add filters, colours, and effects.

changing background colour on owly image adobe express

Browse Adobe Express’s preset template options to make your image stand out even more. For example, if you’re using your image for a poster or flyer or in an Instagram Story.

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Instagram Story template

There are also a range of design elements available, like bokeh borders, illustrations, textures, and overlays, that can help take your project to the next level. While most templates are free, some options may only be available in a premium plan.

owly with random graphic elements around him, created in adobe express

Geometric shapes and icons are another great way to add visual interest to an image. And with the help of Adobe Express, they’re easy to add in. Simply click on the Shapes tab and select a shape you’d like to use. Then, drag and drop them into place.

owl image with geometric shapes found in adobe express

To add text, click Text and choose from a range of fun presets.

text showing you've got this over owly image

Once you’re happy with your design, simply download the file or share it directly to social media.

So there you have it, everything you need to remove the background from an image. Looking for more creative tips? Check out our blog on How to Remove TikTok Watermarks today.

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Now get out there and start creating!

Save time managing your social media presence with Hootsuite. From a single dashboard, you can publish and schedule posts, find relevant conversions, engage the audience, measure results, and more. Try it free today.

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2022 Instagram Marketing: Complete Guide + 18 Strategies

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With over 2 billion monthly active users as of Q4 2021 (up 200% from 2018) Instagram is both the O.G. and trendsetter of social media marketing. Instagram has shaped the landscape of social commerce, the creator economy, and how brands use social media for over a decade.

So how can you use Instagram marketing to grow your business in 2022?

Do you need Instagram ads (or worse: dancing Reels) to be successful? How can you best use Instagram’s shopping tools?

Find out how to use Instagram to grow your business online, no matter your industry or goals.

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Bonus: Download a free checklist that reveals the exact steps a fitness influencer used to grow from 0 to 600,000+ followers on Instagram with no budget and no expensive gear.

What is Instagram marketing?

Instagram marketing is the practice of using Instagram to grow your brand awareness, audience, leads, and sales. As the favorite social media platform of people ages 16-34, Instagram is a highly effective marketing platform for brands, entrepreneurs, and creators.

Instagram marketing strategies include:

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  • Organic content: Photo, video, or carousel posts, Reels, Stories
  • Paid content: Instagram ads, including Stories ads, Shopping ads, and more
  • Influencer marketing
  • Shopping tools: Shop tab, Product tags and catalog, Live shopping, Instagram Checkout, Shopping ads

How to set up Instagram for marketing

If you’re just starting out, here’s what you need to do to set your company’s Instagram account up for success.

Set up an Instagram Business profile

To use most of the marketing tips featured here, you need an Instagram Business account. It’s free, and you can create a new one or convert your existing Personal account.

If you have an existing Personal account, skip to Step 3.

Step 1: Download Instagram

You can only create an account using a mobile device.

Step 2: Create a Personal account

Tap Create new account. Follow the prompts to enter your email and phone number and choose a username and password. You don’t need to fill out the rest of your profile right now (more on how to optimize it later).

Step 3: Switch your new account to a Business one

Go to your profile and open the menu. Go to Settings and choose Switch to professional account near the bottom. Select Business as the account type and follow the prompts to convert your account.

Switch to professional account on Instagram

Get verified

Most companies aren’t verified. Research shows 73.4% of creators or brands with over a million followers are verified, but only 0.87% of those with 1,000-5,000 followers are.

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You don’t need that little blue checkmark to be successful on Instagram, but having it can help you earn trust and stand out.

To apply for Instagram verification:

1. In the app, open the menu. Click Settings, then Account, then Request Verification.

settings account and request verification

Source

2. Fill out the form.

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After submitting the form, you’ll receive the answer as a notification within Instagram in about a week. Instagram will never email you, ask for payment, or contact you any other way.

If your verification request is unsuccessful, you can try again in 30 days. If it’s approved, hooray and welcome to the super-elite Insta club.

The tricky part of getting verified is having enough third-party content to prove you’re well-known enough to warrant needing verification. We cover tips for getting that supporting content in our complete guide to getting verified on Instagram.

Try Instagram ads

Expanding your marketing strategy with ads can have a big impact. Even simple ads can earn results, like coffee retailer Country Bean’s 3 week campaign which resulted in a 16% sales increase.

There are two ways to get started with Instagram ads:

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The easy way: Boost a post

You can turn any existing Instagram post into an ad by clicking the Boost Post button. You need to have either a Business or Creator account, though.

As you probably guessed, this is exactly like Facebook’s “boost” feature. Now that Meta owns both companies, you’ll also need to connect your Instagram account to Meta Business Suite.

Michelle Martin Copy boosted post option on Instagram

After clicking Boost Post, follow the quick prompts to set your budget, narrow your target audience, set a duration, and boom—you now have an Instagram ad.

You can customize the targeting options or have Instagram automatically target your ads. Boosted posts are a good way to dip your toe in the advertising pool, so if this is all new to you, stick to auto mode.

Go big: Launch a full Instagram ad campaign

Step 1: Log in to Meta Business Suite

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Click on Ads in the left menu, then Create ad at the top right.

create ad in Meta Business Suite

Step 2: Choose a goal

Remember Choose Your Own Adventure books? It’s like that, but for marketing.

create ad and boost existing content

For a first campaign, Automated Ads are a good option. Instagram will try to get you the most results with the least budget possible, and they auto-adjust your targeting and bidding strategy as they learn more from your audience’s reactions. It’s like having a 24/7 robot assistant.

If you want to experiment with ad targeting yourself, or have a specific goal, try out one of the other options, like focusing on leads or traffic.

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Step 3: Create your ads

The prompts to complete your ad vary depending on which goal you pick, but generally the next step is to create the ad creative. For example, this is what the next step is for the “Build your business” goal.

build your business ad creative and preview

For a well-rounded campaign, you should have at least 2-3 ad groups, each containing 3 or more ads.

Most ad formats have an option to allow Instagram to switch out your creative assets automatically to optimize ad performance. It’s like having a real-time, built-in A/B testing process. Add multiple creative assets for each ad to take advantage of this.

Try to include a mix of photo, video, Stories ads, Reels ads, and Catalog and Shopping ads if you sell products online. Test out different ad copy and calls to action.

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And, ensure you have ads for each stage of your buyer’s journey, from consideration all the way to conversion.

Step 4: Define your audience

Take a shot every time you read “define your audience” in a marketing blog.

Targeting is critical to your ad’s success. Meta Business Suite gives you five options:

See also  How To Search on TikTok for Just About Anything

build your business option audience and creative account

You can target:

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  • An Advantage Audience (Recommended for newbies!): This is Meta’s AI-optimized audience based on your existing account audience, and updates itself automatically as your audience grows or changes. It analyzes what interests and demographics your followers share.
  • People you choose: Create your own audience from scratch, including location, demographics, interests, and more.
  • People who’ve previously engaged with posts or ads: Create a retargeting campaign to remind people who already know you about your offer.
  • Page Likes: Targets your existing Facebook Page and Instagram followers.
  • Page Likes and similar: In addition to your existing audience, this will also expand to target people the algorithm thinks are similar to them to bring in new leads.

If you’re new to ads, use the Advantage audience option. Want to learn more about perfecting your ad targeting? The info in our Facebook ad targeting guide works for your Instagram ads, too.

Step 5: Set your budget

Whichever targeting option you pick, you’ll need to set a budget and duration. You’ll see the predicted results of your choices on the right side in estimated reach and clicks.

start date and estimated daily results

Step 6: Launch

Lastly, choose if you want your ad to appear only on Facebook, Instagram, or Messenger, or across all three platforms. We recommend running it across all.

Click Promote Now to save and launch your Instagram ad campaign. Woo!

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Running a successful ad campaign is a huge undertaking. Check our in-depth Instagram ads guide for tips on creating great ads in 2022.

Add an Instagram Shop to your account

Instagram Shopping tools are a must-have for ecommerce businesses. 44% of Instagram users shop weekly on the platform, and 1 in 2 use Instagram to find new brands.

Tips on using Instagram Shopping are in the next section, but you need to add the Shop tab to your Instagram profile first.

This allows you to create a fully shoppable product catalog directly on Instagram, as well as tag and link to products in your posts and Stories, and more.

our place Always pan

Source

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Step 1: Ensure you meet Instagram Shopping requirements

Brands using Shopping features must adhere to Meta’s merchant policies. You’re probably doing all these things correctly anyway, but it’s a good idea to review Meta’s commerce policies first before applying.

Step 2: Sign up for Commerce Manager

To create your Instagram Shop, you need to have a Meta Commerce Manager account. You need a Business or Creator Instagram account first, then you can sign up one of two ways:

Through your ecommerce platform

If your website runs on Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, or other major platforms, you may only have to click a button to set up your Instagram Shop.

The process is different for each, so check out Meta’s list of supported platforms to find instructions for yours.

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Manually through Commerce Manager

Don’t use one of those? It’s easy to sign up from scratch.

Log in to Meta Business Suite and click on Commerce in the left navigation.

Meta Business Suite Commerce

Click Add Account. Click Next on the following page to start the manual set up process.

First, choose a checkout method:

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  1. Checkout on your website.
  2. Checkout directly inside Facebook and/or Instagram. (Recommended, but currently only available for U.S.-based companies.)
  3. Checkout via direct message on WhatsApp or Messenger.

create your shop choose checkout method

Select the Facebook and Instagram profiles you want to create your Shop on, then click Next. Create a new product catalog, and click Next again.

add products to catalog

It will prompt you to enter your website URL and the countries you ship to. The final page is a summary of all your information. Ensure it’s accurate, then click Finish Setup.

Step 3: Wait for approval

Instagram reviews new Commerce Manager applications manually, though you should hear back within a few business days.

Eager to learn while you wait? Learn how to tag products in your scheduled Hootsuite posts, and the next steps to optimize your Instagram Shop.

18 tips for a winning Instagram marketing strategy

1. Set S.M.A.R.T. social media goals

You know, the specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound yada yada yada type goals. What do you want your Instagram account to do for your business?

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A few common examples are:

  • Lead generation
  • Brand awareness
  • Recruitment

But, your goals are as unique as your company. The important point? Have some.

Learn how to set effective social media goals that directly connect to your marketing strategy.

2. Optimize your profile

There’s a lot to cover here, so check out our full step-by-step recommendations to optimize your Instagram profile.

At minimum, ensure yours has:

The great thing about digital marketing is nothing is set in stone. Don’t sweat about making the perfect Instagram profile. You can always tweak it later.

Remember: it’s what’s inside that counts (most). As in, your actual Instagram post content.

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3. Up your graphics game

Instagram is a visual platform. While no one’s expecting a small business to have the same resources as a megacorp, you still need to create eye-catching posts that attract your audience.

Besides hiring a professional photographer to take your product shots—which you really should—try:

  • Sourcing inclusive stock photography, like Vice’s Gender Spectrum Collection and others who showcase the full range of the human experience. (Here are more stock photo sites.)
  • Popular Instagram Reels ideas. Not sure where to start? Try a Reels template.
  • Use graphic templates to up your style without spending a lot. Hire a designer to make them, or use an app like Adobe Express.

4. Champion user-generated content

The best way to boost your Instagram for free? User-generated content.

Encourage your followers to share photos or video of your products. Not every shot will be an Ansel Adams-worthy one, but you can’t beat the authenticity of real customer photos and stories.

Instagram makes this easy with the Tagged tab, which shows all the posts other users tag you in. There’s a hack to make it so only the crème de la crème are visible: Enabling manual approval for tagged photos.

So instead of a jumbled mess, you can curate user-generated content that fits your aesthetic.

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H&M Home user-curated content on Instagram

Source

5. Develop a brand aesthetic

Speaking of style… have one. While your audience isn’t going to hand over their wallets solely due to good looks, make an effort to create a cohesive-looking profile.

See also  Instagram Reels Algorithm: Everything You Need to Know

Why? Because people will see one of your posts in their Instagram feed and instantly know it’s from you before even seeing the account name. They’ll recognize your style. That’s branding at work.

6. …But don’t be too concerned with aesthetic

Yes, having a recognizable look helps you attract the audience you want, but style without substance isn’t a strategy. 58% of Instagram users say they like it more when brands share candid, unpolished content.

Don’t let the fear of your content not looking “pretty” enough stop you. Post it anyway.

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7. Have a distinctive brand voice

One thing that always needs to be on point, raw or not, is your brand voice.

Your voice comes through everything you communicate, such as:

  • Post captions
  • How you come across on video
  • Key terms you use
  • How people speak on camera when representing your company
  • Your bio copy
  • Text in videos or Reels

Besides what you say, it’s how you say it. Are you casual and fun, or serious and scientific? Keep things light with jokes, or stick to the facts? There isn’t a wrong way, but you need to stay consistent.

Your brand voice and tone is a key part of your social media brand guidelines.

8. Use Reels

It seems like all you see when you open Instagram now are Reels, and there’s a reason for it: They get engagement. We conducted an experiment that found a significant correlation between posting a Reel and an immediate boost in overall engagement rate.

Some may not get many views and that’s okay, because when one of yours does go a lil’ bit viral? It’s all worth it.

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Anyone can be successful with Reels, it just takes practice. We’ve got tons of resources to makes yours reel-y (ugh) good:

9. Use Stories

Reels may be newer, but Instagram Stories aren’t going anywhere. Popular for more informal content, Stories allow you to develop relationships with your audience in a unique way.

It doesn’t take a ton more work to see a big effect, either. A year-long study found that when companies shared one Story per day, it resulted in a 100% retention rate.

Not only that, but 500 million people use Stories every day. I’m not great at math but having 100% of your audience remember your content, with a potential reach of 500 million people? That’s a no brainer.

If you need tips on what to share in your Stories, check out our Instagram Stories guide for businesses and how to create effective Instagram Stories ads.

10. Create useful Stories highlights

Stories only last 24 hours, but your Stories highlights can live on forever.

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Highlights are great for communicating lots of information quickly in the format most people prefer these days: Short video. 61% of Gen Zers and Millennials prefer videos under 1 minute long.

Plus, adding Stories highlights is a way to repurpose your Story content and keep it working for you.

Try adding a temporary highlight for a new product launch or event. Leave up always-relevant ones like FAQ or ordering information.

For effective Stories highlights, ensure you have:

  • Short, clear titles
  • Cover designs that fit your brand
  • Only your best content featured in them

The Body Shop branded content

Source

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11. Use Stories tools

Instagram makes it easy to link to your products or services (whether you have Commerce Manager set up or not) and engage with your audience.

Access the ever-expanding Stories toolbox by tapping the smiley sticker-thing:

dog with Stories tools

Be sure to try out:

  • Product tags: If you have an Instagram Shop, you can easily tag your products in Stories. Users can tap the product name and checkout in-app.
  • Links: Useful for directing people to any URL, but especially so if you don’t have an Instagram Shop. You can still link out to your products on external sites.
  • Questions: Get quick and valuable feedback.
  • Gift cards and more: Depending on your account type, users can purchase gift cards or order food delivery directly from a Story.

Hootsuite makes it easy to schedule Instagram Stories in advance, including all the special tools and features you need.

12. Stay up to date on hashtags

To hashtag or not to hashtag? Is it nobler to suffer the highs and lows of the algorithm, or take arms against a sea of content?

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You can add up to 30 hashtags per Instagram post. But a 2021 experiment we did showed that using more doesn’t get more views. Last year, Instagram’s official @creators account recommended no more than 3-5 per post.

What about in 2022?

A casual experiment I ran on my account this week showed an opposite effect. I loaded up on hashtags, using between 15-20 per post, and most of my (albeit small) reach came from those hashtags.

post insights reach and impressions

So what does this tell us?

TL;DR: Science is hard, no one knows how many Instagram hashtags are “the perfect amount,” and you should regularly experiment with this.

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Check out our Instagram hashtag guide for tips on what’s working right now.

13. Reply to comments and DMs

Engage with your audience! Reply to their comments, messages, carrier pigeons, etc.

Because a higher engagement rate looks good on your analytics reports, right? No! Reply to your followers because it’s the right thing to do.

Yes, it also boosts your engagement rate. But more importantly, it encourages your potential customers to start conversations with you. Over time, those conversations become the foundation of their perception of your brand and greatly influence purchase decisions.

Hootsuite Inbox allows you to stay on top of all comments and DMs across all your platforms in one place. Assign conversations to team members, track responses, and ensure no one falls through the cracks. See how efficient it is to foster genuine engagement with Inbox:

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14. Try Instagram Live video

Live video doesn’t need to be scary. It’s a powerful tool for growth and deepening your relationship with your audience.

See also  2022 Instagram Reel Sizes Cheat Sheet: Specs, Ratios, and More

Try:

  • Hosting a workshop or class.
  • A Q&A session.
  • Product demos.

Halle Bailey Instagram Live video

Source

Our complete guide to going live on Instagram covers how to do it and ideas you can try today.

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15. Partner with influencers

Influencer marketing is still going strong in 2022 and projected to grow more every year. In 2021 alone, influencer marketing accounted for $13.8 billion USD in value.

Don’t forget your most valuable influencers: your employees. Starting an employee advocacy program can boost your profits 23% and internal team morale. Win-win.

Learn how to maximize your ROI with our free Influencer Marketing 101 guide for businesses of all sizes.

16. Run contests and giveaways

What do people like? Free stuff!

When do they want it? All the time!

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Sometimes the best strategies for Instagram are the oldest. Contests can boost your organic reach and give you tons of user-generated content.

Contests don’t need to be expensive. Give away free products in a simple raffle by having users like and comment on your post, or partner with someone else in your industry to split the cost of a larger prize package.

Get inspired with creative Instagram contest ideas, and a step-by-step process for running giveaways.

17. Measure your ROI

You see the positive comments customers leave, the sales coming in, and your follower count going up. But how do you put a number on it? What are the real results of your efforts?

Measuring your ROI, or return on investment, is important for reporting to your boss, but it can also help you justify establishing or increasing your paid advertising budget.

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It’s also the only way to know if your marketing strategy needs a tweak, or if you should double down on what you’re doing.

Rather than sifting through each platform’s analytics dashboard and attempting to assemble the full picture yourself, lean on Hootsuite Impact instead. Impact pulls together data for all your organic and paid content across every platform in one place, giving you powerful insights whenever you need them.

18. Experiment!

Last but not least, don’t wildly follow every Instagram marketing tip you read on marketing blogs. 🙃

Seriously: You need to experiment. Every audience is different. Maybe your peeps hate live video. Maybe they’re only online at 3pm on Wednesdays. Maybe they will give you their first-born child for a free sweatshirt.

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Evaluate your performance often and set aside time to run experiments to see which tactics work best for you. Don’t worry, we have a free social media audit template to help out.

Why use Instagram for marketing?

Need a bit more convincing? Here’s how Instagram marketing can help you grow your business.

Instagram Shopping tools can boost sales by 300%

44% of Instagrammers shop weekly on the platform. Since launching basic shopping tools in 2018, like linking to products from Stories, Instagram is now a complete social commerce solution.

Brands can achieve up to 300% more sales with a combination of Shopping tools and ads.

People spend 30 minutes per day on Instagram

Instagrammers spend 30 minutes per day on the app, which is fairly average among major social platforms, but it’s the session length that really stands out.

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People spend about 18 minutes per session, which beats out the average Amazon shopping trip (13 minutes), Twitter scroll (14 minutes), and YouTube session (7 minutes). Surprisingly, also the average session on Pornhub (14 minutes).

Now that’s real engagement.

most viewed websites Semrush ranking

Source: Hootsuite Digital Trends 2022 Report

Instagram ads reach almost 1/3rd of all internet users

Instagram ads can reach up to 1.48 billion people. That’s 29.9% of all internet users and 23.9% of everyone over age 13 worldwide.

Instagram ads also significantly impact brand sentiment: 50% of people say they find businesses more interesting after seeing their ads on the platform.

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Instagram advertising audience overview January 2022

Source: Hootsuite Digital Trends 2022 Report

3 Instagram marketing tools

1. Hootsuite

Lil’ biased here, but Hootsuite really is a great choice to manage all your social media marketing. We have all the basic tools you need, like scheduling, planning, and analytics, as well as advanced capabilities to take you even further.

With Hootsuite, you can schedule posts for Instagram (Posts, Stories, and Reels), Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Pinterest. from one intuitive dashboard. Think of all the time you can save not switching between 7 apps to post content!

Hootsuite also offers detailed analytics comprehensive reporting, as well as a calendar view and content creation tools that allow you to publish the best content possible.

That’s not it. Every Hootsuite user gets access to custom, fully personalized recommendations for the best times to post content for maximum reach, impressions, or engagement.

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Hootsuite's Best Time to Publish feature, displaying a heatmap of the best times to post as dictated by follower activity on the platform (unique for each account)

Try Hootsuite for free

Check out everything Hootsuite can do for you:

2. Notion

Notion is like if a notebook and a spreadsheet had a baby. A Gen Z baby ‘cause it’s digital-first.

You can add anything to a Notion page that you add to a document, like text, images, etc. But its real power is databases, allowing you to filter and sort your info in multiple ways, including on a calendar, in tables, or with Kanban boards, to name a few.

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It’s what I use to plan my social media content (before I put it into Hootsuite, of course) and I love how easy it is to edit on mobile. Plus, if I had friends a team, everyone could collaborate in the same Notion workspace, too.

Check out Notion’s template gallery, or make your own content board from scratch.

Martin Copy Co Notion template gallery

3. Adobe Express

Adobe Express is a free online tool to create great-looking social graphics and more. You get additional features if you already have an Adobe subscription, including Adobe Stock access and more.

With Hootsuite’s Creative Cloud integration, you can view all your Adobe libraries directly inside Hootsuite, and edit photos in Hootsuite Composer. It’s a perfect pair, especially if you already use other Adobe apps like Photoshop or Illustrator.

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Manage all your Instagram marketing alongside your other social platforms with Hootsuite’s time-saving tools. From a single dashboard, you can schedule posts, Stories, and Reels, engage with your audience, and measure your social ROI. Try it free today.

Get Started

Easily create, analyze, and schedule Instagram posts, Stories, and Reels with Hootsuite. Save time and get results.

Free 30-Day Trial

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Instagram Shopping 101: A Step-by-Step Guide for Marketers

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instagram-shopping-101:-a-step-by-step-guide-for-marketers

Forget the mall: these days, Instagram is the place to shop til you drop.

Sure, there’s no Orange Julius for a mid-spree snack sesh, but Instagram Shopping brings the retail experience to social media to reach an audience of more than 1 billion monthly users.

Rather than directing customers from your Instagram account to your website, Instagram Shopping allows them to select and purchase products easily from the app.

More than 130 million users tap on an Instagram Shopping post each month — foot traffic a brick-and-mortar shop owner could only dream of. So if you have products to sell, it’s time to set up your virtual storefront. Let’s get started.

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First, watch this video to find out how to set up your Instagram Shop:

Bonus: Download a free checklist that reveals the exact steps a fitness influencer used to grow from 0 to 600,000+ followers on Instagram with no budget and no expensive gear.

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What is Instagram shopping?

Instagram Shopping is a feature that allows eCommerce brands to create a digital, shareable catalog of their products right on Instagram.

Users can learn more about products right in the app, and either purchase directly on Instagram (with Checkout) or click through to finish the transaction on the brand’s eCommerce site.

Sharing products or promoting sales on Instagram is nothing new. According to Instagram, 87% of users say influencers have inspired them to make a purchase, and 70% of avid shoppers turn to the platform to discover new products.

In the past, the only option for e-tail brands to directly drive sales traffic from a ‘gram was either through their bio link, or via clickable Instagram Stories.

With these new Instagram Shopping features, the whole process is streamlined. See it, like it, buy it, in a few clicks: the full Ariana Grande cycle.

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Here are a few key details and terms that every Instagram retailer should know before they get started:

An Instagram Shop is a brand’s customizable digital storefront, which allows customers to shop right from your Instagram profile. Think of it as a landing page where users can discover or browse all your products.

Spearmint Baby Instagram shop
Source:
Instagram

Product Detail Pages display all of the key product information, from the item description to the price to photography. The product detail page will also pull in any product-tagged images on Instagram.

Burberry product detail page
Source: Instagram

Collections are a way that Shops can present products in a curated group — basically, it’s like merchandising your digital front window. Think: “Cute Spring Outfits,” “Handmade Pottery,” or “Nike x Elmo Collab.”

Spearmint Baby curated collection

Source: Instagram

Use a Shopping Tag to tag products from your catalog in your Stories, Reels, or Instagram posts, so your audience can click through to learn more or buy. U.S. businesses who use Instagram’s limited Checkout feature can also tag products in post captions and bios. (You can also use Shopping Tags in ads! Yowza!)

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ASOS shopping tag
Source:
Instagram

With Checkout (currently only available in select regions), customers can purchase products directly in Instagram, without leaving the app. (For brands without Checkout functionality, customers will be directed to a checkout page on the brand’s own ecommerce site.)

Facebook Pay checkout option
Source: Instagram

The new Shop discovery tab on the Instagram app provides a discovery tool for non-followers, too. Scroll through goods from brands big and small, all around the world: it’s window-shopping 2.0.

Instagram Shop discovery tab
Source: Instagram

How to get approved for Instagram shopping

Before you can set up Instagram Shopping, you need to ensure your business checks a few boxes for eligibility.

How to set up Instagram shopping

Step 1: Convert to a Business or Creator Account

If you don’t already have a Business (or Creator) account on Instagram, it’s time to take the plunge.

Besides qualifying you for Instagram Shopping features, Business accounts also have access to all sorts of exciting analytics… and can use Hootsuite’s scheduling dashboard for posts, too.

Plus, it’s free. Get on it! Here’s our step-by-step guide to switching your personal account over (and 10 reasons why you should!).

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switch to professional account

Step 2: Use Commerce Manager to set up a shop

1. Use Commerce Manager or a supported platform to set up a shop.

2. To choose a checkout method, select where you want customers to complete their purchases.

Hot tip: Checkout on Instagram is recommended for businesses based in the US because it enables people to buy your products directly on Instagram. Get more information on setting up your Checkout functionality here!

3. To choose sales channels, select the Instagram business account you want to be associated with your shop.

4. If you have a Facebook Page, check the box next to your account to have a shop on both Facebook and Instagram.

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Step 3: Connect To a Facebook Page

If you have a Facebook Page, you’ll want to connect it to your Instagram Shop to make things flow smoothly. You’re no longer required to have a Facebook Page to set up an Instagram Shop, but if you want to, here’s how to set one up in seven easy steps. I’ll wait.

See also  Instagram Reels Algorithm: Everything You Need to Know

Now, time to link the two!

1. On Instagram, go to Edit Profile.

2. Under Public Business Information, select Page.

connect to Facebook page

3. Choose your Facebook Business Page to connect.

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4. Ta-da!

Step 4: Upload your product catalog

Okay, this is the part where you actually upload all of your products. You’ve got a couple of different options here. You can either input every product manually into Commerce Manager, or integrate a pre-existing product database from a certified eCommerce platform (like Shopify or BigCommerce.)

Hot tip: Hootsuite has a Shopify integration now, so it’s super simple to manage your catalog right from your dashboard!

Let’s walk through each catalog creation option step-by-step.

Option A: Commerce Manager

1. Log into Commerce Manager.

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2. Click on Catalog.

3. Click on Add Products.

4. Select Add Manually.

5. Add a product image, name, and description.

6. If you have an SKU or unique identifier for your product, add it within the Content ID section.

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7. Add a link to the website where people can buy your product.

8. Add the price of your product that is shown on your website.

9. Select the availability of your product.

10. Add categorization details about the product, like its condition, brand, and tax category.

11. Add shipping options and return policy information.

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12. Add options for any variants, like colors or sizes.

13. Once you’re done, click Add Product.

Option B: Integrate an Ecommerce Database

1. Go to Commerce Manager.

2. Open the Catalog tab and go to Data Sources.

3. Select Add Items, then Use a Partner Platform, then hit next.

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4. Select your platform of choice: Shopify, BigCommerce, ChannelAdvisor, CommerceHub, Feedonomics, CedCommerce, adMixt, DataCaciques, Quipt or Zentail.

configure settings to connect ecommerce platform

5. Follow the link to the partner platform website and follow the steps there to connect your account with Facebook.

Hot tip: Remember to keep catalog maintenance top of mind. Once your catalog is set up, it’s important to maintain it. Always keep product photos updated and hide unavailable items.

Step 5: Submit your account for review

At this point, you’ll need to submit your account for review. These reviews usually take a couple of days, but sometimes it might run longer.

set up Instagram shopping

1. Go to your Instagram profile settings.

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2. Tap Sign Up for Instagram Shopping.

3. Follow the steps to submit your account for review.

4. Check the status of your application by visiting Shopping in your Settings.

Step 6: Turn on Instagram Shopping

Once you’ve passed the account review process, it’s time to connect your product catalog with your Instagram Shop.

1. Go to your Instagram profile settings.

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2. Tap Business, then Shopping.

3. Select the product catalog you’d like to connect with.

4. Tap Done.

How to create Instagram shopping posts

Your digital shop is shined up and gleaming. Your product inventory is bursting at the seams. You’re ready to start making that money — all you need is a customer or two.

Watch this video to find out how to tag your products in your Instagram posts, Reels, and Stories directly on Instagram:

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You can also create and schedule or auto-publish shoppable Instagram photos, videos, and carousel posts alongside all your other social media content using Hootsuite.

Creating a shoppable Instagram post using Hootsuite

To tag a product in an Instagram post in Hootsuite, follow these steps:

1. Open your Hootsuite dashboard and go to Composer.

2. Under Publish to, select an Instagram Business profile. 

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3. Upload your media (up to 10 images or videos) and type out your caption. 

4. In the preview on the right, select Tag products. The tagging process is slightly different for videos and images:

  • Images: Select a spot in the image, and then search for and select an item in your product catalog. Repeat for up to 5 tags in the same image. Select Done when you’re finished tagging.
  • Videos: A catalog search appears right away. Search for and select all the products you want to tag in the video.

5. Select Post now or Schedule for later. If you decide to schedule your post, you will see suggestions for the best times to publish your content for maximum engagement.

And that’s it! Your shoppable post will show up in the Hootsuite Planner, alongside all of your other scheduled content.

You can also boost your existing shoppable posts directly from Hootsuite to help more people discover your products.

Note: You’ll need an Instagram Business account and an Instagram shop to take advantage of product tagging in Hootsuite.

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Shoppable Instagram posts will feature a shopping bag icon in the bottom left corner. All the products your account has tagged will appear on your profile under the Shopping tab.

How to create Instagram Shopping Stories

Use the Stickers function to tag a product in your Instagram Story.

See also  How to Do That One Viral TikTok Photo Editing Hack on iPhone

Upload or create your content for your story as usual, then hit the sticker icon in the top-right corner. Find the Product sticker, and from there, choose the applicable product from your catalog.

(Hot tip: You can customize your product sticker to match the colors of your Story.)

Nike Instagram Shopping story

How to create Instagram Shopping ads

Either boost a Shoppable post that you’ve already created, or build an ad from scratch in Ads Manager using the Instagram Product tags. Easy!

Ads with product tags can either drive to your eCommerce site or open up Instagram Checkout if you have that functionality.

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Check out our guide to Instagram advertising here for more information on Ads Manager.

instagram shopping ad
Source: Instagram

How to create an Instagram live shopping stream

In many parts of the world, live stream shopping is a regular part of eCommerce culture. With the introduction of Instagram Live Shopping, businesses in the US can now use Checkout on Instagram during Live broadcasts.

Basically, Instagram Live Shopping allows creators and brands to connect with shoppers live, host product demos and encourage purchases in real-time.

It’s a powerful tool, so it deserves its own in-depth blog post. Luckily, we wrote one. Get the 4-1-1- on Live Shopping on Instagram here.

live shopping stream
Source: Instagram

How to create Instagram Shopping Guides

One of the latest features on the app, Instagram Guides are like mini blogs that live right on the platform.

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For users with an Instagram Shop, this can be a great way to promote products with a bit of an editorial angle: think gift guides or trend reports.

ankle boot shopping guide

1. From your profile, click the plus symbol in the upper right corner.

2. Select Guide.

3. Tap Products.

4. Search by account for the product listing you’d like to include. If you’ve saved the product to your wishlist, you can find it there also.

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5. Select the product you’d like to add and tap Next. You can choose to include multiple posts for a single entry if available. They will be displayed like a carousel.

6. Add your guide title and description. If you would like to use a different cover photo, tap Change Cover Photo.

7. Double check the pre-populated place name, and edit as needed. If you wish, add a description.

8. Tap Add Products and repeat steps 4–8 until your guide is complete.

9. Tap Next in the upper right corner.

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10. Tap Share.

12 tips for selling more products with Instagram shopping

Now that your virtual shelves are stocked, it’s time to catch a potential buyer’s eye.

Here are some best practices for encouraging users to shop ‘til they drop. (Or should that be “‘Gram til they… blam?” Hmmm, still workshopping that one.)

1. Use striking visuals

Instagram is a visual medium, so your products better be looking good out there in the grid! Prioritize high-quality photos and videos to keep your wares looking professional and appealing.

Just take a look at the playful way fashion brand Lisa Says Gah displays its tote bags: dangling from an arm that’s holding a bottle of wine.

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fashion brand Lisa Says Gah tote bags

Make sure you’re up-to-date with the most recent image and video specs (Instagram sometimes changes things up), and that photos and videos are high-resolution whenever possible.

If you can, give your product shots an exciting, editorial vibe, showcasing your goods in action or in a real-world setting. Sharing beautiful details shots can be an eye-catching option too. For more Instagram post inspiration, watch this episode of Fridge-worthy, where our two social media experts break down why, exactly, this one furniture store is SO GOOD at selling us rugs:

Pro Tip: Get experimental with these photo editing tools to really stand out from the crowd.

2. Add hashtags

Using relevant Instagram hashtags is a smart strategy for all posts, including shopping content.

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They’ll increase the likelihood that you’ll be discovered by someone new, opening up a whole new opportunity for potential engagement.

Searching the #shoplocal tag, for instance, brings up a plethora of small businesses — like epoxy artist Dar Rossetti — that I can buy from right on the spot.

shop local hashtag

Using the right hashtags can also help you land on the Explore page, which has a special “Shop” tab and is visited by more than 50% of Instagram users each month (that’s more than half a billion people).

3. Share a sale or promotional code

Everyone loves a good deal, and running a promotional campaign is a surefire way to drive sales.

Leisurewear brand Paper Label is promoting a sale on its essentials in the caption. Interested users can just click through to take advantage of the deal, and be decked out in spandex in no time.

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Paper Label promotional code

When you promote the code directly in your shoppable Instagram posts, it’s even easier for customers to act.

4. Show your product in action

The most popular type of video content on Instagram is the tutorial or how-to video. And this format is ideal for shopping posts because it offers viewers product education and proof-of-concept.

See also  2022 Instagram Reel Sizes Cheat Sheet: Specs, Ratios, and More

Here, Woodlot shows one of its essential oil-based soaps in action, lathered right up to transport you right to bathtime.

Woodlot essential oil soap

5. Be authentic

The principles of social media engagement all apply to product posts, too… and that includes the golden rule of authenticity.

There’s no need to stick to product copy. Your personality and voice should shine through here! Don’t miss the opportunity to connect with your audience with a thoughtful caption that offers surprising insight or an emotional connection. What inspired the piece? How was it made? Storytelling is a sales tool as old as time.

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Postpartum care company One Tough Mother backs up all of its product posts with empathetic, often funny insights about new motherhood.

One Tough Mother authentic content

6. Play with color

Color is always eye-catching, so don’t be afraid to embrace a vibrant hue as a background for your product shot.

Artist Jackie Lee shares her graphic prints on a neon-colored background for maximum impact.

graphic print of Halifax by Jackie Lee

If you’re noticing a particular color palette trending among influencers, swerve to something that contrasts to stop scrollers in their tracks.

7. Establish a signature style

Having a consistent aesthetic on Instagram will help you improve your brand recognition and establish your identity.

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It also helps customers scrolling through their feed or browsing the Explore tab to recognize your posts at a glance.

Did you know? There are a striking 37% more sales on average made by businesses who tag products in their feed posts.

Sebastian Sochan makes hand-tufted rugs in London, and shoots all of his pieces in displayed in unique ways throughout his studio. The color palette and lighting remain the same in every scene.

rugs consistent aesthetic style

Your signature style on Instagram should be consistent with your brand visuals elsewhere. Your website, ads, and product packaging should all fit together, with complementary images.

8. Be inclusive

If you want your brand to reach a wide audience, you need to ensure your images are meaningfully representative.

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With over a billion users, it’s safe to say that Instagram users are a diverse group.

But too often, the people in Instagram promotions and images look the same: white, able-bodied, slim. Embrace all your potential customers with models who showcase all the different body types that are out there.

Period-product brand Aisle uses models of all genders, sizes, and races in the promotion of its products.

Period-product brand Aisle inclusive approach

Another inclusivity tip: Caption your images descriptively so that visually impaired users can still learn all about your amazing product.

9. Share user-generated content

User-generated content (UGM) refers to any posts or Stories from Instagram users that feature your products.

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Not only do these posts provide new, real images of your photos in action, but they also boost your credibility. That’s because posts from real users are considered more authentic, and that authenticity translates to higher trust. They’re like visual testimonials.

Mother Funk boutique in Toronto regularly re-posts photos of locals wearing their clothing.

Mother Funk boutique user-generated content

10. Create a captivating carousel

Show off your range with a carousel that showcases a variety of products. It’s a quick way for users to get a broader look at your latest collection, without having to tap allll the wayyyy to your Instagram Shop.

11. Collaborate with tastemakers

Team up with a tastemaker to help spread your product posts further. Invite an influencer or person you admire to curate a special Collection of their favorite goods from your catalog.

One example: Linens brand Droplet teamed up with Canadian influencer Jillian Harris to create a special line of products. The cross-promotion helped expose its products to a whole new set of eyes.

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Droplet Home Goods cross-promotion

You’ll tag them in all of your posts; they’ll share with their own audience (and get a warm fuzzy feeling that you admire their sense of style). Win-win!

12. Craft compelling CTAs

Nothing pairs better with a beautiful photo than a compelling call to action. A call to action is an instructive phrase that pushes the reader to take action — whether that’s “Buy now!” or “Share with a friend!” or “Get it before it’s gone!”

Eyewear brand Warby Parker, for example, gives followers the exact instruction they need to shop right away: “Tap the [shopping bag icon] to get yours!”

Warby Parker compelling call to action

Brush up on your CTAs over here on the blog, and wield your new power responsibly.

Shopping on Instagram is only going to grow in popularity, and it’s just a matter of time until features like Instagram Checkout is global. So there’s no time like the present to dive in and find out how much it can benefit your business, as part of your overall social media strategy. Let the digital shopping sprees begin!

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With files from Michelle Cyca.

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