Small business owner: Wouldn't it be handy if you could sell some of your best products through a single photo on a social media post — with buyers from around the world?
Well, guess what — you can.
These powerful opportunities are now available through Instagram's revamped “Shopping” feature.
The feature lets Instagrammers start shopping when they see something in a company’s feed. The social media site had experimented with this feature on a limited basis in the U.S. But now it has been expanded more broadly here and, as of this week, is available in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.K.
Quietly but quickly, Facebook-owned Instagram has become a major player in online sales and shopping. But many entrepreneurs are clueless about its impact and ability to boost their business.
Consider: Instagram has more than 800 million monthly users and is particularly popular with younger generations including Millennials, who often are shoppers. More than 200 million users visit at least one business profile a day. And, according to the company, 80% of Instagrammers follow at least one business.
The Shopping tool allows businesses to tag products they put in posts on their Instagram feed. When a user clicks on the tag, they’re taken to the company’s website to make a purchase.
Let’s say you own a running store and post a picture of a group of runners at an event. You want to sell a pair of shoes and a running top. Your tags will appear as short, descriptive — and clickable — boxes next to those items.
Maybe your business can achieve results like those of SpearmintLOVE, a baby products site. Founder and CEO Shari Lott said the site experienced a 25% increase in traffic and 8% revenue bump thanks to Instagram Shopping.
Susan Rose, Instagram's director of product marketing, has five tips for small businesses to increase their success using the shopping tool:
► Create at least nine shopping posts on your Instagram business profile to activate the Shop tab for your audience.
► Tag multiple products in a single post to help your audience explore and browse.
► Leverage different shopping formats — tag a single image or a carousel (a group of pictures that rotate).
► Make sure your product catalog is up to date and has your most relevant and compelling images.
►Use “Stories” (Instagram’s short videos) to show your audience that they can now shop your posts.
Rhonda Abrams is the author of Six-Week Start Up, just released in its fourth edition. Connect with her on Facebook, and Twitter through the handle @RhondaAbrams. Register for her free business tips newsletter at PlanningShop.com.
The views and opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.