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With its new shoppable posts, Instagram has become a simple and effective way for brands and influencers to market products to consumers for sale. — Getty Images/beer5020

Shopping on Instagram has become increasingly popular. In fact, 80% of users follow at least one business and shopping account on Instagram.

This spiking popularity is due mostly to Instagram users wanting to mimic posts put up by brands or influencers — whether it’s what they’re wearing or a product that they’re selling or using — and they want to do it by clicking right on that post and being directed straight to the purchasing page.

In 2019, businesses will need to learn keep up with this desired convenience, finding new ways to engage followers and making it seamless to shop for products.

Create shoppable posts and tag your products

Historically, Instagram has always been a great place to let users discover and browse through your products — but it has always been a notoriously hard platform to sell on.

Instagram’s selling difficulty lies in not allowing users to add hyperlinks to posts, so only one link is allowed on a user’s bio.For example, say users are browsing through your feed and finding products they’d like to buy, but there’s no link for them to click on to purchase. Instead, they have to leave Instagram, go to your website and find the products they liked. With that many steps, you’re bound to lose a certain percentage of customers.

However, Instagram has since implemented shoppable posts. In a shoppable post, you tag certain products so users can easily click on them and be redirected to a page where they can make a purchase.

Studies have shown that 38% of customers frequently buy products they find on Instagram — making it worth the effort to find ways to let customers buy your products with ease.

Historically, Instagram has always been a great place to let users discover and browse through your products — but it has always been a notoriously hard platform to sell on.

Get more bang for your buck with Instagram Story ads

One of the best ways to boost follower engagement on Instagram is through Instagram Stories. If you’re still on the fence about using this feature, consider the following stats:

  • 400 million users view Stories on a daily basis
  • 250 million people worldwide create Stories every day
  • One-third of the most viewed Stories are from businesses
  • One in five Stories will elicit direct messages from users

It’s also easier than ever to create useful content for your followers. With Instagram no longer limiting Stories to 15 seconds, you can post photos, video or the combined photo-video carousel feature to your liking.

On top of that, beginning in 2017, businesses have the option to create ads from their Stories. Far from a fad, these ads have been driving big results for businesses. Numerous companies are already using Instagram Stories ads and are seeing big results — Ralph Lauren, for example, increased its sales by 18% and increased its product page views by 41%.

[See more: Under Armour Uses User-Generated Content in E-Commerce Strategy.]

User-generated content will become more popular

Wondering what you should post on your Instagram feed? Increasingly, the best content has become content created by customers.

Instagram posts featuring user-generated content have a 4.5% higher conversion rate, and is seen as more trustworthy because it’s created by customers who already use and like your products.

Plus, this gives access to a wide variety of content that you didn’t have to create yourself.

A perfect example of user-generated content on Instagram is LaCroix, with the majority of the company’s feed consisting of photos of real customers drinking the company’s sparkling water. And this strategy has paid off in a big way — the company’s profits rose from$49 million in 2015 to $107 million in 2017.

The best way to get started is by creating a branded hashtag and encouraging your customers to share their own photos using it. If given permission, you can reshare these images on your own feed or in your Stories.

CO— does not review or recommend products or services. For more information on choosing the best social media management tools, visit our friends at business.com.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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