3 Ways to Use Instagram for Product Promotion

3 Ways to Use Instagram for Product Promotion

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Do you feel like your brand doesn’t belong on Instagram?

Your Instagram feed is peppered with posts and ads for physical products and services.

But digital products?

You’ve seen maybe two or three posts over the past few months. That’s all.

But that doesn’t mean that Instagrammers wouldn’t want to see more from digital product brands like yours.

In fact, the lack of digital product businesses on Instagram may help you stick out amongst the endless feed of beauty products and food photos.

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And here’s the shocker: You don’t have to use photo posts to stick out, either.

In this post, we’ll introduce you to three low-cost, beginner-friendly ways to market your digital products on Instagram.

Method #1: Use Instagram video, Instagram Stories, IGTV, and Instagram Live

Instagram is famous for photo-sharing, but it’s ramping up as a video platform, too.

There are four types of Instagram videos: video posts, Instagram Stories, Instagram TV (IGTV), and Instagram Live.

No video production experience?

No problem. You can create engaging videos for each of these formats using a little creativity and willingness to experiment.

First up, let’s look at video posts’ uses and requirements. 

Instagram videos can be up to 60 seconds in length.

Despite their short length, video posts can drive more engagement than traditional Instagram posts.

Research by Mention found that Instagram video posts receive two times as many comments as photo and carousel posts, for example. 

Instagram for Product Promotion - 1

Source: Mention

Video posts are probably best for posting promotional teasers or mini-tutorials since they’re so brief.

At 15 seconds, Instagram Stories are much shorter than video posts. Stories can be photos or videos. They also disappear after 24 hours.

However, brands can use third-party programs to break a longer video into Stories.

Despite their length, there are plenty of ways to use Stories.

You could use them to run a poll or survey, offer quick answers to questions, or repurpose longer content. Stories could also tease an upcoming sale or product launch, or showcase a product.

Stories can be used for shopping, too. Brands can add product stickers to Stories, such as in the Madewell example below.

Instagram for Product Promotion - 2

Source: Instagram

After clicking on the sticker, the viewer will be taken to a product details page.

Don’t worry about seeming too promotional by including product stickers, by the way. 83% of people said Instagram helps them discover new products and services, so it’s not unwelcome.

Instagram for Product Promotion - 3

Source: Facebook

54% of consumers purchased something either in the moment or after seeing a product or service on Instagram, as well.

Therefore, your product stickers may prove more of a help than a hindrance for viewers.

To make the most of Stories, don’t miss these tips on how to use Instagram Stories to entertain, sell, and more.

However, while 500 million accounts use Stories daily, they’re not for everyone. Creators who prefer longer content may get more mileage from IGTV.

IGTV allows creators to share long-form videos that are a minimum of one minute long and a maximum of 15-to-60 minutes, depending on how they’re uploaded.

Though IGTV faced some hiccups in the beginning, Instagram has been rolling out features to make it more appealing for brands and viewers.

For instance, IGTV recently began supporting landscape videos. It also allows creators to post a one-minute preview in feeds.

Instagram for Product Promotion - 4

Source: MeetEdgar

Though IGTV isn’t currently monetizable, it’s a valuable tool for brand awareness and relationship building.

You could use IGTV for product demos, tutorials, or Q&A sessions. You could also repurpose other video content through IGTV.

Consider Emily Henderson as an example. Emily creates multiple types of content with her IGTV videos, including how-tos, Q&As, and peeks into her life.

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Source: Emily Henderson

60 Second Docs, on the other hand, creates 60-second documentaries with IGTV.

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Source: 60 Second Docs

The final type of Instagram video content is Instagram Live, where you can broadcast videos in real-time.

Instagram Live videos are posted toward the top of followers’ feeds, which could result in more views.

Like the other types of Instagram video, Instagram Live can serve many purposes.

As an example, this fitness company used Instagram Live to stream one of their fitness programs.

Source: AdEspresso

This approach could be useful for both brand awareness and helping customers with their purchase decisions.

Likewise, Instagram Live sessions could showcase product demos, tutorials, Q&As, behind-the-scenes looks at your business, and more.

So to recap:

Instagram video posts, Stories, IGTV, and Instagram Live are fantastic ways to market your brand.

Instagram videos can pique viewers’ curiosity about your business and product offerings. But before opening their wallets, they’ll want to know if your products will truly deliver.

For that, they’ll want information straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.

Method #2: Encourage user-generated content and testimonials

Customer reviews and testimonials work well with product pages.

Though, like happiness and goodwill, they’re something you should spread all around.

Aside from asking customers for reviews, encourage customers to post user-generated content (UGC) on Instagram, ideally with a branded hashtag so you can track it. User-generated content is simply any photo or video a customer creates about your brand.

Let’s unwrap UGC and reviews’ many benefits.

To start, consumers — 93.4% of them, to be specific — research unfamiliar digital retailers before making a purchase by reading customer testimonials.

90% of consumers have said UGC is influential in their buying decisions, with 24% ranking it as “extremely influential.”

Instagram for Product Promotion - 8

Source: TurnTo

Another 61% of consumers said UGC encourages them to engage with brands.

Finally, consumers are three times more likely to say content created by consumers is more authentic than content from brands.

Convinced of UGC’s benefits? Check out this user-generated content guide for more tips and best practices.

It’s great for consumers to see UGC in the wild, so to speak, on their favorite creators’ and friends’ channels. Don’t discount the benefits of sharing UGC and customer reviews on your channel, either.

57% of consumers have said less than half of brands create authentic content. This may, in turn, affect their trust in you and your overall appeal as a brand. 

Sharing UGC from your audience, as well as customer reviews, interviews, and case studies, could boost your brand perception.

Major brands have shared UGC on their channels to great success. Glossier shares customer photos and videos — such as the video below — on their Instagram channel.

Instagram for Product Promotion - 9

Source: Glossier

If you want to copy Glossier’s approach, there are a few ways to encourage and collect UGC. You could offer an incentive for posting their content, like a discount or free download.

You could follow Aerie’s example and use your UGC to help others.

Specifically, Aerie asks users to brand their photos with the #AerieReal hashtag and submit their photos.

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Source: Econsultancy

For every photo submitted, Aerie donates $1 to the National Eating Disorders Association.

Not only is this donation charitable in its own right, but also related to Aerie’s commitment to not retouching their models.

You could also encourage UGC for an Instagram contest

Etihad Airways ran an Instagram photo content to celebrate getting one million followers. They picked one winner per day for 10 days to receive one of their luxury amenity kits.

Instagram for Product Promotion - 11

Source: Wayin

Basically:

One of the lowest-cost ways to spread your brand’s influence is by encouraging UGC and testimonials.

All happy customers have their own sphere of influence. But our final promotional tactic combines the intimacy of UGC with a massive potential ROI: micro-influencers.

Method 3: Partner with micro-influencers

You’d be forgiven for thinking Instagram influencer marketing is limited to influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers.

Micro-influencers, defined as those with 30,000 or fewer followers, are often more affordable and effective to work with, which may be why 40% of annual influencer spend was spent on micro-influencers.

Instagram for Product Promotion - 12

Source: Rakuten Marketing/Podia

56% of marketers find micro-influencers to be more cost-effective to work with. Many marketers felt they produced more authentic content and were better connected to their audiences, too.

Those beliefs aren’t unfounded.

The average engagement rate for an influencer on Instagram was less than 1,000 followers was 10.01%. That rate decreased steadily as follower counts increased.

Instagram for Product Promotion - 14

Source: SocialPubli

Those engagement rates can translate into more than traffic to your Instagram channel, by the way. It could also result in more email signups or purchases.

87% of consumers were inspired to make a purchase based on what they saw from an influencer, for example.  

41% of consumers said they find new products or brands from influencers weekly. 24% reported doing so daily.

Instagram for Product Promotion - 14

Source: Rakuten Marketing/Podia

74% of consumers even said they would spend up to $629 on a product inspired by an influencer.

OK. So you’re convinced: micro-influencer marketing is fabulously effective.

But how could they promote your digital products?

You could ask influencers to share photos or screenshots of your digital products, for one. The influencer could include your product in a listicle-style post or video of helpful content, as well.

And, of course, there’s nothing wrong with classic product placements and reviews.

Daniel Wellington, a watch brand, worked with micro-influencers outside of the style and fashion spheres to reach new audiences. The result was tapping into an audience their competitors weren’t actively pursuing just yet.

One influencer they partnered with was Alyssa of Joyful Goldens. She shared a picture of herself wearing their watch while petting her dogs.

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Source: Social Media Strategies Summit

And, at almost 30,000 likes, you can see how effective it was.

Micro-influencers could also announce a product launch or special promotion.

Jenn of Hello Rigby is a micro-influencer who has worked with multiple brands in the past. In this post, she promoted Biokleen products being made available in Target stores.

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Source: Hello Rigby

Lastly, micro-influencers could promote your brand. Dane and Stacey have posted several sponsored posts/ads for brands, such as this ad for Visit Brussels.

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Source: Dane and Stacey

While these two examples have far fewer likes than the Daniel Wellington example, remember the golden rule of small-side influencers — they get way more engagement with far smaller numbers.

So, just where are you supposed to find influencers to work with?

This may be a little biased, but I’d recommend you start with Mention. Mention enables businesses to identify influencers, increase your campaign’s reach, and monitor competitors, among many other perks, all from one easy-to-use dashboard.

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Unlock Instagram’s power for your digital product business

Instagram holds so much potential for digital product businesses.

Specifically, digital product creators can use video posts, Stories, IGTV videos, and Instagram Live broadcasts. These could help you raise brand awareness, convert more customers, and stand out from the crowd.

Companies could also encourage UGC and reviews from happy customers. Spotlighting UGC on your brand’s channel can help with your brand perception and trust, too.

Lastly, digital product brands could partner with micro-influencers to expand their reach.

As you can see, digital product businesses can market themselves on Instagram in the very same way other brands do.

There’s no time like the present to start experimenting with Instagram. Unlock the rewards it has for your business today — you won’t regret it.

Taylor Barbieri

Taylor Barbieri is a content marketer for Podia, an all-in-one platform where online courses, digital downloads, and membership websites -- alongside their creators -- thrive. Check out their free 12,000+ word guide to creating profitable online courses, even if you’ve never done it before.

Guest Blogger @Mention