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How to sell on Instagram: success tips for beginners [Bonus: 8 ideas of products you can sell!]

Step by step to start using this social media in favor of your business.

Image of the post How to sell on Instagram - smartphone with Instagram application on screen and a label of 200 dollars over the cellphone, indicating the possibility of making sales through the application.

If you got to this post, you’ve probably already noticed how Instagram is a great tool to do business, haven’t you?

When thinking of new ways to market various products, social media plays an important role in this change. That’s why more and more people seek to promote their brands and products in these channels.

Because it is dynamic and visual, Instagram allows real-time interaction with users, who get to view your products as soon as you post an image.

So, how about starting today to add this way of selling to your business?

Learn next how to sell on Instagram!

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Step by step to sell on Instagram:

  1. Install the app: If you still don’t have an Instagram account, download the app and register for this social media.
  2. Turn your personal profile into a commercial one: Activate or create a profile specifically for business.
  3. Post relevant content: Select the formats that can be posted on Instagram and post significant content to your audience.
  4. Identify Instagram’s ideal posting frequency: Try to identify when’s the best time to post, when your audience interact with your content the most and post at this time.
  5. Try to engage more users on Instagram: Promote your profile on other social media and make people get to your Instagram.
  6. Figure out the right product to sell on Instagram: Promote products that have a strong visual identity to advertise on this network.

How to sell on Instagram

We’ll guide you on some essential stages. You’ll realize the process is easier than you imagine.

Step-by-step to sell on Instagram:

1. Install Instagram

You need to create an Instagram account before making sales!

If you already have a profile, great, you can skip this topic. If you don’t, we’ll give you a hand!

  1. Download the Instagram app! You can do that on your mobile phone/tablet or connect using a computer.
  2. Sign up for the network! Create an account with your email address or log in with Facebook. If you already have a page of your products on Facebook, it’s an interesting choice to register with this account so that your social networking sites are linked. This also creates a unique visual identity for your brand, which makes for good user experience and easy identification.
  3. Complete your new profile! Make a short description, but one that highlights the most important aspects of your brand. Take advantage of the bio (the area on the top, next to the profile photo, where you describe what your Instagram account is about) to leave the link to your website. This is the only place to add an external URL.An example of an Instagram account with an external link.
  4. Choose a profile picture! Choose an image that is of easy identification and that summarizes what your brand is. Always keep in mind that this social networking site is visual. Therefore, put in time when choosing your profile photo because it will be the first contact of the user with your Instagram.
  5. Leave your Instagram public! By opting for a public profile, all users of this social networking site will have easy access to your account. Your brand will get visits from different people, even some you haven’t met yet.
  6. Start posting! Now, your Instagram profile is ready to be used. Put in the time to take care of this new social networking site.

2. Turn your Personal Profile into a Business Profile

Anyone can get a business profile on Instagram. This option is highly recommended to get insights about the performance of your posts on this network.

To activate your business profile, you should go to profile settings on your Instagram account and enable the option “Switch to Business Profile”.

How to sell on Instagram - Screenshot of the profile settings on Instagram

To complete the transaction, you’ll need to connect your Instagram profile to a Facebook Page. If you haven’t got a Facebook Page yet, create yours by clicking here.

3. Post relevant content

Your Instagram’s account has now been created and you can start publishing content there.

But you’re probably thinking: And now what? What should I post on my new profile?”

Meme: "What am I suppose to do now?"

So, it’s time to think about the content formats that are used in this social networking site.

Remember that Instagram is visual and users follow brands to look at the products.


Pictures are the main post format of Instagram. This is because, initially, this social networking site was created to share images.

That’s why, to advertise products on Instagram you need to post well-produced pictures, with great resolution and framing. To help enhance and edit your images, you can use apps such as VSCO, Pic Stitch, and Photo Grid.

It is important to avoid very heavy images in order to not having loading problems. Instagram itself already lowers the quality of the pictures to be published if they do not fit in the permitted limit by the app. On the other hand, choosing low-resolution photos will make your images blurred. So, choose the images you’ll post carefully.


Another widely used visual resource on Instagram profiles are the videos. They are great for teaching the users about what you sell. That’s because you can talk and explain more clearly and close to your audience.

With a duration of up to 60 seconds, they can also be a fun tool to show your product better and how it works.

You can publish them on your own Instagram news feed, the same way you would post photos.

Another interesting way to explore this feature is making videos of up to 15 seconds on Stories, a post option that lasts 24 hours, which appears at the top of the app.

There is also the option to create a Boomerang, which allows short repetition of certain movements. This option makes that everyday movements are interesting, funny and different!


You already have great photos and videos. Now, it is important to think of how to describe all this content.

Knowing how to present your products clearly and objectively is essential for an attractive profile. Never post on this networking site without a caption, and remember that it needs to be short.

This is the ideal time for you to explore your creativity!

Come up with innovative captions and always use #hashtags. They mark the image and direct users to the correct niche your product. However, avoid using them in excess so that the description isn’t polluted.

Significant Content

We already know that presenting what you’ll sell on Instagram is essential, but did you know that it is more and more important to educate users?

Worry about posting other content beyond your products or brand. This creates a good experience for your followers who will have access to interesting and different posts.

Understand the needs of your followers.

4. Monitor the ideal posting frequency on Instagram

This is an interactive social networking site and one that doesn’t need that the user spends too much time reading captions of the posts. So, it is possible to post whenever you have some good content.

There isn’t an ideal amount of posts, it all depends on how much material you already have prepared.

However, you can think of some good practices to attract more people to your profile.

  • Post pictures or videos every day.
  • Avoid posting more than two times on the same day not to overload your profile. If you post all at once, you’ll be without content to post later.
  • Remember to post also on the weekends. It is important to update your posts whenever possible.
  • Think about your users’ routine to choose the best time to post.

5. Try to engage more users on Instagram

If you started using this social network now, probably you don’t have a lot of followers.

It is no use having a great Instagram profile with photos, videos, and relevant content if it is not well-promoted and doesn’t attract the right followers.

You need to make people see your Instagram.

But, how can I do this?

Connecting your Facebook to Instagram: it helps increase the number of followers on your new networking site. You can opt to follow people that are already on your Facebook. By doing so these profiles you follow will have access to your account and will be able to follow you in return.

If you have created a new account, define your buyer persona you want to reach and make them see your Instagram at the right time. By doing so, users will become your followers and want to know more about your brand.

What’s more important at this moment is to know to communicate with excellence with the people who are interested in what you sell on Instagram. Therefore, promptly answer comments and directs sent to you quickly and in a personalized way. This will show that you care about who follows you there.

Plus, you need to promote your Instagram for people to know it. Use your other social networking sites to spread the news that now your brand has an Instagram profile.

Promote it on all your other social networking sites: Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Tumblr… You can even send emails to your customers letting them know about this news!

Even though there are several ways to promote your new network, be careful with some gimmicks used to get these followers!

Many people choose to go into famous profiles to ask users to follow their profiles. This is not an efficient strategy and can create a bad reputation for your brand.

6. Figure out the right product to sell on Instagram

Are you a part of the people who believe that only fashion products can be sold on Instagram?

Know that’s not true.

All kinds of products with a visual identity can be advertised on this network!

How to sell on Instagram - Profile of a handmade event accessories store

Example of the profile of a store on Instagram that sells handmade event accessories

The main thing to choose an ideal product is to know very well the niche that your brand you wants to reach, which has already been defined when you created the persona.

You can opt for products such as clothes, decorative pieces, personalized gifts, online courses, and even food.

The important thing here is to choose only a niche and focus on it. This prevents that your follower has doubts concerning the branch of your brand.

8 ideas of products to sell on Instagram

This topic is for people who wish to work with Instagram but don’t yet fully know what to sell on the app.

We came up with a list with some possibilities you can explore:

Clothes: the more you can segment your market, the better. think about the type of clothes you’d like to sell: women’s men’s, kids’, beachwear, plus size, party dresses, gym clothes… Those are just some options you can explore.

Food: some dishes are some mouthwatering that they provide good images. And yes, it is possible to sell food on Instagram, as we’ve mentioned before.

Services: you can keep a contact network in order to offer your services. If you are a fashion consultant, for example, you can talk about the subject on your profile and make your own personal marketing while engaging followers who are interested in the topic.

Accessories: still in the fashion business, it’s possible to sell accessories using the marketing Instagram has to offer. The advantage of accessories is that, in general, you don’t need to try them on to know if they are gonna fit or not, like in clothes.

Online courses: through Instagram it’s possible to engage your followers about a topic and sell an online course if people get interested in the subject. For example: you have a profile on healthy living. Through your course you can recommend your followers a course on healthy cooking. This course can be your own, if you’re a digital Producer; or a third-party, if you’re an Affiliate (to understand more about how to create and sell online courses, click here). The advantage is that you can choose any topic you’re interested in and promote an online course that complements it.

Beverages: you can also sell frozen pulp juice or other kind of drinks on Instagram. Make sure your photos look incredible!

Electronics: Advertise electronics like smart phones and other devices and sell on instagram!

Decor: frames, paintings, and countless other artistic products are a big hit on Instagram, especially if you’re the artist yourself. And it’s even better to highlight your talents and have a source of income!

Actually, we could come up with a huge list with all the product you could sell on Instagram but basically everything worthy of an e-commerce can be promoted on Instagram.

If you have questions, go to the niche market you know more about. Then, you’ll have more knowledge to talk about and promote products.

Change on Instagram’s Algorithm

In January 2018, Instagram had some news about the change in its algorithm, which will require more interactions to show posts to more people.

You may have been noticing that posts on this social media already had a lower reach, which means it wasn’t possible to deliver the content you posted to every single one of your followers. However, after these new changes on Instagram, this reach gets even more compromised.

Do you already know what you need to do so that your followers see your posts?

The algorithm and post exposure:

  • Your posts will only feature to 10% of your Instagram audience. The rest of your followers will only be exposed to your posts if there’s a positive reaction to them by the first 10%. So, explore other content delivery options, like Sparkle.
  • Post performance in company profiles will be better than in personal profiles;
  • Remember the famous comment “follow for follow” that some people are used to writing on Instagram? It’s considered SPAM and it will be one of the reasons to knock down the reach of profiles using this practices.


  • It will be necessary to answer comments made on your Instagram posts in up to 60 minutes after they were made. Otherwise, the visibility of your post will gradually scale down, which means your post won’t have a good engagement.
  • The more generic comments such as “Loved it!”, “Great pic”, and emojis, which are considered SPAM, the lower the visibility of the post on your followers timeline.
  • People who see your stories more frequently will get your posts more often, so do more stories to increase the engagement on your profile.

Attract Audience:

  • From now on, posts posts that make use of a lot of #hashtags can be banned (shadowban – despite using the hashtag, your post won’t feature on tags.) The amount of hashtags allowed is 30, however, not to be considered SPAM, the recommended by the social media is only 5 hashtags per post. So, always choose your hashtags carefully and avoid using those that are really popular so that your post doesn’t quickly disappear from the tag search.
  • You can also be shadowbanned if you always use the same hashtags on all your posts. So, vary the hashtags you use.
  • If you want to feature on tag search, adding hashtags on your posts’ comments is not enough anymore. It will only feature on searches, the posts with hashtags on the captions.
  • Don’t edit your captions for, at least, 24 hours after you post a picture or video. If you do so, your post will have less chances of being seen.
  • Deleting a photo or video and posting it again will just make the chances of this post being seen to shrink.

New features:

  • From this updates on Instagram, it will be possible to follow hashtags and profiles that choose to use this option (Follow Hashtags) and they will benefit from this.
  • Based on your interests on Instagram, the social media will show more often profiles of people you don’t follow yet on the “Explore” tab on your timeline.

Despite all these changes, it’s still possible to use Instagram to make sales and promote your business. So, be sure to use this social media in your marketing strategies.

So, are you ready to create an account and sell on Instagram?

If you already have an account but still are short on followers, read our text on how to become a digital influencer and attract lots of people to your social media!

This post was originally written in march 2017 and updated to display more accurate and complete information.