Everyday, thousands of sellers ask the same question. "How to promote my Etsy shop on Instagram?"
Are you one of them?
Are you struggling to market your Etsy shop on Instagram to get some extra views and sales?
If you answered yes, here's a complete guide that will help you promote your Etsy listings on Instagram and boost your traffic and sales.
Promoting Etsy on Instagram — Contents
Click on any section to jump to it.
- Content — What to Post on Instagram?
- Followers — How to Get More Relevant Followers on Instagram
- Posting frequency — How Often Should I Post on Instagram?
Why should I market my Etsy shop on Instagram, anyway?
Instagram is one of the fastest-growing social media channels with over 600 million users.
For Etsy sellers, Instagram is probably the best free social media marketing channel ever.
Instagram is full of people who buy a lot of things. The demographic is just perfect. And, it's a perfectly visual community built mostly around pictures and small video clips.
This makes it a fabulous place to market your Etsy shop. And that's why most sellers prefer to promote their Etsy shop on Instagram.
What does it take to promote on Instagram?
But... social media marketing on Instagram is not easy.
Promoting Etsy on Instagram takes a lot (and I mean a real lot) of thought and a lot of consistent action to start getting traffic and sales from Instagram.
To create a powerful Instagram marketing strategy for your shop, you need to break it down and understand it. And then, apply it in your daily Instagram activities.
In this article, that's exactly what you'll do.
The 3 components of a successful Instagram marketing strategy for Etsy sellers
Here's what a really good Instagram marketing strategy is made of:
i. The best visual content: At the core of every great Instagram post is a fantastic, high-quality content in the form of a photo or a video clip that triggers engagement (in the form of likes or meaningful comments).
ii. The best community-building strategy: Instagram is a huge community. The more relevant, engaged followers you have (this doesn't include bots, by the way), the more traffic and sales you'll get on your Etsy shop. Building a highly-engaged following is what you should focus on, after you've nailed what content you'll post to Instagram.
iii. A really consistent, daily action plan - with measurement: Consistency is the key to getting more followers, getting more traffic and eventually sales from your Instagram followers. Once you've nailed content and started getting more followers, the only way to keep that up will be to be consistent in your efforts.
This post will help you tackle all these 3 things (and more) without breaking your head or spending more than a few minutes per day.
#1. Content - What to post on Instagram?
Like I said before, content is at the core of a great Instagram marketing strategy.
Before you can think of getting more followers or building your brand, you have to decide what to post on Instagram.
Instagram supports two kinds of posts:
- Videos (max 60s)
That's it. All your creativity is limited to these two formats (which is a good thing).
Of course this doesn't mean you shouldn't post video posts … but you can do just fine without them.
Now, outside the format, there are two kinds of posts you can make on Instagram - and this is what's important:
- Promotional post - this would be photos of your items / products, a discount offer announcement, a giveaway, work-in-progress photos etc.
- Non-promotional post - this would be photos of your workspace, some motivational quotes (visual ones), or other posts that don't talk about your products or shop.
Almost all of the posts on Instagram (made by Etsians) can be grouped into one or the other! (As an exercise, look at Instagram profiles of your fellow Etsy sellers and try to see)
But then, the most important question is, what to post on Instagram - so that you get more traffic and sales on your Etsy shop?
What kind of posts will get more traffic and sales on my shop?
You're going to be posting on Instagram to do any of these things:
- Build your brand on Instagram
- Get a lot of engagement (likes, comments, reshares)
- Get a lot of traffic and sales to your Etsy shop
These look like three different things but they are inter-related.
So, ultimately, what you post (content) should get you more traffic (and sales).
In an older post, we covered 25 types of posts that you can post to your Instagram profile.
Here's a breakdown of all the 25 types and what kind of a benefit each type can have:
- Quotes - non-promotional (brand building, likes)
- Behind the scenes / work-in-progress - promotional (brand building, community engagement)
- Product display - promotional (traffic/sales)
- Product in use (customer's photo) - promotional (trust, traffic/sales)
- Discounts, offers or giveaways - promotional (traffic/sales)
- Bite-sized life hacks (with your product) - promotional (brand building, community engagement)
- Your workspace - promotional / non-promotional (brand building, community engagement)
- Tools you use - non-promotional (community engagement)
- Slice of life - non-promotional (brand building, trust, community engagement)
- Selfie - may be promotional (brand building / community)
- Seasonal announcement - promotional (traffic/sales)
- Funny product illustrations - promotional (humor, brand building, traffic/sales)
- Things you cherish / like - non-promotional (community engagement)
- The Brag - promotional (traffic/sales)
- "What I'm up to" - non-promotional (community engagement)
- Pets - non-promotional (community engagement)
- Video slideshow - promotional (traffic/sales)
- Creative feed/profile - promotional / non-promotional (brand building)
- Milestone - promotional (traffic/sales, brand building, community engagement)
- Flatlay - promotional (traffic/sales)
- Product collage - promotional (traffic/sales)
- Pre-launch excitement (Coming Soon) - promotional (traffic/sales)
- Ask for feedback - promotional / non-promotional (community engagement)
- Photos of people your customers admire - non-promotional (community engagement)
- Causes, charity - non-promotional (brand building, community engagement)
Create Instagram Stories to reach more followers, get more engagement
Photos and videos are good but Instagram changed their algorithms so the number of followers that see your photos / videos has gone down.
But when you post Instagram Stories, you can reach a lot more of your followers.
This is because Instagram favors Instagram Stories (they want to promote it, after all). Also, data says that engagement on Instagram Stories is far more than engagement on other posts.
Thanks to these two things, Instagram Stories is a very strong content that you should produce.
It's not hard to create Instagram Stories. In fact, it's one of the simplest things to do. Here's how to create Instagram Stories easily.
Here's 6 types of Instagram Stories that we've seen work great for sellers:
- The Curtain raiser
- The Backstory
- The Work-in-progress
- Offers/Contest Announcement
- About yourself
- Latest news (in your niche, in your shop etc.)
Some photography tips for your Instagram photos
- Don't use filters: When you post promotional content (product photos), don't use filters. Keep the product clear-looking.
- Lighting is everything: Whenever you post something on Instagram, make sure it's well-lit. Of course, this doesn't mean too bright - keep the lighting soft. (More tips on Instagram photograph here)
- Don't post low-quality photos: Low-quality photos speaks ill of your brand. And it affects engagement negatively.
- Put the subject at the center: If it's a product photo, make sure the product is at the center of the frame. On phone, photos need to be very clear.
- Avoid editing too much: Just like not using filters, don't edit your photo too much. It's easier for people to trust when photos are untouched, realistic and natural.
#2. Followers - How to get more followers on Instagram
Without a lot of followers, all your efforts in promoting your store on Instagram will be useless.
But getting Instagram followers needs work. It's not too hard but then, it's not something you can skip.
Here are 5 sure-fire ways to start getting more followers on Instagram:
Start following other accounts
One of the easiest things you can do to get new followers is to follow other accounts regularly.
Of course, this doesn't mean you should follow random accounts. Choose wisely and pick only relevant accounts to follow. This way, you'll be able to interact with these accounts.
As an Etsy sellers, you can follow:
- other Etsy sellers in your niche
- other handmade sellers and craft-makers (who sell)
- handmade experts (who don't sell but have a website/blog)
- other normal people (not sellers) who use specific hashtags in their Instagram posts
- handmade community accounts (many community accounts feature products from other sellers and you can be one of them if you build a rapport with these folks)
- local craft fair accounts
- local craft shops
As with everything else, don't over do this.
Follow 1-3 accounts a day. After a month or so, you might have to audit your account and unfollow a few accounts that you don't interact with or find useful to build your brand.
Comment frequently, freely.
If there's only one way to get your Instagram account noticed by others, it would be by commenting on people's posts.
Comments build relationships on Instagram. And that's great for your Etsy shop / business.
Once you start following super-relevant accounts, your Instagram feed will be full of posts you can offer some comment on.
Comment as frequently as you can.
On Instagram, comments don't have to be completely informational or adding value. They're more of your reactions to the posts you see. Like something? Just say it.
Instagram Etsy Hashtags — Use the best hashtags and get found automatically
Instagram triggered the start of an entire hashtag generation.
So it's no wonder that hashtags still work like a charm on Instagram. Especially, for Etsy sellers.
There are a lot of Etsy-related, handmade-related hashtags that you can use in almost all your Instagram posts.
Finding great hashtags is not a big deal, either. You can easily find 50-100 hashtags that would be relevant and useful to you.
And what's more? Using hashtags in your posts will:
- Make it easier for your posts to be found by others (when they search on Instagram)
- Give a boost in your average post engagement
- Help your brand grow more visible on Instagram
Here's a list of hashtags that you can (and should) make use of:
#etsy #etsymntt #etsyseller #etsyfinds #etsyshop #etsyhunter #shopetsy #etsyforall #etsystore #etsysale #etsylove
Click to copy
#supporthandmade #cylcollective #supportsmallbusiness #makersmovement #shopsmall #craft #craftsposure #psimadethis #handmadehome #instagood #instagoods #handmadewithlove
Click here to copy these hashtags
But how can you find more hashtags besides these?
Here's a handy guide to find the best-performing hashtags (and do your own audit on them).
Do contests and giveaways to get more followers
One really-popular way of getting more followers is to host a giveaway.
You can also do contests for which you'll need to put on your contest-creative-hat.
Every giveaway or a contest has a goal. This goal can be anything: get a bunch of new customers, increase brand awareness, sell/giveaway items that have remained unsold.
Or, get more followers.
You can do contests/giveaways where someone has to follow you on Instagram to participate. This way, you'll gain more new followers quickly.
But you can't just declare a giveaway on your Instagram profile and expect a truck load of new followers.
You have to spread the news about your giveaway in as many ways as possible in order for it to work.
Some of the ways in which you can promote your giveaway are:
- Get influential bloggers to write about it / mention it to their readers
- Get Etsy communities (both local and non-local) to mention it on their forums/boards
- Ask fellow Etsy-sellers to tweet, post or share the news about your contest/giveaway with their fans
- Post about your giveaway in relevant communities
Do Instagram shoutouts to get more followers
Once you have a few hundred followers, you can collaborate with other Etsy sellers on Instagram to do what's called shoutouts.
Shoutouts work like this: you post about a fellow handmade seller (or any other creative) on Instagram and ask your fans to follow them - and the fellow handmade seller (or creative) posts about you/your Etsy shop to their fans and asks them to follow you.
Shoutouts are useful because your Instagram account (and by extension, your Etsy shop) is exposed to hundreds / thousands of interested fans.
Doing shoutouts can be fun and also very interesting.
They do take some time and effort. Which is why this short but essential guide on Instagram shoutouts will help. Over 50,000 people have read this so far and have found it very useful!
#3. Posting frequency - How often should I post on Instagram?
Optimal number of posts per day
The optimal number of posts for Instagram (as a business owner) is about 4-5.
This number is, however, flexible. For some, posting as many as 10 posts per day is fine (and it doesn't adversely affect them). For some, 1-2 posts is enough.
For starters, you can post as many as 4 posts per day.
Then, depending on how much engagement you see, you can go up or down. If you post more than 4 posts (say, 8 on a day) and see that more people like/comment and you get more new followers, then you can notch up the number of posts. But if it doesn't get any better, reduce it to 2/day and test.
Posting too much without quality engagement (likes/comments) will affect your Instagram marketing.
If you have very little engagement, Instagram will think your posts aren't worthy and will show your posts to fewer fans/followers.
Have a simple but effective content plan for Instagram
There are two kinds of people:
- Those who post to Instagram spontaneously, without any plan
- And those who plan every single post before they post it on Instagram
The best kind of Instagram marketing for your Etsy shop would be to have a mix of both.
Looking back at the 25 types of Instagram posts, you'll see that some of those posts happen spontaneously. Like posting a work-in-progress photo or a "slice of life" photo/video.
Some of the others can be pre-planned.
Having a content plan for Instagram will make it super-easy to consistently post on Instagram.
A simple content plan can look like this:
Post 8 Instagram photos/videos a day. The breakdown can look like this:
- 4 promotional posts (product photos, flatlay, video slideshow etc.)
- 4 non-promotional posts (like celeb quotes, slice-of-life photos, etc.)
What is the best time to post on Instagram?
Posting on Instagram is not just about what and how. It's also about "when".
You can reach more of your fans and get more engagement (in the form of likes, comments and clicks) if you post at the right/best times for your profile.
Many experts have written about the best times to post on Instagram. But honestly, there is no single "best time" that will work for everyone.
Every Etsy seller on Instagram has a different kind of a fan following. To assume that a single best time to post will work for everyone would be wrong.
So what could be the best time for you to post on Instagram?
The trick to finding this out is by posting at various times throughout the day — and then, analyzing the performance of those posts.
By doing this, you'll be able to quickly figure out what times work best for your fans, when they engage most etc.
Now, there are two ways to do this:
- Manually post at specific intervals throughout the day
- Schedule posts to be posted at specific intervals throughout the day
Remember that Instagram doesn't allow tools to post automatically on your behalf (which is why there are no true Instagram scheduling tools) ...
But you can use tools to set notifications/reminders with your posts. This way, all you need to do is just respond to notifications to post to Instagram at the set hour.
A tool like Around.io, for instance, lets you schedule 4-5 product posts from your shop for a day. Once you've scheduled it, you will get notifications at the set times and all you need to do is just post the ready-made photo and caption.
Once you've posted like this for a week or two, you can then analyze the results to find out what times work best for you. For better results, you should test through a month or two.
Why consistency matters so much & how to be consistent when promoting Etsy shop on Instagram
Without being consistent, it's almost impossible to get any traffic/sales on your Etsy shop from Instagram.
In this sense, promoting your store on Instagram is like any other creative endeavour - consistency is the secret sauce.
With Instagram (and with much of other social channels like Facebook and Twitter), people give up because they can't keep up with the daily posting, commenting, liking, following etc.
If that's the case, there's one thing that can help you beat the work blues and be consistent no matter what.
Some of these things should not be automated (at least, not if you worry about adversely affecting your brand).
But some can be automated. Like, posting (Which is what we specialize in).
For example, when you sign up for Around.io and create your first day plan for Instagram, Around.io creates and schedules 4-5 Instagram posts for you. It takes about 5 minutes.
For 5 minutes spent, you ensure your posting consistency.
If you spend 5 more minutes per day to just follow new accounts or participate in the community (with comments), you'll ensure that your Instagram marketing happens consistently. Consistent action breeds success in the long-run.
To recap quickly:
The three things that you need to do every day to promote your Etsy shop on Instagram are:
- Post great content regularly to engage your fans. This includes promotional (products) and non-promotional content. Great content = good engagement = more traffic/sales to your Etsy shop.
- Do community things to get more followers. Things like using the best hashtags, commenting on others' posts, following people, doing shoutouts etc.
- Be super consistent by having a daily action plan. Schedule posts in advance for days / weeks so you're consistent. Spend at least 5-15 minutes a day in being part of Instagram communities that you find.
At Around.io, we are constantly experimenting and learning (besides learning from our own users who use Instagram a lot).
We'd love to hear your thoughts and answer your questions with help from our community!
If you've got questions or suggestions about promoting Etsy shop on Instagram that you'd want other Etsy sellers to know, please tweet to us @aroundio_.