Guide to Small Business Instagram for E-Commerce Growth & Sales


In this article, you will learn how to setup an Instagram store for your small business as well as grow your following to thousands of people like many businesses have already done. Instagram E-Commerce is becoming the future of easy online sales.

As the world continues to grow and change, so does the way your customers shop. You may think that growing an instagram is only for hot girls and online stores are for big time players, but the game has changed in 2020. You can now create Instagram E-Commerce stores and reach your target audience everyday FOR FREE!

Instagram e-commerce offers small businesses a simple and easy way to compete with online giants by integrating e-commerce right into anyones Instagram business pages. Now, you can buy and sell items directly on your instagram feed and it’s already generating thousands for other small business startups.

The internet mecca Half Pint Shop owner Macaire Douglas wrote:

One post could lead to dozens of sales, and it was [the] biggest traffic driver early on

Social Success: How I Took My Business from Instagram to E-Commerce

Instagram is already being used for small businesses across America. We’ll explain exactly how easily you can do it too.

What Is Instagram E-Commerce and Why Do Small Businesses Need Social Media?

63% of Instagram users open the app daily. If they are following you, thats your brand in front of their eyes every single day for over half of your customers.

Instagram is one of the biggest social media apps with over one billion active users. When you post on Instagram, the content is immediately put in front of your followers on a device they use every day.

Used correctly, hashtags also increase your outreach to potential customers who are searching for popular tags in your area. These customers would have never known about your business without Instagram and now they will see your content everytime you post if they follow you.

Basically, in 2020 it is mandatory every small business AT LEAST has an instagram page set up.

What is Instagram E-Commerce?

The E-commerce section of Instagram is where it gets interesting for brick and mortar stores. E-commerce refers to online commerce, or selling items on the internet. Instagram is not just a social media app anymore. They have developed their own way to buy and sell items that is integrated right into any account, for FREE.

Anyone can set up these stores in less than an hour. You could sell items from anywhere in the world, directly posting content to your followers phones and reaching audiences like them in your local area. Not only does it allow for online sales, posting your product with more information and pictures will entice more physical customers to walk in the door along with online revenue.

Why Small Businesses Should Use Instagram E-Commerce

Your customers are seeing Instagram right from their phone every day – push your small business’ content out to them! Users on Instagram are 70% more likely to purchase a product online than non-users and many successful stores are reporting that customers from Instagram make up 40% or more of the company’s weekly revenue!

You might say “people use Instagram in their free time so they don’t want to feel like they are being advertised to”. That’s exactly the point! By interacting with your audience, finding out what they like, and using aesthetically pleasing pictures mixed in with product posts, you will include the customer in your business and they will feel personally connected to it.

Take Half Pint Shop again for example, the founder Macaire Douglas who started her business through instagram wrote “I bounced ideas off my following and knew that if they didn’t go crazy over a [type of] brand, it wasn’t a good investment”.

So, Instagram does it all and can kill two birds with one stone. Instagram E-Commerce engages the customer and sparks their interest for your product without annoying them with your sales pitch or advertisement.

Creating an instagram store is more than just another avenue to sell your products, it is easy promotion and outreach for building your stores brand. As you post more and reach your local audiences organically, you could grow to a massive nationwide scale like companies CoconutBowl, BeardBrand, TruWood, Half Pint, and more all discussed later in this article.

How to Set Up Instagram E-commerce for Local Business

It’s not hard to make sales off your store and it’s also very simple to set up. If you haven’t already, change your instagram account to a business account so it will allow you to add a shop to your store.

To do this, you have to connect your Facebook Business Page to your instagram account. Click the top right on your Instagram page on your phone and the settings menu will appear.

Screenshot from Instagram settings

Scroll on the next screen on the settings page until you see “switch to business profile”. Flip through the informational screens until you see a “choose a page” button and set it to public.

After completing the intro, Instagram still needs permission from your Facebook business page in order to edit it. After connecting your instagram account, Facebook requires basic information about your business.

Screenshot from connecting Instagram page to Facebook

To finalize the setup, enter your phone number, email, and the physical address for your business. Press “done” and your store is now ready for its first post.

You should have a middle tab that looks like a little bag on your Instagram profile after setting up your store, this is where products you have tagged will show up. You do not have to worry about how the “store” tab looks, it is invisible to your followers and only admins can see it.

Adding products to your Instagram Store

Now that your shop has been registered and set up, all there is left to do is add your products to your Facebook Business’ “Catalog Manager”.

Blank Add A Product Facebook Page

This part is really simple. All you have to do is take a picture of your product on a white background then add all of your products information individually. If you already have an online e-commerce store for your business website, you can easily upload all of your previously created products and descriptions from your site.

Now that you have created your listing, you can use the catalog manager in order to edit inventory quantity, price, product descriptions, sizes, color variations, and everything else that may need to be changed about your product.

Instagram account @baboontothemoon does an amazing job of making fun product posts on their Instagram. Seen here is the “Baby Yoda” meme with their product photoshopped in.

You are now a fully functioning Instagram e-commerce store with imported products from your Facebook page, so what’s next? Well you probably don’t have any products imported yet, so now it’s time to post all of the products you are able to sell online.

Creating your first product post is super simple. Take a picture of your items in a natural environment that the product would actually be used in. Your followers like to see how your product could actually be used and you will always have better results if your posts don’t scream “ADVERTISEMENT, BUY ME!”

How to Tag a Product

Now the next step in to tag your product so people can purchase it directly from your page. Select “tag a product” just like you would to tag a person and click near the item you are selling in the post.

Now you are all set up, when people view your post they can tap the screen to reveal an entire product page with price, colors, sizes, etc with a direct link to purchase from instagram as well as prompt them to view your product on your website (if you have integrated it).

Make sure you are always posting what your followers want to see, not what you want to sell. The second part will come if people enjoy the content and delivery of your product. 

Engaging Your Instagram Store’s Audience

What you post and how you interact with your audience plays a major role in how your followers interact with your business and how much Instagram will push it to potential followers.

Remember, you want people to interact with and like the content that you post. This means you should post things that are relevant to what you are promoting as a brand. Who are you, what image do you create, how does what you sell get me closer to that image are all questions you should think about when posting your content. 

Aesthetically Pleasing Instagram Examples

CoconutBowls is a great example of a clean and simple aesthetic to cater towards an all natural crowd. They post images featuring fresh fruit lounging on the beach to inspire all natural foodies who will want to recreate the scene. This makes people feel that if they buy this bowl, they will be one step closer to that beach.

@coconutbowls‘ aesthetically pleasing feed.

Another example is BeardBrand, which created a more hardcore, old school scene to cater towards older guys with long beards. They have men with tattoos, riding motorcycles, and standing by old trucks to create the image of being hardcore and rustic. If the customer were to use the product in their beard, they would feel as if they are closer to the “hardcore” aesthetic.

Hardcore aesthetic of @beardbrand marketed towards men

Both of these stores started on instagram and have generated hundreds of thousands of dollars every month from organic posts alone. They reach audiences of over 500,000 people with each post every day for free.

It takes a lot of hard work to get there, don’t get me wrong. Ever since the changes in Instagram’s algorithm, new strategies are becoming more popular. The next section is all about how to increase your following and reach on your Instagram page through FREE organic growth.

Increase Growth & Sales for Local Business Instagram Stores

Although you may not have that big of a following right now, that only means you have plenty of room to grow. Social Media is about the long game and it has a snowball effect as your page gets rolling. 

You don’t have to rely on only paid ads to get you sales and followers, you can grow your audience 100% FREE. Here are three tips to get you started on posting content that will get your followers and their friends excited about your business along with direct online sales.

Revamp Your Bio

This is a new followers first impression of what your business is and why they should follow you. You want to have a fun bio that tells what you sell and why you are different.

The all natural bone broth brand Kettle & Fire that grew to hundreds of thousands of dollars selling products through instagram has a great example, “Simmer. Sip. Smile. This is better bone broth for better living. 🔥”

They automatically convey that they are the better all natural alternative to the competition and leave a little mystery for the customer to find out more. This will cause them to scroll through their feed or to check out their website.

Post a Mixture of Content

While you want to maximize your profits, your followers don’t want their feed to be constantly bombarded with 50% off sales and other bright advertisements from your page. You want to create a mixture of Call To Action and Engagement Posts.

Call To Action Posts

Call to action posts are posts that directly call your followers to click your product and purchase it with the product tagged for easy checkout.

These are great for sales and are where you make the big bucks, but these posts also have the lowest engagement rates from your followers which causes Instagram’s algorithm to not push it out to new customers exploring your tags. Overall, these will hurt organic growth but they will net you sales.

Engagement Posts

In order to grow your following to a larger audience, you have to post engagement centered posts more often with call to action posts infrequently sandwiched in between. Engagement posts are supposed to automatically prompt your users to comment and interact with your post.

These posts will boost your post in Instagram’s algorithm to get your page promotion for free from the explore page combined with customers searching your hashtags. Even though these posts may not directly get you as many sales the day you post, using social media is about building a long term following. 

@mytruwood places one product image in the top right and many engagement posts before and after

TruWood Watches’ Instagram account is a perfect example of a spread of content to grow an engaged audience. They have grown an audience of over 153k followers by posting interesting pictures of the world with call to action watch pictures mixed in. The engagement posts have many people commenting and tagging their friends who will like your post, view your page, and potentially follow.

As you can see for yourself on their instagram, these engagement posts almost always have many more comments and likes than his call to action watch selling posts. Posting a CTA post after 3 or 4 Engagement posts seems to be an average for a lot of large successful accounts but every business is different so test different ways with your followers.

Work With Local Micro Influencers

If you are located in a very small town this might not be possible, but for local businesses in medium to large cities there are usually a plentiful amount of micro influencers in your area.

These Instagram accounts have a smaller following that is focused in your area. For example, the account @vals_bites chronicles Austin Texas local Val as she explores the many small food businesses in Austin.

@vals_bites modeling with a local kombucha brand.

In this post Val poses with a local bottled kombucha brand. This one post does three very valuable things. 

1) It drives all of her followers that enjoy drinking kombucha to your page

2) It creates content your post on your own page with local customers in your city

3) It adds to your business’s credibility. Followers who were hesitant on buying your products are likely to say “well if [blank] reviewer enjoys the product, it must be good!” after seeing a micro influencer post.

The good thing about micro influencer is all you usually have to do to get them to post you is offer one of your products to them for free. People love getting free stuff, just like you love getting free followers. In order to find these influencers, start looking for tags from your city, for example, #dallassmallbiz.


By combining all of these elements, you will be miles ahead of any small business without an Instagram store or stores spamming advertisements on their followers relentlessly.

Over the next few months of posting regularly every day, many small business accounts have seen growth of over 1,500 followers, all of them engaged as potential customers who are interested in the content they post.

The main problem many people face is staying consistent. If you work hard to build a following that is actually engaged and interested in what you post and sell, you can have a second income stream completely separate from your physical store and a lifetime of growth to aspire towards.

Howdy! I'm the owner of Parrot Digital Marketing, Austin's best-reviewed web design studio.

I've been working full-time as a self-employed web designer and digital marketer for the past few years and and have worked on hundreds of sites across a range of platforms, including Wix, WordPress, WebFlow, Shopify, and Squarespace. I've managed six figures in ad spend across Google, Facebook, and YouTube. I also helped teach a digital marketing bootcamp at the University of Texas at Austin.

In my free time, I read, play the bass, travel, work on creative projects with friends, and watch a lot of documentaries. Recommend me one!

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