While Facebook reigns supreme regarding users and activity, it’s prettier, younger sister, Instagram, shines bright like a diamond when it comes to aiding the efforts of eCommerce marketers.
As of last month, Facebook said they had an average of 1.45 billion daily active users and 2.20 billion active monthly users. Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, has 500 million daily active users, of which 300 million are posting to stories, which includes images or videos that are shared for 24 hours instead of permanently on your timeline.
Facebook is important and relative to this conversation because, according to Marketing Week, “For shopping to work, businesses must sync a product catalog with their Facebook Shop so that Instagram can pull in all product catalog information from Facebook, including a link back to the website.”
While Facebook might shine when it comes to the number of users, Instagram is increasingly becoming the preferred social media by eCommerce companies for its highly engaged, daily users and the fact it marries up perfectly with the aesthetically-driven world of eCommerce.
When Instagram made it possible for businesses to tag products within a post and list price on March 20th, as seen below, eCommerce marketers swooned.
Will Instagram Take Over as the eCommerce Social Media Darling?
While it’s undoubtedly important to have a brand presence on Instagram and add shoppable products to increase your site traffic and sales, you can generate interest from a wider audience by finding and paying an influencer that isn’t at the top of the social media payscale to help you drive interest in your products.
Influencer marketing has become increasingly important for a number of reasons. Marketing dollars have shifted from brands launching paid ad campaigns towards paid endorsements by celebrities and influencers with high follower counts. Why? Today, there’s a heavy trend towards buying what people recommend and not what companies are pushing our way.
Instagram is where influencers and eCommerce compliment one another. The majority of Instagram users already use the app to find brands with similar value systems and beliefs. By following hashtags or a brand, users will get suggestions to follow other similar brands. This method of discovery is what marketers dream of and why the platform is rapidly growing in popularity with users and brands alike.
According to the social media experts at Hootsuite, “60 percent of people said they discover new products through the network,” and 70 percent or more of Instagram users are likely to take action after visiting a post. They’re also more than likely to do so on mobile, so it’s imperative your site is mobile ready.
But, be careful when hiring and paying Instagram influencers to promote your products. There were new rules and an announcement from the FTC (Federal Trade Commision) regarding this new, common practice last year. Let’s cover what you need to know.
What You Need to Know About the FTC’s Instagram Announcement
Early in 2017, over 90 influencers received letters which included a warning from the FTC to become more transparent with followers when sharing a post featuring a product or brand they were paid to endorse. While some followers had begun using #sp (sponsored post) to indicate that they were paid for their post, the FTC openly said that wasn’t enough.
While the FTC didn’t mandate standard language that should be used when influencers or marketers have paid for a promotion, they did encourage the following:
Provide a clear indication that there is a material connection between the two parties
Paid influencers or brands should disclose that it’s a paid endorsement, before “more” (information) at the beginning of a post, instead of a hashtag at the end, for example
A simple disclosure like “Company X gave me this product to try..." will usually be effective
Clearly, the bottom line here from the FTC is for influencers and brands to disclose that an endorsement is paid. To make it easy for everyone, Instagram recently provided a consistent way to indicate when there’s a paid partnership seen here to make it easy for marketers and influencers alike. If you’re looking to learn more and see how shoppable posts performed for beta customers who tested it early on, read more here.