A major Instagram update is rolling out to Instagram’s mobile app navigation, which is meant to simplify the in-app experience for users. The change, which will take effect in February 2023, will see the return of the ‘Compose’ (+) button to the main navigation bar at the bottom of the app’s home screen, while the ‘Shop’ tab will be removed entirely.
Why the Instagram Update is Removing the Shopping Tab
The removal of the Instagram shopping tab was initially reported back in September 2022 amidst the shifting commerce trends and shopper preferences led by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additionally, the removal of the Shop tab is a response to user complaints. With celebrities like Kylie Jenner chiming in, users complained that the platform was deviating from its original mission of highlighting photos and not pushing users to adopt new features like Reels and the Instagram Shopping tab at the expense of the overall user experience.
But what does this Instagram update change for Instagram sellers or content creators looking to sell products?
How the Instagram Update Affects Sellers
As the reigning retail platform for businesses, the Instagram update to the app’s navigation may have Instagram sellers wondering what this means for their business.
Given the current information, the removal of the Instagram Shopping tab won’t affect your ability to set up and sell products on Instagram—however, it does change your current ability to reach new shoppers.
With the update, retailers will still be able to sell products via Instagram Feed, Stories, Reels, and ads. However, Instagram users will now have to run across products organically or through targeted ads and won’t be able to discover items for purchase through the Instagram Shopping tab.
The navigation change that comes with this Instagram update also doesn’t affect the ability as a seller to use Instagram Checkout or to use tags on shoppable products. But it does mean that sellers have to be more strategic in order to increase brand visibility on Instagram.
5 Ways To Maximize Product Visibility After the Instagram Update
There are many steps you can take to ensure you’re getting the most for your business out of Instagram. Below we’ve outlined three easy ways to best promote your brand and boost sales on the social media platform.
1. Switch To An Instagram Business Account
Switching to an Instagram business account offers Instagram sellers numerous advantages over a personal account. With an Instagram business account, you can:
- Access data-driven audience insights and post analytics that help track the performance of your posts on the platform.
- Add a location tag, contact button, and other related business information to make it easier for customers to find and connect with you via phone and email.
- Add the ‘View Shop’ button that lets users quickly browse through products and shop directly from Instagram.
Using an Instagram business account gives shoppers a more professional and trustworthy shopping experience and access to useful information and resources that help them make informed purchasing decisions. This makes your business more trustworthy for your followers and potential customers.
If you’re wondering how to switch to an Instagram business account:
- Go to your profile
- Click on the menu in the top right corner
- Select ‘Settings’
- Scroll down to the bottom and select “Switch to Professional Account”
2. Use Multiple Call To Actions On Your Profile Page
Depending on your business and what you are trying to promote, there are many call-to-action features that you should consider adding to your Instagram business account profile page. These include:
- Contact: You can add a “Contact” button to your profile, which allows users to send you a direct message or call you.
- Book: The “Book” button allows users to schedule appointments, book services, or make reservations directly from your profile.
- Shop: The “Shop” button is available to eligible businesses and enables users to shop directly from your Instagram profile without leaving the app.
- Email: The “Email” button can be used to add a CTA to your profile that encourages users to send you an email.
- Get Directions: The “Get Directions” button can direct users to your physical location, making it easy for them to find you.
- Learn More: The “Learn More” button can direct users to your website, blog, or other online presence for additional information about your business.
It’s important to choose the call-to-action that best suits your business, its goals, and its audience to make it prominent and easy to access on your profile page.
3. Optimize Your Instagram Profile
The new Instagram update might affect some businesses’ visibility since there is no longer a dedicated space for Instagram users to browse shops. Optimizing your Instagram business profile can help you increase visibility, reach a wider audience, and attract more followers. By making your profile more discoverable, you can drive more website traffic and improve your overall online presence.
Here are a few ways to optimize your Instagram shop’s profile for better visibility:
- Use keywords in your profile name, bio, and posts
Include keywords right next to your business name and in your bio. Keywords should indicate the products and services your offer. Make sure to use keywords in the captions of your posts to help improve your search ranking.
- Apply local keywords
Incorporating local keywords into your profile increases visibility and boosts the likelihood of appearing in relevant local searches, helping potential local customers find your business.
- Utilize hashtags
The best way to use hashtags is to create your own hashtags and use them in your profile to drive visitors to use them, for example, to share their own content with your brand’s unique hashtag.
- Use Instagram’s shoppable tags
Utilizing shoppable tags in your posts can help drive more traffic to your products and make it easier for users to purchase directly from your posts.
- Use interactive stickers
Post IG Stories using interactive stickers to survey audience and increase engagement. Use questions for feedback, polls for quick feedback, quizzes for fun info, and countdown for product drops/launches. User engagement helps the IG algorithm show your content more often.
- Use geo tags
Boost your local business by adding a location geo tag to every post. Include your business location when applicable, or use popular local locations to help users find your profile—just keep it relevant!
Optimizing your Instagram shop’s page allows you to appear organically in Instagram “Search” and the “Explore Page.” This can lead to more engagement, higher sales, and a more successful online business.
4. Find The Right Hashtags
Finding the right hashtags for your Instagram business account is important for visibility, trust, identity and performance. Hashtags also make content discoverable to users searching for relevant keywords and give you more opportunities for engagement with potential customers. This can counteract the potential changes to your visibility that the new Instagram update has brought. Incorporating a branded hashtag can build brand recognition and make it easier for customers to find and follow you.
A few hashtag best practices:
- Use DisplayPurposes.com, All Hashtag, RiteTag, or Instagram Search
- Start by finding a few keyword hashtags related to the post
- Find 5-15 highly relevant niche hashtags
- Use location-based hashtags related to your business
- Add your own branded hashtag for customers to use in their posts about your brand
By using a combination of these strategies, you can improve your chances of being discovered by your target audience and increase visibility on the platform.
5. Utilize Instagram Live Shopping To The Fullest
Retailers, brands, and creators can live sell on Instagram through Instagram Live Shopping or third-party platforms. Live selling is an engaging and dynamic way to highlight your inventory through real-time live video.
While live selling is an exciting new revenue stream for sellers and Instagram can aid your multichannel retail approach, the platform’s native live selling platform does limit the data that sellers can analyze. This means that you cannot fine-tune your marketing strategy to expand explosively. Using a live selling platform like CommentSold, however, allows retailers to sell on Instagram, as well as other selling channels, and captures shopper data in a centralized dashboard.
Utilizing a live selling platform can also greatly increase your sales and brand awareness. A comprehensive live selling platform allows you to:
- Take orders directly through comments on Instagram and other channels
- Simultaneously sell to multiple channels from a single, unified dashboard
- Manage cross-channel sales with a single, centralized inventory
- Customize and manage shipping and fulfillment
- Capitalize on sales with a branded app and webstore
- Have better control over audience and analytics
- Automate marketing campaigns, order updates, & personalized messages
Making the Most of Your Brand on Instagram
It’s important to stay up-to-date with changes to social media platforms and adapt your strategy accordingly, so you stay ahead of the curve.
The current Instagram update to its mobile app navigation should not be a cause of concern for retailers who use the platform, but such news can often be a little jarring for sellers since we don’t know the full extent of the changes until they come into effect.
To make the most out of Instagram to grow your brand, consider using marketing techniques such as advertising campaigns, creating sponsored posts, analyzing post analytics and customer data, engaging your followers, building relationships with influencers, and collaborating with other brands. Additionally, take advantage of various features within Instagram by utilizing hashtags, stories, filters and profile links. Finally, track the impact of your brand’s activities on Instagram with activity reports to determine if any adjustments need to be made, and you should have nothing to worry about.