How to Set Up Your Instagram Profile for Ecommerce: 30+ Examples to Inspire the Only Three Choices You Get

How to Set Up Your Instagram Profile for Ecommerce: 30+ Examples to Inspire the Only Three Choices You Get

Three.

Yup! That’s it.

Three choices.

When it comes to setting up your Instagram business account for ecommerce, the options are slim:

  1. Pic
  2. Bio
  3. Link

Slim, however, doesn’t mean trivial. Launching your brand on a new platform can be intimidating, which is exactly we’re walking through this in detail.

But there’s another reason.

If you’re already up and running, odds are you haven’t circled back to these three pivotal choices since you set everything up.

After all, setting up Instagram probably took you less than a few minutes, right? It’s understandable ... but costly.

Last week we looked at The High-Growth Business Case for the Only Social Network that Loves Products. Later in this series, we’ll dig into laying a strategic foundation, hiring and outsourcing, generating leads, hacking your hashtags, and (of course) selling.

Today, it’s all about the profile because those three choices can make or break your success.

1. A Profile Photo Worth a Thousand Sales (Because You Only Get 155 Characters to Go With It)

Creating an Instagram account is easy … deceptively so. Log in with your Facebook account or sign up for an Instagram account using your ecommerce store itself:

The first prompt you’ll receive is to add a profile photo:

The obvious choice is your logo. As Daniel Snow -- whose six Instagram accounts total over 6.8 million followers -- told me:

“We strongly feel that in order to truly achieve a high level of branding, making your profile picture your company logo is a wise decision.”

“This is essential in optimal brand-building. The more a person sees your logo, the more your company will spring to the forefront of their mind when it’s time to buy a product you happen to produce.”

 

Image Via GOATcase

Image Via Savage Comedy

Image Via Daniel Snow

Consistent, visual branding is crucial on Instagram; however, that doesn’t mean using a logo is nonnegotiable.

Before you make your decision, consider three approaches.

First, your product or audience. Take, for instance, fashion brands Military Hippie, Chubbies, Jonas Paul Eyewear, and Stubbs & Wootton. All four use people-meet-products images that call attention to their core offerings.

This approach front loads your Instagram profile with a visual presentation of exactly why the visitor is there in the first place.

Image Via Military Hippie

Image Via Chubbies

Image Via Jonas Paul Eyewear

Image Via Stubbs & Wootton

In Karolyn Fox’s words, from Miliary Hippie

“You have to focus on is what’s going to sell. For us, that’s the clothes. In pictures, we don’t include our logo. In videos, we only include it at the end.”

 

 

“We love our logo. But what’s made our company, what bring us money, are hot products everyone wants -- not just high schoolers, but everyone. To get your audience to your website the images and videos have to have a wow factor. Products drive that and this has come from millions of tests.”

“So for our profile pic, that’s what we went with: the core of what works for us as a brand and on Instagram.”

Second, you. If your ecommerce shop is personality driven, then featuring that personality in your profile pic sparks instant recognition. 

The more public your founder and the more human you want to make your store, the more important showing off the person behind it becomes.

Lot801 -- a kid’s fashion brand -- features their owner and founder Lindsay White.

Image Via Lot801

Men’s designers Rubinacci run their Instagram through the creative director and son of its iconic founder Mariano Rubinacci, Luca Rubinacci.

Image Via Rubinacci

Sport Luxe -- a fitness and beauty merchant owned by Bianca Cheah-Chalmers -- uses Bianca, who’s a well-known influencer in her own right.

Image Via Bianca Cheah-Chalmers

And Base Body Babes -- founded by “two personal trainer sisters” -- do the same.

Image Via Base Body Babes

Third, your logo. If you go the logo route, then ensure a square, 110 by 110 pixel image does your brand justice and doesn’t obscure what you’re about. Foundr Magazine, Death Wish Coffee, and irreverent patriots American AF’s existing logos do this naturally.

Image Via Foundr Magazine

Image Via Death Wish Coffee

Image Via American AF

Alternatively, Jones Soda and Amazon opted to create social-only versions of their logos while Google -- although not technically in the ecommerce business -- regularly updates their logo on Instagram to match the calendar.

Image Via Jones Soda

Image Via Amazon

Image Via Google

Whatever image you select needs to be recognizable, consistent with your brand guidelines, appealing to your audience, and -- especially for ecommerce -- illustrate your core products.

2. Sell Directly from Your Instagram Bio and Link (Because You Only Get One Free Link)

After the pic comes to the profile itself … meaning your Bio and Website. We’ll take these two elements together because they should always go together.

Again, the temptation with nearly all social profiles is to go general and basic. A quick copy-and-paste of your tagline, motto, or value proposition along with a link to your homepage and you’re all wrapped up.

Before you do that, remember that on Instagram you get one -- and only one -- free link across the entire network.

This is precious real-estate and not to be filled in hastily. Let’s use Shopify Plus as a test case and then look at how other breakout merchants are doing it too.

Our working value proposition here at Shopify Plus is:

“The commerce platform designed for high-growth, high-volume merchants, coupling speed and agility with the scalable foundation you need to grow bigger, faster.”

Adjusting Shopify Plus' value proposition to fit Instagram's 155-character allowance might read something like this:

Now, there’s nothing wrong with that message. In fact, it nails a number of the requirements I’ll list below.

But two problems crop up on Instagram.

Number one, notice that the link sends visitors to the Shopify Plus homepage and, number two, the Bio doesn’t end with language urging followers toward the link. There’s no call to action, no offer, no reason to click through.

Instead, go after the action. Sell from the jump.

For your Website field, link to …

  1. A mobile-optimized, Instagram-inspired landing page (Shopify apps like Showcase and Shoppable Instagram Galleries can build these for you). The crucial word is mobile because that's where the vast majority of Instagram use happens.
  2. A specific product category page like new, on-sale, or seasonal inventory.
  3. Or your most valuable, high-converting page rich with social proof and a call to action.

URLs should always be readable and straight to the point. People are far less likely to respond to URLs that are a jumble of letters and numbers than one that reads like an extension of the next element.

For your Bio field …

  1. Write your company description like a Tweet, only shorter. Kevan Lee’s Be the Shakespeare of Facebook: The Enormous Guide to Writing Spectacular Social Media Updates is majestic on this topic. It’s worth the read, but you can also jump directly to point two: How to Write a Great Sentence.
  2. Make it emotional and about your customer. Highlight who you serve by using your audience's own language. And emphasize why you do what you do (i.e., what you stand for and stand against).
  3. Always make your final words a call to action that sets a follower up to click the link.

Here’s a rewrite of the previous Shopify Plus bio with those principles in mind:

Which then displays like this:

Notice too that I’ve replaced the homepage with See why merchants love Shopify Plus. That page has a “Get started” box front and center as well as heavy social proof. When special promotions launch, we’d naturally want to update the Website and Bio to match. And you should do the same thing.

So, what are other standout Instagram stars doing with their ecommerce profiles?

Patagonia: “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”

One of the most popular and engaging brands on Instagram, Patagonia’s Bio is both about them and their customers. It’s emotional language that tells you what they stand for and against.

What’s more, Patagonia currently has a host of winter-related posts on their account:

Image Via Patagonia

So it’s only natural that their link goes to this thoroughly winter-themed landing page:

Image Via Patagonia

prAna: “Clothing for people who live life fully, play long, and travel well. Tag photos #prAna. Shop our new Spring Collection now at prAna.com.”

Notice that prAna’s Bio is not about the clothing they make but rather who they make clothing for. Anticipating the changing season, prAna’s link invites followers to “Shop our new Spring Collection”:

Image Via prAna

Pura Vida Bracelets: “📍Hand-Made in Costa Rica 👻 SnapChat: @PuraVidaBrac 📸 #PuraVidaBracelets 📬 ig@puravidabracelets.com ✖️Shop What's New!✖️”

Knowing the decidedly social nature of Instagram, Pura Vida takes advantage of Instagram's scarce real estate by loading up their Bio with a host of ways to connect and invites their audience to “Shop What’s New!”:

Image Via Pura Vida Bracelets

Image Via Pura Vida Bracelets

Doug the Pug: “King Of Pop Culture New York Times Best Seller Twitter • @itsdougthepug Email • info@itsdougthepug.com ↓ALL SHIRTS $10 TODAY ONLY↓”

In the case of Instagram star Doug the Pug -- who essentially needs no introduction -- rather than link to his usual homepage, he reminds followers “↓ALL SHIRTS $10 TODAY ONLY↓” (a CTA reinforced by that day’s posts) and links directly to his ecommerce store … smart pup:

Image Via Doug the Pug

Image Via Doug the Pug

BlackMilk Clothing: “Be a Hot Little Boss 🤘 Ethically made in Australia ✨ #blackmilkclothing to be featured 🔥 👻 : blackmilksnaps Shop it👇 likeshop.me/blackmilkclothing”

True to form, BlackMilk opens with a bang. But what’s truly ecommerce gold is the Instagram-lookalike page their link carries you to:

Image Via BlackMilk

Image Via BlackMilk

MVMT: “Live life on your own terms, dress well doing it. mvmtwatch.co/shopmensinsta”

Watchmakers MVMT keeps it simple. But don’t be fooled. Just like BlackMilk, their link delivers visitors to a highly stylized and shoppable Instagram page on their own site:

Image Via MVMT

Image Via MVMT

Tim Ferriss: “Author of four #1 NYT/WSJ bestsellers. Check out my newest book, Tools of Titans, by clicking below. Foreword by Arnold Schwarzenegger, 100+ experts: toolsoftitans.com”

Personal brands and spokespeople for your brand should also follow the same principles. Tim Ferriss leads off with a hook about his success and a call-to-action driving users to his new book.

Image Via Tim Ferriss

Image Via Tim Ferriss

All told, that’s a lot of ecommerce inspiration.

However, before we bring everything back together, one more setup note. After you’ve created your profile -- pic, bio, and link -- jump over to the mobile app and hit “Options.” Ensure your privacy is not set to “Private Account,” click “Switch to Business,” and then link your Facebook Page (not your personal profile):

And just like that, you're up and running.

An Instagram Profile Built for Ecommerce

When you set up your profile, three choices are all you get …

  1. Your Pic: Logos are recommended, but not required. Explore people and product images, a more personal photo of your spokesperson or founder, or a social-only version of your logo itself.
  2. Your Bio: Make your 155 characters count by focusing on who you serve and why you do it. (And have fun with those emoji as long as they’re on brand.)
  3. Your Link: Instead of defaulting to your homepage, send followers directly to your most valuable products or a mobile-optimized, Instagram-inspired landing page made just for them.

Of course, the question is: What now?

Next week we’ll unpack how to create an ecommerce Instagram marketing plan.

Until then, be sure to drop a link to your favorite profile into the comments ... or even better, hit us up with your Instagram questions.

About the Author

Aaron Orendorff is a content marketer at Shopify Plus as well as a regular contributor to sites like Mashable, Lifehacker, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, Fast Company, The Huffington Post and more. You can connect with him on Twitter or Facebook.

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