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I’m often asked how to sell more on Instagram (or social media, in general.)

But the phrase “selling on Instagram” can be a little misleading.

The transaction of buying and selling doesn’t actually take place ON Instagram. So we don’t usually sell on social media, right? That’s what your website is for! (Exceptions are things like shopping tags, etc… and more info is coming on that soon!)

So when people ask me, “How do I sell more on Instagram without being sales-y?” What I think they really mean is, “How can I use Instagram to get more sales, without always pitching my stuff obnoxiously day after day?”

Right? If so… keep watching/reading!

How to Sell More on Instagram

So, the simple answer here is: you don’t. That’s just the truth. But, it’s really NOT that simple, or this video wouldn’t have any time left.

The reality is that today’s consumers are over the “hard sell.” The BUY NOW, constant in-your-face offer, is out.

So, rapid fire! Here are seven tips for how to sell more on Instagram without being a sales-y creep.

Consider Instagram as Top of Funnel

You may or may not be familiar with the term “sales funnel,” and if you’re not, I’m going to give just a quick Sales Funnels 101 lesson here.

Whether you know it or not, all buying/selling transactions are taking place in a funnel. If you go out and search on the words “sales funnel” you’ll get tons of images and different versions, but basically at the top of the funnel you usually have “awareness,” and at the bottom of the funnel you have the actual action of a purchase.

When I say that Instagram is “top of funnel” I simply mean that it is a great place for people to find you. Instagram is very much a discovery engine as well as a social network. People use Instagram to find products and services and it’s a great place for them to find YOU.


I like to think of every single element of what you do online as having one job.

It’s your image’s job to get someone to stop scrolling in the Instagram feed. The first line of your caption should get someone to click the “more” link to expand and keep reading.

The caption should send someone to your bio to click a link. The landing page on the other side of that link should convince the person it’s safe to give you their email address.

The lead magnet and email you send to the person after you get that email address should convince someone you know your stuff and that they should stay on their list… and on and on we go.

So the bottom line here is that Instagram’s real job is to let your ideal customer identify themselves to you. To get someone to self-select by raising their hand and saying “I’m your person” by following you. It’s a discovery engine and that’s why we say it is “top of funnel.”

“Take me with you!”

A few years ago at Social Media Marketing World I heard one of my most favorite things about Instagram ever. Donna Moritz from the Socially Sorted blog said of Instagram, “It’s the ‘take me with you’” platform.

You know those one-liners that just stick in your head forever? This is that for me.

Instagram is all about taking people along for the ride. There is a reason that behind-the-scenes content does so well, and why there has been such rapid adoption of Instagram Stories.

Customers and potential customers love to come along with us.

It might seem counter-intuitive but the more digital we get, the more we crave glimpses of humanity and authenticity in business. Our current society is begging for authenticity this.

Show, Don’t Tell

One of the most effective ways to sell on Instagram is to talk about the thing you sell (constantly), but without overtly pitching it.

This isn’t to say that you can never explicitly and directly pitch a product or a sale, but you can talk about your products and services without being in-your-face to buy them.

You can share things like, “I’m finishing up a digital marketing strategy for a client today, and I can’t wait to share it with them!” or “Look at all these beautiful packages waiting to go out to their new homes!”

This goes right along with the “take me with you” idea, which is very different from a “buy this now!” message.

As you mention your products and services and take people along for the ride, you are subtly reinforcing that you do, indeed, have things to sell.

Customers Make the Best Sales People

Let your customers do the talking for you! Potential customers might not take your word for it, but they’ll take some other stranger’s recommendation.

From time to time, share testimonials from happy customers on your website and social media feeds.

Encourage your customers to share their experiences with you and your products on their own feeds. It’s called user-generated content (UGC).

There are many ways to encourage your customers to do this, but the simplest way is just to ask! You can put something in the product packaging or send follow up emails as part of your process to encourage user generated content.

Boost Your “Know, Like & Trust” Factor

If you’ve been doing social media marketing for a while, you’ve probably heard someone talk about the “know, like, trust” factor.

The idea behind the “know, like, and trust” concept is that people really do care about who they do business with.

Social media is a great way for potential customers to get to know you. As they get to know you, they figure out if you resonate with each other. And if you do, they grow to like you. As they grow to like you, you gain their trust.

People want to do business with people they know they can trust.

So how do you build trust? By doing you. Being open and transparent in everything you do online. By keeping your word. Posting when you say you are going to post, and following through on the little promises you make to your audience.

Things like showing up consistently, answering comments, and offering valuable content they can use are all ways you build trust.

Provide a Small Next Step

If you want to sell on Instagram, this is all about the call to action. For most people, they aren’t going to just jump from the “follow” button on Instagram to adding one of everything you sell to their cart.

So what smaller thing could you have them do instead? For most businesses, I would say getting them to commit to being on your email list is a great next step.

Provide small calls to action so you can nurture that relationship over time. When you can get a fan to give you a small “yes” again and again in the form of likes, comments and shares, eventually you can get to your bigger yes, which is a sale.

So there were seven ways that you can sell more on Instagram without feeling yucky, being pushy or compromising your integrity.

Tell me below which one or two you are going to focus on starting now to start selling more on Instagram!

How to Sell More on Instagram

Molly Marshall teaches small business owners and online entrepreneurs how to systematically and simply grow a profitable online presence through social media. Get your FREE Instagram Strategy Guide now!

Get your FREE Instagram Strategy Guide

Learn what's working now to build your brand, authority, and credibility on Instagram in 2022.

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Learn what's working now to build your brand, authority, and credibility on Instagram now.

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