There’s no better social media platform for eCommerce businesses than Instagram. It’s one of the few social platforms – if not the only one – where brands are not only accepted, but even embraced with open arms. Instagram can help you reach more people, boost your brand awareness, and even make more sales for your online store. In this blog post, I’m going to share my top growth marketing tips on Instagram for eCommerce businesses.  

The following tips are designed to help you boost your following and improve your Instagram engagement, as well as ultimately help you make more sales for your business.

Use Hashtags Strategically

Hashtags are some of the best tools you have at your disposal; they can help you reach more people, which in turn leads to more followers, better engagement, and better results overall.

But, are you making the most of your hashtags?

  • Use 7-10 hashtags per post – in order to maximise your reach and get the most possible likes, use about 7-10 hashtags per post, as this test from the Agorapulse Social Media Lab found, performs best. However, I would encourage you to try out different numbers of hashtags per post to see how it affects your results.
  • Post your hashtags in a comment – by posting your hashtags in a comment, your post will look cleaner; and as Neil Patel puts it, hashtags are there to help people find you, not to be seen. For example, Dollar Shave Club does this on their Instagram account:

Dollar Shave Club - Marketing on Instagram for eCommerce


  • Use a mix of hashtags: since you can use so many hashtags on a post, it’s worth creating a mix of different hashtags to help you reach your different goals. Ideally, try to use: a couple of hashtags that are highly popular (millions of posts per hashtags), two “medium” hashtags of about 50k-300k posts (these are great for trying to get into the top 9 photos for a hashtag!), as well as a couple of highly targeted, niche keywords. You can use the Instagram search bar to search for keywords/hashtags, and see exactly how many posts they have, as well as get suggestions for other hashtags:

Instagram Search Bar - - Marketing on Instagram for eCommerce

The hashtags you use should always be relevant to your post. Even if a different might help you reach more people, if it’s not relevant, then it’s not really worth reaching those people anyway – the idea is to reach people who are a part of your target audience and who have the potential to turn into your customers. Hashtags are something you must consciously focus on to do well when marketing on Instagram for eCommerce.

Use More User Generated Content (UGC)

There’s no marketing tactic more effective than word of mouth. People trust other people – at the very least, they trust them a lot more than they do brands.

Say for example you have an online clothing store; if people see your clothes being worn by regular people and Instagram users, they are much more likely to be interested in buying than if they saw your promotional images of your clothes. This is for the simple reason that people trust regular people more than they do brands.

One of the ways that you can capitalize on that is by developing a user-generated content campaign. Clothing brand aerie are great at this, as they regularly create UGC campaigns to get people involved and taking pictures wearing their products, using the #MyAerie hashtag:

Aerie - - Marketing on Instagram for eCommerce

For example, with one of their recent campaigns, they asked their followers to take pictures of themselves wearing their PJs, generating posts like these:

Aerie - - Marketing on Instagram for eCommerce 2

Aerie can then feature their favourites on their own Instagram account, by regramming their followers’ best posts featuring the hashtag.

You can easily do this yourself by coming up with a theme and a branded hashtag, and simply asking your followers to participate.

Additionally, you should monitor Instagram for any posts featuring your products. If you can find any really good ones of people using your products, regram them on your account and don’t forget to tag the initial poster.

By using UGC with your campaigns on Instagram for eCommerce, you can not only improve brand awareness and reach more people, but also get people to be more engaged – and likely to buy from you in the future.  

Don’t Be Overly Promotional

As a business, you might be tempted to only post promotional images, or images of your products. However, as much as there’s no denying that while generally eCommerce brands do well on Instagram, this overly promotional approach won’t make for a very engaging account.

It works for some, sure – but in most cases, diversifying the type of content you share will only help you get more likes and comments, as well as more reach. There are plenty of ways to generate sales on Instagram – but sometimes, it helps to take a step back and forget about being all about sales all the time when promoting content on Instagram for eCommerce businesses.

There are all kinds of photos, videos, and stories you can post that don’t necessarily feature your brand or your products; for example:

  • Food – people absolutely love pictures of food on Instagram; whether it’s dinner with your colleagues, photos from the Christmas dinner, or even just a photo of your lunch.
  • Nature – beautiful photos of the world around us always perform well on Instagram; and sometimes, you can even tie this in with your own products, like Divinity Bracelets LA do in this post:

Divinity - - Marketing on Instagram for eCommerce

  • Pets – need I say how popular pictures of cute pets are?
  • Pictures and videos from around the office – highlight your team in pictures, videos, and stories to show a different side to your business. For example, Staples have found a great way to poke some fun and also show that behind this huge brand, there are some real people working:

Staples - - Marketing on Instagram for eCommerce

  • Quotes: quotes are another popular type of post on Instagram (and social media in general, really) that generate lots of views and engagement. And the best part? No matter what your brand is, what you’re selling, and what your direction is, there is some way that you can use quote images in your Instagram content strategy. It can be something funny, something cute, or something motivational – it’s completely up to you. For example, Lululemon, the popular yoga clothing brand uses quote images regularly to motivate their audience and engage them:

Lululemon - - Marketing on Instagram for eCommerce

While you should keep your own brand (and the products you sell) at the forefront of your Instagram account, there’s no harm in diversifying your content regularly. In fact, it can actually help you get better results overall, and give people a reason to engage with you, like your content, and contribute with comments.


As I mentioned earlier, Instagram can be your best bet when it comes to social media marketing. On there, promoting your products is accepted and embraced, and because it’s such a visual platform, it’s perfect for showcasing your products.

What are some of your best tips on marketing with Instagram for eCommerce? How are you using this platform to promote your online retail business?