Hello and welcome to the next part in our series about Instagram for businesses! This week we’re discussing how to set up Instagram shopping, and how to optimise your listings to get the most out of this service.

If you’ve just joined us, don’t forget to nip back and review anything else in this series you might find helpful:

So let’s get to it!

What is Instagram Shopping?

Instagram shopping allows users to shop items from your photos and videos within the app.

It operates a tag feature that allows you to clearly mark items used in your content and link them to a specific product from your store. It’s ideal for capturing sales from followers who see a photo and thing ‘where can I get that?!’.

There’s also a dedicated Instagram shopping feed within the app that allows users to browse products generally, or by searching for tags. Accounts will pop up in this feed if Instagram deems them relevant, so you can get your products in front of people who aren’t even following you this way.

When you set up Instagram shopping, you’ll also get a dedicated storefront as part of your profile page. Users will be able to click ‘Visit Shop’ direct from your profile. This storefront can be customised and curated to organise your products too. Whether you wish to sort by categories, by collections or by products featured in your latest Instagram campaigns.

Products can even be tagged in ads you create on Instagram, creating a clear call to action. Some businesses will be able to have users checkout their purchase within the Instagram app, but all businesses can direct users to external links where the checkout process can be completed.

How Do I Set Up Instagram Shopping?

First thing’s first, you’ll need to check if your business complies with Instagram’s policies for Instagram Shopping. There’s obviously a lot of details here, but in general your store can’t sell:

  • Adult Products
  • Alcohol or promote the use of alcohol
  • Animals
  • Body Parts or Fluids (I don’t want to know what triggered this rule to be so defined.)
  • Digital Media and Electronic Devices
  • Documents or Currency
  • Gambling
  • Hazardous Goods or Materials
  • Ingestible Supplements, Drugs and Drug Paraphernalia
  • Medicinal or Healthcare Products
  • Subscriptions or Digital Products
  • Tobacco and Related Products
  • Weapons, Ammunition and Explosives

Some of these are common sense, but it might surprise you that subscriptions and digital products are not allowed. Instagram shopping is primarily aimed at retailers who sell goods.

Once you’ve ensured your profile is squeaky clean you can go ahead and start the set up process.

If you haven’t already made your account into a business or creator account then you’ll need to do so before you have access to Instagram shopping tools.

Next you’ll need to link your profile to your Facebook business page. If you don’t already have one, you will need to set one up. You don’t have to keep your Facebook page active if the social platform doesn’t suit your business, but Instagram shopping is managed from the Facebook Business Suite, so it is essential to this process

From here, you can use Facebook’s Commerce Manager to set up your shop. Shops are made from Catalogues on Facebook.

First thing you’ll need to do is click ‘Add Shop’ and complete the set up process. Once you’ve done this, you can return to the Commerce Manager homepage and click ‘Add Catalogue’, Facebook will then guide you through the process of uploading or linking your products.

The following video by Lidia S. – Incoming Success on Youtube is a great introduction to Commerce Manager:

There’s one final step before you can set your Instagram Shop live, you’ll need to submit your account for review. There should be a clear button to do this once you’ve finished setting up your catalogue.

Once your account is approved, head back to your Instagram profile page, then click Settings in the menu. From here, you can complete the process of signing up for shopping following the guided instructions.

Tips for Getting The Most Out of Instagram Shopping

Use Product Tags in Your Lives

Hosting an Instagram Live can be a great way to launch a new product and garner some attention, but did you know you can also tag products in your lives? This means as soon as people are tempted to make a purchase (thanks to your fantastic live pitch!), they can simply click a direct link with very little effort.

Make Product Tags Clear and Easy to Click

Remember, phone screens are small. You can tag up to five products per photo on Instagram, so ensure they don’t overlap. While you’re at it, make sure all your links work!

Optimise Hashtags to Ensure Your Products Show Up In Search

When adding hashtags to shopping posts make sure you’re thinking about the kind of search terms people would use on your website. For example, you might want to detail:

  • The colour
  • The print (eg. leopard print, polkadot)
  • The style (eg. cottagecore, party dress)
  • Your USPs (eg. sale, small business)
  • The occasion (eg. gifts for mum, wedding guest)
  • The season (eg. Autumn fashion, holiday)
  • The product type (eg. hats, chocolate, stationery)
  • The trend (eg. Bridgerton, Emily In Paris)

You can also check out what hashtags are trending on the Instagram shopping page, like the #WomanOwned in the example above.

Make the Most of User Generated Content (With Permission)

Share posts from your customers with permission and add products tags for the items they are using. User generated content generally looks more natural and often creates interest in researching the products in the post.


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