There’s no way around it; Instagram is a potential gold mine when it comes to reaching new customers for your pet product company. No matter if you’re a brick + mortar shop or an online e-commerce pet business, Instagram is a great social media channel to use to promote your business and products.
There’s a lot to be considered when choosing the right social media channels for your pet business. Instagram is a great choice for pet product companies because you can easily sell your products in-app! But understanding the need to market your pet product company on Instagram and actually knowing how to do so are two entirely different animals (pun intended)!
So if you are a pet business that sells products (in-store or online) and would like to utilize Instagram to reach your goals, today is your lucky day! Keep reading to learn more about how you can use Instagram.
Your Quick Start Guide To Instagram
Instagram has been around for a while now, and most people are familiar with the platform, but we’re all busy and social media is typically pretty low on the priority list. Let’s get you up to speed.
In the Instagram app, the bottom menu holds (most of) the icons you need to get started on the app. The home button (shown as a house) is pretty straightforward. The home feed shows you posts that Instagram thinks you will like. At the top, you’ll also see Stories that you can look through. Clicking the home icon brings you back to your home page from anywhere else in the app. So if you get lost, just tap that house.
The search feature (shown as a magnifying glass) opens the explore page, which is basically just a collection of posts, Reels, and such that the Instagram algorithm thinks you will like. It will learn more about what you like to see the more that you use the app. When really well-curated and tailored to you, the explore section can become a really useful tool to find new pet parents to interact with. Once you tap the actual search bar at the top of the explore page, you have the ability to search for hashtags, locations, accounts, etc.
Past the search button, you have the Reels icon in the center. Reels is similar to TikTok and allows you to create and post short little videos for fun or promotional purposes. If you’re brand new to Instagram and not ready to take on Reels, no worries. If you’re feeling ready to add this game-changing feature to your Instagram strategy, check out my blog on creating killer Reels. And no – no video editing experience is required!
Next, we have the shopping bag icon which leads us to, you guessed it, shops. We will dive into this section shortly, but for now, just know that that icon will take you to the homepage for shops. Here you can find products you like, have purchased, or are hanging out in your cart, ready to be purchased.
And finally, we have your profile photo. That last icon is you and will just take you to your profile. Your profile is super important. Think of it like your website’s home page. Visitors to your Instagram profile should immediately know who you are (aka who your company is), what you sell, and who you sell it to.
Having a well thought out profile is vital to grab the attention of new potential customers. This means that you want to make sure to have:
- A profile photo that matches your branding + can quickly reveal that the profile is your company’s
- The name section filled out with your company name but most importantly, with a keyword that makes your profile searchable in the Instagram app
- A quick bio that reveals who you are, what you sell, and who you sell to
- A call to action telling visitors why they want to click on the link in your bio
- A strategic link in your bio
- Some highlights to give visitors a quick way to digest your content
Now, let’s get into the menu at the top of the Instagram app. On the home page, you’ll find some icons hanging out at the top of the app. The plus sign is where you’ll want to create a new post. The heart icon is your notification screen where you can see likes, comments, and follows. The messaging icon is the last icon on the top menu. It’s where you can access your direct messages.
Pro-Tip: Check your messaging icon frequently because you may have what’s called Message Requests lurking in there. These are messages that are sent from someone you haven’t communicated with before. These messages don’t show up as a notification and need to be approved before you can respond to them.
Instagram Tips For Your Pet Product Company
Tip #1: Get in Shops!
No surprise here; the best place to start is to get your online products in an Instagram shop. The Instagram shopping feature is a great way to make shopping from your company really stinkin’ easy.
If you’re not quite ready to set up the Instagram shop feature, you want to make sure that you’re using the link in your bio as the place to go for your customer’s shopping needs. But think about it, having your customers click the link in your bio is an extra step that may make the difference between whether or not you get the sale. More steps = more opportunities for them to change their mind.
Listing products in an Instagram shop is relatively straightforward but requires some back-end setup first. Here are the steps:
Step 1: Have an Instagram account.
Step 2: Create a Facebook Business page.
Step 3: Connect your Instagram account to your Facebook Business page. This can be done inside Facebook or Instagram.
Step 4: Convert your Instagram account to a professional account.
Step 5: Create a product catalog on Facebook. (This has to be done on Facebook Business Manager)
Have trouble along the way? Both Instagram and Facebook have countless resources to help make the setup process run smoothly.
Creating your product catalog is not typically time-consuming because Facebook allows for countless integrations between platforms like Shopify and WordPress. If you already have an e-commerce website set up, you can sync Facebook with your website and have an up-to-date product catalog on Facebook and Instagram without having to dedicate a lot of time and energy into building out a full product catalog. Building from scratch takes a lot more work as you’ll need to add images, descriptions, and prices.
If you do not sell products online, an Instagram shop doesn’t make sense for you, but that doesn’t mean Instagram is not the right social media platform for your business. Let’s look at some other great features.
Tip #2: Get in Guides
Instagram Guides are a great but underutilized feature of Instagram. Guides are perfect for compiling old posts and directing customers to them all in one spot. And Guides are amazing for those that have already nailed down tip #1 above because you can also compile your products into a Guide! If you’re unfamiliar with Instagram Guides, check out my guide to guides.
For your business type, the obvious best way to use the Instagram Guides feature is to create product Guides that your customers can shop from. Think about ways that you can divvy up your products into different Guides. Create Guides featuring your pet products in various themes like pet holiday gift guides, new puppy starter kit guides, or summertime must-haves. The ultimate goal is to package and showcase several products at once, creating interest and driving sales.
If you don’t sell online products, don’t stress. Guides can still be very useful. As a local brick + mortar business, you can create a Guide that is location-specific. Something like “Seattle Winter Adventures” or “Denver Pet Friendly Restaurants” and put together a Guide of some fun local places. Featuring these locations will help link back to your Instagram page and cement your place in the community online and IRL (in real life).
Tip #3: Get Your Hashtags Right
Think of hashtags as the SEO of Instagram. Hashtags help your audience know what your posts are about, and they also help your post reach the right people in the first place. Your pet business should be using hashtags that capture the attention of your ideal customer.
You can do some hashtag research in the search bar in the Instagram app. Start with a basic search for something like “cat toys” and narrow it down from there. Be sure to pay attention to the number of posts. This number reveals how many posts include this particular hashtag. Hashtags with a small number of posts will likely get no traffic and huge hashtags are overcrowded and are easy to get lost in. Also, note the types of posts on the tags and whether or not they’re relevant to your business.
Tip #4: Get User-Generated Content
Part of what makes pet product companies different than any other pet business I work with is the ability to grab and use user-generated content on social media.
User-generated content is content (aka posts, Stories, Reels, etc.) that your customer creates and then posts. They’ve maybe tagged you or mentioned you in the post, and you can now repost that content to your own feed in order to showcase your products. User-generated content can be incredibly powerful because it serves as a form of social-proof. You’re able to show that 1) other people buy your product(s) and 2) they enjoy the product(s) so much that they post about it. This gives your customers an opportunity to really see themselves buying and using your product(s).
A lot of customers will post about your product(s) on their own, but if you want to make sure to get some user-generated content going, don’t be afraid to ask for it! A simple “don’t forget to tag us” or even providing an incentive like a discount can go a really long way!
There are so many amazing pet products out there, it can often feel like you’re just drowning in them all. How will new customers ever find you? If you’ve decided to go all in on Instagram for your pet product business, do not sleep on the tips above. These tips are really going to help you establish yourself and set yourself apart from the pack!
Using Instagram for your pet product company? What tips have you found really helpful to meet, connect with, and sell to new customers? Let me know in the comments!