June 25, 2018 | 14 Minute Read
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How to Market Retail & Ecommerce on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook


Today, building a social media presence for your business isn’t a nice-to-have—it’s a must-have. Our recent Gen Z report showed that the newest generation of shoppers cite social media as their lead media influencer on purchase decisions. And more than half of this generation use Facebook and Instagram several times a day. It’s not just the young generations either—nearly 80% of 30-49 year olds and 64% of 50-64 year olds in the US use some form of social media.

If you’re reading this, you probably know this already, but need some help getting started. This guide will walk you through the basics of setting up a presence on three of the most popular social networks for retail and ecommerce.


How to Market on Facebook

Setting it Up

Chances are, you have a personal profile on Facebook. For your business though, you need to create a Facebook Page. Setting up a Facebook Page is free, and easy. Simply click on the Create a Page button and follow the steps.

A few tips to keep in mind as you go through the setup process:

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  • Choose the name for your page wisely – It should match your company name, as long as it’s available. If it’s not available, take a moment to think about an alternative that you can live with for the long term. It’s usually possible to change it later, but often difficult and time consuming.
  • Choose high quality images for your Profile and Cover pictures – Your Profile picture (smaller square in the left of the example below) is what is shown next your updates in your fans’ News Feed, so it should represent your company. Your Cover photo sets the scene for your page. It’s best to update your cover photo often – change it to showcase seasonal offers, new product launches, special promotions, etc. If you don’t have any images of your own, there are several sites with stock photos sized specifically for Facebook. Search on “Facebook cover photos” for options.

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  • Write an engaging description – This is your chance to tell people what you’re about, so make it interesting!
  • Consider adding a CTA button – It can encourage fans to call you, download something, watch a video, or other similar actions. For example, if your cover photo is showcasing a new product, you could add a “Learn More” button that goes to the product detail page on your site.


Building it Out

Setting up your Facebook Page is easy. Figuring out what to put on it? Not so much. Here are 5 ways to win fans and keep them engaged:

1. Focus on quality over quantity.

According to HubSpot, companies with less than 10,000 followers that posted more than 60 times a month received 60% fewer clicks per post than those who posted five times or fewer. It’s not about how often you post, but how interesting your content is.

2. Mix it up.

Be sure to post photos and videos along with your text/link updates. To do this, you can either click the “Share a photo or video” button below the blank post, or begin typing your post and click the camera button on the left side. Also, try to mix up the content itself – share special promotions and product info, as well as interesting news, just-for-fun posts, company culture content, or whatever else you can think of.

3. Encourage engagement.

Ask questions, host informal surveys, run contests…anything that will get fans talking on your page and sharing with others is a great way to fuel growth.

4. Be responsive.

Make sure you’re monitoring your page and responding to comments, questions, or concerns quickly. This gives you the opportunity to showcase your customer service and could even earn you a green badge from Facebook saying you’re “very responsive”.

5. Consider adding Facebook Shop.

This allows you to load your catalog to Facebook so that fans can shop right from your Facebook Page. Check with your website platform – many of them have Facebook Shop integrations that make this simple to implement.


Promoting It

Lots of fans and engagement is the ultimate goal of your Facebook Page, so getting the word out and driving people to it is a critical step. Here are several ways to promote your Page:

  • Click on the Promote button in the left-hand nav of your Facebook Page to share your page with your Facebook friends
  • Encourage employees to share the page with their friends
  • Include a link to your page in email signatures
  • Include a link to your page in email marketing campaigns
  • Add Facebook buttons to your site (most website platforms have a widget or plugin that makes this easy to do), including:
    • A button linking to your Facebook Page
    • Facebook Follow button so that people can become a fan of your page from your website with just one click
    • Share buttons on product pages so customers can share their purchases with friends
  • Promote the page via other social media channels


How to Market on Instagram

Setting it Up

Getting started on Instagram takes as little as five minutes. Here are the steps, taken directly from Business.Instagram.com:

Step 1: Download and launch the app

Download the Instagram app for iOS from the App Store, Android from Google Play store, or Windows Phone from the Windows Phone Store. Once the app is installed on your mobile phone, tap to open it.

Step 2: Let people know who you are

Tap Sign Up, then enter your email address and tap Next, or tap Log in with Facebook to sign up with your Facebook account.

Step 3: Set up a free business profile

Within the app, find settings, then scroll down to Switch to Business Account. Once you have a business account, you can add in pertinent business information like store hours, business address, or a phone number.

But don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the sign-up process. Make sure you have these things together ahead of time to ensure that your Instagram account starts off on the right foot.

  1. Your photo. Using your logo here is a best practice. If you have a great photo of your product in action, that’s an option, too, and a good way explain who you are through imagery (which is, of course, what Instagram is all about).
  2. Your bio. You have 150 characters here – make the most of them! Appeal to your audience and leave space for a call to action and a link.
  3. Your link. This is the only link you get, as your posts can’t include links. Rather than your home page, consider linking directly to a product category page. If you’re tight on space, shorten your link with a URL shortener like bit.ly.

Here’s a good example from Madewell:

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Building it Out

Instagram is visually driven, so posting beautiful product shots is a great start and should be a primary focus. But don’t stop there, or you’ll risk boring, or worse, annoying your fans. Follow these tips to create an Insta that fans will enjoy following:

  • Add some personality. Don’t be afraid to share a little bit about yourself and add some human touches to your account. It doesn’t have to be pictures of you—it could be photos of your office space, or the coffee you’re having at your favorite spot around the corner from your store—anything that reminds fans that you’re more than a logo and a product catalog.
  • Have fun. See that picture of the goats in the Glossier example below? It has nothing to do with makeup, but it’s really cute. And it got more than 20K likes and 129 comments. A post that makes someone smile or laugh goes a long way toward building loyal fans.
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  • Tap into their emotions. Motivational or inspirational posts always perform well. People love to tag their friends with these kinds of messages, which helps broaden your exposure. Here’s an example from Free People:
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  • Include video. Watches. Video. Add some interest to your profile by adding video clips. To add or create a new video, tap the + at the bottom of Instagram and either tap Library (to upload an existing video) or tap Video (to create a new video). Per Instagram rules, keep it under 60 seconds.
  • Aim for a consistent visual theme. Have a key brand color, or specific photography style that you use in your marketing? Use it on Instagram too. Glossier does this well, weaving their famous pink hue throughout:
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  • Make it shoppable. Instagram recently rolled out the ability to create shoppable posts, where you can tag products in the posts and users can tap to learn more and then tap Shop Now to buy from your site. Note that before you can enable this, your business profile must be connected to a Facebook catalog.Social Media Networking


  • Use your bio section. Running a special promotion, or want to feature a product? Use your bio to add a link where fans can get more information. Here’s an example from J. Crew:Social Media Networking


  • Don’t be afraid to explore the different tools that Instagram offers. Play around with adding text and stickers to photos (available at the top of the screen once you take a photo), try Boomerang, or experiment with creating Stories.  


Promoting It

Your Instagram feed looks beautiful! Now you just need some fans who think so, too. Here’s how to grow your numbers:

  • Add Instagram buttons to your site. Just like with Facebook, be sure to add the Instagram icon to your website, and share buttons to your product pages.


  • Pair up with influencers. Influencers are popular Instagrammers in your specific industry that have a strong following. Pairing up with these influencers can expose your brand to new audiences and thereby grow your Instagram. Influencers don’t need to have millions of followers – just a good bit more than you and strong engagement (lots of comments and conversation). You can find influencers by searching your own fan list, doing a hashtag search on Instagram (just be sure to keep it specific to narrow down your list), or using a service like BuzzSumo or Ninja Outreach.


  • Use hashtags. Hashtags are a way of categorizing your posts so that others can find them. They can attract new followers and increase engagement. If someone is interested in organic food and they follow the #organicfood hashtag, anything you post using that hashtag will be seen by them. And if they like what you’re posting, you’ll win a new follower. For the best results, keep your hashtags specific, as they will be more likely to attract followers who are highly interested in your content. To determine your hashtags try: looking at what hashtags your competitors are using and/or typing some ideas into Instagram’s search box. Take a look at the Warby Parker example below, where they use the #IndependentBookstoreDay hashtag to reach bookworms (who might also need some cool new glasses).

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How to Market on Pinterest

Setting it Up

As with Facebook and Instagram, you want to make sure you set up a Pinterest Business Account. If you’ve been operating a personal Pinterest account that you want to transfer over to a Business Account, you can do that during the sign-up process.

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Make sure to complete your Profile. Use your logo for your picture, write a short and sweet description about your business, and include a link to your website.


Building it Out
Your Board

Once you’ve signed up, you need to create your first Board, which is a collection of Pins. Every board should have a theme or topic.

  • Tip: Start by matching your board topics to your website categories. Then, think about other topics that your audiences are interested in. Are your customers foodies? Think about a food-related board. Or, if you’re Sony, create a “Geeky/Tech Fun” board for your technophile customers.

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  • Tip: Keep things fresh by adding new boards for seasons and special events.


Your Pins

Once you have your first Board topic set, start filling it up with pins. Pins are image-based bookmarks that you collect and that relate to the specific board topic. Each pin links back to the site where it came from. You can add pins by clicking the Add a Pin button on the Board you want to add it to, or by clicking the + button at the top of your feed. Tips for optimizing your pins:

  • A good way to start is to repurpose images you already have. Check out this Pinterest blog post for more information on how to do that.
  • Try a free layout tool like Canva to help you easily build graphics that look great and adhere to Pinterest’s specs.
  • Make sure you fill out the description so followers don’t have to guess what the pin is about.
  • Use hashtags to make your content more discoverable. Do a keyword search on Pinterest to identify pertinent and related hashtags.
  • Check out Pinterest’s Pinsights for Business for lots of cool stats and insights to help you get the most from your account.
  • Add Rich Pins to your account, specifically Product Pins. Product Pins allow you to include more information along with the pin, such as price, availability, and where to purchase.

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  • Even better, add Buyable Pins, which lets people buy your products without even leaving Pinterest. Check with your ecommerce platform, as only some support this feature, including Shopify, BigCommerce, and Magento.

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Promoting It

Ready to introduce your Pinterest account to the world? Follow these strategies to build your followers:

  • Add the Pinterest icon to your site, with a link to your Pinterest account.
  • Add the Save It button to your site so people can easily pin your content to their boards. Here are instructions for how to do this on a variety of different platforms.
  • Find a group board in your niche and become a contributor. Check out Pingroupie for finding group boards.
  • Engage with followers and respond to their comments on your pins. Comment on your followers’ pins, too.
  • Follow influencers and other brands in your space, both to learn from their strategies and to make connections and partnerships.


Parting Thoughts

Managing Your Time

Keeping track of your content across these 3 networks can get out of hand. To stay organized (and keep your sanity), put together an Editorial Calendar to plan at least a month’s worth of content ahead of time. Set goals for how often you want to post on each network, then build out a spreadsheet detailing date, time, text to post, URL, image, notes, and anything else you might want to keep track of. If you search online for “social media editorial calendar”, you’ll find lots of tips and templates to try out.

You can also try a social media management platform, like HootSuite, to help you manage all of your posting, scheduling, and reporting from one place.


Measuring Everything

It goes without saying that you’ll want to measure the results of all your hard work. Each network has its own reporting tool: Facebook Insights, Instagram Insights, and Pinterest Analytics.

For each, you’ll want to track the level of growth (number of fans or followers), engagement (likes, comments, shares, saves, or other actions taken) and if you’ve enabled the shopping features, sales. You’ll also want to dive into the post details to see which ones performed well, so you can use a similar approach in future posts to maximize engagement.


You Got This

The biggest hurdle is getting started. Once you’re up and running, have fun with it! Experiment, test, think outside the box. Some things will fail, but many more will succeed. #winning