Instagram has changed the way many collectors shop for art. Collectors have been scrolling Instagram looking for the newest behind-the-scenes posts from their favorite artists. Now, Instagram wants to help you turn them into loyal collectors.
Instagram recently announced it is focusing on shopping. 81% of people use Instagram to research products they want to buy. It makes sense that Instagram wants to turn them into buyers.
So, you might be wondering, how do you turn your Instagram Feed into a free online shop?
Artists can sell their art on Instagram with an online shop that can be accessed directly on their Instagram profile. To access these features, you must have a business account, a linked Facebook business page, and a shop catalog to sync. You can create an item catalog directly in Facebook Commerce Manager, or sync items from your own online shop.
Step One: Convert Your Instagram to a Business Account
If you haven’t already done so, turn your Art Instagram into a Business Account. If you haven’t already done so, separate and archive your personal posts from your art profile. Next:
- Go to your profile and tap in the upper right corner.
- Tap Settings.
- Tap Account.
- Tap Switch to Professional Account.
- Tap Continue.
- Select a Category for your business and tap Done.
- Tap OK to confirm.
- Tap Business.
Congrats, you have just created your Art Business Account on Instagram. In addition to using the shopping features, you will also have access to the analytics features, which is very helpful in learning what posts did well, and when your audience is most active on the platform.
Step Two: Connect Your Business Account to a Facebook Business Page
Now that your business account is set up, it’s time to connect it to a Facebook Business Page.
It’s completely understandable that some people may be resistant to Facebook. But keep in mind, if you have an Instagram account, you’re already on Facebook’s platform – they own IG. So, you might as well benefit from the tools
To make the connection:
- Tap or your profile picture in the bottom right to go to your profile.
- Tap in the top right, then tap Settings.
- Tap Account.
- Tap Sharing to Other Apps.
- Tap Facebook and enter your Facebook login info.
- Tap Continue, then tap Yes, Finish Setup.
If you do not already have a Facebook Business Page, you will be prompted to set one up. Follow the prompts to do so.
Bravo, you are making good progress. Aside from being on your way to setting up your shoppable profile, once your accounts are connected, you can automatically schedule your posts using schedulers like Later, Buffer, Planoly, and Facebook’s Business Suite. Woot, Woot!
Step Three: Access Your Facebook Business Suite
Your Facebook Business Suite is like mission control for your Instagram and Facebook Pages. Here, you can respond to comments on both Instagram and Facebook, set up your shopping item catalog, and even schedule your posts.
While you are logged into your Facebook account, access your Business Suite Here: business.facebook.com
Step Four: Create or Upload Your Art Product Catalog
At this point, you have two choices. You can create a product catalog directly within the Facebook Business Suite. Alternatively, you can sync your product catalog from one of several partnering e-commerce platforms.
Setting Up Directly with Facebook vs. Partnering E-Commerce Platform
The benefit of setting up through the Business Suite is that you can manage your art products directly within the Facebook platform. It is more beneficial for Facebook and Instagram when you partner directly with them, and therefore, it seems more likely they will approve your shop (there is no independent way to confirm this.)
Another benefit of using the Business Suite is the cost. Most of the partnering platforms charge a monthly fee. There is one exception that stands out: SquareUp.com. SquareUp is a payment processing platform that purchased Weebly, the website builder. It is possible to use the SquareUp platform to sync to your Facebook catalog, although it is somewhat clunky to get it synced.
The benefit of setting up on a Partnering Platform is having some autonomy from the Facebook and Instagram Social Media Machine. Between uploading the photographs, writing the item descriptions, and entering the pricing, it takes a lot of time and effort to set up a catalog of art items for sale. Having your items hosted on a partnering platform ensures that you can still keep your online shop up and running if Facebook should shut down or suspend your account for some reason.
How to Set Up Through Facebook Business Suite
First, you must create a catalog. You can have more than one catalog, but it is recommended to keep it simple.
Create a New Catalog
- Go to your Business Manager and Click on the Shopping Cart on the left side menu. This will take you to your Commerce Manager.
- Start creating your catalog:
- If this will be your first catalog, click Get Started. Select Create a Catalog and then click Get Started.
- If you already have at least one catalog, you’ll see all your catalogs listed. Select + Add Catalog to create a new one.
- Select the type of inventory sell and click Next.
- Select Upload Product Info if you plan to add items yourself in Commerce Manager.
- Select the Business Manager account that your catalog belongs to. This unlocks more ways to use your catalog than selecting a personal account and enables you to assign other people permission to work on the catalog.
- Enter a name for your catalog.
- Click Create.
Congrats! You’ve created a new catalog. Now you will need to add items (pieces of art for sale). It is recommended that you add 6 – 10 items to your catalog before you submit your account for approval for Instagram Shopping.
Add Items to Your Catalog
- Go to Commerce Manager and select your catalog.
- Open the Catalog tab and go to Items.
- Select Add Items. If a dropdown appears, select Add One Item. Otherwise, select Manual followed by Next.
- Add an image of your item. Images must be at least 500 x 500 pixels, in JPEG or PNG format and a maximum of 8 MB.
- Enter a name, description and other details for your item. Provide as much information as possible to help customers make a purchase decision. If you see an Advanced toggle in the top-right corner, select it to access more fields. If you don’t see this toggle, all available fields are already displayed.
- If you are selling a piece of art that comes in more than one size or color, use the Variants feature. This is especially helpful for selling prints, art jewelry, or production work. You can also choose to add this item as a variant of another item in your catalog.
- Select Finish to save the item in your catalog. To add more items, select Add Another Item and repeat these steps.
How to Set Up Through a Partnering E-Comerce Platform
First, you’ll need to select a partnering e-commerce platform. There are many, but we recommend Squareup.com because you can create an item catalog and sync it to Instagram entirely for free. Squareup.com also offers a free website (not needed for Instagram Shopping) as well as invoicing and payment processing.
To open a Squareup.com account, you’ll need to apply. SquareUp is much like a bank, so you’ll need to provide the same type of information necessary to open a bank account. Once your account is approved, you can create a website and item catalog.
Whichever partner platform you choose, follow the steps on their website to connect your account with Facebook. If you chose SquareUp, look for the link on the website building page. It will prompt you to connect to Facebook to upload your catalog.
Once your integration is set up, you can see the latest syncs from your partner platform in Commerce Manager under Catalog > Data Sources. You can also view your products in the Items tab.
Remember that you’ll need to go to your partner platform to actually edit your items. Your updated product information will then automatically sync to your catalog in Commerce Manager. Don’t edit products directly in Commerce Manager. This is because any manual changes you’ve made will be overwritten the next time we receive a sync from your partner platform.
Step 5: Submit Your Shop For Review
Now that you have an item catalog set up, it’s time to ask Instagram to approve your shop.
Keep in mind that it’s completely up to Instagram whether they will approve your shop. It is also possible to be approved for a Facebook Shop (on your Facebook Business Page) and not an Instagram Shop.
They consider the appropriateness of the items you are selling, your trustworthiness, and your account history. They do not necessarily explain the denial and it is very difficult to get a hold of anyone to help, so make sure you review your items very carefully to make sure they meet community guidelines before you submit your shop for approval.
To Submit Your Shop for Approval:
- Go to your business’s Instagram profile and tap.
- Select “Settings”
- Sign up for shopping.
- Follow the steps to submit your account for review.
- Visit “Shopping” in your “Settings” at any time to check your status.
The review of your shop can take several days, to several weeks.
What To Do When Your Shop Is Approved
Congrats! Your shop is approved! Now what?
Your items will not automatically appear in your Facebook and/or Instagram feeds. You need to log in to your Business Manager and publish each item you would like to appear on each platform.
Publish to Instagram
Turn on Shopping Feature:
Once your account is approved you can turn on Shopping features. Note: If you don’t see Shopping in your Settings, your account is probably still under review or it hasn’t been approved for Instagram Shopping.
- Go to your business’s Instagram profile and tap
- Select “Settings”
- Tap “Business” then tap “Shopping”
- Select the “Product Catalog” you want to connect to your account.
- Select “Done”
Manage and Add Products to Your Shop:
- In the app, click “View Shop”
- Select the Humburger menu, then tap “manage products”
- You will see a list of all the items in your catalog. Tap “add” on all the items you want added to your Instagram Sop
- Select “Done”
Publish to Facebook
A little side benefit of an Instagram shop is that you can also publish a shop to your Facebook Business Page. (Although, you don’t have to!) But if you do, here’s how:
- Go to Your Facebook Business Page
- Follow the prompts to customize the look and feel of your shop
- Select “Publish”
Tag Your Items In your Instagram Post
The moment has finally arrived! Tagging your items is what makes shoppable posts on Instagram so unique. As you post images of your items being created or used, you can tag your art! This alerts your followers that it is avalable for sale.
You can tag photos, carousels, videos and stories. But be careful – you don’t want every post you make to be a shoppable post. That can be a bit off putting and salesy. But do tag regularly to let your followers know where they can purchase.
- Tap and toggle to Post.
- Select a photo or video and add a caption, effects and filters. Tap Next.
- Tap Tag Products. …
- Search for the products you want to tag, then select them as they appear in the search box.
- Tap Done.
- Tap Share.
Time for a happy dance! Congrats on getting your shop set up for tagging on Instagram. Now that you’ve got a shop, make sure to check out this article on how to manage your Instagram without it taking over your life.