Here's how monetizing Instagram currently works:
As a partner with these platforms (you must be a part of the network already), you can search for and create a list of the products that are in the pic, then migrate the info over via the app which transitions to your Instagram feed, automatically dropping in the info on how to shop the look.
In learning more about this process and experimenting with it, I appreciate the effort being made to turn Instagram into a revenue stream, but thought I'd share the challenged that I've encountered along the way:
1) All of Your Items Need to Be New
For me, this was the biggest challenge with finding for items to link to that I was wearing in my personal style posts. Of course I could link to product in other kinds of photos, but it seems that personal style works well with this concept. My personal style can involve a mix of vintage, off-retailer finds (like from T.J.Maxx or Marshalls), and new items, and in this kind of scenario I'd want to identify all items in my look, not just one or two as if feels like a waste of time for the follower.
I don't want to encourage constant fashion consumption, but if I can only link to the new items to appear with my Instagram post, then over time it may alter what I wear when I take and post these photos, which seems kind of nuts.
2) Your Network Works with the Brands You Wear & Retailers You Shop
Even if everything you have on is brand spanking new, there's a chance that you may not be able to find that particular product within the platform that you use to add into your assortment of products.
Even worse, the program that you use may not have that brand or retailer as an affiliate in its program, so there's no way you can add the item in. I don't know about you, but as much as I appreciate the effort for someone to find a “similar item” when the original one doesn't exist, I don't want that replacement – I want the original! know some bloggers who employ the strategy of featuring companies on the blog that are affiliates in their network, which could be echoed in this scenario with monetizing an Instagram post as well.
3) It Takes a While To Create a Post
Call me old school, but I feel most at peace (and productive) when I have a BIG monitor in front of me. I just hate my hunched over posture and the added time it takes me to type on my phone, since the post can't be created on the computer and then exported to Instagram. The time it takes to edit a pic and search for the items can take some time, so I've tried to pre-search for the items on my computer in order to prevent slowly typing in the product name on my phone.
4) Do Followers Want to Leave Instagram?
Trying to think about this from the perspective of someone who likes to scroll, and scroll, and scroll in my feed, sometimes I just don't like to ever leave Instagram, even with the possibility of checking out a product that I like. If it's something I really, really want, and having an email deposited with a link to buy it may occasionally deter me away.
5) Do People Really Click and Buy, or Just Explore?
When it comes to the world wide web, as soon as something starts to become a pain in the butt, aka there are too many steps involved, people drop out. This can pertain to creating a monetized Instagram post, and of course, for followers to get to the part of actually buying something.
From the follower's perspective they must: sign up, like your post, get the email, open the email, find the product in it, click on it, and go through the check out process. Too much?
Or are people getting to the point of looking at the products in the email and then turning away? I don't have stats on shopping and social media, but I get the impression that based on the newness of incorporating shopping into Instagram, it can't be that high…
Have you tried the current way to monetize Instagram? Have you “liked” and eventually bought anything on a post?
Image credit: Shutterstock.com