How to Sell Shit on Instagram

Monday, August 15, 2016 | By Tim Stoddart

how to sell shit on instagram

how to sell shit on instagram

The point is to sell shit.

I see way too many people worrying about their following or the amount of likes they get on pictures. That’s ridiculous.

Instagram is a great marketing tool, but with Instagram, too many people are not executing properly. We have to be careful not to lose focus.  It has a great capability to grow your audience, grow your brand and network with your community. But you have to cross your T’s and dot your I’s.

I would argue that most business owners miss the mark with their Instagram marketing because they fail to understand the context of the platform. In the case of Instagram, there are great opportunities to create actual transactions of a product or service. Instagram converts very well and people become emotionally invested in brands through the platform.

I’m all about selling shit, so let’s get into some specific technical advice that will transform your Instagram into a product selling machine.

1 – Highlight the Product

Common sense right? You would be amazed on the amount of companies that are not understanding the connection between the content they post and the amount of products they sell.

It is important to have nice pictures. Contrast, background images, and color are all important. People with a deeper understanding of photography could give a proper lesson on the art of photography. The point I am making is that we need to be mindful of losing the product in a complex image or color scheme.

Two great companies I see who have perfected this are Daniel Wellington and Black Milk Clothing.

Daniel Wellington manufactures and sells minimalist watch designs. Their Instagram account is very classy, bright and inviting. But Daniel Wellington always puts the product as the focal point of their images.

It’s not overly complex or creative. These are clean and simple pictures that highlight a clean and simple watch. It’s not rocket science, but I assure you Daniel Wellington is selling lots of watches through their Instagram account. In fact, I bought a Daniel Wellington watch through Instagram.

Moreover, this weekend I was attending a wedding in Chicago. I had a conversation with a couple on a balcony and I noticed he was wearing a Daniel Wellington. He told me that he saw it on Instagram and knew he needed to have it.

Notice how they pay attention to product placement even when the product is not the focal point of the image.

Every picture tells a story. (Photo via @sinceigotacamera) #DanielWellington

A photo posted by Daniel Wellington (@danielwellington) on


Second is Black Milk Clothing. They do an amazing job because they have an opposite design approach as Daniel Wellington. They sell spandex leggings with super busy and unique designs. Their models are generally punk rock looking with different hair colors and edginess. Yet, Black Milk knows not to lose the product in the busyness of the designs.

These two Instagram accounts are perfect examples of great product photography. Take notes.

No matter what the product or the scheme or the message, there is always a way for a company to put the product first and tell great stories through Instagram.

2 – Customize Your Quote Pictures

Quote pics are an easy and effective way to build your Instagram following. Our society is hungry for motivation and Instagram keeps their plates full.

It is tempting for brands to screen shot some random quote pic and repost it as their own. The instant gratification that comes from the swell of likes can give the impression that we are succeeding. I beg of you to be mindful of this trap and avoid it like a hot flame.

Quote pics are an opportunity for your following to understand your message, your brand, and your core values.

Who are you? What do you want to say to the world and most importantly, what is your voice?

This is a great chance to be your authentic self. Find a niche or a watermark so that your pics will be instantly recognized. Experiment with different colors that may set you apart. Most importantly, be consistent.

You are not looking for creativity points here. Let’s all remember that the most recognized brand in the world is a swoosh mark with three simple words.

A good example of this is the Instagram account Millionaire Mentor. If you scroll through his account you will notice the text, the logo, and the feel are all branded to give a good vibe.

Tag someone who loves the sport????✔️ #hustlesunday #millionairementor | @jason__stone ????

A photo posted by Millionaire Mentor (@millionaire_mentor) on

The consistency of the brand message pays dividends. When people are mindlessly scrolling through their Instagram feeds, they will always stop at a picture that they recognize. They are emotionally invested in the message and the brand. This is what leads to email signups or hits to a website. Most importantly, this is what leads to sales!

3 – Provide Value With Videos

I have been bullish in my suggestions to create video content.

Our societies attention span is becoming shorter and shorter. Videos are so important, and when it comes to brand participation, providing value through video will kill it.

Now pay attention. It is important to be providing value with your videos. What does this mean?

It means give your audience something they can use. If you are selling clothes, make a quick video of an outfit they can put together. If you are selling a food service, give them a recipe to make a healthy meal in under one minute. If you are selling real estate, maybe give them some advice that can increase a homeowner’s property value.

This is real meta, but it’s extremely important.

Your value will create awareness. Your repeated value will create trust. Your trust will create brand. Your brand will create profit.

It is not an overnight process, but with patience, commitment and attention to detail, your Instagram videos could be the main driving factor towards selling your product.

Remember, the point is to sell shit.

I want you to start to despise the attention and the instant gratification. I want you to execute.

This is not about pretending like you know Instagram marketing or comparing who has more followers with your friends. This is about executing on a plan that will make money.

If your goal is to feel pretty to get compliments, then feel free to post selfies. There’s nothing wrong with that.

But if your goal is to build an actual business based on profit, longevity, and overall value, then you need to come up with a plan and execute that plan.

I see way too many people fall into the trap of grandiosity. Don’t be delusional. Know your purpose, know your intent and make it happen.

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