From 3 to 195 Orders by Promoting Our Dropshipping Store with Instagram Shoutouts
Sometimes it’s pretty hard to say in advance what promotion channel will work for your business, isn’t it? Now that you are puzzling over what strategy to choose, let us draw your attention to an immensely powerful SMM method – shoutouts on Instagram. If you’ve been wondering how to run dropshipping on Instagram easily and efficiently, keep reading!
Study this notable example of a smart SMM strategy of promoting dropshipping on Instagram! This project brought us 195 orders and $2,427 in just 1 month (with only 3 monthly orders being normal just a couple of months before).
A few words about the project:
“Seven Kingdoms Mart” was a WordPress store based on the AliDropship plugin. It offered a wide range of Game of Thrones related stuff: costumes, gadget & computer accessories, T-shirts, other clothing, gifts, posters, jewelry, etc.
Disclaimer: This particular store was mostly used as an experimental playground to test, evaluate, and improve various selling techniques and online management tools. As of now, this store is inactive – we have stopped using it for ethical and legal reasons, and we strongly advise all our readers and clients to avoid selling branded/copyrighted items. Still, feel free to follow the promotional algorithm we’re describing in this case study!
We waited until fan interest reached its peak, just before the beginning of the new season – and we used another huge bomb of recent years – Instagram – to promote the dropshipping site. And there was an explosion.
Here’s the formula of our detonation mixture. Try to cook it yourself:
We used several promotion channels including PPC and on-page SEO. Since the niche is perfect for visual presentation, we were primarily focused on Instagram. Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest were also involved, but just as an addition.
Follow these steps if you want to boost your sales:
#1 Create an Instagram account for your dropshipping business and fill it with product posts and entertaining materials. Don’t forget to add calls-to-action, hashtags and enticing captions.
#2 Use Instagram search to find other niche related accounts with the highest possible number of subscribers.
#3 Contact the owners of these accounts via Direct mail, ask if they publish paid shoutouts and discuss the details.
#4 Make the payment and provide the materials for shoutout: a product image, a link to the product page, a short caption and hashtags. Wait until your shoutout begins.
#5 Duplicate the post in your store’s Instagram account. Answer comments and questions about the product, and advise where to buy it.
#6 Watch your number of subscribers grow and the curve of social traffic rise in Google Analytics.
Not as complicated as you thought, is it?
And this is how we followed these 6 steps promoting dropshipping on Instagram:
Step 1: Create an account on Instagram
We opened the website’s account on Instagram and filled it with primary content before starting the promotion.
The content was as follows:
We made a mix of product (commercial) and entertaining (neutral) posts with neutral ones prevailing. They included memorable movie shots, actors’ photos, quotes, series related humor, de-motivators, etc. Photo captions contained calls-to-action, links to the store and popular relevant hashtags to grow the reach.
Example: “Like if you find it cool! Love Game of Thrones? Visit us! #gameofthrones #gameofthronesfamily #gameofthronesfan”.
Product posts contain a merchandise image, its name and price, a call-to-action (“check out the site”, “ask us for more merch”, “tag a friend”, etc.), a note about free shipment and a note that there’s an active link in the bio leading to the product page.
Example: “Game of Thrones Bracelet for only $5.99 (FREE shipping worldwide!) Isn’t it cool? Check out [site name] for more deals like that! Ask us for more merch. Active link in BIO. #gameofthrones #gameofthronesfamily #gameofthroneshbo #gameofthronesfanart #gameofthronesfan #gameofthronesmemes #gameofthronesfans #gameofthronesmarathon #gameofthronestour #gameofthronesaddict”.
Step 2: Find related accounts
We found numerous Game of Thrones related accounts via an Instagram search and followed the biggest ones with most active subscribers (our target audience). We entered keywords such as “Game of Thrones” or “GOT” into the search field and examined the results. Unfortunately, Instagram does not indicate the number of subscribers to the accounts listed in search results, so we had to visit each one to see the number. Be ready to spend some time doing this.
Instagram is choke-full of Game of Thrones addicts, so the list of fan communities is endless. We joined the most popular ones.
Step 3: Contact the accounts’ admins
Having chosen the biggest accounts (10K to 2M subscribers), we contacted their admins via Direct mail asking if they published paid posts.
In case of a positive reply, we proceeded to the details.
The experienced admins normally have ready price-lists and terms of work. The price usually varies from $15 to $50 depending on the community size. You only agree or disagree to co-operate, depending on your budget and needs.
As for less experienced admins, there is often a space for negotiation. The price and other issues are solved flexibly. Sometimes you are even asked what price you would find reasonable. In such cases our offers were as follows: $5 for a shoutout in a community with 30-50K of subscribers; $10-15 for 50-100K; $20-25 for 100-250K; $25-50 for 250K and more. $50 was our maximum budget. You can also stick to these prices in case you are asked to set the cost yourself.
Some admins can temporarily (until the shoutout is over) place a link to your product page in their bios. Some take additional sum of around $5 for the favor; others do it for free, as a bonus.
Step 4: Provide your materials for the Instagram shoutout
We made a payment by PayPal and provided our materials for the shoutout (BTW, some admins are eager to see them before the payment – they want to be sure that the post will suit the whole account and won’t spoil their reputation). We sent: 1. The product image (or a collage) with our Instagram username and the store’s address printed right over the image. We usually selected one of our bestsellers and made a collage of the product images and a portrait of the hero associated with it:
2. The caption text with a call-to-action; 3. The link to the product page. It’s better to use a URL shortener such as Bitly if your link is too long; 4. The hashtags (some admins also offer their variants).
Step 5: Wait for a shoutout
We set the publication time. Intervals were 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 5-6 p.m. (local time for the audience), which always showed good results. We agreed that the admin would tag us on the photo as soon as the post was published (to know at once when the shoutout started). Shortly before the set time we duplicated the same post in our own Instagram account and placed the same link in our bio. Then, we waited for the start. Here are some screenshots from our shoutouts:
Fan merchandise is always welcome in relevant Instagram communities, so the number of likes is usually pretty high:
We answered all comments in both accounts. If somebody asked questions about the product, we answered them publicly and privately (via Direct mail) and explained where the product was available for purchase. Sometimes we offered related products from our store.
Step 6: Analyze conversions
And then came the time for conversions!
Instagram is not so convenient when it comes to backlinks, but links in bios and in direct messages do work, as you can see. The dropshipping store’s traffic made up 1,000-2,000 sessions per month.
Orders were not long in coming. Just look at the number of paid orders in the website’s dashboard – and this is for just 3 days!
These are payment notifications in our mailbox:
In the first three months of Instagram shoutouts, we upgraded from 3 orders and $155 in March to 195 orders and $2,427 in May. The average monthly dropshipping income comprised $4,500.
Promotion of your products on Instagram is quite simple and immensely effective for a dropshipping store. Taking into account the huge popularity of Instagram and its focus on visual content, every store of this kind will find its receptive audience here.
Every dropshipping store owner – even those with zero SMM experience – can easily follow the steps described above and reach the same (or even greater) success. To get more information about Instagram Shoutouts check this Guide!