How to Sell on Instagram

Use the shoppable posts feature to boost sales of your products

The Ultimate Guide to Instagram
The Ultimate Guide to Instagram
Woman in a dress shopping on Facebook Marketplace.

Freudenthal Verhagen/Stone/GettyImages

Once an Instagram account has been connected to a Facebook shop, products can be individually tagged within Instagram posts, and these tags can be tapped to go to your online store to make a purchase. Here’s how to sell on Instagram by activating Shoppable tags on your Instagram posts.

An Instagram account cannot connect to a Facebook Marketplace listing. The shoppable posts feature only works with stores hosted within a Facebook business page. Facebook Marketplace and the Facebook shop feature are completely different from one another.

What You’ll Need to Sell on Instagram

Creating a shop on Instagram is a little more complex than just manually entering a product name, description, and link. Before you can get started, you’ll need to have the following:

  • An Instagram Business account: You can switch to an Instagram Business account at any time, just tap Settings > Account > Switch to Business Account.
  • A Facebook business page: A Facebook business page can be created for free by anyone on Facebook.
  • An active shop on your Facebook business page: This can be a shop you’ve manually created yourself or a Facebook shop powered by Shopify.

How to Sell Products on Instagram

Once you have your Instagram Business account set up and an active Facebook shop on your Facebook business page, you’re ready to link all three together and begin making shoppable posts on Instagram.

  1. Open the Facebook Products Catalog web page in a web browser on your computer.

    Facebook Products Catalog web page.
  2. Select the name of the Facebook shop you want to sell from on Instagram.

    The Facebook business page must be the same one that’s connected to your Instagram Business account.

  3. Select Settings.

    Facebook Products Catalog web page.
  4. Next to Business Manager Account, select Connect.

    Facebook Products Catalog web page.
  5. Choose a Facebook account from the drop-down menu that you want to manage your Facebook shop with and select Connect.

    Facebook Products Catalog web page

    Odds are that you’ll only have the one option which will be your personal account. This is completely fine and normal.

  6. Open the Instagram app on your iOS or Android device.

  7. Tap the hamburger menu in the top-right corner.

  8. Tap Settings > Business.

    Activating the Shop feature in the Instagram app on iPhone.
  9. Tap Sign up for shopping.

  10. Tap Continue.

  11. Tap Submit for Review. Instagram staff will personally review your application and either approve or reject it within a few days. You'll receive a notification within the Instagram app once the decision has been made.

    Activating the Shop feature in the Instagram app on iPhone.
  12. Once approved, you can add product links. Tap the new Tag Products field when creating a new Instagram post, then type in the product’s name. It works in much the same way as when tagging other people in an Instagram post.

    Products must be approved and live in your Facebook page before you can tag them in Instagram. If they don’t appear when you type in their name, they may still be pending on Facebook.

What Can’t You Sell on Instagram?

Instagram shops are primarily intended for selling physical products, not services. The sale of all products must also comply with the laws and regulations of their base country and that which the merchandise is being sent to.

The following products are banned on Instagram:

  • Drugs or medicines.
  • Tobacco and tobacco related products.
  • Health supplements and healthcare products.
  • Guns or other weapons, ammunition, and explosives.
  • Animals.
  • Alcohol.
  • Human or animal body parts.
  • Digital products and services.
  • Money, digital money, or cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

It’s incredibly important to read through the official Instagram policies. Violating them, unintentionally or otherwise, may get your Instagram shop or account disabled.

How to Sell Stuff on Instagram Without a Store

If you don’t have an online store on Facebook and have no interest in setting one up, you can still sell products and services on Instagram by promoting them in a Facebook post and placing a link to where your followers can purchase your item on your Instagram profile.

Instagram doesn’t allow links to websites in post descriptions, but you're allowed one link on your main profile. A common practice is to say “Check out the link in my profile” in a post description, then edit the link on your profile.

Another good strategy for selling things on Instagram is to post a photo or video of your product in an Instagram Story. If you have over 10,000 followers, you’re also able to add a link to your Story which your followers can visit by swiping up on the screen.

These linking methods can also be used to direct people to your personal or business website.

Try adding music to your Instagram Story to really get the attention of your followers.