Instagram And The Art Of The “Soft Sell”

Joey Conicella
October 6, 2015

With all the recent buzz surrounding Instagram’s advertising changes, you may be wondering, “Is it time for my company to start throwing money at Instagram?” Although the answer may be yes, the budget may be a no.

But don’t fret! There are tons of ways to build a community of loyal customers and sell products on Instagram without actually selling (or paying for) a thing. And while the art of the soft sell is nothing new, Instagram is breathing new life into how it’s done.

Don’t be afraid to give expert advice.

When it comes to certain products, people need to see how they actually work before making a commitment. This couldn’t be any truer than it is for the cosmetics industry. After all, how are you supposed to buy a tint for your lips if you don’t know how to use it?

Well, thanks to Instagram’s video feature, you can show your followers just how to properly use (and get amazing results with) your latest product. Take makeup cool kid, Benefit Cosmetics. They use quick, 15-second video tutorials to showcase how to use their newest products, and in the process, hopefully convince you that you can’t live without them.

Do it with style.

Like it or not, Instagram is an artsy place. People use the image-centric platform to show off their best self (not to mention, embellish just how fabulous their life really is…Valencia filter anyone?). What does this mean for you? No matter what you’re selling on Instagram, your customers don’t want their carefully-curated-newsfeeds clogged up with tons of text and unfiltered pictures.

Jackie Kollar, Senior Digital Strategist and resident fashionista here at ChatterBlast, loves following Kinfolk, a lifestyle magazine that encourages its readers to simplify their lives.

The magazine sells its mission by using Instagram in a clean and artful way. Jackie says, “The color pallet, the photo quality, balance of people and products, and the simplicity of it all” keeps her coming back and makes her buy into the ideals (and products) that the brand promises her.

Be on brand.

Instagram is the perfect platform to discover what your brand looks and feels like. Posting pictures of the product is great, but try enhancing your account with inspiration that matches the lifestyle your brand promises.

Take quirky, Australian sock maker, Odd Pears. Their socks are deliciously colorful and their Instagram account is no exception. Rebecca Solomon, ChatterBlast’s newest intern, follows the account because, “They post a lot of eye-catching artistic inspiration that always leaves me wondering what they”ll post next.” And although she doesn’t own a pair (or pear) just yet, she plans on buying the whole collection after she makes her first million. #goalz

Get a spokesperson.

People like people. People really casino online like famous people. And as a general rule in advertising, no one can sell your product better than someone famous. Taking it one step further, people tend to develop a connection with who they follow on Instagram, so leveraging any sort of celebrity connection or spokesperson will make your products stand out. Don’t have a spokesperson? Real customers turned brand ambassadors are just as powerful.

And while Kelly Devine, ChatterBlast’s Account Manger, loves Top Shop for its jeans, she keeps it real with why she’s really hooked on their Instagram. “Gigi Hadid is their spokesperson sooo its pictures of her all the time.” Also, Ms. Devine has no shame.


People will still buy the cow, even when the milk is free.

Sometimes, an effective way to push product on Instagram, isn’t to sell it at all. Wait. What?

That’s right. Many retailers use giveaways and enter-to-wins as a way to sell their customers on a new line or product launch. It’s a fantastic way to build excitement and reward your loyal customers.

ChatterBlast’s Intern Queen Bee, Nora Ransick, follows local retailer South Moon Under, just for that reason. “I love South Moon Under’s Instagram. Not only is it always up to date with the latest fashion trends, but they’re always doing giveaway of products that I would actually want!” So there you have it, the Queen has spoken.

And those, my friends, are some ideas for ways to make a sale without selling a thing on Instagram. So pick up your phone, get on the ‘gram and be the art director/product expert/branding god that you always knew you were! …Or you can just call us.