Jesse Ness is the Director of Growth Marketing at Ecwid E-commerce. Ecwid Ecommerce is a freemium e-commerce platform that is the fastest way for new merchants to sell on the web and on Facebook, Instagram, Amazon and everywhere you want to sell. He has been in e-commerce as a merchant and working for agencies and platforms since 2006.

Hey Arlen good to be here. I am super excited to talk to you because as you know e-commerce is exploding and I know you guys are on the cusp of everything that's going on with e-commerce and taking advantage of all of these social platforms is just a lot to handle and so that's why I love to bring on people onto the podcast that kind of know some insights into how you can be successful across.

Certain channels and so that's why I'm super excited to get going with this podcast. And but before we get started and get into the topic of today, why don't you tell us a little bit about your background and specifically how you got into what you're doing today? Sure. So Arlen, I'm almost like a veteran of e-commerce now, I mean, it's amazing that it happened that fast but I started my own store maybe like 12 13 years ago, and then I kind of parlayed that into a couple agency.

Doing pay per click advertising and then I went over to the platform side. So I've worked at a couple different platforms still keep a couple side hustles going as well. So like it's pretty much e-commerce 24/7 for me listening to podcast creating podcasts working at e-commerce company and then.

Have an e-commerce on the side. So hopefully doesn't turn it until somebody off and listen to the podcast. But you know, that's what I do. Don't I think all of that just speaks to the fact that I think you probably know a little bit of body cameras. I think, you know a little bit about what you're talking about.

So that's I hope so that's good to know. You've got your hands in all things e-commerce and that's really what I like to hear. The topic of today is going to be. Product tagging on Instagram now as we talked about a little bit before the recording Instagram is the hot social media platform for today and you know, everybody's excited about it.

There's so much going on with Instagram and the bottom line is how can he Commerce companies successfully? Take advantage of this huge platform in Opportunity it specifically those people that you know may not know a lot about Instagram and have an e-commerce company and are trying to figure out how do they fit into this, you know emerging monster.

And so what we're going to be talking about today is really the product tagging. So why don't we break it down and why don't you let us know how exactly does product tagging on Instagram work sure. So and then first overall you touch on it like Instagram is the social platform right now, so.

They're owned by Facebook. But Facebook the post aren't getting seen as much by people. Facebook's get a little bit of a there's a negative connotation with it. It's where you go to see pictures of kids and things like that and you know, whatever political news and things like that. So, So then everyone's kind of shifted over to this platform Instagram, which is owned by the same company and still has some of the same powerful advertising behind in this all the same smart.

People are still behind it, but it's so much more refreshing I think because it's not all politics and news and things like that. It's way more. Hey, there's some pretty pictures and there's engagement and things like that. And so of course all these great platforms doesn't take long for the e-commerce people in the marketers to say.

Hey, what's going on here? How can I leverage this to start making some money? So I guess that's what we're talking about here is how do you leverage Instagram and very specifically the product taking on Instagram is pretty new. It's been out there for maybe a year now not even quite a year, but I think it's sort of a hidden thing.

And so what product taking on Instagram is? Is when you if you take a picture of somebody friends and family when you're ready to post that you can tag that person so you can you know, you put the little square around them and then you try to suggest who this person is and then they'll be notified about it product taking is the exact same thing except instead of a person.

It's a product even more specifically. It's a product from your product catalog that you have synced with. Instagram by way of Facebook business manager, so I don't want to skip too many steps there if you're super technical and you know product feeds and how to get a product feed into another system and sync it up.

You can probably do this on your own at ecwid. We make this process a lot easier. We're really tight with Instagram and Facebook. So your product catalog the click-through and there's some approvals and things like that and you have to have a Facebook business manager account, which. Almost anybody.

That's do. I think you almost have to have it to advertise on Facebook. So it's something that most people have if you're just getting started. Maybe you don't have that but you'll get there so don't stress on it and we walk you through send it up behind the scenes. It's really sinking a product feed with your Instagram profile so that when you have this great.

Product post you can now take it and sort of the Hidden beauty of that is that on Instagram? The Simplicity of Instagram means there's not a whole lot of links on there. There's the biolink which is one link on your profile and kind of a weird spot. But if you tag the products essentially is another link on every single post that goes directly to your store to allow people to check out and it is a.

It's a very smooth process to me. I'm like, I'm glad to be on the podcast and spreading the word about this because I think people are missing out on a huge opportunity here that we're basically allowed to put links that go directly to your. In Instagram a place that doesn't really allow links so hot tip there for everybody.

Yeah, that's amazing. And I think this whole product tagging feature, it was really huge because like you said kind of prior to that there's not a whole lot of links really on Instagram, you know, you have the bio as you mentioned and for those people on Instagram that have the business profiles.

That have over 10,000 followers, you know, they have the flip up pages that are available in the Instagram stories for those people that aren't familiar with that. If you do have 10,000 or more followers Instagram is open up this functionality where when you do your stories you can give people the option of swiping up and have that load and exterior site and so have a website load.

But it takes a lot to get 10,000 followers. So it says it does I'm jealous because I've been we don't have 10,000 yet. And I'm kind of on the I don't get as much time as I'd like to spend on it, but I'm like, all right, guys, we got to get this. I just want to swipe up like that's my goal here.

Yeah, it's six like Instagram is just kind of dangling that carrot above everyone's nose. And you know, people are just struggling that try to get there. But yeah, that was a huge thing for them to do and I think the product tagging is another huge win. For e-commerce companies. And so yeah, I love that explanation.

You really broke it down as far as what it is. So it really sounds like just kind of have to have three things yet Instagram account. You have to have a Facebook business manager and you have to have a shopping cart the guess the question I have now though is of course with equid. You guys have a an interface which makes it easy for people to do this.

Is this common amongst most shopping cart platforms for e-commerce businesses to be able to set up this. Product tagging do they have interfaces to allow that to happen? Not really also a couple of our competitors do have it Shopify has it. I believe Bigcommerce woocommerce have it at I think there's some kind of some issues there we have it.

So there's really four people that have it either native or somewhat native to their platform. I haven't went through everybody's. Shopping cart, you know and to pick it apart. So there's four places that have it now for other shopping carts. So I'm not trying to knock everybody else out there. If you don't have it built-in there are other ways to do it and it essentially if and most experienced people can do this if you have a product feed generator from your car.

You'd use this for Google shopping or to do Dynamic product ads and Facebook. So common things for people that are you know, we've been doing this for a while that feed goes into your you essentially do a product feed in your Facebook business manager and then get that synced into your Instagram account.

Usually it just kind of happens on its own but we just kind of make it easier for people to just say. Wow, I didn't really know you could do that. I just want to sell on Instagram we make that more of a streamlined process more of a click here. Do you approve let's make this happen fast. So that's awesome.

And that's what people are looking for these days, but I know kind of the next logical question that I know some of our listeners may be wondering and I initially was wearing his myself. They're like okay with this product tag, and that's awesome because people are already familiar with. How Facebook Works in how you can tag your friends and people that you know, and so they're like great.

Wow, so is it possible for others to tag? My products on their own photos and is that possible? Not really. So what I can say and now I've been to Facebook headquarters, so I'm not sure what was covered under NDA or what is just articles I've read out there but I think maybe if your Kylie Jenner there's access to some things that you and I don't have access to there's a handful of people out there that they're experimenting with this but for the average person out there the answer is no.

That you can't get your product egg on there's now I think in some day that's going to come for everybody and I think there's probably ways to hack it. But I think what you could do right now the better way is to if somebody posts a your product, you know, kind of like old-school influencer marketing here if they're doing product placement photos and things like that.

You can download that or you can ask for that photo to put on your feed. Then you can do that. So and then in that case you might do like a hashtag or shout out to the influencer. You're making sure that they're getting credit for this but on your own the product feed is associated with your product catalog, which is owned by the brand only guys just has to be on your account got it.

But yeah, I could imagine in the future that they may open up some more functionality with this like you said, I'm sure they're experimenting with the Kylie Jenner's of the world and these Heavy Hitters. Just kind of hidden features that they're just trying to kind of beta using these big influences a great way to do it because they just getting so many.

Views and there's so much activity going on with their account. So it kind of makes sense for them to yeah, I think we'll see it and you're right because influencers are so big on Instagram and influencer marketing. And right now the process is a little clunky like if you work that influencer, you know, it's kind of a difficult process email back and forth about what you want them to do and then the link back to you is they have to swap out their bio link for a certain amount of time and that's.

Don't really work for that. Well just it's there and it's all you have but I don't know. I don't think that's going to work long term. So I think this is coming and I mean all the more reason why I don't think it was a negative. I think it's all the reason you need to start learning this now because that probably will happen in the future and you want to make sure you kind of have your Instagram shopping game figured out.

Yeah exactly right now is definitely the time to do it before. Things really get crazy with all these Brands just kind of doing all types of stuff online. Now one of the things that that I was wondering when I thought about this whole product tagging functionality with Instagram is that it is great that brands are able to do post and promote their products.

But at the same time it's like you do have to wonder can product tagging be. Could it be a bad thing as far as you know, the brands really run the risk of turning off customers by you know overly promoting and how can they really just kind of make this look organic? This is where marketers always go too far.

Right like it's like emails to you have an email list. And if you do a promotion in a sale on every single email people are going to start tuning out not reading your email. So I think it's the same with Instagram post. Like I don't know what the perfect balance is, but maybe if it's every third every fourth post that has product placements in it that has shoppable post.

That might be a good rule of thumb. Every single one is probably too much and it's probably too much for even if there weren't shoppable posts in there. If every single post he do on Instagram has a picture of your product. That's probably too much to yeah. Yeah. I see you need to have some what's your the lifestyle of your brand or what's or even just some behind-the-scenes?

Here's our crew doing whatever it is. Whatever it is. Your company does to try to lighten it up a little bit make it more fun. Exactly. And that's when you mention email newsletters. It's the same thing, you know, you can't always send a newsletter just. Promoting your products forcing products down people's throats.

You got to mix it up with the newsletters, you know, you gotta educate people you got to provide some type of informative information in the same thing applies to Instagram. You gotta mix it up can't just have the products out there. Just selling everything is tagged and every post you got to kind of open up the curtain and let people know what's going on behind your brand.

So they get to know your brand and then trust your brand as well. And it's always tempting right like as a only eCommerce store as well. Like you spend an hour or two on this email and like man, you really want to put a coupon in the end. So you get a big sale bump, but you over do that too much.

Then you gotta sometimes you gotta spend the hour on this email that just. Says thanks to everybody in doesn't ask for a sail back right to kind of it just part of the process. So same with Instagram saying with email, you know, you can't be too promotional. Definitely now with Instagram. We talked a lot about tagging of course, but what are some other features of Instagram that Brands can leverage to promote their products that you're familiar with?

I'm not an expert at this. So I will say our brand is done. We don't have the 10,000 yet. So when I get the 10,000 and I can swipe up. I'm going to come back and I'm going to. Here is the expert. There's the experts opinion on how you do it. But I think it's sort of the basics. It's all about photography.

I'm not a great photographer myself. So you need to kind of have a consistent look and feel for your photography. So people start seeing what they're going to see when they get to this profile. Okay? Yeah, it's going to look like this and this is what I'm this is what I'm interested in and it kind of depends on your brand to like for Romney star.

Maybe it's going to be hard to have consistent photography same with at ecwid to like we do online stuff. So. Sometimes those pictures it's hard to be consistent. But what I would say, maybe something a little more that you can apply right away is definitely do the stories. So maybe a couple years ago Instagram was all even talked about photography.

It was all pictures and yes that's still there, but it's kind of stories is where the action is at right now. So I've mentioned this on my podcast to like don't be afraid. I have a phone right now. That's within My Arms Reach which it is at all times. Pretty much like you pick up your phone and you push the button on the bottom and you know you record video and maybe it's a selfie for 15 seconds or maybe somebody else holds it and you do a 15-second 30-second like you can do a 15 second video.

Don't tell me that you're scared. You can't do this. That's just 15 seconds. So I would definitely be leveraging stories. As a part of Instagram that's kind of where this is from Instagram and Facebook to they're telling people that that that's where people are watching and also from an advertising side.

That's where there's a lot of extra unused inventory. So for marketers, that means it's cheaper than it will be later. Right? Like my Facebook advertising is getting kind of expensive because there's no extra inventory. They're not putting more ads in the feed. But with stories There is extra inventory.

So if you can make a good 15 second video. Then you can boost it. You can advertise it. You can even do a series of videos you can do a because 15 seconds is tough. I get it. So first aim for the 15 second video and then see if you can even do it shorter if it takes 45 seconds to tell your real story, which I don't blame you.

I get it fixed. You can put these stories in a series and have like the play next. So anyway, I think stories are the way to go. And by the way, I wasn't thinking of this to pitch the shoppable post as well, but you can do it in stories as well. They called a sticker. So it's the same sort of thing.

Like you can do the a box around the product and then it becomes essentially a shoppable story if you will, I don't know if that's a term out there yet, but. It's got the link to your product and they can buy it. And if your that's your goal you can do that. So yeah, that's awesome. Yeah appreciate that.

I advise in the tips there. Yeah, because the thing that we've seen consistently with across all of these social networks is video any movement through social media is kind of where it's at. That's where the eyeballs are. People want to see movies. They want to see videos whatever it is. That's kind of where everybody's attention is.

It makes sense how the stories are so popular and Instagram is kind of pushing people that way as well. So that makes a lot of sense. Yep. That's what people are watching and if you look outside if. See some people standing in line somewhere waiting their head is down looking at her phone and they're probably looking at little short-form videos.

Yeah, they exactly not I don't know necessarily know if that's a good thing but it's and social commentary for a different podcast. Definitely. I'm sure there's businesses and marketers out there that. Are like you know, maybe they're a little late to the game. You know, I don't blame them because there's so many social networks out there these days and there's so much to keep up with and they may not have an Instagram Presence at all.

So what do you think are some just initial steps that a business or brand can do to start building a presence on Instagram and then getting followers because that's really what it's about. Yeah, you do need to get the followers and I think it kind of depends on where you if you have any following at all.

You want to get them onto Instagram? So and I get it if you've ignored Instagram for a while because you're busy with a million other things I get it totally understand but maybe you spent a long time working on your Facebook presence or Twitter presence like four years ago. So you want to get people to bounce from that platform onto a different platform.

This is if you have those things, so if you have an email list to Facebook list Twitter following you want to let them know that you have different content on Instagram. Maybe it's not even really that. Print but maybe you have just shifted over to using Instagram more because you've you're like, okay, this is pretty easy.

I just take a picture. There's a filter put in some little note. So one would be get your Following over to Instagram. Just letting people know is one way you can do a contest to so I don't want to. Too cheesy and spammy on it, but you can do a contest like hey, if you maybe people have bought your products in the past like hey take a picture of you with our product at a great location and whoever wins gets a year supply of whatever you know, or or less.

It depends on your price point what you can afford and so on so forth and and that might not be appropriate for everybody's product either. So some sort of way to move your Following over that's number one, but assuming if you're starting out from scratch like just you. Any following it all take a look.

This is an advantage. You're not going to be mad. You wasted all this time on other platforms. You can just start with Instagram and we talked about the products earlier, but I think one little trick on this is Instagrams very big on hashtags. So you can have think it's like 30 hashtags in a post and I know it looks a little ridiculous.

So when you see people's posts and they have these hashtags to me, it looks kind of ugly, but it is part of the game. So you need to start searching for hash. Eggs in your market and they are out there. So like for affiliate software, I'm sure there's a hashtag that out there for whatever you're selling out there.

There's definitely hashtags that are related and I guess here's a little hack that I picked up from somebody else because Instagram is on mobile get these different hashtags and put it in a note on your phone. So then you can just copy and paste it when you do these posts because otherwise. I quit at about 4:00.

I got a couple hashtags in here. But man, my wife is calling me I gotta I gotta get going here for is enough, you know, but the hack there is like do the searching for your various hashtags and where other places you want to play and then copy paste. So that's a little bit of a hack there. And yeah, I mean, I think there's a ton of different tools out there.

I'm not going to mention all them but I think it's from like a one-on-one standpoint take a look at your people that are your competitors or people you look up. To in a similar space. It doesn't even have to be competitors. Maybe they're in an adjacent space and what are they doing? What are the hashtags?

They're using and then try to get noticed by them follow them comment on their stuff in this it takes a lot of thumb work here you like you're going to be on your phone like everyone else and you're going to you want to approach people that you want to work with in the future. And there's a lot of things you do later first.

You just want to be noticed by them like and commenting on their stuff and you want them to follow you and then from there likes the DMS hit him up. Some sort of message that can be interesting to them. You know, if you have a product that they could use basically say hey, I want to send you some free product.

Can I do that? Where would I send it to? I would love it. If you post it. No pressure If you don't but even if they everybody kind of understands the deal here that if they reply with back with their address and they get some free product. They kind of know that that's what they're supposed to do.

And again don't start with Kylie Jenner and their Kardashians. Right right there. You're not getting through there. Sorry. All right, start low start small and build your way up. So those are like very very basic steps hashtags start following the people that you want to work with in the future and then DM and try to get some product placement in there.

So, And then of course, there's a ton of things like be consistent with this don't just do this one month and then forget about it for three months that's going to kill the whole plan their be consistent take good photos and then get a follow-up to I'm not great at this. So I'm kind of giving myself a tip here when you do these posts and then people comment on it.

You got a comment back pretty quickly. You can't just wait until a week later and batch it you kind of have to stay on this and stay after it. So, that's great. That's some awesome advice. Just I really appreciate it. You mentioned a couple. Things that I wanted to point out too as well as far as if you're not an Instagram you may be active on let's say the Facebook or Twitter.

How do you get your followers over to Instagram and let them know you're not have an Instagram profile and you may have some kind of exclusive things that you're pointing to or you may be kind of opening up the curtains what's going on behind your business there, you know things like that. It is very important that you let them know that I was thinking about this couple years ago.

I there was a couple people that I followed. Kind of religiously on Facebook kind of seeing what they were doing what they were posting even on Twitter and then all of a sudden I just noticed just like a drop off. I'm like wait what's going on with this guy? I mean I kind of thought something happened and yeah, and I was a little late in the game.

I guess you could say as far as getting into Instagram and then when I got on the Instagram, I started following him. They all said, okay. This is where he is and then I yeah consistent post. It was a few people like that where they just dropped off the other platforms and then went to Instagram and so that's kind of like guess the lesson of whatnot.

Do you definitely want to let people know you've got that profile there and more of your content and things that you're posting maybe now on Instagram, so they're not kind of left hanging there. You don't lose your followers. You don't lose your audience. So yeah, I just wanted to point that out from what I noticed.

I also wanted to point out one thing you mentioned as far as the hashtags are concerned because it's those are definitely very key to use those in your post. I can definitely help and even searching for hashtags to because you can actually follow hashtags. Only following profiles but as you know, of course with posting on Instagram, you can do that.

You have to do it from a mobile device but not necessarily and I wanted to point out there is a hack for that where it is, of course a pain, especially if you're looking to type a long post to have to do that on your phone and include hashtags, like you said you quit at about 4:00 when you're in did you like I this is enough.

Yeah that was enough but there's a hack for that. You can actually I know what Safari and of course people can Google this, but I'll just kind of give a quick overview. You enable the developer tools menu and Safari if you're on a Mac, okay, there's a option when you go to the developer tools that's called user agents and it basically will allow you to view.

Sights on different types of platforms and there's an option there where you can actually view how a site would look on Safari for iPhone Safari on an iPad and then there's other several other user agents. So if you switch that and you select to view Safari on an iPhone, you can actually log into Instagram account and you can actually post that way and this type of thing is actually even possible with Google Chrome.

They have a similar way of doing it as well. I don't know about any of the other platforms or. There's but yeah those two unfamiliar with Safari as well as. With chrome, so it is possible to post on a desktop computer. If you go through those hacks, so you can just the listeners can just do a quick search on how to post Instagram on Safari.

You'll get a ton of results on that. I like that. I'm a keyboard Warrior, you know, I'm at a computer Monday through Friday many hours a day. So I don't really need my phone. I have a keyboard right there and I can cut and paste and do all sorts of stuff from my keyboard. So I like that. Yeah, you can if you have slow thumbs.

Here's the here's the trick. Yeah. Definitely. It is. Sometimes it isn't. They have to post. Oh, yeah, great Jessie why we really appreciate you coming on the e-commerce marketing podcasts. I'm always excited about talking about the latest and greatest things that are out there as far as e-commerce marketing is concerned and as we all know and as we mentioned Instagram is the place to be with regards to marketing and e-commerce marketing for sure.

So you've definitely enlightened us on a lot of things that I know our audience. Will benefit from well, what I like to do now is I always switch gears at the very end and want to pick your brain and see what else you got going on in your life aside from e-commerce marketing and so why don't you let us know about one thing that our audience would be surprised to know about you boy.

I have an e-commerce fact here so that this was actually maybe feeds into like yeah, I've been doing this 24/7 but I've been doing this for so long that my senior project when I left College in 98 was for an. Line Grocery Store concept so even in 98 I was still trying to sell stuff online and here it's 2019 21 years later still selling stuff.

And so I guess it's in your blood. So I guess so. Yeah now I'm I kind of regret that was my Factor. I'll try to think of something more personal next time. But yeah, it's all good. It just goes to show that you're super passionate about what you do. It definitely goes through and I know from people that I talk.

I'm passionate about something. It's it can become a dragon. It could become a grind but it's good to know that you're passionate and you have been for a long time for sure. So well, yes, Jesse will you know if any of our listeners out there that have. Got a lot from this and then maybe want to pick your brain just a little bit more.

How would they get ahold of you? You would think I would say Instagram, but that's probably my personal Instagram is pretty poor. So, you know for business-wise LinkedIn search for Jesse nests and you'll find me there. I'm active on several of the ecwid socials So eventually you'll see more videos from me.

You'll see I host the equity Commerce Show podcast. So if you like what you hear come check that out as well. All right, great. Well, thanks again Jesse for joining us today on the e-commerce marketing podcast. All right. Thanks Harlan. Appreciate. Thank you for listening to the e-commerce marketing podcast.

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Podcast Guest Info


Jesse Ness
Director of Growth Marketing at
Ecwid E-commerce