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How to Host an Instagram Story Sale for Yourself or Small Business

By Isabelle | Inspiration

Do you own a small business where you sell your handmade art or goods, or own another business with limited inventory? Are you cleaning out your closet or in the middle of a move, and trying to get some return on everything you’re getting rid of? Facebook Marketplace, online stores, and small business marketplaces have their place, but there’s another way to create hype for what you’re selling, and sell quickly: Instagram Story sales. 

In this article, we’ll cover what exactly an Instagram Story sale entails, who it’s right for, and how to make an engaging, effective Story for the greatest profit. We’ll also give you a few tips on how to edit your photos and create eye-catching designs for free with the BeFunky Graphic Designer – also available on mobile for convenient posting.

What Is an Instagram Story Sale?

An Instagram Story sale is just what it sounds like: A sale where you sell to your audience directly through your Instagram Story! It’s most common for individuals or small businesses, especially artisans with handcrafted items and clothing resellers. However, even if you’re not a small business owner, it’s a great option for closet clean-outs and selling other goods around your home you don’t need anymore.

what is an insta sale

Why Use Instagram Stories for Sales?

There are many reasons why Instagram Story sales can be very effective for small-batch limited-run sales. Because Instagram Stories are only 24 hours long, it creates a sense of immediate urgency. Because only your followers can see your Story update live, it creates a sense of intimacy and exclusivity, and has the chance to increase your follower count. And because you can respond to interested buyers immediately, it creates the feeling that it isn’t just a purchase but a social interaction. You can build a relationship with your customers that just isn’t possible through a shopping cart. 

If you’re not a brand but an individual trying to sell used clothes or other items, Story sales make it easy since you likely don’t have a storefront or external website. Imagine eBay or Facebook Marketplace, but it’s only for your friends and mutual friends!

How to Run Your Own Instagram Story Sale

Running an Instagram Story sale isn’t too difficult as long as you know what you’re getting into. Here’s a quick rundown of the steps you’ll need to take to host a sale through your Instagram Story.

Step 1: Decide If An Instagram Story Sale Is Right For You

To decide if you want to sell through Instagram Stories, you’ll first have to decide if selling this way would be effective for you. As we mentioned, it’s best to use Stories to sell very small-batch, limited-run items. If you make handmade goods, consider limiting your listings to 10 products every 1-2 months; if you’re an individual trying to resell clothes or other goods, try limiting listings to 10 per week at most.

If you own an already popular account, there may be a lot of demand, and there will be a lot of information to keep track of - so don't feel guilty about setting time limits or not responding to every message at once.

Step 2: Figure Out Payment and Shipping 

Remember, advertising on Instagram Stories and selling through Instagram Stories are two different things. Advertising means that you're linking to an external website, while selling means that your customers only have to go as far as Instagram and the payment method. So decide beforehand if you'd like your customers to pay through Venmo, PayPal, or another avenue, and decide where you'll ship to and how much shipping will cost. 

Step 3: Advertise Your Sale

If you're a small business that may be relying on this money for income, then before launching your Instagram Story sale, you'll have to tease and advertise it for 2-3 weeks beforehand. First, drop a Story with the date of the sale, and then slowly build up anticipation with pictures of your products and sale reminders over the next several weeks. The amount of engagement you're receiving may indicate how much demand there is, if you don't know already. This can allow you to gauge how many products to put up for sale to increase urgency.

As a small business owner, you should post about your sale every few days. However, if you’re running a more lowkey sale like a closet clean-out, there’s no need to post until a day or two before. Make sure to use high-quality photos! These product photography tips for Depop sellers are helpful to know for Instagram too. If you’re not too confident in your Story-making skills, you can always follow this IG Story template tutorial. Remember, Instagram is photo-focused, so keep the photos large and the text to a minimum!

how to prep for an instagram sale

One way to generate more excitement for your sale is to use Instagram’s poll and question features. For instance, you can ask people what their favorite color of a certain product is, if they can guess what material something is made of, or just ask them if they’re excited about the sale! Fun, quick, engaging questions can attune viewers to your profile and upcoming sale event.

Step 4: Edit Your Photos and Design Your Story

To best show off your products, both before the sale and during it, your photos will need to be clear and eye-catching. Designing Stories on Instagram is time-consuming and drafts are not saved automatically, so make sure to create them beforehand in a platform like the Graphic Designer – this is particularly true for what you’ll be posting on the day of the actual sale, since things will move quickly. You can check out this tutorial for more Instagram Story design tips, and learn how to make your own templates for faster posting.

edit and design your insta story for a sale

The BeFunky Photo Editor, which is also accessible through the Graphic Designer, can be utilized to edit color, contrast, and more for more professional-looking photos. Here are some of our best tips for editing professional product photos.

If you’re a small business owner, it can help to stick to your brand color palette for all the design elements so that your Story stands out and is always recognizable as yours. 

If you want to show off a product but don’t have a suitable background for taking photos, you can always use the Background Remover for cleaner images. This is especially helpful for taking flat-lay pictures of clothes when you don’t have a mannequin or model.

remove backgrounds for instagram story sale

Step 5: Outline the Rules

Whether you’re a small business or an individual, outline the rules beforehand. The day before the sale, explain how it will work: How long the sale will be, how holds will work, and how payment and shipping will work. Don't forget to include what time the sale starts! For example, you could add the following text to a slide:

This way, your potential customers know exactly what the terms of your sale are, and you don’t have to worry about fielding many questions on the day of. 

  • Sale will last 12 hours or until sold out
  • Items will be held for 30 minutes for payment before moving on to the next customer
  • Shipping is free in the U.S. and $10 for international
  • Venmo or PayPal only

Step 6: Post Your Story and Engage!

Finally, on the day of your sale, post a last reminder 15-30 minutes before the drop time. Post a slide to remind everyone of the rules before the sale starts. At drop time, post your Story with each product as a single individual slide. 

post your insta story sale

And now it’s time to stay engaged! Try to respond to your first buyer for each item as soon as possible, and if you're able to, message each person who responds within the first hour – even if they weren’t able to snag the product. Post when items are sold individually, and make sure to notify everyone when everything is sold out. For those who weren’t able to purchase, let them know when your next Story sale will be, and consider directing them to your custom orders or storefront if you offer them.

If you can follow these steps, you’ll be able to run an Instagram Story sale smoothly from the first hint of a sale all the way to shipping.

Make Selling Simple and Fast With Instagram Story Sales

Whether you’re an artist, small business owner, clothing reseller, or just trying to clean out your apartment, Instagram Story sales are a great option for selling quickly and without much hassle. It’s a fun and intimate way to sell your goods that brings you closer to your audience and creates great brand engagement. You can design your first Instagram Story Sale today using the Graphic Designer on your desktop or through the BeFunky mobile app!

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