Using instagram for promoting your Etsy shop

So you’ve set up your Etsy shop.
You put up a few items and added in a bunch of tags to get your product found.
You’ve gone through all the tricks of the trade to getting your photos bright and beautiful.

But then a friend or a fellow Etsy seller throws that word at you: marketing.

And you have no idea where to start.


Marketing doesn’t have to be hard.
In fact, it’s actually really simple.

That’s why I only use Instagram for my social media efforts.
Because it should be easy.
It should be fun to do. Something that I genuinely enjoy.

And so that I can put laser focused effort into it to get big results.

There’s a reason why Etsy sellers do so well on Instagram:

  • Selling handmade products online is inherently visual. Customers buy because something is beautiful to them. It’s the same reason they like a picture or follow someone on social media.
  • Your product and your craftsmanship speaks for itself. You don’t need a lengthy blog article to explain what you do. We can see it.
  • It’s a two-way street, not an intersection. Unlike Facebook where content is created in order to be shared and linked as much as possible, Instagram is just you and your community. You can have conversations without the noise. Person to person.


Visual timelining


One of the most common advice is to tell a story on social media.

But what does that even mean?

It’s an opportunity to take your community on a ride along.
Give them insight into your world.
I like to call this visual timelining.

It’s about taking your followers through every step of your creative journey and rediscovering the soul of your art with photos.
It’s like a scrapbook of your work.
The personality behind your Instagram handle.
These photos certainly don’t have to be linear. But it’s always good to think about it in a linear sense so you can capture the images as you go and upload them later.




What inspires you to work?
Is it a fellow maker’s new creation that you can’t stop obsessing over? Share it.
Is it the natural plants and flowers you see on your daily walk? Capture it.
Is it a slow morning with a cup of coffee in hand and an inspirational morning novel? Compose and capture it.


Find Hello Miss May on Etsy 

Tools, materials and workspace

Your workplace is your hub of ideas. Show your community behind the scenes. And show your customers where (and how) the magic happens.  

A photo posted by Jenny Kiker (@livingpattern) on


Work in progress


The beauty of handmade is how it came to be.
I buy handmade because I know it’s just an ordinary person sharing their passion with the rest of the world.
It’s not someone who gets unpaid and overworked in a stuffy factory.
Or a big multinational trying to pinch every penny they can get.
No, it’s just people like you and me.
We might work additional jobs, go to school or have little rascals to take care of.
But we are the ones who might obsess about new color palettes, get lost in the thread section of a craft store and know everything about wooden grains and textures.

So, go ahead. Show your work in action!
The beauty is in the process.


Find Michelle Luu Pottery on Etsy

Completed product

Putting up photos and shots of your completed products is a great way to show off your craftsmanship. It’s also a great opportunity to give your followers a nudge and let them know that what you’ve made is on sale. Try mixing it up by including images of your product in action or with props.

Packaging it up

Once you’ve made the sale and sent off your product, that’s the end of the timeline for you.
But the beginning of someone else’s.

Share photos of your mail before you send it off. Or the packaging you used to inject the last touch of care. Give your customers a little bit of anticipation and it’s a great way to build up a little FOMO (fear of missing out) with potential buyers!

A photo posted by • Camilla • (@zamhandmade) on

Find Zam Handmade on Etsy

Build relationships

By far the best way you can get the most out of Instagram is by what you put in. See your followers as people, not just a number at the top of your Instagram profile. Because building relationships with real people is actually ridiculously simple. You listen to them. You find ways that you can help them. And you give. Basically, don’t be a jerk. Don’t be that guy or gal who uses Instagram to push sales in every single post. Don’t just make it about yourself. Make it about others. Instagram is a community and you can make it so much more worthwhile viewing it as so, rather than a marketing tool. The key to Instagram is to influence, not sell.

Community hashtags

It’s so important to understand that community extends beyond your own customers and family and friends. Instagram is a hive of other creative Etsy sellers, bloggers and individuals to inspire you. Discover community hashtags and get involved with their challenges and discover similar creatives. Many of these Instagram communities will repost images that have been tagged with the account-specific hashtag. Instagram communities Etsy sellers can participate in:

        • #etsyfinds (Etsy)



      • #cylcollective (Craft Your Life Collective)



      • #makersmovement



      • #makersbiz (Creative Hive Co)



      • #creativelifehappylife (@creativelife_happylife)



      • #abmlifeiscolorful (A Beautiful Mess)



      • #creativityfound



      • #pursuepretty



      • #thatsdarling (Darling Magazine)



      • #dscolor (Design Sponge)



      • #flashesofdelight



      • #calledtobecreative



      • #theeverygirl


                  Oh and a sneaky lil’ push: my own hashtag community #craftsposure celebrates all things handmade and creative. I also host a weekly #followfriday thread so you can connect with other creative entrepreneurs and gain some new followers of your own. You can find my Instagram here.

Repost your customers

Don’t you just love it when your customers use Instagram to share your creation to the rest of the world? Give back to them. Give them a little shoutout and repost their composition.

Love seeing #messybox arrive on your doorsteps! ?: @ejewell   A photo posted by Elsie + Emma A Beautiful Mess (@abeautifulmess) on

Give back to your community

Find ways where you can give genuinely useful information or creations to your community.
Not because you want your follow count to increase.
And not so you can make x amount of sales during your “campaign”.

Give so you can help another person out. Or because you want to make their surroundings more beautiful.
Give because you’ve achieved something monumental and you want to celebrate it with your followers.
Give and you’ll be surprised with the results. Your followers will spread the word, share your work and tell their friends. And believe it or not, but those new followers and sales will come.

Share something inspirational; a quote, a struggle in your own life or something that made you think/smile/laugh.

When we’re making things and running a business it’s so easy to fall into the trap of following trends, patterns or trying to emulate the success of someone else. The truth is, your work should speak to your heart and soul. I recently learnt that no matter what I do, not everyone will love it. But you know what? I create things that speak to me. Products that I’m proud of and something that is inherently me. And there WILL be people who love the work that is uniquely yours. Because that’s why it’s special. Your work should be a manifestation of you as a person and what is beautiful to YOU. And when you make art for yourself and not others, you’ll enjoy it more and burn out less. Promise #tinypeptalk #craftsposure A photo posted by creative + handmade community (@craftsposure) on

  Give something away such as a freebie. Encourage your followers to repost it!

Hold a giveaway to celebrate a milestone or to give your followers an incentive to keep you on their pulse.

Find Maiko Nagao on Etsy



Grow yourself


Do Instagram for yourself.
Not for others.

You are so incredibly lucky that being a creative means that you are directly connected to the work that you create.
That means instead of just seeing Instagram as another way to method to bring people to your website, use it as a tool to develop yourself.

Use Instagram to track your progress.
Flesh out ideas.
Gain immediate feedback.
And most importantly, grow yourself creatively and with purpose.


Daily challenges


Many accounts on Instagram exist to showcase creative talent and to help you find creativity in every day life. Often these accounts run a daily themed challenge where you will have to capture something relevant. Your photo may be featured on these large accounts, or it’s simply a great way to get out of your comfort zone.
A couple of daily challenge accounts to help your gears get grinding:


Try something new


Instagram shouldn’t be about perfection. Leave that for your Etsy shop or website.
It’s so much fun to use Instagram as a platform to try new things, think creatively and make new discoveries (and mistakes).

Some ideas:

  • Experiment with new creative mediums; video, photography and/or graphics
  • Start your own 365 day project
  • Post up future ideas you have for products and ask your followers what they think
  • Start your own hashtag movement a la #lovewins


And when the time comes, don’t be afraid to post about your latest sale.
Don’t be scared of outright promoting your products.
The truth is, once you build up a positive rapport with your community, they will fall in love with you.
Be honest, genuine and give to your followers.
Because you’ve built up this foundation of social give and take.
Your followers have your back.
And they will want to hear about your latest sales and new products.
You support them. They support you. It’s a community, after all.

The power of Instagram is exponential. Just give.


Would you like to learn how to double your IG following?


Download my free ebook guide on how you can start mastering Instagram today! It’s 50+ pages of actionable insights and examples to help you grow your IG following.

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  • Mary Galou

    I looooved your post! Found it super interesting and inspiring. Instagram is my favorite, but I still struggle :)

    by Mary Galou –

    • Ria

      Thanks Mary! The struggle is part of the journey. Just keep posting and experimenting. Good luck! Ria xo

  • This is a wonderful helpful post! I think the first hashtag is meant to read #etsyfinds though 😉 I’m going to link it to my uk Instagram page if you don’t mind?

    • Ria

      Thanks for your wonderful comment Zoe! Of course, go crazy :) Ria xo

  • Nancy Gaines

    Great post, Ria! That’s exactly how I feel! Thanks for backing me up! ♡

    • Ria

      Thanks Nancy – I got your back :)

  • Thanks so much, Ria! Your community of makers and fans of handmade has supported so many in grand ways! This is a great post…thanks for sharing.- becca, @wearlovenow_

    • Ria

      Thanks Becca! It’s always a nice little surprise to know that the random ramblings in my head are appreciated by the Craftsposure community. thanks for YOUR support Becca :) – Ria

  • Thank you for this great article! It gives my some ideas what to post and makes me excited about creating content again for my IG.

  • Judith

    Really great post! I find it hard sometimes to promote w/o feeling like I’m trying to sell so really good advice on showcasing the process and packaging! I like that :) Thanks for all the great posts btw.

    • Ria

      Thanks for the kind comment Judith! Your instagram looks great! Ria

  • emily

    Awesome post! I think the correct tag is #creativelifehappylife (features on @creativelife_happylife)

    • Ria

      Thanks for the pick up Emily and I’m glad you enjoyed the post :) Ria

  • Um… Click! Instagram should not be hard to showcase your brand – sometimes the best thing for us is to block out the white noise and just be ourselves. :) Thank you so much for this!


    • Ria

      Thanks Conner! Yes I completely agree! It also means that you take the pressure off yourself trying to achieve a certain aesthetic on Instagram. Instead, you just let it come naturally. – Ria

  • I really admire all what you have achieved and thank you so much for sharing your tips and experiences! That is so wonderful! And I absolutely love this post! From now on I will always remember this phrase: “Instagram shouldn’t be about perfection. Leave that for your Etsy shop or website.” Thank you Ria :-)

  • Daffy Gopakumar

    Great post! I’m new to instagram, thank you sharing your tips. Wondering why I didn’t find you earlier. Thank you so much.

  • Tiffany Martin

    As a maker who is relatively new to Instagram, this was incredibly helpful. It’s easy to fall into the trap of using Instagram simply to promote everything I make. This article had so many fresh ideas & inspirational ideas to get out of that cycle…. Thank you!

  • Kari Wilson

    This was a great blog post! This gave me a different view on how to incorporate my Etsy/instagram pages… I plan on using this with assisting me to help me with my business… gets me excited… this will help lil ‘ol me, a SAHM to fulfill her passion! Thanks! ?

  • Thank you for writing such a helpful post. As an Instagram newbie, I’m still getting to grips with it all. I already love it though & can see your point about showing the person behind the making…telling more of a story. Thanks again!

  • Simon

    Thanks for sharing. It seems your strategy will be very succesful for my IG promotion.But I won’t have to do without third party apps on the way to success. The lion’s share of IG users, which make money on IG, enjoy it. Do you use smth i described, e.g. for finding new followers or schedugram for analytics?

  • willson.abraham

    I would like to catch your eye on twitch and 777spinslot which is also the best ways to gain success and to make money

  • Katia Davis

    I love the hashtags! Thanks!