Last weekend I held an Instagram craft sale and managed to declutter my studio a little. It was the second sale I had held and it was pretty successful (I made about £250). I figured there were a lot of things I could share with you guys about how to organise an Instagram sale, so I noted down some tips and tricks along the way. This is a pretty long post, but hopefully it’s comprehensive and useful!
First of all, think about the reason you are planning the Instagram sale. For me it was purely because my studio had too much stuff and was an utter tip. I still have some more clearing out to do but thankfully it no longer looks like this. Plus I had to buy a new laptop recently, so I was grateful for some extra cash.
Collate your stuff
I started with a big blue IKEA bag and over a few weeks added items to it that I wanted to sell. As my items were craft supplies, I noted the measurements of fabric and the condition of each item. You might be selling clothes so will need to note the sizes etc. At this point, you should take a photo of each item and begin to keep a spreadsheet, writing a short description listing for when you are ready to sell. If you do this as you go along, it wont feel like such a huge task at the point of the sale!
Research postage and packaging
Make sure you have worked out whether an item is worth selling or not – you could be spending more on postage than you think! I picked up one of these mail item size guides from the post office along with a price sheet. If you are looking to make a profit, remember to cover your postage costs. I stocked up on bubble wrap and brown paper as well as a few plastic mailing bags for lighter items. Factor the cost of the packaging into your plan too.
As I also run an Etsy store alongside my blog, I actually have a Drop and Go business account with my post office (UK only), which makes it easier for posting large numbers of packages without having to queue. If you don’t have this, check opening hours and think about the least busy time to visit your post office.
Build your following and set up a separate account
The sale will work best when you have a substantial amount of people following your Instagram account. As my normal account is full of crafts, I invited my existing followers to take a look at my sale account if they wanted to grab a bargain and that way I didn’t spam my existing followers who weren’t interested. At the time of the sale I had around 5200 followers and 180 of them came over to the sale account. Think carefully about who you want to attract to your sale and what you can manage. My sale was UK only as I didn’t want to deal with customs forms and overseas postage.
Decide on when to hold the sale and set rules
I prefer to make my Instagram sales more of an ‘event’ rather than drip feeding my followers with items for sale. I looked at my Instagram stats via Iconosquare to find the time my followers were most active. I scheduled posts on both Instagram feeds a couple of days before to let people know I would be listing from 6pm onwards.
Prior to the sale starting, I made a ‘rules’ post which outlined how the sale would work and how people could purchase. This also gave people an opportunity to ask questions if anything wasn’t clear.
Schedule in advance
If you’re going to be listing a lot of items which I would recommend, it makes sense to schedule your listings in advance so you aren’t frantically typing out descriptions when the sale goes live. I used Hootsuite to schedule all my Instagram posts, so when the time of the sale came, I just had to sit on a mobile device and hit publish for each one (currently, Instagram doesn’t allow autoscheduling so posts are only partially prepared).
Hootsuite Pro accounts will allow you to bulk upload a csv file of posts (here’s where your earlier spreadsheet comes in handy) and they also offer a free 30 day upgrade on existing Hootsuite accounts so there’s no charge. Other tools such as Latergramme will also work, but they only allow a small number of posts to be scheduled in advance without a fee.
During the time of the sale be online to answer questions about each listing and to make sure all your posts have successfully gone live!
I found Paypal the easiest way to accept payments for the sale and asked people to leave their email addresses on the listing they wanted to buy (some DM’ed them instead which was also fine). Soon after, I sent Paypal invoices to each person and asked for payment within 24 hours. Luckily everyone paid up so I didn’t have to do any chasing! Remember to factor in Paypal fees too.
Once I had received their payments, Paypal would provide their postal addresses and names which I then matched up to the listing photo and the listing spreadsheet I had made. You need to be good with record keeping here as their Instagram profile name might be completely different to their actual name or email address! Basically you are aiming for a master spreadsheet with item description, price, who you have sold to (include IG and real names) and their address.
Be efficient with packing and sending
I had over 30 packages to send out so I made use of my Dymo Labelwriter to print all the address labels. This saved a lot of time! If you haven’t got a label maker, you can use a mail merge from your spreadsheet into a label template in a Word document. Then a sheet of labels can be printed on a normal printer. Otherwise, get your master spreadsheet out and a friend to help you with writing out all those addresses!
Package items well (breakables should be bubble wrapped!) and post as soon after the sale as you can. I notified all the buyers that packages had been sent and got proof of posting for each one.
A key factor of any successful sale is to communicate with your buyers. At all points of the sale you must update them; for the rules at first, then when invoices have been sent and when packages are on their way. You can do this via another photo upload to save individual messages if you are short for time. I also asked buyers to tag me when their package arrived so a week or so later I could delete the original photo listing.
One thing to remember is that these sales take a significant amount of time to prepare and run – so think about whether it is worth your time and effort. I made enough to feel like it wasn’t a waste of my time (took almost a whole day!) and I sold almost every item I listed (except my sewing machine which is still up for grabs!). You need to be really organised and work out your system beforehand.
PHEW. There you go – it was a lot to share, but I hope some of you find it useful. I’m definitely going to be holding more sales in the future so please keep following Claireabellesells if you’re interested.