5 Tips For A Successful Instagram Product Auction

Hosting a product auction on Instagram is an effective way to generate quick revenue for your business and create awareness for your brand. It's most effective for products where supply is limited, and demand is high. One of a kind, limited runs or artistic pieces are ideal items to build up excitement and auction off on Instagram. 

We've run a few auctions on Instagram for our custom wood and resin watches with high success.

Here is a breakdown of the top things to think about and implement to help you create a successful auction on Instagram.

WATCH ON YOUTUBE 

 

 

1. COMPELLING PHOTOS AND VIDEO 

  • Don't overthink this - quality pictures will suffice or a quick video that showcases the product.  
  • Include a variety of photos or videos via a carousel feed post. 
  • Visually demonstrate to potential bidders what the product will look like in their life - make it relatable.
  • Add a call to action or simple text on the first picture of the carousel that helps it stand out. It will signal to your following that the post is a little different.
  • We include the name of the product, the date of the auction and the starting bid price so that it grabs attention and creates a sense of urgency
View this post on Instagram

**RESIN ART AUCTION** . THE RORSCHACH (BUILD 193) . LIST PRICE - $589 USD . This all resin watch was inspired by the Rorschach Test. It's a psychological test that records people's perceptions of inkblots, which are later analyzed. The Rorschach test is used to examine a person's personality characteristics and emotional functioning. . You can look at this resin watch case from many angles and see something new every time. It's a bold art piece that's going to have a lot of people googling "Rorschach Art" as you tell the story of why you acquired it for your collection. . **IDEAL BIDDER** . 💭 Has an imaginative mind . 🎨 Infrequently, frequents art galleries . 🌚 Not fond of the grey area in life . **RULES** . All bids are reflected in USD. If there is a Canadian winner the winning bid will be converted at the market exchange rate and invoiced in CAD . Opening Bid = $100 USD . Minimum bid increment = $20 USD . Bidding closes tonight (Jan 22nd) at 9:00PM EST and will rollover till the last bid stands for 5 minutes. . You MUST submit your bid via comment on this post only. We will not accept bids via DM or email. . Winning bid total is inclusive of shipping to the USA and Canada. International winners will pay flat rate of $50 for shipping. The winner will have 24 hours to remit full payment. Failure of full payment results in the watch going to next highest bidder. . Canadian residents are subject to provincial sales tax. . Full watch features can be found on our website at https://www.makerwatchcompany.com/collections/the-vault/products/the-rorschach-build-193 . #rorschach #resinwatch #Rorschachart #Rorschachtest #Watchforsale

A post shared by Wood Watch & Resin Art 🇨🇦 (@makerwatchcompany) on

 

2. TELL A STORY THROUGH YOUR AD COPY

  • If your product has a story behind it, tell it!
  • We use the direct ad copy from our website and trim it down to make it more Instagram friendly
  • People will resonate with a good story, and it adds value to the overall product. We had a recent auction winner note that he didn't follow us before the auction but stumbled upon us, read this product copy on our site and knew he had to have it!
  • List the characteristics of the ideal bidder/buyer to make the watch more relatable.

P.S. - OUR VAULT COLLECTION IS RESTOCKED & UNLOCKED

The Vault By Maker Watch Co.

3. LIST CLEAR RULES 

Clear rules are essential to ensure the auction runs as smoothly and fairly as possible. Below are the rules we implement on our Instagram auctions. Take this as a guide and feel free to use, amend or add to these in whatever capacity makes sense for you. 

 

CURRENCY & METHOD OF PAYMENT:

 "All bids are reflected in USD. If there is a Canadian Winner, the winning bid will be converted at the market exchange rate and invoiced in CAD."

Be clear on the final currency that the customer will need to settle up in and how they will remit payment.

 

OPENING BID: 

"$100 USD." 

An opening bid will set the least amount the product can sell. We vary the opening bid based on the product value. Generally, a lower floor will capture the attention of more people who scroll past your post but may also attract more unqualified bidders.

 

MINIMUM BID INCREMENT:

"$20 USD"

This will vary, but generally, the lower you go, the more bids you may receive. We've learned the serious bidders are willing to part with at least an extra $20. Depending on your product value, we would recommend an increment of as low as $10 up to $100.

 

CLOSE OF AUCTION:

"Bidding closes tonight (Jan 22nd) at 9:00 PM EST and will roll over till the last bid stands for 5 minutes." 

  • Communicate the time and timezone when the auction will end. It may seem obvious, but if your following may not fully understand where you are located.
  • As Instagram posts are hot for a minute and gone the next, we would not recommend a product auction lasting longer than the day. We recommend 8 hours to 12 hours to ensure the post is seen by the most and gives them a reasonable amount of time to decide if they want to bid. It also creates a sense of urgency, which is essential. If they are serious, they will submit a bid fast.
  • We highly recommend implementing a "no sniping rule" by stating that the last bid will need to stick for a designated amount of time. Without this, you will get last second bids out of nowhere, which creates a poor experience for someone who has invested a lot of their attention over the day to keep on track of the auction. 
  • In our example, the last bid would need to last till 9:05. If another bid came in at 9:02, then we would acknowledge it via reply it and state say it needs to stick till 9:07 before the auction officially closes. This gives anyone seriously bidding 5 minutes to decide if they are going to walk or bid up the price. The time frame will roll until the last bid stands for 5 minutes, so you need to ensure you are available and managing the communication.
  • Lessons learned: Going forward, we are going to state that all new bids must be submitted require a new comment vs. a reply to their old bid. This will make it easier for any other bidders to see what is happening and that it's not lost in the reply thread.

 

BID SUBMISSION:

"You MUST submit your bid via a comment on this post only. We will not accept requests via DM or email."

You would be surprised, but each time we have gotten bids via DM, reply to story or e-mail that we do not accept and direct the bidder to post on the feed post. The auction is most effective and transparent when the bids are open for public viewing. 

 

SHIPPING & PAYMENT DEADLINES:

"The winning bid total is inclusive of shipping to the USA and Canada. International winners will pay a flat rate of $50 for shipping. The winner will have 24 hours to remit full payment. Failure of full payment results in the watch going to the next highest bidder." 

  • Be clear with any shipping fees upfront. People don't like surprises, pick a flat rate, and communicate it if you are going to charge shipping. We provide free shipping for any USA or Canadian residents and charge a flat rate for international shipping.
  • Set a clear deadline on when the payment needs to be received. We give our winners 24 hours from the time we issue the invoice to remit the full amount. Should they not pay on time, the next highest bidder would be awarded. 

 

TAXES: 

"Canadian residents are subject to provincial sales tax." 

Keep the taxman happy - enough said here.

4. PROMOTE AHEAD OF TIME 

You can implement all of the advice we've listed here and have poor results if you do not promote the auction ahead of time.

  • Post every day on Instagram stories for 3-5 days leading up to the auction as not all potential bidders will see the feed post immediately
  • Pro-Tip: Use the countdown sticker feature on Instagram stories that serious people can save to get a reminder of when the auction starts
  • If you have an e-mail list, it would be ideal for sending a simple message the day the Instagram auction is live with a link to the Instagram post.
  • If you can keep the product a secret, it will also build up the anticipation and curiosity about which product is going up for grabs. 

5. FREQUENCY 

Instagram auctions are quick wins for sales and engagement but use them sparingly. We limit our Instagram watch auctions to a maximum of once per month with no promises to even do one. We do not want our community to get into the mindset and expectation that they are going to wait for an auction to scoop up a product. We also do not want to de-value a client who has paid in full. We generally auction off products that are sitting in inventory or are more experimental and in which we would likely not produce again.

If you have any questions feel free to reach out to us via DM on Instagram @makerwatchcompany

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Best of luck with your Instagram product auction!