Feedonomics Expert Interview: Shirley Li from Instagram

Shirley Li is a Strategic Partner Manager for Instagram Shopping, where she works with brands to enable and grow their commerce activity on the platform. Prior to joining Instagram, Shirley was the Director of Online Strategy at the Estee Lauder Companies, developing the e-commerce strategy and working on digital initiatives across the portfolio of beauty brands.

How does Instagram support the consumer shopping journey?

Discovery is a critical part of the shopping journey, and Instagram has always been a platform for people to discover new brands, products, and services. People can follow their passions on Instagram and find visual inspiration anytime, anywhere — whether it’s fashion styles, beauty looks, home decor, etc. Additionally, the ecosystem of creators and influencers on the platform also serves as a key source of discovery. We are seeing more than ever that the products that creators use or recommend inspire their audience to learn more about those products.

Instagram is building out tools and features for people to take action at that moment of discovery, whether it’s finding out more product information, saving the product for later, or even making a purchase on the spot.

What advice would you give to brands when it comes to Shopping on Instagram?

One of the key reasons why people come to Instagram is to interact directly with the brands that they already know and love, as well as to discover new brands and products. By posting product tags, brands enable consumers to get the information they’re seeking with just one or two taps, and today 130 million accounts are currently tapping to reveal product tags in Shopping posts each month. We recommend that brands make Shopping a regular part of their organic strategy on Instagram.

However, one size does not fit all when it comes to how to leverage product tags. Brands should test and iterate with Shopping across stories, feed and video to find out what type of content and formats resonate the most with your particular audience.

What book have you given the most as a gift, and why?

Shoe Dog, Philip Knight’s memoir about creating Nike. It’s a fascinating account of how one of the world’s most iconic brands came to be, intertwining both personal and business lessons that Knight learned along the way. It’s great as a gift, given its broad appeal, but especially if your recipient is interested in sports, branding, or globalization.

How has an apparent failure set you up for later success?

A while ago, a good friend and I tried to start our own direct-to-consumer fashion business. We spent countless hours researching and writing a business plan, only to end up scrapping it when we came to the conclusion that we didn’t have a strong enough consumer value proposition to make it worth executing. Nonetheless this experience produced invaluable learnings, including the realization that I actually didn’t want to be an entrepreneur and was more passionate about helping other businesses grow. This insight helped me focus on the right opportunities for myself and has informed my career trajectory ever since.

Want to learn how to create a mobile storefront with Instagram Shopping? Watch our Instagram Shopping Webinar and see what Checkout on Instagram will look like for you and your business.