Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms in the world with over 2 billion active users. Naturally, it is hard for publishers to ignore this. Publishers who’ve created Instagram pages and amassed a lot of followers are wondering how to drive people to their websites. There’s a catch here. Unlike other social media platforms that allow publishers to add external links in descriptions and to your website, Instagram is pretty restrictive. So after spending all the effort to gain followers, how does one drive traffic to their website?
Officially, there are only two places where clickable links can be added to Instagram; one in the Bio section and the recently added sticker in Instagram Stories. You cannot add external links to Instagram Posts for followers to read more on your website, and an Instagram Story lasts just 24 hours. So how does one drive traffic to their website? Here’s how.
Efficient Ways To Use Instagram’s Link-In Bio Option
You only get one permanent link on Instagram. Don’t be careless with it. Your first thought might be to add the website link here, but that is the most inefficient way of driving traffic to your website. You’ll drive all the traffic to either your homepage or a target page, but how often will you change this? Your post captions that read “Check the link in the bio” will become irrelevant when you change the link. Worry not, you can easily tackle this limitation in the following ways:
Use Link In Bio Tools
There are many third-party applications that you can use to add multiple links in bio. One of the most popular ones is LinkTree. The app creates a URL-based menu that stores all your links in one place. You can add multiple URLs to this one single link and place it in the bio. When a user clicks on this link, they will see different links. Make sure that you label these links clearly to avoid confusing your users.
Also Read: Best LinkTree Practices for Publications
There are many apps on Play Store and AppStore that perform these functions for free. Apart from Linktree, I like to use Link.Bio app as it is easy to use with fewer steps.
Mirror Insta Page
This method is very effective to get followers to your website using your Instagram posts and the link in bio. This method creates a landing page (which is added as a link in the bio) that mirrors your Instagram page. The only difference is now your posts are embedded with a clickable link. Once you click on the post, it will direct you to the target page on the website.This offers a best user experience compared to the previous option.
Best Practices While Using Link In Bio
Now we have understood how to use link in bio efficiently. However, remember, it is still an effort for people to go to your profile and click on that link. So, you need to make sure your stories, posts, or captions are alluring enough for users to take that step.
Here are some way in which you can do it;
- If you are using third-party applications such as Linktree make sure everything is mentioned clearly and people are directed to the particular website or blog post.
- In your captions, mention clearly that the link is in the bio. If possible, mention it in the beginning itself. If you want to mention it in the end, you can make it in all caps, as Instagram does not support bold letters in captions.
- Post a picture which will have Link in Bio mentioned in it. It will serve as a Call To Action (CTA) for people to act on it..
Use Your Stories Wisely
Stories are one of the most powerful and popular features on Instagram. It is quick and also very addictive. These days you will find more people posting on their stories than posting pictures with captions.
Publishers can also easily jump onto this bandwagon as you can post links in stories. You will need the Link Sticker which allows you to add the URL of the website which converts into a clickable link on the story. All Instagram users can use this, News Publishers can leverage this for breaking news.
However, make sure you add good CTA and captions in your stories that will make people click on the link.
Adding links to stories is great but these stories last only for 24 hours. This is where Instagram’s additional feature Story Highlights comes to the rescue.. The story highlights allow you to save stories on your profile forever. These highlights appear on your profile just above the photo grid.
Source: AlJazeera using Highlights for Fifa World Cup Stories
Now, this feature is simple to use. But there are multiple ways in which you can spice it up to get traffic to your website. You can be as creative as possible.
Here are a few ways:
- Name your highlights accurately. If you run a blog, then all the stories which have links to your blog posts can be under this highlight. So, if a follower is looking to check out a particular post or article, they just have to choose the correct story in the highlight. You can follow the same method for your Youtube videos and podcasts. Segregate them well.
- Instagram bio where you describe yourself, can be very limiting with just 150 characters. So, if you want to provide additional information about your website or product, you can create an About Us highlight. Create multiple stories which elaborate on your website with links and save them in the About Us highlight.
- Similarly, publishers can create different highlights such as stories covering an event, a major breaking news story, or a guide article.
Like all other social media apps, Instagram also has a direct message (DM) feature, where you can interact with users directly. And the good news is, it is link-friendly. That means you can share website links here. While you can use direct messages to reach out to your audience, doing so manually is hectic and time consuming. You will need to use a service for that.
I couldn't find a publisher doing this but shopping brand Myntra is using this feature. In the following picture you see that they have started an InstaLive and in their caption they are inviting people to comment “shop” in the DM. Once people do that, they will receive a discount link in their DMs.
You can also enable automatic messages for your business accounts using third-party apps and send a welcome message to every new follower along with the link to the website. Third-party apps such as Bigbangram, Direct bulk sender, DMPro among others help you get this done.
But make sure, you don’t overuse this feature and spam your followers.
Any Instagram Business Account can create sponsor posts by paying a fee to Instagram. These posts come with a CTA at the bottom of the post which takes the users to the target website.
You can also tie up with the influencers (people with a larger number of followers) to promote your publication. And the influencers can help you reach many more followers by sharing the link.
As we have seen earlier, people tend to engage more with Instagram stories. I have caught myself being on Instagram stories at one moment and in the next on website shopping for a product, all thanks to a story ad.
Any professional or business account can create Instagram ads by paying a fee to Instagram. You can choose the duration of the ads. You can also boost your existing stories or posts on Instagram.
Now that we have covered all the basic ways in which you can get traffic to your website, here are some additional ways worth exploring:
Get Followers Involved In A Competition Or A Giveaway
Instagram giveaways are the best way to get more followers. Once you get more followers, using the above methods, you can easily convert them into website traffic. Furthermore, through the giveaways, you can ask your followers to enable your posts notifications. It is simply not enough to ask people to do it otherwise. But with the lure of a giveaway, it becomes easier.
Use URL Shorteners In Caption
Not the most effective method, but it can be given a shot. You can use URL shorteners like bit.ly. They make the links shorter and these can be pasted in the caption. But you will have to depend on the goodwill of your users to actually memorise the link and paste it. However, it never hurts to try.
There are several ways to link to your website and drive traffic from Instagram. Some are straightforward while the others need to combine multiple features. Instagram is the most popular medium among youth. As of April 2022, over two thirds of the Instagram audiences were aged 34 years and younger. So, publishers with that target audience can’t afford to ignore this platform.