Instagram Democratizes Story Linking

If you’ve ever seen a business or influencer on Instagram direct their followers to “swipe up” to access a specific URL from their Story, you may have felt discouraged if you didn’t have the opportunity to do the same from your account. However, Instagram recently announced changes to this feature that will have widespread impact for all users. Most significantly, it will give business owners the opportunity to generate website traffic and expand owned audiences.

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Instagram offers Story links to all users

Instagram’s announcement marked a shift in which users have the ability to add links to their Stories, as well as the user experience of the linking feature. Originally, only verified users (those with blue check marks) and users with 10,000 or more followers were able to add links to their stories.

This restriction meant only Instagram super users were able to leverage their following to grow their businesses or personal brands beyond vanity metrics. As impromptu Story content becomes more impactful than curated “grid” content, Instagram’s decision to expand Story linking capabilities to all users means everyone can benefit from the traffic that Stories can generate.

The functionality of the Story linking feature has changed, too. Before, linked URLs were placed in a “swipe up” gesture, but now they are placed in a link “sticker” on top of the image. This adds more opportunities for customization and visual engagement.

Before this change, the only way for most Instagram users to direct traffic to a URL was to add the link to their profile bio. This method required extra effort from followers and was impractical for highlighting multiple links at once. Many users chose to use landing pages containing multiple links as a directory of sorts, and some tools like Linktree and Later offered basic customization options, but even these have fallen short of an efficient solution.

Now that you can add individual links directly to your stories, the link-in-bio space has new opportunities. The landing pages that once contained numerous links to various pages can now be used more intentionally for cross-platform promotion. To take this one step further, you might also consider adopting a monetization platform like Snipfeed or Beacons to create a highly customizable storefront for your business. With either option, the link-in-bio space can now serve as a central location for all of your top revenue-driving links.

How to add links to your Instagram Stories

  1. Set the background for your Story. This could be an image, video, or solid background.
Screenshot of new Instagram story.
  1. Tap the sticker tool from the top right corner.
Screenshot of Instagram Story sticker menu.
  1. Tap the Link sticker and add your URL.
Screenshot of Instagram Story link sticker URL.
  1. Place the sticker where desired on your Story. Tap the sticker to view various color options.
Screenshot of Instagram Story link sticker.

Moving toward owned audiences

Perhaps the most significant implication of this new approach to Instagram Story links is that small businesses can implement a strategy to grow their owned audiences. We know from recent outages of Meta apps—including Facebook and Instagram—that relying on third-party platforms for engaging customers is risky. If these platforms go down, you need a way to reach your customers and keep your day-to-day operations running.

Now that you’re able to add links to your Story, you can use it to bring your followers into your owned media channels. This might look like promoting your loyalty program, newsletter, SMS program, or other direct form of customer communication. Regardless of the specific details, the ability to add links to your Story means you have new opportunities to grow your owned audience.

Read next: Best Digital Marketing Tools for Small Businesses

Kaiti Norton
Kaiti Norton is a Nashville-based Content Writer for eSecurity Planet, Webopedia, and Small Business Computing. She is passionate about creating relatable, research-based content that helps small businesses thrive. When she's not writing about small business technology, she's sharing her musings about fashion, cats, books, and skincare on her blog.

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