As social media marketing channels go, Instagram is kind of the odd one out. You can post great content and attract lots of likes and comments, but then what? Marketing efforts are supposed to spur your followers to action, and that usually means clicking a CTA that brings you through to a website. But since you can’t put clickable links in Instagram captions, how are you supposed to do that?
Luckily, there are plenty of easy workarounds for Instagram’s seeming unfriendliness to links. Here are a few ways to leverage one of the world’s most popular social media platforms to your advantage. A note, before we get started: switch to an Instagram for Business profile! Switching to an IG for Business profile gives you access to tons of great features that you just can’t use otherwise.
Use a “Link In Bio” System
You can’t put links in captions, but you can put them in your bio. Then, when you post a photo, tell everyone that there’s a link to the product or website in your bio. You can update that link every time you post something or use a tool like Lnk.Bio to create a custom page with unique, trackable links associated with each of your posts.
Lean Into Instagram Stories
Instagram’s photos and videos might not allow for links in the captions, but Stories does. Depending on the size of your following and your eligibility, you can use Instagram’s powerful “swipe up” feature, which allows you to put a link in any Story, using gifs, photos, videos, and some simple design elements to call attention to it. Users can then swipe upward on their screen to be taken directly to your website or landing page.
This means you’ll need an obvious call to action. Lots of Instagram Stories take the form of a person talking, so it’s easy to just have that person say something about the link and why they should want to swipe up. Launching a new product? Swipe up to learn more. Hosting a contest? Swipe up to enter. Putting on an event? Swipe up to RSVP.
Don’t forget about the visual part of a CTA. There’s a chance that your viewers are watching your Stories with the sound turned off, and you don’t want to miss out on clicks simply because they didn’t hear you. Stories has a few basic graphical elements you can add to your story to drive traffic even if your audio isn’t coming through.
There’s a flipside to the versatility of Stories, though — they’re fleeting. Sometimes called “ephemeral” content, Stories only last 24 hours after they’re posted, at which point they’re gone forever unless you save them as Highlights on your profile. Even if you save your stories as Highlights, though, your followers will have to visit your profile specifically to see them. Stay on top of your followers’ minds by checking in frequently on stories.
Make Sure Your Website Is Optimized for Mobile
If people are swiping through to your site from Instagram, it’s a good bet that they’re doing so from a mobile device. Instagram is a mobile platform first and foremost, and roughly half of all web traffic comes from mobile devices.
It doesn’t make any sense to put all that time and effort into crafting engaging stories and growing your audience, just to have people turned away by a poor mobile experience on your website. Visit your website on a phone to make sure that your home page — and any landing pages — are easy to navigate and read.
Drive Traffic With Shoppable Posts
Shoppable posts are a recent addition to Instagram, but if you have a catalog of products, they’re invaluable. In the past, if you had seen a pair of shoes you liked on an Instagram post, you would have had to look up the name of the shoes, find a website that sells them, and then make your purchase.
Now, with Instagram Shoppable Posts, you can tag the products in your catalog directly within posts, making each product clickable directly and reducing the distance between discovery and purchase.
Shoppable posts aren’t a perfect fit for every business, but they can be a powerful tool — up to 85% of shoppers use social media to learn about new products, so if you can capture their attention while they’re browsing, you can boost your sales enormously.
Instagram isn’t quite as easy to use as other social media platforms when it comes to driving traffic to your website, but it has unique features that can be leveraged to enhance your marketing strategy. Like any marketing platform, Instagram is just a piece of the puzzle.