Last week Instagram advertising was rolled out to more users and soon it will be available to everyone. For businesses and bloggers this is good news. At last we will be able to link from an Instagram post to our websites or blogs.
Until then we are stuck with one clickable link on our Instagram account and that’s the one you add to the ‘website’ section of your bio.
Because of this, website traffic should not be the number one goal for your Instagram strategy. You have to remember that people are going to follow you to find out more about you. In turn you can get to know your customers better by chatting to them on their posts. Your goals should reflect this.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t let people know where they can find more information about what you do or what you self.
In this post I’m going to show you three ways you can drive traffic to your website using Instagram. But first you have to create a link that is useable.
Shorten & Customise It
The key to all three of these methods is to shorten your links, and customise them before you post them to Instagram. As people can’t click links directly you need to create memorable links, links that people will be able to remember long enough to open a browser window and type them in. That’s where Bitly.com comes in.
Go to the Bitly website and set up an account. It’s free.
Copy the link to the web page you want to promote and paste it into the bar at the top of the Bitly page.
A window will open with your shortened link. Click inside the ‘Customise’ box to give it a memorable name.
Now you can copy this and use it on Instagram.
The nice thing about shortening a link is that Bitly will register how many times it’s been clicked.
If you want to more accurately measure the traffic you get from Instagram you can follow my three step method.
1. Link In Bio
When you set up your account you have the option to add a website link. This is the one clickable link that you have on Instagram so use it wisely. Avoid linking to your home page. Don’t’ make people go looking for the information they need on your site.
I recommend setting up a specific landing page for people coming from Instagram. If you are a blogger this could be the link to your blog page, if you run a business you could be more creative and have a special page you update with Instagram deals and information.
2. Add link to caption
Although it’s not clickable you can add links that you want to promote to the captions in your Instagram posts. This is where your customised links really come in to play. If people view your photo on a PC they can copy and paste it into a browser. If they visit on a mobile device they should be able to remember it long enough to type it into a browser window.
We quite often share links to our blog in our Instagram photos.
3. Link as location
**Update: Instagram no longer supports custom locations**
When you link within your captions it can get lost amongst the other text. If you add a link as location it appears at the top of the photo and it’s hard to miss.
You should use your custom link here too.
Here’s how to add a link as a location:
Choose your photo as usual. When you get to the ‘Share to’ screen make sure ‘Add to Photo Map’ is toggled on.
Click ‘Name this location’
Instead of choosing a location from the list type in your customised link
Instagram will give you the option to create a custom location including your link.
When you publish your post the link will appear underneath your user name at the top of the image.
I anticipate Instagram will eventually allow us to link out from posts as well as profiles, I can see them adding more business tools as their advertising products progress. For now we have to rely on these three methods and ensure that we are doing more with our Instagram account than trying to drive traffic to our sites.