Don't Use LinkTree for Instagram Marketing (Use This Instead)
For many people on Instagram, the end goal isn't necessarily engaging with people on the app itself, but instead it’s sending your community to a desired website. Most of the time that would be your own website, but sometimes it's an event page, a post on Facebook, or an article about your business.
Since I write for several different publications, my gola on Instagram is to send people to various websites. to read my articles. Normally I do this within Instagram Stories and link directly to an article with the swipe up feature, but I also want to have a place for people to go to look up the latest music news in Sonoma County, my Recipe for Instagram class, or my latest rants on Wine Country Moms Blog… Or, I simply want to reference an article from a picture on my Instagram feed and have no other way of linking within the captain (we can’t link from our Instagram captions like we can on Facebook or Twitter, unless you make it an Instagram ad). This is where the link in an Instagram bio comes along (you may see some people say “Please click the link in bio” and that’s what it means.
Some Instagram marketers edit the link in their bio every time they have a new promotion. In addition, some other marketers just direct people to the homepage of their website. Others don’t have a link at all (don’t even get me started about that... Why are you even bothering with social media as a marketing tool if you don’t link to your website?). Some have a CTA in their Instagram bio and always send their community to one page (like Iron Horse Vineyards does on their Instagram page – they send people to make a reservation).
Other marketers use websites like Link in Bio, Like 2 Buy, or LinkTree. The first two are websites designed to make shopping on Instagram easier, and the third is a way to send people to a landing page where you can have several places to send traffic.
So What is Linktree?
The other day, the website “LinkTree” went down and was showing an error message to anyone who tried to click out from Instagram. Many of my online friends in my Blogging and Social Media Facebook groups were complaining because of how frequently they use the tool. So, what is LinkTree?
From the website: LinkTree is a free tool for optimizing (the website actually spells this wrong, but I couldn't stand the red squiggly line so I had to fix it) your Instagram traffic, whether you’re a blogger, an artist or run a content platform. You’ll get one bio link to house all the content you’re driving followers to.
Yes, LinkTree for Instagram Marketing is an Awesome Idea
As I mentioned, Instagram users used to change up their links in their bio depending on the latest promotion, newest product, or most recent blog post. This often meant that people who simply wanted other information about your business weren’t easily able to find it, especially if the link was to a microsite or an event landing page, for example, versus a page on your website.
LinkTree allows brands and bloggers to link to the specific promotion AS WELL AS all of the other potentially important information that customers need (i.e., services, hours/location for brick and mortar businesses, or a menu for restaurants).
Instead of changing the link in your bio depending on which Instagram picture you shared, you are easily able to go into LinkTree to edit the buttons on the list. Now that Instagram’s algorithm shows photos from up to 2 days earlier, it makes sense to be able to link to multiple offers or promotions.
LinkTree is easy to build and takes no coding skills. Seemingly, it is a great solution to only being able to use one link* on Instagram *Unless you have over 10K followers and have the swipe up option in stories.*
I don’t recommend using LinkTree to drive traffic from Instagram
LinkTree sounds great… I do have one issue with it, though, and it solely comes from the fact that when people click over to your website, LINKTREE is capturing the clicks — not your site. LinkTree takes away traffic from your website, which matters because – in a vacuum – the more traffic on your website leads to more brand awareness. Depending on what your goal is for yourLinktree for Instagram Marketing Action Item website - this also could add up to higher sales and conversions, or larger brand partnerships because brands pay more for websites with a lot of traffic. You also lose some of your own branding as well. LinkTree is very one dimensional, unless you want to pay. If you spent a ton of time, or money on branding your business - you probably want to use your own fonts and colors.
I do recommend creating your own landing page
Make your own version of LinkTree! I created a landing page on my own Squarespace hosted website, specially for people who come from Instagram (I also have one for FB, Twitter, LI and my email signature, which are all pretty much the same page with different urls so I can track where my website traffic comes from). I have friends that have done the same by creating buttons within their Wordpress or Weebly hosted websites.
Here are a few examples of custom landing pages from some of my blogger friends:
Mine: http://shanabull.com/hello-from-instagram (hey! I LOVE it, so why NOT show it off?!)
Meg on the Go: https://www.megoonthego.com/welcome/
The Garcia Diaries: https://thegarciadiaries.com/linkinbio
Or you can make sure your website homepage drives people exactly to where they may want to go without having a ton of bells and whistles, like Your Marketing BFF’s homepage.
Action Item for everyone: Create your own landing page (instead of LinkTree)
If you have access to your own website (yes, I know not everyone does) and love the idea of using an Instagram Marketing landing page, create your own version of LinkTree and make sure to use CTAs in your Instagram Bio and captions in your feed. Keep it short, with only 6 links and add the most important ones to the top. You can swap them out anytime you have a big promotion, but I like keeping most of mine static.
It was easy to make within Squarespace (and people have said it is easy on other hosting platforms as well), and now when people click over from Instagram, they come to MY website, which, overall, makes the bounce rate decrease on my website (check your Google Analytics), and ensures that visitors spend more time clicking through to another page — all giving my website more Google clout - which helps my articles get to the front page of Google... Also, I am able to personalize my page to be on brand without having to pay extra. Definitely bonus points for that!
UPDATE FROM MAY 2019: I wrote more about all the different Link in Bio Apps for Instagram Marketing in a follow up blog post.