How to add links to your Instagram Stories

Estimated read time: 5 minutes

The below was actually only possible if you had over 10,000 followers. Then, in September 2018, I noticed that the linking to outside sites field has disappeared for me. It only allowed me to link Instagram Stories to IGTV videos.

That’s not a good step, in my opinion, but Instagram doesn’t usually ask for my opinion.

Try this: I added an Instagram link page here and added story links there when I mention them on Instagram. That makes articles a little easier to find.

The below was written in 2017 and the above was added in September 2018:

In late 2016 Instagram was testing links directly within stories for verified users. Of course been verified on Instagram was really reserved for just top celebrities. Unlike Twitter people can’t currently apply for it.

But as of late May 2017, it appears that more and more unverified users are receiving the option to add links to their Instagram Stories.

Instagram Stories that have a link attached to a specific post have a “see more” button at the bottom of that specific post. And how do we get that  functionality added to our accounts? While I’m seeing more more people being able to add links to their Instagram Stories it appears to be a feature that has not been rolled out to every single Instagram user. For example, at the time of this writing I personally don’t have it on my account at ChristophTrappe.

Related reading:

What’s with all the links on social media!

More on what Instagram Stories are

So it’s likely that Instagram is rolling it out in phases and we’re all getting it over time. That’s a very similar concept to how Instagram Live video was rolled out. The live video functionality was rolled out worldwide over a few months.

Once you have the ability to add links you will get an additional icon (a chain link) in the top right after taking or uploading a photo to your Instagram Story:

Up to this point there were only two ways for most users to link from Instagram:

  • From your profile page. That prompted many brands to share pictures in their Instagram feed and say that users should please go to their profile page and click on the link in the profile to read more. I have done that as well but it’s clearly not the best user experience due to the extra steps.
  • In promoted posts. Instagram has always allowed links from promoted posts. I’ve tried them a few times, as mentioned before, and the click through  cost is just a little high in my opinion.

When should we link from our Instagram Stories?

In general across pretty much most social networks, I’ve seen a decline in click through rates. Everyone is sharing their links and everyone wants people to click over to their website, blog or landing page. I get it. I want people to come to my blog too but comparatively  fewer people are clicking than let’s say eight years ago.

But links still do have a place in social media story sharing. Here’s a quick guide with things to consider on when to link from your Instagram Story:

  • When the click actually makes sense and we’re offering something of additional value to people.
  • When there is truly something that’s worth buying or signing up for and that cannot be shared directly on Instagram Stories.
  • When we don’t do it all the time. Don’t add a link to every single Instagram Stories post. That can get old before we know it.
  • If it works and more more people are participating in Instagram Stories and are clicking on the links brands are likely to participate more and more.

And link or not Instagram Stories still delete automatically after 24 hours.

So there you have it. As much as I recommend that people don’t overdo linking off social media it’s also another way to stay connected with our audiences and communities and offer them more relevant content in addition to what’s posted directly on Instagram Stories.

(I’ll try to post an update once I have the feature available to me on my account and I’ll take a look and see if it works.)

Sidebar: Location-based stories are worth a try

Instagram in May 2017 also rolled out location-based stories. When you tag an Instagram Stories post with the location Instagram will automatically add it to that city’s Story.

So the tagged  place where I was having a family lunch  was  added automatically to the Cedar Rapids Instagram story list. So everybody looking at the list  for that city could see it there. Typically my Instagram Stories see  around 30 to 60 views so 156 was pretty high and many of them came from that new functionality.

Really, the increased viewership encourages me to tag my posts when tagging the city makes sense.

Example of great Instagram Stories linking

This New York Times on Instagram Stories is worth sharing:

Interesting story already and I swiped through it. I didn’t even notice the “see more” until I got to the final screen:

Read the story here.

The Times built momentum and made her likable enough in a few pictures and with a few tidbits of the story to want me to know more. Much more effective than the typical one-sentence (clickbait) teaser I often see on Twitter.

I clicked and read. Tell me why they are worried! I had no time but yet I read more. Well done, New York Times. Of course, not just news organizations can use this technique but all content marketers.

Of course, the potential problem with Instagram Stories is that this entire sequence will disappear in 24 hours but they could repost it after a few days if it was effective.

I obviously don’t have access to their numbers but it seemed very effective to me.

Tell a great story on social media >>> cliffhanger >>> click for more

The key here is that the Times gave us something on the social media network. Here’s to great storytelling on Instagram.

Know of other great Instagram Stories uses? Send them to me here.