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As of last month, Instagram has decided to ditch the traditional Swipe Up link feature for Stories and replace it with Link Stickers instead. Sharing external links on Instagram is beneficial to both influencers and businesses, as it is an avenue to reach new audiences, engage with followers, and create brand awareness. With Instagram Link Sticker now available for every account on the platform to use, it is important that content creators and brands alike understand what this change means in order to integrate it successfully into their marketing strategies.
Instagram Stories Explained
Instagram Stories are a powerful tool for influencers and brands to utilize when marketing products and services. This feature allows users to post photos and videos that are available to view by followers for only 24 hours. Stories are located at the top of users’ feeds in order to click through and locate them easier. Not only are Instagram Stories reaching 500 million people per day, which is almost half of the app’s total user base, but they track important insights and data that affect both content creators and brands. These insights include:
- Swipe Away/Exits
- Taps Forward/Backward
The success of Instagram Stories inspired other platforms too. Check out this blog for a rundown of TikTok’s new story feature and how it’s helping creators.
History of Instagram Swipe Up
Prior to the addition of Instagram Swipe Ups, users were limited to one clickable link designated to their Instagram bio. Once Instagram announced the update to their platform that allowed users to post links to external websites directly on their Stories for the followers to engage with, the influencer marketing game was forever changed. The Instagram Swipe Up feature allowed established brands and influencers to work together to promote products, events, landing pages, videos, and more by utilizing Stories to create call-to-actions that would encourage followers to click the intended link.
But, here’s the catch: Swipe Ups were limited to those who had verified business profiles and at least 10,000 followers. For small businesses and micro influencers, this in-app feature was out of reach and hindered their growth on the app. Once Instagram recognized that this feature was excluding a large majority of the app’s everyday users, they decided to expand its access, which is how the Instagram Link Stickers was born.
How to Access the Instagram Link Sticker
Instagram has made it easier than ever for users to access Link Stickers by providing step-by-step instructions on how to do so. Here is a breakdown of the steps that Instagram provided:
- Upload the picture or video you plan on posting to your Story.
- Choose the sticker tool at the top of the screen.
- Click on the “Link” banner and type the intended link. Click “done” when this step is complete.
- Modify the size, color, and placement of the Link Sticker to maximize its visual appeal.
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Instagram Link Sticker: What Does it Mean for Brands and Influencers?
There are many factors that influencers must consider when trying out an Instagram Link Sticker for the first time, and this includes what message they want to send on behalf of the brand they are working with, as well as the easiest way to direct their followers to the external source for more information. If influencers are successful in creating a seamless experience for their followers to travel from Instagram to the external website and create a well-established call to action, the benefits of Instagram Link Stickers will come into play for them. Some of these benefits include:
- Increased Engagement
Instagram Link Stickers now open doors for further engagement for influencers. Since followers now have the ability to respond and react to link stickers, which Instagram Swipe Ups did not previously allow, influences can gauge their audience’s reactions to the content and gain insights that could be helpful to the business they are promoting.
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Consumer feedback is important in social media marketing because it can guide businesses when making product decisions, as well as what they need to change about their brand to maximize its success. Instagram Link Stickers coupled with Instagram Story Insights make this easy for a business to keep track of. If consumer feedback is positive, brands will be more likely to want to work with the influencer again, thus creating a long-term, mutually beneficial partnership.
As opposed to Swipe Ups, Instagram Link Stickers are now available to every account on the app, regardless of their size or following. This is especially important for nano and micro influencers, which are social media creators who have <10,000 – 50,000 followers.
Micro influencers are the underdogs of influencer marketing, but what many brands don’t know is due to their loyal and niche following, they are able to interact more regularly with followers and make the connection more personal. In turn, these influencers are trusted by their fans and are more willing to buy products that they recommend. Now, with access to Link Stickers, smaller influencers have the chance to promote brands’ products and grow their audience size and reach.
Nano and micro influencers are a powerhouse in the creator market. Read more about why and how you should work with nano influencers here.
Here’s a breakdown of a couple of ways in which brands benefit alongside influencers with the help of Instagram Link Stickers:
- Creative Freedom
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As opposed to the traditional Swipe Up link that was located at the bottom of the Story screen, Instagram Link Stickers can appear anywhere on the page. Other customizable features of Link Stickers allow you to change the color and size of the embedded external link. Together, this grants businesses the freedom to create their own Story layout that accurately reflects their brand’s identity, which ultimately sets them apart from the competition. Having creative freedom is a great way to gain brand recognition, make products and services more memorable, and have a lasting impression on consumers.
- More Advertising Opportunities
While Link Stickers can be a fun and unique way to advertise for brands, they can also act as a great tool for paid advertising. Utilizing influencer marketing for both small and large businesses can help to promote multiple products and educate consumers with very minimal effort and at low costs.
Depending on the product that brands are trying to promote, there is an influencer who posts content that corresponds with that exact niche, whether it be beauty, fitness, or food. Brands are now able to target the exact audience they want to advertise to, as well as reach new ones that they never thought could be possible. Customized messaging is vital to attracting loyal customers and generating additional revenue.