As the Instagram swipe up has already felt like something of the past after being retired several weeks ago, links in stories have slowly made their debut. But just like swipe-ups, links in stories were limited to verified users or those with 10,000 followers or more. So those with smaller audiences have been limited to directing their audiences to click out of stories and onto the link in their bio, making the experience for their followers less than ideal with extra unwanted steps. This caused creators (and the brands they work with) to potentially miss out on a huge piece of their business…until now. Instagram made an announcement last week that has both influencers and brands doing a little happy dance: you no longer need to have at least 10,000 followers to include links in stories! Instagram now allows links in stories for all.
The vast majority of Instagram accounts (about 90%) have less than 10,000 followers. This includes many small businesses. In fact, 85% of influencers have follower counts of 20,000 or fewer. Among these accounts are the micro or nano influencers – those with 1,000 to 10,000 followers. These accounts may not offer the big flashy numbers that others may, but don’t let that fool you; they are an amazing group of up-and-coming and hyper-connected content creators. They usually have highly-engaged audiences and their engagement rates are exceptional with an average rate of 7% – nearly five times higher than the industry average.
We love working with these types of influencers at The Motherhood. Earlier this year we worked with an influencer with about 7,500 followers for two campaigns where she generated the highest engagement rate of all the influencers (even those with 10, 20, even 30,000 followers more than her!) Bottom line: follower counts are not the be-all, end-all in influencer campaigns. We are big proponents of quality over quantity, and people who have engaged audiences so content is not only seen but interacted with. Now all influencers have the opportunity to include links right in their stories so their audiences can continue the journey to potentially shop a product or visit a website with a call to action. And the influencers can rightfully earn more for their work.
Holly Hammersmith, an Instagram nano influencer and blogger at Welcoming Simplicity is thrilled that Instagram now allows links in stories for all. This new feature allows her to more easily share blog content with her followers. “Instead of asking them to take multiple steps to go to the link in my bio or to send me a DM, I can encourage them to take one step to tap the link and be directly taken to my new content,” she says.
This impacts brands, too. With 31.7 million small businesses in the U.S. alone, many businesses don’t have 10,000 followers so this also gives them the opportunity to build clicks and hopefully purchases to their website. But even bigger brands can benefit from hyper-connected micro and nano influencers to give them added credibility and reach new, specific audiences.
Best practices for link sharing
So you’re ready to click? Here are some quick tips to get started:
- Update your app: Can’t find the link sticker on stories yet? Update your app in the app store
- Track your clicks: Use a tracker like bit.ly to keep track of how many link clicks you are generating. This can be helpful to save in something like a media kit. Bit.ly also allows you to create personalized links to make it fit your brand
- Save shoppable stories to a highlight: In case someone misses your story, you can refer them back to the story highlight right on your page
- Tell a story with your links: Instead of a “one and done” story with one frame and a link, tell the story behind the link. Whether that’s something with your kids or an event or just a daily task, get creative in sharing the why behind the link
- Keep a good mix of promotional and real life: Just because you have links in stories doesn’t mean everything should be a link! Keep a good mix of non-links and link stories so your audience stays engaged. And if it’s a busy time of year (like now), take a tip from some influencers who give their followers a heads up that content will be a bit heavier in promotion than usual so you can stay authentic
The news that Instagram now allows links in stories for all is good news for everyone on the social network. If you’re an influencer, make sure to join our Facebook Group and our community. Are you a brand looking to work with a broader mix of influencers, including nano? Contact us today.