Sharing Content on Instagram

Share_URL_Instagram_topper.jpg
How to use a link (URL) on Instagram.

If you've ever tried to post a link on Instagram you've noticed that it never renders as an active link, making it look like a garbled mess.

For reasons I'm not totally clear on Instagram doesn't allow links within the UX . I believe one reason is because they want your experience to be all about the photograph, and of course keeping you within the platform. The other reason -- and probably the driving force -- is the bane of everyone's existence on the Internet: spam.

The Workaround

Instagram does however offer its users one link within the profile area to utilize as a website link. As with most communities online, the users have created a workaround — taking this one link and making it work for their overall needs: sharing content. (Fun fact/side note: Twitter users are responsible for creating the @ reply and the #hashtag that we now use everywhere. Never underestimate the power of what a community can do and make online!)

You've probably noticed on your Instagram feed the words: "Link in profile." on specific photographs. I've seen a wide variety of businesses do this, from retailers, bloggers, and makers to major corporations.

Its become the default way of sharing outside content on Instagram. It's often a blog post, a shop link, or sale online, but it can also be a podcast (what I mainly use it for), a free printable, an online class, newsletter signup...you name it, if it's an active link you can place it there. Simply change the "website" link in your profile to the link you want to direct people to. It's that easy!

How-To

Before you upload the specific image to Instagram, go to your profile page and click edit to add the specific URL you'll be using into the Website box, then save it.

I like to do this prior to uploading my image because people are super quick online, and you want to make sure you grab them. It's also important to make sure all the correct info is in place before directing people to a link. This can be done on mobile or on your desktop (I've put screenshots below for both, the mobile shot below is from an Android, so it may be a bit different from the iOS screen. ). I personally like doing it on my desktop, because it's much easier to copy, paste, and toggle between screens.

Adding Your Link on the Desktop:

Using Instagram's Website link dynamically

Using Instagram's Website link dynamically

Adding Your Link on Mobile:

Using Instagram's Website link dynamically

A few things to keep in mind:

  1. Remember we're not able to upload images from the desktop.
  2. I often like to change my bio, adding info about the specific link so there is context if people look at my bio but don't see the original image.
  3. Make sure your link is always up to date. Once that image has moved down within your stream, make sure you update your profile back to your website URL or an appropriate link.
  4. Get creative and be dynamic! I use podcast links, blog posts, and newsletter signups forms.

People spend all day on Instagram, you've probably noticed you yourself are spending more time there as well. Instagram is growing in leaps and bounds for the creative community. This workaround is not only quick and easy, it's a valuable way to share what you've created, connect to new clients and customers, and drive traffic back to your website.

Tell me, what will you be sharing?

Have a question or feedback for me? Let me know here or on Twitter.