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How to Add a Link to an Instagram Story (and Customize It)

Learning how to add a link to an Instagram Story with a link sticker can help drive more traffic to your website. (RIP swipe up link)

Paige Cooper November 26, 2021
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Want to add a link to your Instagram Story? We have good news and then better news. (And as a bonus, we have a sweet new Instagram Story hack!)

The good news is that even though Instagram has retired its swipe-up feature, you can still add links to Stories using Instagram link stickers.

The even better news is that the 10,000 follower minimum is officially over, when it comes to adding a link in your Story. In theory, EVERYONE has access to link stickers on Instagram now. (Learn more about the update here.)

Which leads us to the other good news: we have a simple hack to customize your link sticker so that it vibes with your brand and design. Read on for all the steps.

Get your free pack of 72 customizable Instagram Stories templates now. Save time and look professional while promoting your brand in style.

Wait, what was the Instagram swipe-up feature?

The Instagram swipe-up feature helped brands and influencers reach their audiences and gain more followers by allowing them to add links directly to their Instagram Stories.

Viewers could swipe up on a Story or tap an arrow at the bottom of their screen to access a link without leaving the Instagram app or navigating all the way back to the bio to find that “link in bio.”

But in August 2021 Instagram announced it was retiring the swipe-up feature. Why?

There are a few theories. Perhaps Instagram has secret plans to make Stories move vertically like TikTok, rather than horizontally? The mystery remains unsolved. (Actually, Instagram did give its reasons, which we’ll get to in a second.)

Regardless, the end result is that now users can include links in their Instagram Stories by adding a link sticker, instead.

What is the Instagram link sticker?

The Instagram link sticker replaces the swipe up feature, letting users add an external link to an Instagram Story.

Story link stickers are the easiest way to drive traffic to external content and products on Instagram. You can also track link taps with Instagram analytics.

Instagram says that when it comes to links, the sticker has three major advantages over the swipe-up feature:

  • Stickers are familiar and popular with users, who use them for music, questions, locations and polls, etc.
  • Stickers allow more creative control over how a Story looks than swipe up links did.
  • And most importantly, stickers allow viewers to engage with a Story, whereas the swipe-up feature didn’t allow replies or reactions.

Simply put: just like swipe-up before them, Instagram link stickers are an important tool for any Instagram business strategy.

How to use the Instagram link sticker

Instagram Stories only stay up for 24 hours, but adding a link to your Instagram Story is helpful for increasing your conversions, boosting organic engagement, and making it easier for your followers to access the content you want to share.

Instagram Story Sticker menu including link sticker

Source: Instagram

Here’s how to add a link sticker to your Instagram Story. (Spoiler: it’s the same as any sticker.)

  1. In the Instagram app, tap the plus sign
  2. Select Story (rather than Post, Reel, or Live).
  3. Create your Story using all the gorgeous media you have at your disposal.
  4. Tap the Sticker icon in the top row.
    1. Type in the URL
    2. Type in the sticker’s text or call to action (eg., Tap to read)
    3. Place the sticker on your Story
    4. Pinch to resize it
    5. Tap to shuffle through the available colour schemes (blue, black, white, beige, etc.)
  5. Then send to your Story, and you’re done!

It’ll look something like this:

Who can use the Instagram link sticker?

If you have an Instagram account, you should have access to the link sticker in their Instagram Stories (not just accounts with more than 10,000 followers).

Of course, as always, a roll-out across a billion accounts takes time, and we’ve heard from many people (including our own social team at Hootsuite!) who still don’t have the sticker popping up in their accounts. If this is the case for your account, all we can advise is to keep your Instagram app up to date and say a prayer. It’ll show up eventually.

And if you’re one of the lucky few who have contacts at Instagram HQ, maybe send those contacts a note?

How to customize your Instagram link sticker design

If you are finding that the Instagram link sticker isn’t living up to your brand’s aesthetic, you’ll be happy to know you can customize it even further in a few simple steps.

Watch the video below for a quick tutorial on how to customize your Instagram link sticker.

Here’s how to customize your Instagram Story link sticker design:

  1. Create your Instagram Story and add a link sticker just as you usually would
  2. Go to the design app of your choice
  3. Design a sticker that is on-brand, visually pleasing, with a clear CTA (eg., “Read more” or “Tap here!”)
  4. Export it to your phone as a PNG file with a transparent background
  5. Go back to your Instagram Story draft, and add your custom sticker from your phone’s photo album or files
  6. Place the custom sticker directly over your link sticker

Voila! That’s it: you’ll have perfect aesthetic control over your Story, and people will still be able to tap through.

Pro Tip: Remember to track your Story metrics so you can optimize your click-through rate. If you aren’t getting as many taps as you want, make sure you have a clear call to action, and that you don’t overload one Instagram post with too much information.

Still stumped? Read our five other reasons that your Stories might be failing to convert.

Other ways to drive traffic to your website from Instagram

Sharing links with your audience is useful whether your goals are relationship-building or converting. (And remember, you might see engagement on Instagram drop if you’re sending traffic elsewhere, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing — check out our experiment on adding links to Instagram Stories for more).

If you don’t want to use the link sticker, here are some alternatives:

Link in bio

You’re probably doing this already, but you can add a call to action and a link in the bio section of your Instagram profile. Some IG users choose to put the one specific link they want in their bio or use link shortening tools for customization.

You can also use tools that allow you to host multiple links on one landing page (less updating your links, more conversions!). It’s called an Instagram link tree and it’s very easy to make.

Just remember to say “link in bio” in your caption when you post (we did an experiment, and don’t worry, it won’t hurt your engagement if you say it.)

Use your DMs

Post your Story and let your followers know that they can DM you for a direct link. It’s super easy for them, and a great way to build a relationship with your audience since it might feel even more personal when they receive the link directly from you.

Bonus Tip: Use the DM Me sticker: your followers can get in touch with you in one tap!

Create a poll

Share your content and then create a poll that asks people if they want to be sent the link. All you have to do is check who said ‘yes’ to your poll and you can follow up with a link sent via direct message in the Instagram app.

Ready to start driving traffic to your website from Instagram? Use Hootsuite to schedule Stories, posts, and carousels, engage your audience, and analyze performance—alongside all your other social networks.

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By Paige Cooper

Paige Cooper is a lapsed librarian turned copywriter turned inbound marketing strategist who spends her days growing the Hootsuite Labs YouTube channel.

Read more by Paige Cooper

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