Facebook, Twitter, and other similar platforms have conditioned us to links in posts. Unfortunately or otherwise, links in Instagram posts are not available. This is has given rise to link services for Instagram. A needed service if adding links to your posts is something, like me, I want to do from time to time. Not only of individuals but the need might be greater for churches as well. I took a look at four Instagram link services/tools/platforms.
As you’ll discover, the fourth might not be a service per se.
Why Use Instagram Link Services Or Tools
A link in the bio is a response to Instagram’s lack of clickable links in posts. It is a way of generating traffic to websites.
On a side note: it’s a good thing we can’t do everything we want with each platform. If we could do everything or anything on every platform, we would lose specialization. Worth thinking about: we need to create or adapt content for Instagram. Or, for any other platform for that matter.
Not having clickable links in posts is a good thing. If we could include links to posts, Instagram could get littered with spam. Link services or tools help keep Instagram somewhat tidy.
We don’t have the kind of tools on Instagram as we do on our own websites. We can say more on our websites than on Instagram. Another reason link services are useful. Instagram posts can serve as teasers or signpost to richer, more elaborate content.
There’s another more practical reason to use the link services. When you do, you don’t have to change the link in your profile every time you want to attach a link to a post.
Instagram Link Services
Linkable.bio works well but has a trial period after which subscription costs $9/month. So, your two membership options are a 30-day trial and or Pro, at $9/month. You can review photos or videos you’ve previously posted on Instagram and add links retrospectively
Some level of customization to your linkable.bio landing page where you can change color, for example.
You have access to basic analytics which shows profile visits, page views, and clicks. Another helpful way to measure engagement and help in content development strategy.
Support is by way of sending an email to the support team. No knowledgeable or FAQ or comprehensive tutorials. Then again, is that necessary, especially when everything seems fairly straightforward. It could also be that I’ve been conditioned to expect something when it comes to support.
Linkinbio by Later
Later is a scheduling app/platform for social media. Instagram is one of the platforms you can schedule posts. Free accounts are limited to 30 Instagram posts a month. Unfortunately, the free option doesn’t allow posting video.
They have four payment plans for the premium offerings ranging from $9 to $45 per month. For churches with more than one Instagram account, their ‘for business’ subscriptions support multiple accounts
Later offers a 50% discount on an annual subscription for paid plans for non-profits. You would need to go through a qualification process.
With Later, Linkinbio is an added service to their scheduling feature. Other notable features include, ‘best time to post’ and ‘in-platform’ analytics.
I like the simplicity of pricing and Linktr.ee. It offers two packages—free and pro. Free is, as they say, free forever. This is great if you or your church would rather not spend in this area. Note, though, that the free service or option comes with Linktr.ee branding. They have to make their money somehow, right.
Particular features of the pro account mean that you can customize the color scheme or ‘skin’. There’s also the option to tag your Google Analytics as ‘social’. A feature that excites me about Linktr.ee pro is the team feature. A team can manage your account and links.
Can be a handy feature for your church.
Your Own Website
Besides the Instagram link services we’ve looked at, there is another you should consider. Dedicate a page on your website for Instagram posts and use the URL for the page as your Instagram link profile. The downside is that you would need to post images to that webpage first. When people follow the link in your bio they end up on your webpage.
Developers, here’s a plugin idea.
The upside to this is more control, especially if Instagram is key to your marketing and comms strategy.
In case you’re interested, I got this idea from The New York Times’ Instagram account. I like that you can toggle between grid and list views. I’d love to see what this looks like from the website backend.
Other Notes, Concerns, And Thoughts
Whichever, option or service you go with, means more work. It will mean posting via a third party app or creating content on another website. I found some services particularly annoying because the best experience is in the browser. Mobile browsers aren’t great for some of this stuff, meaning using my computer.
Linktr.ee and Linkable.bio don’t have mobile apps, which isn’t great as they exist to compliment a mobile app. Later, has a mobile app so they score major points in my book.
Oh, if you are going to go with the option of your own website, make sure you’re up for the extra work.
Portability was not something I found addressed with these services. For example, what happens if I decided I wanted to move to another service? Do I lose all my links? While it is possible to add links retrospectively, would I want the extra work?
While it is in their interest to keep you on their system, portability is something I would love addressed by all. Users want to know there is an ‘out’. I don’t think I’m the only skeptic, am I?
The differences, ranging from cost to features make it difficult for me to choose. This wasn’t about saying which was better but more about exploring options. Not knowing what I wanted from the start didn’t or doesn’t make it easier. I hope this helps give you a place to start your decision making.