If sharing a website with your followers means constantly changing the link in your bio, a potential feature from Instagram might make things way more straightforward. The platform is testing an update that would give all users the ability to link out in their Stories, the Verge reported.
Currently, only verified accounts and users with at least 10,000 followers can add a call to swipe up from their Instagram Stories to navigate to external web links. This update would allow all users, regardless of their follower count or verified status, to share clickable link stickers in their Stories. Per Instagram, the test group is public, so you can check your Stories sticker tray to see if you’ve been granted access. “We're also aware of the risk of bad actors, spam, and the spread of misinformation that may come up with this feature, so we're testing and watching the potential impact to better understand whether to roll out to everyone,” a spokesperson tells Bustle.
Until this feature is available more broadly, however, regular users will have to get crafty to share information from other websites with their followers. Here’s how to find swipe ups if you qualify — and how to work around them if you don’t.
Why Don’t People Get Instagram Swipe Ups Automatically?
In 2020, Instagram told Bustle that there are guardrails on who can use the swipe up feature in order “to reduce spam and abuse risks.” A spokesperson explained that limiting swipe up usage to public figures and creators with large followings reduces the likelihood of it being used to share links that lead followers to unsafe websites or misinformation.
Still, activists in particular have voiced their frustration with the current limitations on swipe ups, as it makes it more difficult to direct followers to further reading on complicated issues — hence the spread of multi-slide Instagram infographics. And regular users who want to share an article, or tag a small business or cause in a Story, find themselves frustrated with the exclusivity of the feature, too. The ability to connect people with external resources while remaining on the app could make them more likely to actually check out the site.
How To Get Instagram Swipe Ups & Put Links In Your Stories
If you have 10,000 followers, or are verified, you should have the swipe up tool built into your Story menu. When you make a Story, you’ll notice a link icon next to the filter icon. Tap to enter the URL you want your Story to navigate to. (If you’re not seeing this icon and you recently got verified or hit 10K, head to Settings and make sure that you have switched over to a professional account.) When you post your Story, the link will become active. You’ll be able to see how many people gave it a tap when you look at your regular Story analytics.
If you’re not eligible for swipe ups yet, you can take advantage of a loophole: IGTV. When you upload a video to IGTV, the description box will automatically hyperlink a URL. When you publish the video, your followers will be able to tap the description, then tap the live link. You can also share your IGTV video to your grid, or promote it on your Stories. Yes, this method is incredibly roundabout, but if you really want share a link that people can access directly, it’ll do.
If there are multiple links that you want to share, you can sign up with LinkTree, a third party website that generates URLs for IG bios. Putting a LinkTree in your bio will direct followers to a landing page that you can set up to host other links with descriptive names to help your followers find the link you’re calling out. It’s not quite “swipe up, you guys” energy, but it’s a functional alternative.