Alternatives to the Instagram "Link in bio" Problem

I'm sure you've seen it. A brand posts a photo on Instagram that relates to either a blog post or a product and tacked right onto the end of their caption are those three little words, "link in bio." Ugh. 

Unless there's something I'm missing, I don't see how this is a viable option at all. Really though, is there something I don't understand? If you use this method, I'd love to hear your reasoning behind it.

Why's it bad? Well, if you do it for one photo, you're probably doing it for others. So what happens when someone is scrolling through your feed and sees an older photo and wants to learn more about that photo. Your caption says "link in bio" but that link has probably changed 20 times already. You just lost that reader or customer. I don't think that's far fetched because that's exactly how I operate. When I click the link and it's not the page I was expecting, I don't often hunt it down, I just move on. 

Instead of simply griping about it, I thought I'd offer some solutions. Skip the constantly broken/dead links (and possibly even lost customers) and consider my options.


Custom Short Links 

Since Instagram doesn't allow hyperlinks in captions, you need to keep your URL as short and as memorable as possible. Sure this isn't ideal but it's a workaround that I've implemented for brands in the past and it seems to work fairly well. 

You can use either a plain old Bitly link or go full custom with something that matches your domain. Click here for steps on how to make your own custom short URL.

The key is to make the part after the "/" unique to what you're sharing. No one is going to remember "bit.ly/180lj3" let alone be able to tell you if that's a 1 or a lower case "L" or a zero. You get the idea.

An real-world example would be "itstac.tc/titaniumpockettool" (which can be seen in use here). The "itstac.tc" is a shortened version of "itstactical.com" which isn't too difficult to remember. And your URL may be even easier to work with. A Bitly example of this link would be: "bit.ly/titaniumpockettool" and this is cool because if you follow that link, it goes to the correct page because the ITS Tactical short URL is tied in with Bitly. 


A Dedicated Page on your Site

This was an idea I had recently so I don't know if it's a good one yet or not. The gist is this, you make a page on your site, something like "www.yourdomain.com/instagram" and that's the URL that lives in your Instagram bio.

The page itself will be a single page with thumbnails of your Instagram photos (and maybe captions) with links to whatever specific thing you wanted to link to.

My thinking is that if someone wants to read more about X product on your Instagram page, they'll be able to quickly scan that page on your site for the matching photo and subsequently get directed to the correct product.


The Last Resort

Even though I have no idea why you'd do it, if you insist on using the "link in bio" method, at least do one thing for me. Once you post a new photo and change the link in your bio, go back to any previous photos and edit the caption. It's only fair that you delete the call to action lest you have people ending up at dead ends.

 

Do you have any other ideas? I'd love to hear 'em.

Unique Content for Unique Networks

If you’re on more than one social network, you really should be using them uniquely. It looks bad if you're posting the same exact stuff to each network.

I think it was Jeff Goins that likened social networks to individual countries and how they don’t all speak the same language. Great description.

That said, I thought I'd lay out the social networks I currently use the most and a brief line on how I’m using them uniquely. Hopefully it spurs some thinking of your own (while keeping me accountable from crossposting).

  • Twitter: Short bursts (because it’s limited to 140 characters anyway). As far as the online world goes, I’m most active here and share a variety links that I find worth sharing. It's really great for sharing something quickly and forces me to be succinct.
  • Facebook: With all of the articles/videos/products/etc. being shared on Facebook, you can easily treat this as a Twitter clone or alternative. But in an effort to use it uniquely, I plan on making Facebook more personal. Which probably means it'll be photo albums from trips or adventures.
  • Instagram: These are all original photos taken by yours truly using either my iPhone or Olympus camera. I enjoy photography, even when it's mostly just snapshots.
  • Tumblr: I use Tumblr as a sort of lookbook for things that I find visually interesting in one way or another. If you want to get a feel for me as an individual, give it a scroll.

So Facebook changed your page once again…

Most of you have seen people with the new Facebook Timeline in action or maybe you've activated it for yourself. I'm not really sure how I feel about it but I figure I'll just embrace it and get used to it because I'm sure it's here to stay.

I found a great little rundown and wanted to share it. This post will give you a basic guide on some of the key Timeline features.

Graphics

  • 851x315 px cover image
  • 125x125 px [shown] profile image thumbnail

If you don't have access to Photoshop, you can use something like Resizr to adjust your photos. And if you don't want to do that, Facebook allows you to drag and drop your images into alignment.


There are three main types of posts that appear on your Timeline.
  • "Pinning" - Makes a post 'sticky' (stays active for 7 days and you can only pin one post at a time)
  • "Highlighting" - Makes it's double size on the Timeline. Use it when you really want something to stand out. You can do more than one post and photos and videos may be best.
**Note, you can not pin and highlight something at the same time.**
  • "Milestones" - Simply that. Important dates and events in the company. First designs of the site (from napkin to now type of thing…)… x subscribers…. anything you want. Milestones must include a date and they appear as a double wide image. Text will be centered too.

To see the interaction on your page, look under the 'Recent Posts by Others' box.

I recommend watching the video yourself if you want to dig deeper. It's just under 13 minutes and may make more sense.


I need to write more


Why?

I use Twitter as my main writing platform, there’s no getting around it. According to TweetDeck, I average 12 tweets a day. I really thought it would be more than that… Anyway, that’s potentially 12 different topics for me to choose from, and expand on.
Twitter can also feel a little too ‘short form’ to get big ideas across. And really, it’s called microblogging for a reason.
I want to have a more lasting impression. Both in a way for friends and family to follow along with my life and even just to create a more searchable archive (I love going back and reading past blog posts!).

Twitter and other microblogging services can give an ‘at a glance’ view of a person but to really get to know them, you need to hang out with them more. In this day and age, that space is usually online.

I also want to write more because I think I’m a horrible writer. Some of you may not think that but if you are any of my past English teachers, I apologize. So how does one get better at something? By doing more of it! Ultimately I need to do it [writing] correctly but I need to at least be in the motion of doing.
So that’s what I plan on doing.
Bonus Resources:
Photo by Flickr user Irish Typepad