9 Ways to Drive Traffic with Instagram Stories

min read
March 12, 2020
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Learning how to drive traffic with Instagram Stories can be a powerful tool for your business and brand!

And even if you don’t have 10K followers, there are still lots of ways to use your Instagram Stories to encourage more clicks and conversions.

In the following post, we’re sharing 9 strategic ways to drive traffic with Instagram Stories:

Drive Traffic with Instagram Stories Tip #1: Add Links to Stories

If you have over 10K followers on Instagram, you’re one of the lucky accounts that can add direct links to stories!

Although this functionality may be an instant game-changer, there are several ways to make it even more valuable for your brand.

First off, it’s always worth teasing a link in your Instagram Stories. Whether it’s done verbally or through a text caption, providing a quick explanation for why someone should “swipe up” is a good start when it comes to driving more clicks.

Equally, it’s a good idea to add an eye-catching GIF that encourages more “swipe up” activity. If you have a custom “swipe up” GIF then you’re way ahead of the game — but if not, there are a ton of ready-made options to choose from.

In addition to calling out your links and adding a GIF, you can also animate your stories to drive more clicks.

At Later, we use the editing app Mojo to make it look like our Instagram Stories are jumping upwards, mirroring the effect of a swipe up:

This quick and easy effect is a visual prompt for viewers, encouraging them to repeat the same motion and explore your content.

Drive Traffic with Instagram Stories Tip #2: Encourage Your Audience to Hit Up Your Link in Bio

The link in your bio is prime real estate for driving traffic to your website — especially if you’ve yet to hit that 10K followers mark!

Whether you have unlocked the “swipe up” link, or are still working towards that goal, an effective tactic is to encourage your stories viewers to click your link in bio.

As one of the few places you can add a clickable link on Instagram, it’s a huge opportunity to direct your audience to your website.

Thankfully, there are a ton of fun GIFs to help you along the way, and you can always use text captions or verbally prompt your viewers to head to your link in bio.

Plus, you can make things even easier for your audience by tagging your Instagram profile in a story. This will create a direct, clickable route for your audience to get to your link in bio.

And the good news is, you can get even more value from your link in bio with Linkin.bio by Later!

Linkin.bio is one of the easiest ways to share more than one link through your Instagram bio, as you can link individual Instagram posts to specific articles, websites, and videos — and can track all of your link clicks in one place.

Drive Traffic with Instagram Stories Tip #3: Use Shoppable Instagram Stories Stickers

Retailers, rejoice! “Product” stickers are one of the easiest ways to make your Instagram Stories instantly shoppable — which means more sales for your business!

The sticker allows you to tag specific products in stories, just like you can with regular Instagram shopping posts, no matter how big or small your following.

Although the sticker doesn’t technically drive traffic back to your site, it does create a super streamlined way for your audience to shop your products.

Madewell regularly use the product stickers in their stories, providing an end-to-end shopping experience for their followers, entirely within the Instagram app.

To get set up with Instagram Stories Product stickers, you need to meet Instagram’s eligibility criteria:

#1: You must be located in one of the 46 countries that the feature is currently available in.

#2: You need an Instagram Business account (Don’t have a business account yet? Make the switch by following our guide here.)

#3: You must be on the latest version of the Instagram app on either iOS or Android.

#4: Your business must sell physical goods that comply with Instagram’s merchant agreement and commerce policies.

#5: Your business profile must be connected to a Facebook catalog. This can be created and managed on Business Manager, directly on your business’s Page on Facebook, or through Shopify or BigCommerce.

Shoppable Instagram Stories stickers can be placed on both images and videos. Plus, the Product sticker can be tailored to fit in with almost any Instagram Stories aesthetic, as it is available in both transparent (Sezane, above left) or color variations (Harry’s, above right).

This simple sticker is one of the easiest ways to drive conversions straight from your Instagram Stories — which can be a real game-changer, especially for businesses with under 10K followers.

Drive Traffic with Instagram Stories Tip #4: Add Links to an IGTV Video

Did you know that you can add clickable links to your IGTV video descriptions?

This little known hack is a great way to drive your IGTV viewers to your website, or to relevant external links.

And one of the best ways to get more eyes on your IGTV videos (and clicks on those links in your description!) is to add a swipe up link and a call to action from your Instagram Stories.

You don’t even need 10K followers to do it — once you have created your IGTV video, you can add a link to your channel and videos with your Instagram Stories.

What’s more, video is one of the most effective ways to engage with your audience — so driving more viewers to your IGTV channel is always a great strategy!  

TIP: Encourage viewers to check out your video description (and links) by adding a call-to-action to your IGTV video title, like: “Tap the arrow for more info”.

Drive Traffic with Instagram Stories Tip #5: Create an Instagram Stories Ad

When you’ve run out of organic options to drive traffic with Instagram Stories, there’s always Instagram Stories ads.

Over 500 million people use Instagram Stories every day — so it’s no surprise that Instagram Stories ads have soared in popularity with brands. In fact, Instagram Stories ad spend has increased by 53% year-on-year, according to a recent report by Kenshoo.

When planning your Instagram Stories ads, keep your end goal of driving traffic in mind. Put time and effort into creating a call-to-action that yields results. Keep tracking and iterating based on what works for your brand.

If you want to create an Instagram Stories ad that converts, it’s important to have a short and punchy message that is easy to read — and drives action.

Later’s Paid Acquisition Lead, Vivian Wu advises: “Make sure that the content on your Instagram Stories ad is simple and easily digestible. That means no essays!”

Take a look at this @matchesfashion Instagram Stories ad. It’s quick, simple and delivers its core message with text on the video.

Drive Traffic with Instagram Stories Tip #6: Strategically Plan Your Instagram Stories

When it comes to creating an effective content strategy that converts, It’s always a good idea to plan your content in advance using a scheduling tool, like Later.

Not only does this save you valuable time, but it also allows you to strategically assess how your content flows together.

And by storyboarding your content in advance, you’ll be able to identify new opportunities to add traffic-driving call-to-actions!

Take for example Lucy & Yak’s Instagram Stories Highlight: Products. Each carefully designed story focuses on a standout feature of their products, with several strong call-to-actions woven amongst the series.

Storyboarding is made easy with Later’s Instagram Stories scheduler — you can plan all of your stories in advance, along with captions and URL links!

When it’s time to post, your photos, videos, captions, and links will be sent to your phone. You can then add any final stickers to encourage engagement, and you’re good to go!

Drive Traffic with Instagram Stories Tip #7: Run an Instagram Stories Takeover with an Influencer or Brand

Instagram Stories takeovers are an effective way to build your brand awareness on Instagram, but not only that, they’re also great for driving more traffic back to your domain.  

By partnering with an influencer or brand in an Instagram Stories takeover, you’re effectively tapping into their audience — which means a much greater reach for your brand.

And if your takeover partner includes a link to your products or services in their stories, this can be a huge traffic driver for your brand.

Take note of how skincare brand Purlisse partners with influencer @iluvsarahii, tapping into her huge audience of 4.6M followers.

If you’re planning on running an Instagram Stories takeover, it’s a good idea to set out clear guidelines with your takeover partner. This will help avoid any disappointment, and ensure both parties are clear on what’s expected from the partnership.

Drive Traffic with Instagram Stories Tip #8: Use Highlights to Showcase Your Top Converting Stories

Instagram Stories Highlights are the best way to extend the 24-hour shelf life of your stories, giving them a greater reach and more visibility.

With this in mind, it’s a good idea to use your Instagram Stories Highlights strategically. For example, you may want to create a highlight for stories that drive the most traffic for your business.

Jewelry brand FinerRings creates a new highlight for each collection that they launch, creating a way for visitors to easily shop their product lines, straight from their Instagram profile.

For the best results, make sure this highlight is updated regularly. Adding new stories to a highlight will bump it to the front of the queue on your profile, making it more visible and easier for visitors to your profile to find.

Drive Traffic with Instagram Stories Tip #9: Use Instagram Stories Analytics to Inform Your Strategy

Tracking the success of your Instagram Stories will help you identify trends, monitor “wins,” and create a fine-tuned content strategy that truly resonates with your audience.

The better you understand what works with your audience, the more traffic you’ll be able to drive with Instagram Stories.

With Later’s Instagram Analytics, you can track the performance of all your stories for the last 3 months.

This is a great way to measure the performance of your Instagram Stories over a longer time period — as Instagram’s built-in analytics dashboard is limited to just 2 weeks of posts.

Take note of your takeover stories that had the most impressions, reach, or reply counts — and assess what could have contributed to these higher figures. Did you use a hashtag, mention, or sticker that proved to be successful?

Equally, it’s worth tracking which stories had a low completion rate — and if there was a specific point during the takeover where your number of views dropped.

This can be a strong indicator that your viewers lost interest, which is super useful insight for your future content strategy.

Best Practices to Drive Traffic with Instagram Stories

Now we’ve covered several strategic ways to drive more traffic with Instagram Stories, let’s delve into some best practices to help capitalize on your efforts:

#1: Optimize for Mobile

Make sure you’re driving traffic to a site that is optimized for mobile.

Almost all Instagram users are viewing the app on a mobile device, so make sure your content is viewable from their phone.

Don’t go through all the trouble of driving them to your website only to have them land on an experience that isn’t optimized for the device that they’re on.

#2: Track Your Clicks

Use Bit.ly, UTM codes, or another tool to track the links you’re using in Instagram Stories.

This will allow you to see which links are getting the most clicks, and what Stories drive the most conversions. You may even be able to follow their user journey from Instagram to your site and any other touch points along your marketing funnel.

#3: A/B Test Instagram Stories

As with Instagram advertising, it’s important to A/B test the messaging and creative in your Instagram Stories.

The idea here is to find what content and CTAs is most likely to resonate with your audience — and convert into referral traffic.

#4: Keep Links Tidy with Vanity URLs

Wherever you share links on Instagram, it’s important to keep them visually tidy and representative of your brand. A long URL can look unprofessional, and could even be mistaken for a suspicious or unsafe links.

A good way to get around this is by creating vanity URLs. Jasmine Star and Minimalist Baker both use vanity URLs in their bios and IGTV video descriptions, making them short and descriptive.

You can easily set up a custom vanity URL through a third party service, such as Bit.ly.  

Whether you’re looking to increase sales or raise brand awareness, Instagram Stories are a powerful tool to help you achieve your goals.

By following these simple strategies and best practices, you can drive more clicks and conversions from your stories — regardless of your follower count or budget.

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Jillian Warren
Learning how to drive traffic with Instagram Stories can be a powerful tool for your business and brand!
Share this article
Jillian Warren
Learning how to drive traffic with Instagram Stories can be a powerful tool for your business and brand!
Share this article

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