Because Thin Pig's expertise began with social media nearly 10 years ago, much of our team writes from the social media expert perspective. However, as a social media user, I'd really like to request a feature change on Instagram, and I'm sure I'm not alone on this one.
Instagram is my personal favorite platform to spend time since I'm a very visual person. I actually use the explore feed more than I use my home feed, oddly enough. I do this to get new ideas, get inspired, learn new things, etc. Since Instagram's algorithm shows you content you are more likely to enjoy based on your previous usage, it's no surprise to me that my explore feed focuses a lot on food, since I'm always drawn to food photography and new recipes. However, my joy of finding an amazing food shot is often trumped by frustration when I run into the all-too-common "link in bio" phrase.
What does this mean? Since Instagram doesn’t allow clickable URLs in a post caption, comment, or stories (unless you have a verified account or 10k+ followers), the standard protocol is to put the link to the most recent post in the bio of the Instagram account. Then, in the post caption, you'll generally see something like "Like this recipe? <link in bio>." However, where is the link to older content? Enter frustration.
In User Experience design there is a simple principle you should never break: if a person clicks on a link, it should take them to where they believe it should go - never surprise someone with where a link takes them. By this principle, always having a link to the most recent content in the profile makes the most sense.
So how do we solve the problem of finding old content but still keep the link following that principle?
Luckily, the solution isn’t a hard one. Make sure that the link people are clicking on is going to a page that also showcases the slightly older content. This is really important if your audience is fairly engaged on Instagram since viewers can immediately see at least six photos on your profile. The six photos should be easily found on your blog or website.
For example, if you click on the link in Thin Pig’s Instagram profile, you can see how we do it. Our blog’s template shows a preview of multiple blog posts, so if someone saw one of our older photos, it wouldn’t be that hard to find. If we linked directly to the full version of the current blog post it would be more work for people to have to find the old blog post for which they are looking. We would likely lose people before they even found what they were originally looking for.
Another great solution is to utilize whatever image was posted on Instagram as an “archive” somewhere on the webpage that the user lands on. I have found that I will be looking for the image I saw on social media to navigate my way to the content I want on someone’s website, but only see headlines which I often won’t remember. I then close the window because it was more work than the perceived value.
Yes, the perfect solution to this entire issue would be for Instagram to allow clickable links within post captions, comments, and stories. But in the meantime, it'd make users' experiences a whole lot better if content creators on Instagram would include both the new content and old content on the link in the bio. An important strategy of every content creator should be ensuring users can find their content as easy as possible, especially if they post frequently.
Don’t make your audience feel like they have to pull out their compass to navigate to your older posts! This hopefully will help users find your content and make them more engaged, but it will also benefit you as it will help leverage content that already exists on your website and keep it evergreen.