How to Add Links to Instagram Stories: Steps & Tips


Sharing links on Instagram isn’t intuitive. To make matters more confusing, the company has changed how to add links to stories. Instagram discontinued the swipe-up feature used by brands and influencers and replaced it with the ability for anyone to add link stickers to stories. We’ll show you how to do it, share expert tips, and provide several examples from Instagram influencers.

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • 5 steps for adding a link sticker to an Instagram story
  • How to customize the design of a link sticker
  • Useful link sticker examples from top Instagram influencers
  • Expert tips for using link stickers on an Instagram story

How to Add a Link to an Instagram Story

When creating a story in Instagram, you can add a link once you pick an image or video to share in a story. Simply click the sticker icon on the top right buttons and add the link sticker. Type in the URL and press Done.

You can use the link sticker only on Instagram stories and not on posts. The good news is that anyone can add a link to an Instagram story. Instagram has removed its previous limitation that required an account to be verified or have 10,000+ followers to add a link. Whether you have one follower or millions, you can add a link to your Instagram story and help people find your product, content, videos, and more. You can also use stickers on Instagram stories to add a poll, share a location, @mention other accounts, post hashtags, and more. 

What Is an Instagram Link Sticker?

A link sticker is an interactive element that you can use to add an active link to an Instagram story. The sticker appears as an overlay on top of the story and replaces the swipe-up feature. You can add one link sticker to each image or video in the story. 

Instagram users are already using stickers to add music, location, polls, and more. The company has given users the ability to make one of those stickers a link so you can send people viewing your story to an external site. Link stickers also give followers a way to engage with a story and businesses and users a way to customize the look of their stories further.

Instagram chose the sticker versus just allowing the swipe-up feature to be accessible by the masses because it enables more control over the story’s aesthetics and allows users to engage via a reaction or comment. Link stickers are proving to be just as valuable as the swipe-up feature, if not even more, because of the ability to customize the sticker and make it blend seamlessly into any story. 

What Does an Instagram Link Sticker Look Like?

An Instagram sticker looks like a sticker that has a link icon with an abbreviated URL. The sticker appears on the image story or video.

This Instagram link example shows how an uncustomized link will look. The link sticker in this story points to a longer URL (https://regencyreads.com/books/lady-next-door), but you can see that the sticker only includes the domain. When a user clicks on the story, it will take them to the extended URL.

How to Add a Link to an Instagram Sticker Step-by-Step

If you want to add a link sticker to an Instagram story, you’ll need all the things you would to share a story. Be sure to have your photo or video accessible in the Instagram account and the link ready.

5 Steps to Add a Link Sticker to an Instagram Story

Use these steps to add a link sticker to an Instagram story:

1. Tap the + icon in the mobile app.

2. Tap Story.

3. Tap the photo or video to share.

4. Tap the Sticker icon, then the Link sticker.

5. Insert your URL, then tap See preview and Done.

Here are more visual instructions to add a link sticker to an Instagram story (these may appear differently depending on whether your have an Apple cellphone or Smarthphone) :

1. Open your Instagram app on your mobile device. Note: You cannot add a story from the Instagram website. Tap the + icon at the top row of icons.

2. Tap the camera icon from the media choices on the bottom of the screen.

3. Take a picture, shoot or video, or tap the photo in the lower-left corner to access your photo reel. Tap the photo or video you want to share. 

If you want to use more than one, tap the Select button in the top right corner and tap all the assets you want to include. The photo will appear on the next screen.

4. Tap the Sticker icon in the top-right row. Tap the Link sticker.

5. Tap the URL line and type or paste the URL you want to include. Tap See preview to ensure the link will take followers to the right page. Tap Done.

How to Customize Your Instagram Link Sticker Design

You can customize your Instagram link sticker. For just text, tap Customize sticker text. Or, for more customization, create and place a sticker. Then tap the text icon, type a CTA, choose a font and color for it,  and drag and drop it over the link sticker.

The next two sections give more customization details for both sticker text and design.

Customize the Text on an Instagram Link Sticker

1. Link stickers default to the URL’s domain. That doesn’t tell viewers what they can expect when clicking on the link. Use the customize text feature to change the default text on a link sticker.

2. Tap the link sticker on the preview to change its appearance. There are not a lot of custom options, just three choices. 

3. You can change the sticker’s placement by tapping, holding, and dragging the link sticker to the desired location on the image or video.

4. Share it with your followers, close friends, or other connected social media accounts once you like how the story looks.

Create Your Own Link Sticker for an Instagram Story

If you don’t like the three options for a link sticker, you can always make your own. Here are two options for customizing the sticker.

Make a custom link sticker design in Instagram:

  1. Follow the steps above to create a link sticker and place it where you want.
  2. Tap the text icon in the top right corner. Type a CTA, like “Read more for helpful tips” in the screen below. You can adjust its font and text color.

3. Tap, hold and drag the word sticker (which should be larger than the original link sticker) over the link sticker.

Make a custom link sticker for Instagram in Canva:

One benefit of creating a sticker in Canva for use in an Instagram story is that it will already have your brand colors and styles.

1. Open Canva and click Create an Instagram post.

2. Click the text button and Add a heading. Type the text you want to use as a button.

3. Click Elements and add a shape. Click and drag the shape you want to the Instagram post. Drag the circles in the corner to adjust the size and change the circle’s color.

4. Click the download button. If you want to have a Transparent background then you’ll have to upgrade to a paid place. Click Download.

5. Send the image to your phone. This step varies based on user preference and setup.

6. Add the image to your Instagram camera roll.

7. Create a story, tap on the sticker button in the top row, and tap the image icon. Tap the image you just created in Canva.

8. Tap, hold, and drag the custom sticker over the link sticker.

FSH2: Examples of Effective Instagram Link Stickers

You can use Instagram link stickers to promote all types of content. A successful way to create a link sticker and engage people to click is to place them prominently in a story and provide context.

Jenn Herman, a social media consultant, speaker, and Instagram expert, teaches her members how to become an Instagram pro. She shares some link sticker examples that highlight the importance of context.

These link sticker examples use a call to action (CTA) as the link text that directs people on what to do. The sticker placement is also good because it’s not blocking or covering anything in the image. Herman uses the extra room to add arrows to point people to the sticker.

These link sticker examples display how you can do even more than provide context when you take the time to create a custom link sticker.

Instagram Link Sticker Best Practices

The best practices that are applied to using links in the swipe-up feature don’t translate to link stickers. Instead, experts say customizing, branding, and tracking link stickers should all be part of your Instagram strategy.

  • Add a CTA: If your link sticker doesn’t include a call to action, then be sure to add one to the story so viewers know what you want them to do. Make the CTA brief but also as specific as possible. For example, instead of adding a sticker that states tap here with an arrow to the link sticker, say tap here to shop. If your story is a video, you can also have the CTA be an on-screen call out directing people to tap the link to shop.
  • Make the link sticker a CTA: Besides adding a CTA to highlight the link sticker, you can also add a CTA directly to the link. Instagram expert Herman advises, “To maximize your traffic from Instagram stories, the key is to change the text on the sticker. For example, if I share a link to my blog post, the link sticker simply lists jennstrends.com (not the blog details). And this isn’t a good indication to your audience! Instead, you can customize the text when you’re pasting your link destination into the sticker details. Ideally, make this a call to action, not the link name. Instead of having your website URL, have the text read Click NOW or Read the Blog or Watch Video or Sign up Now. These phrases make the action clear and increase taps on the sticker, improving your traffic.” 
  • Invite followers to direct message (DM) you for more info: Maybe you’re using a link for a giveaway or sharing a promo code. It’s hard to share a promo code in a story since they whiz by so fast. You can make the most of the link sticker by inviting people to DM you for the promo code. If you use the “DM Me” sticker, all followers have to do is tap to leave a message. Plus, it’s a great way to use the site to build and foster relationships.
  • Track link taps with Instagram analytics: The only way to tell how well a story does is to track links. The link in bio isn’t the only thing you can track. You can use Instagram analytics or a link management tool to see if your link sticker resonates with your audience.
  • Brand your links: Making an impression in a sea of countless Instagram stories is a challenge. You want to make sure you’re staying true to your brand in terms of style when creating a custom link stinker. Even if the text you use on a link sticker is a CTA, the actual link should be a branded URL. That’s when using a vanity URL can help, plus it’s a lot easier to type into the URL field of the link sticker. Be sure to use best practices when choosing a vanity URL. 

Create a Custom Branded URL for Your Instagram Story and Social Media

If you’re looking to maximize your social media experience and stand out from the sea of link stickers, it’s time to start branding your links with Bitly. 

Using Bitly branded links can help your content stand out from competitors, attract more clicks, and inspire trust in your audiences that you aren’t sharing spammy links. Our links are built for social media and can transform your content into branded assets that are recognizable to your audience.

Instagram Story Link FAQs

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions and troubleshooting tips to use when creating and using a link sticker in Instagram. 

What happened to adding Instagram swipe-up links?

Instagram removed the swipe-up feature in stories and replaced it with link stickers. You can no longer use or access swipe-up links on Instagram. 

Can anyone add links to Instagram stories?

Yes. If you have an Instagram account, you can add links to Instagram stories. There are no other requirements. Note: Each image in the story can have just one link sticker. However, if your story has four chapters, you can add a link sticker to each chapter in the story. 

Do you need 10,000 followers on Instagram for a link?

No, you don’t need 10,000 followers or a verified account to add a link to a story. Instagram ended this requirement on August 30, 2021.

Why can’t I add a link to my Instagram story?

Trouble adding links to an Instagram story is no longer an issue. The company removed the 10,000 followers and verified account requirements for adding a link to a story. Now any Instagram account owner can add a link to a story.

Who can use the Instagram link sticker?

Anyone with an Instagram account who is posting a story can use the Instagram link sticker feature. 



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