How to Build Traffic From Instagram: The Complete Blueprint17 min read


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With more than 1 billion active monthly users and counting, every blogger and business owner wants to drive traffic from Instagram to their website.

But despite regular posts and collecting likes and comments like crazy, the fact remains: getting people to click away from Instagram is hard. 😰

Don’t lose hope just yet. Driving website traffic from Instagram is possible – it just takes a little strategy, some know-how, and the right tools to convert your Instagram followers into website traffic!

Thankfully, Tailwind for Instagram has all of the above – and we’re sharing them with you in this definitive guide.

After reading this article, you’ll know every option for driving traffic from Instagram, as well as having the blueprint you need to do it!

Ready to stop stressing and start building that web traffic in 2020? Let’s get started! 👷‍♀️

Want to make driving traffic from Instagram easier than ever? Set up your FREE link in bio tool now! Smart.bio by Tailwind is an advanced link in bio tool allows total brand customization, a mix of static and post links and in-depth analytics to help you turn your followers into web traffic with ease. 

Why Driving Traffic From Instagram is Such a Struggle

If you’re a blogger or a business owner with a website, you’ve probably noticed how challenging driving traffic really is. To understand why, you should first understand the mental heavy lifting a user has to do in order to make it to your website.

Here are the key traffic roadblocks that prevent a steady flow of traffic to your website from Instagram: 🚧

Traffic Roadblock #1: You can’t link directly from an Instagram post

As of now, Instagram posts don’t allow direct links from either the post or the caption. Even if you copy and paste a URL to your product or blog post in the caption, it won’t appear as a clickable hyperlink – making it virtually useless the user journey. ☹️

Traffic Roadblock #2: Every additional step your user must take to access your website is another chance to lose them

Unfortunately, you’re not only combatting against the inability to link directly from Instagram posts. You’re also racing the clock against user attention span!

When you do include a link in your caption or even the comments below it, users have to remember the link, open a browser tab and type it in themselves. For even the most loyal follower, all those extra steps are a stretch.

Basically, every additional step in between the post that first caught their attention and the end result is a chance for them to shrug, give up and keep scrolling. 😰

Thankfully, you can include a clickable hyperlink to your website in three prominent spots, including your Instagram bio!

How to Link a Website On Instagram

Although you can’t include a clickable link in your Instagram posts, the platform provides you three spots where you can include them to help you drive traffic from Instagram. These are:

  • your Instagram bio
  • Instagram Stories (if you have over 10,000 followers),
  • and in your IGTV video descriptions!

Let’s take a look in detail.

How to Add a Link to Your Instagram Bio

Instagram includes one clickable hyperlink in plain sight for all your followers – just below your Instagram bio! Anytime someone visits your feed they will see that link right below your description, and consider clicking it!

Here’s how to add it:

  1. Open the Instagram app and visit your profile
  2. Select “Edit Profile”
  3. Navigate to the third dialogue box titled “Website”
  4. Copy and paste your link
  5. To save your new link, tap “Done” in the top right corner.

Adding Your Website to Instagram Bio

Let’s take a minute to talk about the kind of link you should be putting in this dialogue box. Your first instinct might be to just copy and paste your website URL so that curious followers can be taken to your homepage when they click.

However, we don’t suggest just adding your website to your Instagram bio and calling it a day. Why?

  • If you simply add your regular website link to your Instagram bio, you’re not giving yourself a way to accurately track the traffic coming from Instagram
  • If you don’t provide specific links to the content you’re promoting, you’re adding some pesky steps to your followers’ journey. – They may get lost or give up before finding the specific post or product that caught their eye. 😰

Tracking traffic is an important part of driving traffic from Instagram. Knowing what kind of content your followers clicked on, viewed and how many times will inform you what your followers are interested in. This helps you tailor your approach to CTAs, topics, and images to get the most traffic possible!

How to Track Traffic From Instagram to Your Website

Thankfully, adding your website to your bio with trackable analytics is incredibly simple – especially with tools like Bitly

Bit.ly not only cuts down your character count with a cute custom link, it has built-in measurement tools so you can see how many people clicked through your link total and by day!

Keep in mind – wherever you link your followers, it needs to be responsive. In particular, the landing page needs to be mobile-friendly because close to 100% of the traffic will be on a mobile device!  Nobody enjoys landing on a slow outdated website on their phone. 😫

If you’re unsure if your website is responsive, drop the URL into Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.

Can You Add Multiple Links to Your Instagram Bio?

The short answer is no, you can’t add multiple links to your Instagram bio, but you can add a link in bio tool to feature multiple links. Only the Website field will transform into a clickable link in your Instagram bio, and it won’t allow for multiple websites to be entered.

That’s why a link in bio tool like Smart.bio by Tailwind is so handy! A link in bio tool is any kind of Instagram landing page that allows you to feature multiple links for your followers when they click on the main link in your bio.

Shavonne Morrison uses Smart.bio to add multiple links for her Instagram followers!

How to Use Your FREE Link In Bio from Tailwind To Drive Traffic From Instagram

Smart.bio is our new, easy-to-use dynamic landing page for all your featured products and links – and it’s FREE!

When you set up your smart.bio, you can create a branded URL with your company name or website, so your followers are never confused about where they’re going.

Smart.bio also allows you to:

  • Choose between static links in your custom brand colors and post image links from your feed
  • Add a custom CTA under your image links to help you drive traffic from Instagram
  • Features evergreen links that help you convert prominently at the top of your landing page
  • Automatically updates your page with new post links as soon as they go live on Instagram (when you schedule posts with a free trial of Tailwind for Instagram)!
  • Shows real-time analytics on clicks to your links, visitors to your page AND your average click-through-rate (CTR!)
  • Saves you money because it is FREE – now and forever!

Smart.bio is the most advanced link in bio tool on the market, and it is absolutely FREE! After all, we built this tool to help our members answer one of their biggest pain points- converting loyal followers into traffic for their blogs and websites.

That’s why you’re reading this guide and probably trying a million other tactics to increase those numbers, right? Save some time and money, and take Smart.bio for a spin! 🤩

One of our newest users Shailaja is head over heels with her new smart.bio tool.

After installing the tool, she saw her clickthrough rate JUMP!

Read more about her experience and the reasons she loves it in her article – “Why Smart.bio for Instagram is a tool you NEED to Use!”

How to Get Traffic from Instagram Stories

As we know, Instagram Stories only last for 24 hours. Talk about real-time marketing! Plus, Instagram Stories features one of the most coveted linking opportunities to drive traffic from Instagram.

How to Build Creative Calls to Action on Instagram

So now we know where all the linking opportunities on Instagram are located. It’s time to figure out exactly how to direct traffic to them!

The main location you can use to your advantage is your Instagram feed posts. Since nobody can see your bio link from one of your individual posts, you need to invite followers to go to the profile link in the post’s description.

Short calls to action (CTA) like “To see more click our profile link,” or “For more insights, check out the link in our bio,” do the trick. The better you are able to tie in your CTA to the visuals and description in the post itself, the better you will be able to entice viewers to click through.

Examples of well constructed Instagram post description CTAs:

Smuckers Instagram Link in Bio

Ancestry Instagram Link in Bio

Entrepreneur Instagram Link in Bio

Next explore ways to use the real estate in the photo itself to tease the CTA, as in this clever example from online arts supply store Tombow.

Tombow CTA in Instagram Post Description

If you’re promoting a product, it can be as easy as curating the perfect photo of… your product!

Magnolia Magazine Instagram Link in Bio

An easy, but somewhat less elegant option is to dedicate an entire photo to your campaign with a text overlay. You can do all this directly from your phone with apps. Mashable recommends six different apps for this exact purpose.  You might even consider upgrading to a monthly service like Stencil.

We’ve observed anecdotally that promotional photos with a large text overlay tend to not get as much engagement as the more visually pleasing alternatives above.

While promotional posts can be effective, you’ll need to strike a balance between them and regular posts. Strive to follow the 80/20 rule. Overloading on promotional grams will drive hard-earned followers away.

For a consistent way to include your link (and brand), consider adding it as a watermark at the bottom of your grams, as in this example from The Social Media Hat, but be aware that it’s possible that may drive down engagement with individual posts.

The Social Media Hat Instagram Post URL Overlay

Keep your CTAs Simple

When building a call to action it needs to be both easy to understand and easy to implement. Let’s all agree to refrain from a four-step call to action (comment on our post, @mention a friend, click the link in our bio, and fill out the form to enter our competition). That gets confusing. While we are at it, let’s solemnly swear to only use one call to action per post or video. Having too many choices is just as bad as too many steps.

Using Cliffhangers to Drive Traffic From Instagram

If you want to drive traffic to Instagram, why not try building a cliffhanger that leaves your audience wanting – and looking – for more?

Cliffhangers are a classic marketing tactic that’s also referred to as an open loop. Basically, you start a story, giving your followers just enough information to capture their interest… and then leave them hanging! 🧗‍♀️

As humans, we’re hard-wired for stories and when you leave us hanging on a topic we’re curious about, we’ll naturally try to close that loop! In this case, the loop leads to your website. ↪

Here’s how you can use the open loop tactic on your Instagram:

  • Share a single photo with an intriguing description about the entire photo series
  • Entice your audience with part one of a video
  • Tease just enough of your blog content in a caption
  • Suggest shocking or awe-inspiring information (look below for an example!)

You can create an open loop out of any of your content on Instagram, as long as the only way for your audience to close it is by visiting your website.

Let’s take a look at an effective cliffhanger in action, courtesy of @theellenshow.

The goal of this post is to encourage curious viewers to watch more of the episode.

The cliffhanger concerns a segment of the show called “Two Lies and a Truth”, and teases a shocking revelation about the guests based on their answers.

I don’t know about you, but that makes me want to know more! 🤩

Vice is another account that frequently uses cliffhangers on their Instagram posts to drive curious followers to their website. Take a look:

First, they provide an engaging hook in the form of a question.

Next, they provide just enough context to clue the reader in to what the article is about.

They use strong word choice (depraved, anyone?) to pique curiosity about what exactly this writer had to do.

They end with a simple call to action – telling their followers where to go to close the loop and get the answers to their questions.

Simple, short, and incredibly effective!

For a starter course on creating open loops in your copy, check out this oldie but goodie from our friends at Copyblogger! “The Blockbuster Secret to Seducing Your Audience.”

Drive Traffic from Instagram with Hashtags

You aren’t working to send just anyone to your website. You want each unique visitor to be a potential customer, or represent your ideal follower. This means carefully selecting the hashtags that make your posts discoverable on Instagram.

You want to choose hashtags that aren’t just popular, but are popular with the kind of people who will not only love your gram, but also be motivated enough to take the steps to visit your blog or website.

Quick Hashtag Research

Hashtag research takes a lot of time and so many marketers don’t devote enough attention to it. That’s a real shame as it’s one of the most effective levers of organic growth on Instagram.

Tailwind's Instagram Hashtag Finder in action
Tailwind’s Hashtag Finder in action

We’ve made hashtag research into a joy with Tailwind for Instagram’s Hashtag Finder and Hashtag Lists tools which suggests the best hashtags for your post based on the hashtags you’re already using. The intuitive color-coding makes choosing between different hashtags easier than ever before.  Once you’ve created a list of hashtags you like you can save it as a hashtag list for future use.

How to Choose Hashtags

Choose the hashtags where your ideal customer hangs out. If you have a vintage-inspired store, then tags like #vintagelove, #vintagewedding or #oldhollywood may hit home with your crowd. Just because Target is using #ManCrushMonday doesn’t mean that it makes sense for your particular niche audience.  That’s all part of a successful Instagram hashtag strategy.

Choose the Instagram hashtags where your ideal customer hangs out.Click to Tweet

Hashtags need to be relevant to your story and directed toward your audience.

Choose tags that aren’t too busy that you will get lost in the sea of other grams. A good range to shoot for is for hashtags with 200,000-800,000 posts. Once you stray too far about 1 million, your post quickly vanishes.  Tailwind’s Hashtag Finder will steer you towards choosing “Best” and “Good” hashtags with our intuitive color-coding, whilst alerting you to “Niche” and “Competitive” tags.

Tailwind Tip: Make sure your call to action doesn’t get lost in the sea of hashtags. If you add in your hashtags in the comment section, you can remove the clutter from your post without sacrificing your targeting efforts.  However, we’ve heard from more than one user that they believe they get more reach by putting their hashtags in their post descriptions.

Checkout even more hashtag tips here and our guide on how to grow your Instagram followers

Pay for Traffic with Advertising

Instagram Adverts can Drive Traffic to Your Website

Perhaps the ultimate traffic-generating technique is Instagram advertising.  It represents the only gram with clickable links. More importantly, ads drive highly targeted and engaged users directly to your website.

It’s one of the best forms of traffic you can get!  But it costs.  We’ve noticed it seems to be especially effective for advertising app installs.

Not sold yet? With Instagram advertising, you can control the user experience, use a tailored landing page and dramatically increase your reach. Add in the fact that you can measure your results, and this could be a game-changer. It works best for businesses with a mobile funnel in place.

Use Shoppable Posts and Stickers on Instagram

Shopping on Instagram is here, and it’s easier than ever to set up shoppable posts on Instagram so your customers can complete their buying journey without ever leaving the app.

You do need to meet some eligibility requirements:

  • 1. You must be in one of the United States, Canada, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, or Australia
  • 2. You need an Instagram business account
  • 3. You must be on the latest version of the Instagram app
  • 4. You must sell physical items 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.

Setting up a Facebook store allows you to sell directly from your business’s Facebook page. If you don’t have a website but still have products you’d like to sell, this may be a viable option for you.

Once you set up your Facebook Store, you’ll click “Get Started” next to Instagram. This pushes your account to Instagram for review, which may take a few days.

You can also add a link to your Facebook shop in your Smart.bio, to add another way for users to access your available products!

How to Track Your Results

You know that we are analytics junkies at Tailwind. Anything we can measure, we do. That includes your Instagram traffic.

If you decide to invest the energy into increasing your website traffic with Instagram, you need to measure what works best for your audience. Ultimately, every audience base is different. Perhaps yours will love it when you share a certain type of product or post and quickly follow your call to actions there. Other groups will flock to your bio link. The only way to know is to track it.

Here’s a snapshot of the growth we’re seeing on our Instagram profile via the Tailwind dashboard.  I annotated the screenshot with some changes we’ve made over the past two and a half months that have really ramped up our follower growth.

Tailwind dashboard Instagram analytics

Measure results to see which strategy works best for you, then double down on best practices. Check out our Instagram analytics guide here.

As you can see from our numbers, getting intentional about posting regularly can really help increase your follower count, and the more followers you have, the more audience you can potentially send towards links to your website.  For us, setting a regular Instagram positing schedule in Tailwind and sticking to it has really helped us up our game.

Leverage Instagram as Part of a Whole Social Media Strategy

Viola! The complete guide to driving website traffic with Instagram. Once you’ve deployed a few of these tactics you should start to see an uptick in website traffic from Instagram.

Just remember that Instagram fits into an overall marketing strategy. Each social media platform should play a different role in your marketing. Instagram falls into the brand building and engagement category. Yes, you can drive some traffic to your website, and you should. That being said, it shouldn’t be your only goal. If you focus too heavily on promotion or driving traffic, you run the risk of losing hard-earned followers. Never encourage users to go to your site and you lose out on high-quality website traffic.

It’s all about balance.

The good news is that Tailwind has launched an entire suite to help you maximize your Instagram account growth, including Instagram Scheduling and Analytics.

Start a Free Trial of Tailwind for Instagram!

Sign up with Instagram

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