If you are an avid Instagram user, you will have noticed the recent changes to the Instagram links feature. Up until recently, Instagram allowed accounts with 10,000 followers or more to access a “swipe up” feature that let the account connect a link to an Instagram story that users could then swipe up on in order to access the link. The idea and benefit to the accounts were great, but it was limited to only accounts with a large following.
Within the past few weeks, Instagram made a change to the links feature that makes it accessible to every account regardless of follower count and now puts it into the form of an Instagram story link sticker as opposed to a “swipe up” feature.
How does the link sticker work? Once the account has a photo or video to post on its Instagram story, head over to the clipboard icon where normal Instagram story edits and features can be found, and click the bright blue and white “LINK” sticker. This will prompt the account owner to insert a link that the story should direct viewers to visit. Once the link is inserted, the sticker can be moved around on the story to the most fitting location. When another Instagram user clicks on the sticker, it will open a new tab and bring them to the link.
Now that we know how Instagram link stickers work, how can the hospitality industry use them to its advantage?
Sharing menus and reservations
When Instagram users come to a restaurant or venue’s profile, it is likely that they are curious about what a dining experience would be like at that restaurant. What comes along with a dining experience? Food and drink, of course. Restaurant Instagram accounts should be posting photos of their food and drink offerings to the grid, but they can also do so on their Instagram stories. Using a link sticker is an opportunity to put a call to action on a gorgeous food photo, like sending someone to look at the rest of your menu or to book a reservation for dinner.
Show urgency in the post in some way, by saying how the food item is part of a limited-time seasonal menu, for example. You could even link to just the seasonal specials with the sticker button. Once you have shown off all the food items and linked to menus to learn more, be sure to include a story about booking a reservation. Add the link to your restaurant’s reservation site into the sticker so then diners do not have to even leave the Instagram app in order to book with you.
Capturing event leads
Hopefully, you have already been linking your restaurant’s Tripleseat lead form on your social media, like in your Instagram link in bio or on your Facebook page. Now, try adding it as a link sticker in your Instagram stories when promoting your event packages. How can you do this? Try posting a couple of stores in a row — as a series — that include the big takeaways from your event packages, your event spaces, and maybe photos from past events. At the end of the series, type out a catchy title, like “Love what you see? Click below to book now!” and insert the link stickers below. This gives interested viewers the opportunity to fill out the lead form with the click of a button without leaving Instagram to go search online for your website. If they do not fill out the form right away, at least they know the type of information they will need to provide when they are ready to submit the inquiry.
Getting the Tripleseat lead form in as many places as possible is crucial, and adding it to Instagram stories multiple times a week can now be part of your social media strategy with the link sticker update.
Linking to other social initiatives or campaigns
Perhaps your restaurant or venue is working with an organization this holiday season that supports others in need, like a food bank, volunteer opportunity, or give-back initiative. Use the link sticker to promote that initiative and link to the resources that allow followers to get involved.
Alternatively, maybe you are working with another local company on a shared initiative, like with a vendor to create holiday wreaths or gift baskets. Link to any shared websites with the link sticker along with tagging the other companies’ Instagram accounts.
Does your restaurant or venue have its own company blog? Or has it been featured in an important industry publication? Use the link sticker to bring followers to the page that hosts these noteworthy pieces.
The Instagram story link stickers can be used in whatever way best suits your business and its goals when using the platform. The fact that links are now accessible to all accounts is a huge deal in the Instagram community, giving the opportunity for smaller accounts to play the same Instagram game as big accounts.
While on the topic of posting to social media on behalf of your restaurant or venue, take a look at this recent blog post 20 Topics Your Venue Can Post About on Social Media When You Can’t Think of Anything Else for inspiration.