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You can now add 5 links in your bio… but should you?

Instagram’s new 5-link feature: A blessing or a curse for small business owners?

How excited are we about the new Instagram feature that allows each account to have up to 5 links in bio? It’s starting to feel like more of a second website, than a social platform. We have a navigation bar to showcase offerings, services and freebies, yay! But before you start adding all your links, let’s take a moment to think it through from the other side. Let’s take the user experience into account.

Was the single link-in-bio a blessing in disguise?

Research has shown that when presented with too many options, people tend to become overwhelmed and subsequently make no decision at all. The Paradox of Choice they call it, demonstrated beautifully in the Jam Experiment.

The Jam Experiment was carried out by psychologists Sheena Iyengar and Mark Lepper in 2000. They found that when shoppers were presented with 24 flavours of jam, only 3% of shoppers made a purchase. On the other hand, when presented with only 6 flavours, 30% of shoppers made a purchase! That’s a difference not to be sniffed at. So when it comes to adding links to your Instagram bio, is less actually more?

Will 5 links kill our conversions?

If you use Instagram as a way to feed your pipeline with customers and clients, a confusing experience is not one that leads to leads. No matter what the platform is actually, it’s generally more effective to give one clear call to action, one clear instruction. If you have multiple links, it can be hard for people to know what action to take. And if we trust the Jam Experiment’s findings, removing options leads to better conversions. 

The confused mind always says “no”

Donald Miller, author of “Building a StoryBrand” and founder of marketing programs like “Business Made Simple”, makes it clear. 

“Don’t make them think”.

In the case of social media, there is already an overwhelming level of noise, distraction, and information. If your intention with Instagram is to get leads to your offers or email list sign-ups, I’d say keeping it simple is a valuable rule of thumb.

Running the experiment

Now, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t experiment with adding multiple links to your Instagram bio. In fact, all digital marketing should have a touch of the experimental. Showing up as an act of service. Big Brands vs. Solopreneurs

Showing up on social media and other platforms becomes really meaningful when it’s treated as an act of service. Especially for solo and small businesses that offer 1:1 services. You want to bring value to your potential clients and create a delightful experience for them… not confuse the crap out of them with too many options or conflicting messages. The key here is trust. 

I think the bigger brands will make the best use of the multiple links option. When the brand is already established, the trust and credibility is already there. They don’t have to work so hard for clicks and conversions. But small and solo business folk have to constantly keep their customer’s experience front of mind when setting up on social media and beyond. Establishing and maintaining trust will probably help get the clicks, whether you have one link or five.

Less can be more when it comes to providing a clear and simple path for your audience to follow. But experimentation will tell us more. Providing value and creating a smooth and delightful experience for your potential clients will help you get the leads on insta’. That truly seems to be a constant through all the feature updates.

Will you try adding multiple links to see what happens? Will your engagement rates increase or decrease? Will there be more click-throughs to your website?

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