The art of changing social media profiles one link at a time

Mohammed Rayaan | Updated on: Feb 07, 2022

How 'link-in-bio' tool is helping creators promote their content, products

Vaishali BK, a children's author and educational consultant, has a growing community of 36,000+ followers on Instagram. She posts on child care, learning and teaching , making her popular among parents. When she started building her profile, Vaishali says she had shared her website link on her profile's external link box.

"Through my site, people could visit my blog page or online shop. But they found it inconvenient as they had to keep selecting a few more buttons to go where they wanted to," she says. That was when Vaishali shifted to Linktree — an extremely popular tool that helps users to add their online offerings in a single landing page.

"Now I have everything streamlined — I can add my workshop links and remove them anytime. Whenever I talk about an important topic, I can link my relevant blog articles too. It's very easy for me and my followers," Vaishali adds.

One link, one profile

There are thousands of users like Vaishali who have leveraged landing page tools like Linktree on their profiles. Thanks to this, many new start-ups have been born to capitalise on this 'user interface real estate'. A quick google search for Linktree alternatives gives results to Cardd, stck.me, bio.fm, Lnk.Bio, Shorby, etc.

The screenshots of Vaishali’s Instagram account with her Linktree landing page profile. These tools usually come with a free version with basic features and a pro-version with more options. It generally appears with a user’s profile pic at the top followed by a list of links in boxes appearing one below the other and finally with social media icons in the bottom linking to other platforms

The screenshots of Vaishali’s Instagram account with her Linktree landing page profile. These tools usually come with a free version with basic features and a pro-version with more options. It generally appears with a user’s profile pic at the top followed by a list of links in boxes appearing one below the other and finally with social media icons in the bottom linking to other platforms

These tools usually provide a free version with basic features and a pro-version with more options. It generally appears with a user's profile pic at the top, followed by a list of links in boxes, appearing one below the other, and finally with social media icons in the bottom linking to other platforms.

Their usage has become so common that several brand-building consultants have started opting for them instead of a traditional website. Go to the profile of a popular influencer on LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram — you are bound to find a landing page link.

Necessary tool

Karthik Srinivasan, a communications strategy consultant says that the existence of these tools came out of necessity because of the social media platforms' design. He points out that a social media user has the option to enter only one URL on their profile page.

"It is because the platforms want the content experience to be done only within their own platforms," he says. "So when you use Instagram, you just keep watching and scrolling and don't go outside. Even when you select a link, most have in-app browsers. They don't go to Google Chrome or anywhere else until such an option is selected. It wasn't like this earlier."

Srinivasan notes that the platforms "understood if users were given the option to let them open links via an external browsing app, then they left their platforms quickly, leading to a loss in traction". That's why the in-app browsers, he opines.

"All this make it good for a platforms' perspective, but it's not right from a user-experience angle," Srinivasan further notes. "Twitter is a classic example. If a user shares a post with a link, a reader can click and read it. But that's not the same in Instagram. There's no option to add a URL to each post, as it's focussed on photos or short videos."

While the thirst for landing page tools appears to thrive for the moment, Srinivasan also gives a warning. "Imagine if Instagram one day decides to give the option to add links to a post and more links to a profile. All these link-in-bio tools would disappear overnight!" he signs off.

Published on February 06, 2022
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