Links in Stories for ALL Accounts
For years the only way an account could share an external link in their Instagram Stories was if they had at least 10,000 followers. It was an arbitrary number that Instagram implemented because they believed opening it up to everyone could invite an influx of spam. Today, that limitation has finally been removed (except for brand new accounts). Now any account can utilize the new Link Sticker feature (which replaced “Swipe Up”) when they post an Instagram Story. For churches, this means they can easily add a Call To Action to their Stories and make it easy for followers to sign-up for an event or mailing list, read a devotional or blog post, or listen to the latest sermon.
How to Add Links to Your Instagram Stories
- Add your image, video or other content to your story
- Select the sticker tool from the top navigation bar
- Tap the “Link” sticker to add your desired link and tap “Done”
- Place the sticker on your story and tap on the sticker to cycle through the color options
If you’re not seeing the feature available yet, you may need to update your app or wait a few days as it rolls out to everyone.
Add a Collaborator
While you’ve been able to tag other accounts on an image or video for a while now, it wasn’t always obvious that you were doing something with the other account as a collab. But an even bigger issue was that both accounts would have to post the same content to their feeds, creating duplicate content that was siloed to each account’s audience as opposed to shared. This week Instagram announced a new Collab feature that should will make it easier for any two accounts to publish a feed post or Reel together.
So how and why should a church do an Instagram Collab? Well, a few ideas. If one of your pastors has an Instagram account and you’re intentional about growing their following, then selecting a Collab for something like a short video devotional that would post to both their page and the church’s Instagram page could perform really well. If your Youth Ministry also has an Instagram page, sharing the occasional relevant update to both feeds as a Collab could mean that parents are more likely to see it. If you’re co-hosting an event or concert with another church, sharing a post as a Collab reduces friction on who posts what and shows your community that churches can work together. Or maybe you have a group that’s doing regular work at a local food kitchen or non-profit, why not highlight that great ministry while also allowing the non-profit to share about how churches are helping them? To take it even a step further, next time you do a staff lunch or have an event catered, share it as a Collab with the restaurant. Featuring local small businesses is a great way to show that you care about your local community and if the restaurant accepts the Collab then their followers will see a post about your church. It’s a win-win.
How to use the new Instagram Collab Feature
- Prepare any post or Reel
- Select “Tag People”
- Select “Invite Collaborator” and search for an account (if an account has tagging turned off you won’t be able to do a Collab)
- Share the post or Reel and the Collaborator will receive an invite
- If they accept the invite, the post/Reel will be shared to both accounts as a single post with shared comments and likes. If they deny the invite then the post/Reel will only be shared on your account.
Posting from your Computer
While there have been some creative workarounds in the past that allowed you to post photos to Instagram from a computer, it wasn’t ideal or required a third party platform that usually cost money. This week Instagram announced that you can now upload posts, carousels and videos directly to your feed from a computer. The best part is that all the features (except the new Collab feature) are available, so you can add filters, crop images, tag other accounts and even add an Alt-tag for accessibility purposes. It only works for photos and videos posted to the main timeline, unfortunately not with Stories or Reels. I suspect those won’t be added since they want to encourage people to use their phones for those features since they’re more native to mobile. To post on desktop, just log in to Instagram on your computer and click the plus button in the top navigation.
Instagram now lets you create a Fundraiser for any registered non-profit as part of a feed post. While I wouldn’t recommend using this for weekly giving and tithes, it could be a creative tool to utilize during special fundraising campaigns or as a way to help raise money for a non-profit that your church is partnered with. If you don’t see your church or another non-profit listed, take a look at this Facebook help doc on how to make sure the non-profit shows up in the future (it should apply to Instagram as well).
That’s it for the big new features from Instagram this week. One thing we’re seeing is they’re rolling out new features and updates at a faster pace than they have in the past. Because of this and the growth of TikTok, I think it’s safe to say that we can expect even more interesting features to drop in the coming months, especially when it comes to Instagram Reels.