I recently caught up with co-owner and marketing mastermind behind Boston co-retail space For Now, Kaity Cimo. She runs the space with friend and business partner Katharine ReQua. They opened a year ago and have played home to over 80 brands in that time.
Linktree Review: A Hands-on Look Through the Eyes of a Small Business
Melbourne-based tech startup Linktree has been helping Instagrammers effectively manage links to their off-site content since 2016. The company offers one of the most popular solutions to Instagram’s lack of hyperlinks in posts, and its app is used by many successful Instagrammers.
This Linktree review is the first in our series on our favorite marketing tools. We don’t receive any compensation and have no affiliate partnerships. We’re simply on a mission to spread the word about useful tools and to help small businesses find what they need to grow.
Without further ado, let’s take an in-depth look at Linktree and how it may be able to help your business achieve its goals.
What is Linktree used for?
Linktree is an ingenious solution to Instagram’s policy of not allowing hyperlinks in posts. The concept is simple: you get a short link to place in your bio that, when clicked, navigates to a webpage with a list of every link that you want active. From there, your audience can choose one and get directed to the content they’re looking for.
For example, let’s say you’re a food blogger and you posted two recipes in the last week: one for spaghetti and one for baked potatoes. Without a product like Linktree, you’d have to say “link to recipe in bio” on each post, and then decide which recipe to actually feature in your bio.
With Linktree, you only need one link. When a user clicks that link, they’ll be presented with links to both recipes, like so:
Pretty nifty. So, how does all that play out for you, the business? Let’s take a look at how to get a page like this up and running.
Throughout my testing, I found Linktree to be intuitive, quick to set up, and easy to use. The signup process takes only a minute and I had my Linktree page ready to go in less than five minutes.
To demonstrate its capabilities, let’s roll with our example from above and make a Linktree for an imaginary recipe and health blog called Avocado A Day.
To start, all you need to do is enter your email and create a password to sign up. From there, you’ll be presented with this screen, where you can input your business’s name and a few categories that it falls into.
Then, you’ll choose whether you want to use the free plan or the paid PRO Plan (we’ll go into more detail about the differences later on).
After that, you’re all set up and ready to start adding links. You can view your Linktree URL (the one you’ll place in your bio) in the top right corner of the screen. On the right, you’ll see a preview of your page.
To start adding links, just click the “Add New Link” button.
From there, a small box will appear with fields for title and URL. You’ll notice a few other symbols along the bottom of the box, but don’t worry about those for now. We’ll take a deeper look at them when we go over the features in the PRO version.
To get your first link set up, just enter a title and a URL, like so:
You’ll see the changes show up immediately in the preview pane. To add another link, just repeat the process:
If you want to deactivate one of the links, just click the green slider on the side of the input box. It will turn grey, and your link will be deactivated.
Alternatively, you can simply delete the link with the trash can button.
So, we have some links, but it’s looking a bit plain. Let’s head over to “Settings” to customize our page a bit.
The settings page presents you with a few customization options. You can upload an avatar and choose between nine different color schemes/themes. Let’s change a few things now.
We’re starting to get somewhere, but unfortunately, none of the themes included with the free plan really fit our brand. To make something that’s really consistent with our brand identity, we’re going to need to upgrade to the PRO plan.
With that said, let’s take a look at the differences between pricing plans.
Linktree is available in two pricing tiers: a free plan and a PRO plan, which will set you back $6/month. Here’s what separates them and some of the strengths and weaknesses of both.
For basic or personal use, the free plan will provide pretty much everything you need: you get unlimited links, some basic analytics, some basic customization, a profile picture, and Amazon Influencer Program integration.
Unfortunately, the customizations on the free plan are pretty limiting. There are only nine color schemes to choose from, and if you don’t already use one of those nine options in your branding, your page won’t be very good as far as brand consistency is concerned.
Additionally, you can’t change the fonts or button styling, and there’s no way to get rid of the pesky Linktree logo at the bottom of the page. That cuts into your screen real estate and ends up drawing attention away from your links.
On the links page, you can see your lifetime page views and how many people clicked each link. Just click the analytics symbol in the link box:
You’ll be presented with this:
All in all, the free plan gets the job done, but the lack of customization options makes it a poor choice for businesses. If you’re lucky, and your branding fits one of the nine free color schemes, you may be able to make it work, but you’ll still have to deal with the Linktree watermark at the bottom of the screen.
The PRO plan is a significant upgrade over the free one. With PRO, you unlock additional customization options, more in-depth analytics, and several very useful features like priority links, scheduling, and thumbnails on your links. You can finally get rid of the Linktree watermark as well.
To upgrade, simply navigate to the PRO page:
Then, follow the instructions to upgrade:
Once you input your payment information, you’ll see one change right away: the analytics box now has a clicks metric.
You can now also use each of those little buttons at the bottom of the link input boxes. Let’s go over what each of them does.
Leap links redirect anyone who clicks your Linktree bio link to a specific piece of content, bypassing the site you’ve set up. You can use the timer to set how long you’d like the leap link to be active. If you’re running a new promotion, such as a 50% off sale on your new recipe book, this could be a useful feature.
Keep in mind that the grey bar at the top of the preview won’t show up for your visitors — it’s just there to let you know that you have a leap link active. In fact, your visitors won’t even see your page at all. For now, let’s deactivate the leap link so that we can have a less obstructed view of our screen.
Next, we can add a thumbnail by clicking the image symbol.
This can make it easier for your audience to find the content they’re looking for, especially if you use the same image as the post that introduced the content. Let’s see how those thumbnails look:
Moving over to the right, we have the option to add a priority link. This will add a motion effect to your link to help it stand out.
Unfortunately, since these are all motion effects, there’s no way for us to show you how these look through pictures.
If you want to schedule a specific period of time during which your link will be active, you can do that as well. This can be useful for links that are only relevant for a period of time — like our sale, for example.
Finally, the PRO plan provides an expanded analytics view:
Let’s head over to the settings page to see what else the PRO plan offers.
The first thing you’ll notice is that you now have the option to add in a custom page title. If you click on the gear option next to the colors, you can customize your color scheme, change the fonts, and edit the button styles. You can also (finally) hide the Linktree logo.
Let’s play with some of these settings and see how everything looks.
Definitely an improvement. However, while the customization options are definitely better on the PRO plan, I still found them a bit underwhelming. You can use any color scheme you want and even upload images as backgrounds, but the font choice is still sorely lacking. There are only 15 fonts to choose from, and there’s no way to upload your own. If you use a custom font in the rest of your branding, you’re out of luck.
Unfortunately, there’s also no way to style the title differently than the rest of the text, which can be problematic. In this example, I wanted the links to retain a handwritten feel to match the hand-drawn logo, but I’d like the title to stand out more. That’s simply not possible with Linktree.
That said, the fonts should be sufficient enough for an intermediary landing page, and for $6 a month it wouldn’t be fair of me to expect Adobe Illustrator level font customization.
Moving on down, we have a field for social links. These show up on the bottom of your page, like so:
I have to hand it to Linktree on this one: the styling on these looks great, at least for this example page.
The built-in Google Sheets, Mailchimp, and Zapier API integration is one of my favorite Linktree features. If you want people to sign up for your mailing list straight from Instagram, this is a great way to make that happen. Unfortunately, only MailChimp integration is available right now, but the others are coming soon. Here’s what that looks like:
Below that, there’s a section that lets you include custom meta tags for SEO purposes:
Finally, we have an analytics section that allows for Facebook pixel integration. You can also set UTM parameters here if you’d like your Linktree traffic to show up as social traffic in Google analytics.
Overall, the PRO plan does what it needs to do and more. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to businesses looking for an Instagram link directory.
So, now that you know all the features, how did I find the experience overall?
- Easy to use: Linktree is incredibly easy to use. Setting up and customizing a page with links took me less than five minutes, and after that I was ready to place the link in my bio.
- Good design: Despite the less than stellar customization options, Linktree’s themes do mesh well with Instagram, no matter how you design your page. It makes for a pretty seamless transition from your profile to your content, almost as if Linktree were a built-in feature of Instagram.
- Useful integrations: With email, Amazon Influencer, and Facebook pixel integrations, Linktree offers pretty much everything you’d need in a link directory. It’d be nice to see Linktree support other email software, however.
- Lack of customizability: Even with the PRO plan, the customization options felt lacking. Most of this came down to font choices alone, but on a webpage made almost entirely of text, that’s kind of a big deal. That said, it’s not a deal-breaker, and you should be able to make do well enough.
- Hard to link to specific posts: There’s no way to make it particularly clear which posts your links are referencing. Other link directory apps mimic your Instagram feed and let your audience navigate by selecting the image of the post they’re coming from. With Linktree, you can only add in a small thumbnail. If you have tons of links on your page, or lots of posts that direct your audience to your bio link, it can be difficult for your audience to find what they’re looking for.
Who should use it?
If you find yourself swapping out links in your bio all the time, signing up for Linktree would probably be a worthwhile investment. The platform is useful for those with lots of off-Instagram content, but there are other apps that perform better for this use case.
Linktree is probably most useful for businesses that aren’t constantly posting new content but want a way to link to different services or easily filter queries. For example, if you run a restaurant, you could have one link to your menu, another to a Google maps page, and another for online ordering. If you’re a musician, you could use Linktree to link to your latest single on any number of different streaming services.
Overall, if you’re constantly posting new content, you may want to find another option that uses image-based navigation to make things easier for your audience.
In short, if you have the $6/month ($72/year) in your budget, it’s not a bad thing to add onto your profile. Many will find it exceedingly useful, and for others, well, it can’t really hurt.
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