How Creators’ Link in Bio is Becoming a Strategic Battleground
Make Way for the "WeChat" of Creators
As the Passion Economy continues its inexorable rise, creators, whose presence and actions on different social platforms are often fragmented, need more than ever to find a central operating hub. The solution seems obvious: it is a matter of creating a website, but not a traditional “website” in the way you imagine it. Let’s dive in.
Familiar with the Bio Link?
To understand this new trend, it’s vital to review the general context around this phenomenon's beginnings. If you’re an Instagram user (the same goes for TikTok now), you’ve probably already noticed that you can’t put links in your posts. The reason behind this is simple; social networks don't want you to leave the platform as they are in the attention game. If they allow users to leave the platform, they lose attention and, by doing so, lose ad revenue. That's also why this won't change for any ad-driven network.
Therefore, the only solution is to add a link to your profile bio. However, the problem arises that if you have several links to share, you aren’t able to because you only have one link slot available. A lot of companies, such as Linktree, Campsite, many.link, Ohmybio, have created one solution to this issue by allowing a brand or person to create a list of links to multiple webpages through a single cohesive link page. (You can find a Google Spreadsheet with all the players linked at the end of the article). At first glance, the use may seem cosmetic, a nice-to-have feature, but without any real strategic stake. However, with the rise of the Passion Economy, the cards are being redistributed; these start-ups, which often started as nice side-projects, are moving to full-time. Now more than ever, building one’s link estate is crucial.
Linktree Leads the Way (for now)
Since 2016, Linktree has democratized and been the leader in using these “link trees.” In an article for TechCrunch, the Australian start-up, which has recently raised $10.7M in funding, is putting forward its forces:
8 million users, including many celebrities
28,000 new users every day. Yes, every day
A team that has grown in 1 year from 10 to 50 employees
Uses that are no longer limited to Instagram. For example, 25% of visits come from direct traffic
Finally, the introduction of banners to support causes, particularly during the "Black Lives Matter" movement, has given the start-up an additional spotlight
Co-founder Alex Zaccaria explains his vision and how his service is evolving towards a much broader platform that can "unify an entire digital ecosystem" and "democratize digital presence". He stated that while some customers continue to maintain a traditional website, for others, Linktree is replacing it entirely.
From Sites to Apps (A Key Consideration)
One must recognize that having a traditional website has its advantages, but it also has disadvantages – especially for individuals. Indeed, there are several pain points: not everyone is technical (setting up a server, installing a CMS, configuring a template, managing plugins, etc.), It's time-consuming, and we all know creators have everything but time. Finally, the stack gets complicated (memberships, paywalls, community, CRM, etc.)
Considering that a new typology of players is emerging, what makes them unique? At first glance, they look a lot like Linktree & Co, but in reality, they stand out on several levels.
Here are a few examples:
Let's mention Beacons, founded in 2019 and part of Y Combinator. This American start-up strives to be "the best mobile website generator for content creators." To achieve this, Beacons proposes bringing together all of the creator's online initiatives to help it sell in one click and in a much faster way than on a classic site. In short, no “blah blah blah.” The text is sharp and incisive, and the call to action gets straight to the point – perfect for the generation of digital nomadic mobile-first that we’re in now. Here’s a concrete example: Fitness guru Brittany Noelle’s profile, which includes access to all her online social profiles, a short bio, her contextualized product recommendations with a video of herself using them, discount codes, a subscription form for her newsletter, and the possibility to book her for an individual coaching session to optimize your Instagram profile, for $10.
Another exciting example is Universe, an app that allows you to create a beautiful drag-and-drop website directly from your phone or tablet and start selling products just as easily - the fact it’s an app is a critical differentiator in the long run. Here, we move away from static link profiles for a more experiential universe where creativity is the key (just check out these examples!). Universe is more than just a website generator; it offers analytics, personalized email domain names, mailing list functionalities, possibilities to monetize its contents, and associated services to make the creator's life easier. One such service is the ability to create shipping labels directly through the app so you can "ship your products with the convenience of UPS and USPS at your fingertips."
Make Way for the "WeChat" of Creators
Here’s another service that caught my attention: Flooz. At first glance, it doesn't look that different from the other players, but something in the wording appealed to me enough to contact the founder. We spoke for over an hour via Zoom, him in Dubai, me in Paris. At the moment, Flooz allows you to create a collection of links and add monetization blocks, including “Ask Me Anythings,” “Digital Downloads,” and “Live Zoom Sessions,” and more - test user experience here.
What's most interesting is the founder's vision, the big picture:
“It's Flooz's mission to provide the best business-in-a-box solution in form of a mobile-first Pro toolkit to creators. We are creating a suite of simple to use yet powerful tools that automate creator tasks and empower creators to focus on telling their stories rather than managing their tech infra.”
In other words, creators can create and maintain their site, apply templates to brand their pages, add link collections, sell exclusive contents at scale (courses, videos, ask me anythings, digital downloads, etc.), build a VIP list of subscribers (email and SMS), send mass text messages to interact with them, and more by applying powerful automation - similar to IFTTT. Flooz is enabling creators to focus on telling their stories and driving traffic to their pages rather than managing their infrastructure.
In short, it will be a website, a marketing automation tool, a CRM database, an email provider, an SMS platform, and a payment tool. Imagine the combined power of WordPress, Substack, Patreon, Venmo, Mailchimp, Zoom, Whatsapp, Gumroad, Gmail, and much more; all rolled into one. This could very well be the advent of a WeChat for creators – a Swiss Army Knife that could easily become the flagship tool of the Passion Economy.
This example also underlines the new wave of hybrid business models that include various software, services, and bundled financial services revenue. In doing so, the business can generate incredible momentum, widen its TAM (total addressable market), and maintain a broad base of stable recurring revenue.
A new creative business that could very well strive and change the way creators use and monetize social media and build their brands, which, in turn, could revolutionize the Passion Economy as we know it. Exciting times, right?
PS. I love serendipity. I stumbled across Josh Dance’s profile and competitive template on these Link in Bio players (shared obsession ;) So, we chatted, he helped me improve my article, and I updated his file. VOI-LÀ! You can view our joint effort here.
Have you downloaded my 2021 Social Media Trends Report?
Glad someone finally unpacked "the hub."
With new platforms and the creation/spread of content, our social presences have become decentralized. Everything's everywhere. Hubs centralize our presence again.
Beyond the practicality, I'd hypothesize one of the strongest drivers here is the creative component. Our profiles across social are incredibly sterile, templatized. Just look at the first photo - bio links are flashy and highly stylized. Personalized.