It turns out there are more ways to support social justice causes through Instagram than posting a black square.
Australian startup company Linktree was launched in 2016 in response to the tiring ‘link in bio’ phenomenon, caused by Instagram’s insistence on only allowing one hyperlink per account. With users unable to include clickable hyperlinks in their posts, Linktree has become a global solution for more than 7 million previously frustrated users looking to share content beyond the confines of their profiles.
In 2020, Linktree has seen a renaissance in facilitating both voter registration efforts and social justice movements around the world, according co-founder Alex Zaccaria. Below is a Q&A with Alex Zaccaria, who founded Linktree in 2016 with his brother, Anthony, and co-founder Nick Humphreys.
Q: How does Linktree simplify education on voter registration and other activist efforts?
A: When Linktree first started in 2016, a large portion of our base were Instagram users who needed a simple solution to the platform only allowing one link in users’ bios at a time. In the last four years, we’ve watched users transform how they use their Linktrees, from fully replacing their website with our microsite, as a business card, in email signatures, and as a general aggregator to direct their online audiences to.
More recently, we’ve seen a skyrocketing number of users promoting activist efforts on their Linktrees, such as linking their audiences to where they can vote in person, how to get a mail-in ballot, voting FAQs by state, and so much more. Linktree is an easy-to-use tool to connect an internet users’ audience to their entire online ecosystem, so it’s perfect for users who want to quickly disseminate this information across multiple platforms at once.
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Think of us as a launch-pad that allows businesses, celebrities, nonprofits, and content creators of all kinds to easily point their followers to their social profiles, e-commerce stores, resources, and the causes they care about most. When our users link to critical information and resources, they’re widening the aperture of internet users who are presented with an opportunity to educate themselves, take action, and make a difference.
Q: What is Linktree’s stance on amplifying voices, causes, and actions of those seeking justice and equality?
A: Linktree users consistently share valuable resources across the issues and causes that matter most to them, and we’ve always been focused on supporting them.
This year, we’ve seen celebrities, influencers, companies, and more take a strong stance on justice, equality, and the 2020 election – and we’ve been able to help some of them do that. We’ve noticed users across the board transforming their Linktrees into vehicles for social good, with over 15,000 users including Usher and Shakira, linking to voter registration sites and election resources alongside their regular content. Other users such as Rock the Vote and When We All Vote link to a deeper set of election resources, including absentee ballot information, early voting deadlines, vote by mail FAQs, and more. We’ve recorded over 5.1M visits to Linktree accounts with voting links and 120,000 clicks to those websites.
In addition to amplifying voter registration and Election 2020 materials, we’ve also welcomed an influx of accounts supporting protests and Black Lives Matter starting in early June, linking to anti-racism guides and reading materials, community bail funds, and anti-racism organizations to generate increased attention and funding to groups and individuals making a difference. This included an uptick in links for the Change.org petition demanding justice for Breonna Taylor, a Black Lives Matter donation page, the BLM website, and the Official George Floyd Memorial Fund on GoFundMe. 87,000 new users have signed up since May linked to BLM.
We want to help amplify these voices and causes, which is why we enabled an Action feature on Linktree, which adds a banner to Linktree users’ profiles allowing their visitors to discover ways to donate, educate and attend events in support of anti-racism. 235,000 Linktree users have enabled this banner, which has so far resulted in 4 million views and 278,000 clicks on the Linktree calling for users to take action.
This is something we’re passionate about and we’re stepping up every chance we get. We don’t monetize any new signups through upgrading campaigns, because our first priority is helping these activist movements connect and grow.
Q: What role have millennials and Gen Z played in pushing social media sites like Snapchat and Instagram to promote voter registration?
A: Nearly 90% of millennials and Gen Z use social media every day, so there is virtually no better way to reach them. Just as we’re seeing an increase in Linktree users linking to voting materials, social media platforms are getting equally involved. Major social sites have all installed voting banners across their platforms to provide easy information on where to vote, how to vote, and when to vote.
Brands and celebrities are also speaking out online more than ever before – and when they add a register to vote link to their Linktree, they’re sending a message to a dedicated and receptive audience that voting is just as important as their upcoming releases and new product launches. As a platform that allows users to connect the dots across social media networks, we’re uniquely equipped to help our users get the word out about causes they care about en masse.
Millions of voters have registered to vote this year through social media, highlighting a high level of social good unique to younger generations.