Social media, particularly Instagram, has proven to be an incredibly valuable tool for business. Likewise, with influencers, individuals can now make millions upon millions of dollars from their Instagram presence alone.
That is despite Instagram’s most obvious flaw. Up until a few years ago, it was impossible to add multiple links to your profile. At most, you could only add a single link in your bio—not very useful for blogs and large publications that pump-out large amounts of content daily.
Back in 2017, when Aussie brothers Alex and Anthony Zaccaria along with their mate Nick Humphreys were running a music and entertainment digital agency, they encountered this problem and decided to do something about it.
As they were managing multiple artists, they used Instagram to make daily announcements.
“We got really sick of having the change the Instagram bio link,” Alex Zaccaria told StartupSmart.
They had a web developer on their team but “didn’t have much work for him yet,” so they asked him to see if he could find a solution that would allow them to add multiple links to their ‘gram.
Six hours later, the developer had a prototype, and Linktree was born: A tool that allows you to use one link in your Insta bio to house all the content you’re driving followers to.
Coincidently, their solution came around the same time that Instagram swapped out its chronological feed to an algorithm-based one. This much-criticised change meant that people were seeing days’ old content, so the ‘link in bio’ call to actions in posts were likely updated by the time they saw it.
“It was more than that annoying problem of wanting to link to more than one thing,” Zaccaria says.
“It also became about making sure you still had relevant content.”
From “side hustle” to global success
The Melbourne-based trio started pushing the solution to their own clients, but soon word got out.
“It turned out, a lot more people had that problem.”
They realised they had something valuable and began to think about funding and rebuilding their solution properly.
Then, something incredible happened.
“Someone else in the States put it up on Product Hunt the night before my sister’s wedding,” the founder recalls.
Linktree saw somewhere between 3,000 and 4,000 new signups on the day of the wedding. That number hasn’t dipped below 800 per day since.
From that day, the founders could no longer see Linktree as a side hustle or simply a solution to one of their own problems: It had become a fully-fledged business—a booming one at that.
Linktree rakes in $3 million in annual recurring revenue and now has 2.8 million users—a figure that’s increasing 20 to 25 percent month to month. Currently, it sees roughly 10,000 new signups every day, 90 percent of whom are outside of Australia.
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Brothers Alex and Anthony Zaccaria pictured on Instagram
A solution that sells itself
The first big name to sign up to Linktree, the company reports, was Alicia Keys just after their campaign on Product Hunt launched.
Then, more celebrities and major organisations started signing up.
“They [the Linktree team] ended up signing up Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, The Killers, and a bunch of others,” the founder says.
“That was how we started pushing into that market.”
Other celebs using the solution include Jamie Oliver, Naomi Campbell, Jonathon Van Ness, David Guetta and marketing guru Gary Vee. Big brands like Billabong, Qantas, Expedia quickly came on board, as well as publications like Pedestrian and The Guardian.
This is pretty incredible, seeing as the company didn’t spend a penny on marketing. Linktree’s growth has been completely organic.
“It’s self-marketing,” Zaccaria says.
“Once people put it in their Instagram bio, everyone else sees it.”
While the founders do admit to benefitting from the company being born out of an agency with three major festival clients, which helped them generate early traction, they mainly put Linktree’s success down to a little bit of luck and the vast community of bloggers and influencers.
By searching “Linktree” on YouTube, you will see thousands of how-to and review videos explaining how to use the solution that became the “go-to social media hack” of 2017. None of these videos were created by the company. They let the community run with it, tell their story and help other users install it.
Notably, Linktree spun out and supported by the digital agency has not received a penny of outside investment.
While the company says they have received a fair amount of interest from VCs, and partnering is not in the cards, they are currently in no need of funding.
“We’ve been lucky enough to have such great organic growth that we haven’t needed it,” Zaccaria says.
The company affirms that if they do join forces with a VC firm, it will be strategic and not for funding.
Looking ahead, the company is hoping to expand overseas.
“I’d also love to grow LA and London teams to match the smarts and energy of the incredible people we have here in our Melbourne HQ,” Zaccaria told Pedestrian.