I have noticed many major law firms and companies are not using link shorteners on social media, and so I wanted to explain why you should be using them.
Short URLs are more aesthetically pleasing and functionally more beneficial on social platforms, where long URLs hamper ease of reading a post.
- If you don’t use a link shortener, you will waste valuable character count with a long URL in your social post.
- If you don’t use a link shortener on LinkedIn for example, the platform will shorten it for you using its own built-in tool, creating a LinkedIn custom URL.
- URL shortening services make hyperlink text look more attractive. Normally, website URLs take up lots of space. They’re often long strings of random letters and numbers, and can be distracting and aesthetically unpleasing.
- Shortened links make the reading experience smoother and make it easier for your viewers to share content.
- Shortened links also compliment UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) codes, which enable you to track clicks across specific campaigns, keeping analytics from one platform (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) separate from the others.
- One of the most important uses for link shorteners is to obtain statistics about your social media marketing efforts.
Link shorteners provide analytics to show you who has clicked your links, and they’re often available through a centralized dashboard view. This valuable data on your posts should be integrated into your content strategy to help you create more of what resonates with your target audience and less of what doesn’t.
Today many web sites are built in such a way that link shorteners are used as soon as the user takes a specific action, such as when they click on a share button.
Almost any social media management tool integrates shortlinks, and almost always these are used to gather statistics.
Which link shortener tool should I use?
- Bit.ly is a link shortener (not a social media management tool) used by many individuals and companies. It provides analytics for every link you shorten with it, including detailed data on where your post has been shared or linked, how many clicks a post received, where the traffic came from geographically and so on. The free tool allows you to shorten URLs by simply pasting the link. From there, you can instantly copy and paste this link to your website as much as you would like. Becoming a registered member allows more options, such as customizable links, and the ability to track statistics for specific links. Registering for Bitly Enterprise provides even more features, like creating campaigns and more secure links.
- Buffer and Hootsuite are social media management tools that enable you to post links on various social networks as well as to schedule posts. In the free version of Buffer, this ability is limited to 10 posts per day. Both platforms give you statistics on a per post level.
Now for the super cool part of this article….
Did you know you can increase your brand awareness by using a custom link shortener (using your own domain)!? I don’t know why most companies don’t do this – but they should!
You can easily do this without having to do any coding yourself.
Branded links are shortened URLs containing the name of your brand or services. They’re an alternative to generic short links and can help you stand out from your competitors.
To use branded links, you can register a shortened version of your existing domain, also known as a “vanity URL.” These addresses make your links shorter, descriptive and more attractive.
Some link shortening services offer this option – I think the easiest one is through Bit.ly. They even give you this option for free as long as you need less than 500 links per month.
To use this option in Bit.ly, log-in, go to advanced settings and select Branded Links. The DNS changes you need to make are also detailed there.
Branded links are most commonly used on social media, but they can also be used in many other marketing activities.
For instance, you can include them directly in your website’s content or in email promotions. Since they’re easier to remember, you could even use them for offline marketing, at live events or in podcasts.
Branded links can encourage clickthroughs on social media. They’re not only highly descriptive but can appear more trustworthy to your followers. In fact, they receive up to 34 percent more clicks than non-branded links.
Using branded links in your communications can help you build a consistent brand identity. When your URLs incorporate your business’s name, you can boost brand recognition among your target audience.
Link shortening services are an underestimated tool for marketing and help ensure your organization is maximizing its social media post character count and looks social media savvy. You will be well ahead of the curve if you implement these at your company. Remember, the branded social media links help to increase your conversion rate on social and applying them throughout your marketing content nurtures a consistent brand identity.
Be an early adopter of the custom branded shortened links to differentiate yourself.
Try it out and let me know what you think. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need help with this!