Link Shortening for Social Media: Best Practices for Sharing

May 14, 2023
MySL Publisher
MySL Publisher
MySL Publisher
MySL Publisher
21 mins read

Link shortening is a technique that has gained significant popularity in recent years, thanks to the rise of social media platforms and their character limitations. As social media continues to grow as a crucial marketing channel, it is essential for businesses to understand how to utilize link shortening effectively. This article will discuss the importance of link shortening for social media, the best practices for sharing, and the potential pitfalls to avoid.

 

The Importance of Link Shortening for Social Media

Long URLs can be unwieldy and unappealing when shared on social media platforms. They take up valuable character space, particularly on platforms like Twitter, which have strict character limitations. Link shortening services, such as mysl.nl, goo.gl, tinyurl.com, and bit.ly, have emerged to address this issue by allowing users to create shortened, more aesthetically pleasing URLs that are easier to share on social media.

Shortened URLs offer several benefits, including:

  • Saving character space on platforms with character limitations
  • Improving the appearance of shared links
  • Making it easier for users to share and remember URLs
  • Allowing businesses to track click data and better understand their audience

By adopting link shortening practices, businesses can enhance their social media marketing efforts and improve their overall online presence.

Best Practices for Sharing Shortened Links on Social Media

To optimize the effectiveness of using shortened URLs on social media, consider following these best practices:

1. Use Branded Short URLs

Using branded short URLs, which incorporate your brand name into the shortened URL, can increase brand visibility and awareness. Branded short URLs appear more trustworthy and professional, which can lead to higher click-through rates (CTR). Services like Rebrandly and Pretty Links allow users to create branded short URLs easily.

2. Understand Platform-Specific Link Sharing Rules

Different social media platforms have unique rules and features when it comes to sharing links. For example, Instagram only allows one clickable link in a user's bio, while Facebook automatically generates previews for shared URLs. Understanding these platform-specific nuances will enable businesses to tailor their approach and maximize the effectiveness of their shared links.

3. Use High-Quality Images and Engaging Content with Shared Links

High-quality images and engaging content can significantly increase the likelihood of users clicking on shared links. Ensure that the images and text accompanying your links are relevant, eye-catching, and optimized for each specific platform.

4. Cross-Link Your Social Media Profiles

Cross-linking your social media profiles can help grow your audience and create a consistent brand identity across multiple platforms. Include links to your other social media profiles in your bio or "About" sections, making it easy for users to follow you on multiple platforms.

5. Track and Analyze Your Link Performance

Utilize link shortening services that offer analytics capabilities to track the performance of your shared links. This data can provide valuable insights into user behavior and preferences, allowing businesses to make informed decisions about their social media marketing strategies.

Platform-Specific Guidelines for Sharing Shortened Links

Each social media platform has its own set of rules and features for sharing links, which businesses should be aware of to optimize their link sharing practices.

Twitter

Twitter automatically shortens URLs using its t.co service, limiting the character count to 23 characters. However, the original branded URL will still be visible within the tweet. Twitter also truncates links with ellipses if they exceed 31 characters, so it is essential to keep branded domains short to avoid this issue.

Links can be shared in tweets and direct messages, with no need to include the "https://" prefix.

Facebook

Facebook automatically generates previews for shared URLs and does not require the "https://" prefix. Branded links can be included in posts, descriptions, and ad campaigns. Note that links can be edited after posting on Facebook, allowing businesses to update or change links as necessary.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn has its own automatic link shortener, which will replace branded links with "lnkd.in" if they exceed 26 characters. To avoid this, keep branded links short and ensure that they include the "http://" prefix. Links can be shared in posts, updates, and messages, and can be edited after posting.

Instagram

Instagram only allows one clickable link in a user's bio, so it is crucial to optimize this link for maximum impact. Consider using a branded short link or a link management tool like LinkGallery to host multiple links on a single page. Although links cannot be included in image captions, they can be added to Instagram Stories by users with over 10,000 followers.

YouTube

YouTube allows external links in video descriptions and end cards for members of the YouTube Partner Program. Branded short links can be used to encourage click-throughs and demonstrate trustworthiness. Links should include the "http://" prefix and be limited to 40 characters.

Pinterest

Pinterest does not place a strong emphasis on URLs, but branded links can be included in pin descriptions or profile bios. Although links are not hyperlinked in image descriptions, they can still drive click-throughs and provide valuable click data.

Email Platforms (Gmail and Apple Mail)

When sharing links via email, it is best to use custom short links or long URLs to avoid landing in spam folders. Gmail requires the "https://" prefix for hyperlinked URLs, while Apple Mail does not, though it is still recommended to include it.

Potential Pitfalls of Link Shortening

Although link shortening offers numerous benefits for social media marketing, there are potential pitfalls to be aware of:

  • Security concerns: Shortened URLs can be vulnerable to hackers, who may be able to access and redirect the links.
  • Loss of trust: Shortened URLs can sometimes appear suspicious, particularly if the user cannot identify the destination website from the URL alone.
  • Platform-specific issues: Some social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, may automatically alter or replace branded short URLs with their own shortening service.

To mitigate these potential issues, businesses should carefully consider their link shortening practices and prioritize branded short URLs to increase trust and maintain brand consistency.

Conclusion

Link shortening is a valuable tool for businesses looking to optimize their social media marketing efforts. By understanding the importance of link shortening, following best practices for sharing, and being aware of potential pitfalls, businesses can enhance their social media presence and drive better results. With the right approach, link shortening can help businesses cut through the noise on social media and create a more professional, engaging, and successful online presence.

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