Each social media platform is different — but they all have one thing in common: they can be a useful tool in your marketing strategy to build and better engage with your audience. Short links are an especially important part of any brand’s playbook — but what are the best practices for using short links on social media?
Using short links to promote your brand
You’ve seen legacy short links in the wild — random, forgettable gibberish. You can track them, but they do nothing when it comes to building your brand or a meaningful connection to your audience.
When it comes to making an impression, it’s important to consider that a social media post may be your first and that each piece of the post matters. Including your links.
Branded short links are long links that have been shortened, but instead of using a generic and potentially spammy link shortener’s domain, the link uses your brand or business name. For example:
- BL.INK: Blink.video
- Nestlé: nespres.so
- Coca-Cola: CokeURL.com
- KPMG: social.KPMG
- Hubspot: hubs.life
- Warner Media: Warner.news
Rather than promoting the link shortening service, using your own domain promotes your brand — and utilizes the precious space in social media posts or bios to make an impression on your audience.
Using short links to build trust
When using a generic link shortener domain, you run the risk of losing confidence with every impression.
A generic domain not only raises a red flag to anti-spam and anti-phishing services, but it causes concern for all of those who see these generic links and lack the certainty that the link is authentic and trusted.
Consistently using your own branded domain will build confidence with your audience that the shared link is authentic, trusted, and valid.
When presented with an opportunity to engage with your audience, there is a split second when the audience sees the link and makes a decision to click. Failing to use a branded domain introduces the potential for concern and can trigger apprehension and uncertainty.
Introducing a branded domain, consistently used and promoted, will assure your audience that the message and call-to-action are valid and authentic to your campaign. These basic steps can reassure your audience that your brand cares about security and their data privacy.
Using short links on YouTube
YouTube is the largest streaming video platform the world has ever seen. With so much content and seemingly endless users viewing videos to educate and entertain themselves, YouTube is also the world’s second-largest search engine — thus, it’s an important place to consider for marketing your brand or business to build a bigger audience and brand presence.
YouTube wants to keep people on their site watching videos. That’s why they restrict the use of links to YouTube partners — but there are some tricks to work around the restrictions.
If you’re not a YouTube partner, you can still use short links to your advantage — you just have to get a little creative. For example, you could:
- Use short links in your videos: A link doesn’t have to be clickable to get your viewers to use it. But since your viewers have to take the extra step of typing it into the browser, you want to make this process easy for them by using a short, memorable link.
- Make sure your links pass the radio test: In short, make sure the link isn’t too long, is easy to say out loud, uses real words, and contains a call to action.
- Put links in your description: And encourage your users to click them. Make sure to call it out in your video to encourage users to click.
For more YouTube linking tips, check out our post on How to Link on YouTube.
Using short links on Twitter
Twitter paved the way for brands and users alike to have their voices heard. But because of the character limit, it’s often hard for brands to get their message across and still include a link.
Twitter offers a built-in link shortener, which translates links to short gibberish. But we like to think of a link as another opportunity to maximize your Tweets’ real estate and really drive your message home.
Use BL.INK to create memorable short links — that your audience will trust, that you can track, and that showcases your brand.
— BL.INK (@blinksmartlinks) September 11, 2018
There’s a lot you can do with a Tweet — link better with BL.INK.
Using short links on Facebook
In the ever-changing world of social media, Facebook remains a bustling place for businesses. Often, a customer’s first interaction with your brand happens when seeing your ad in their Facebook feed, or because someone tagged you in a post or shared your content.
Since you don’t always have control over how people will “meet” your brand — especially if that introduction happens through shared content — every element of your Facebook presence must work harder to connect to potential visitors.
Not only do you need to make a good first impression, but you must also quickly build the type of trust that will drive people to take action. So how does a brand do that?
- Use real words in your short links: Research shows that people are twice as likely to click a short link that uses real words, rather than long links or legacy short links that use meaningless, forgettable characters.
- Set up a branded domain (or multiple branded domains): As important as it is to build trust right away, a consistent link structure using a consistent suite of branded domains helps you continue to develop and strengthen that trust over time.
- Utilize branded links as part of your social media strategy: When branded links become part of your larger social media strategy, you can deliver that consistency across all your social platforms.
And with BL.INK, you’ll be able to better analyze the engagement and get to know your customers with the built-in analytics.
Using short links on Instagram
Since Instagram’s inception, the platform has rapidly evolved and added many features including stories, video posting, and now even live streaming and “shorts”.
Today, more and more businesses are leveraging the Instagram platform to get the attention of this highly engaged audience, but Instagram makes it a challenge for both businesses and prospective customers to use links.
A business is allowed to display a single organic link – the website URL listed in its profile. Additional links are only possible if the brand is paying for online ads.
But… there are still opportunities to capitalize on short links within Instagram.
Using a link in your profile’s bio
The bio in Instagram includes a website field in your user profile options. This is the official — and the only — link for all Instagram profiles.
Businesses and content creators on Instagram usually use their single website link to direct followers to click first on their profile from their post and then click on the link underneath their page’s name.
The space for your website link is fairly small, so a best practice for your link on Instagram is to use a shorter vanity URL. With BL.INK, however, you can make your long URLs into shorter links with real words that tell a story.
BL.INK short links also include tracking data, so you can track how many clicks you get for specific promotions and other analytics such as location and demographics of the users who clicked on your link. Plus — your link’s destination may be changed at any time in BL.INK, so that you don’t have to replace the link in your bio.
Using links in Instagram Stories
Links aren’t displayed directly in Stories. There is a CTA button at the bottom of a slide, which viewers have to slide upwards in order to go to the link. You can embed a link within your Stories, but there are some requirements:
- Your channel must be registered as a business account, and have at least 10k followers
- Your channel must have a “Verified” badge, meaning it has been verified by Instagram to authentically represent a well-known public figure or brand
If you haven’t made it to 10k followers as a business account, or aren’t famous enough for a Verified badge (which regular Instagram accounts can’t even apply for!), you still have options. You can simply type out the link you want people to go to, as text over different slides in your story.
Since the link isn’t clickable, it needs to be short, memorable, and easy to type into a browser for your followers. You can use BL.INK to turn whatever link you want to promote into a readable short link. You could even reinforce it by putting it on a video slide as text, and/or voiceover in the video.
Using short links on TikTok
TikTok allows users to create and share short-form videos. The app rose to the top of the charts back in 2018, and has seen another surge in popularity since the pandemic started back in 2020.
With its recent rise in popularity, brands and content creators alike have begun utilizing the one-of-a-kind algorithm as another marketing channel to build and engage with their audience.
The app recently launched a Shop Now button for Shopify merchants with a TikTok for business account to help drive sales via TikTok.
But given the limitations for brands without a business account or a Shopify storefront, and the addictive nature of swiping through short videos, brands and influencers have to get creative with driving viewers to navigate away from the app.
Brands can utilize endless sound and music options, hop on #challenge and dance trends, collaborate with other users (including other brands and/or influencers), and showcase their products or services in unique ways.
Similar to Instagram, TikTok users are limited to one link in their bio. But following the same guidelines, brands and businesses can still use short links to maximize engagement with their followers by using a BL.INK branded short link in their bio.
Brands can also take a page out of the Instagram playbook to display links on screen or in the pinned comments below their videos to encourage users to view a product page or landing page.
But when using links in videos or comments, there are a couple rules of thumb:
- Make sure your links are short, meaningful, and easy to remember
- Use real words and a call to action — and also, be clear about what your viewers can expect to see when navigating to the link
Ready to link with BL.INK? Get started today.