Why Bitly Will Knock Your Socks Off
Using URL Shorteners to improve your social sharing sanity
We started using URL shorteners his year simply to do just that: shorten the URLs we would send out in social media channels. But, we instantly fell in love with the additional ability to track links, provide analytics, and use your own custom wording.
URL shorteners in general can very easily help you manage how your links are trending, gather demographics information, review analytics and link-click data, as well as effectively shorten your links cohesively with your brand.
This can be done for free with two apps: Bitly and Rebrandly. The difference between the two is a matter of preference -- though Bitly is currently a bigger fish so it has a little more third-party connections to sync with other types of applications.
Continue reading to learn how URL shorteners can help save some of your sanity when it comes to online marketing and targeting research for your website.
using @bitly to save your marketing sanity via @skill-space.
CREATING CUSTOM LINKS
Bitly and Rebrandly do more than just shorten links so you use less characters in your Tweets. It aids in delivering your brand message as well. Short of buying a vanity url (eg, Ti.me for Time Magazine or spe.com for Sony Pictures and Entertainment), these apps allow you to customize what appears after the forward slash so that your message is more specific versus garbled.
In February, Skill Space wrote a blog post comparing social media managers. The permalink is long and contains 69 characters:
Using Bitly, we created a short link that contains 20 characters:
When you click that shortened Bitly link, it will go straight to the official long permalink that is 69 characters long. It's almost like having two URLs for the same thing and both URLs work perfectly.
By default, Bitly and Rebrandly automatically create links that look like garbled characters: bit.ly/A%4fa&. But with a quick edit in-application, you can change it to something a little more attractive, such as a condensed version of the blog post like we did with SocialManage5, for Which social media manager is for you? Comparing Buffer, CoSchedule eClincher, HootSuite, Meet Edgar (eg, the 5 options).
Both Bitly and Rebrandly catalog how many times a link was clicked as well as when the link was clicked. Bitly then goes further and tells you the referring channel (eg, was this a click from your Twitter account or your Facebook account?), and then some basic demographic information.
Demographic information in the free version simply includes the country in which the link was opened. With the paid Enterprise edition of Bitly, more extensive insights are offered, including optimized post scheduling and user demographics like why type of browser or mobile device was used. This is all valuable information, but not necessarily needed if you're trying to stick with the basics and on a budget.
Each individual Bitly link created has it's own statistics page that will also help you when performing research and gathering honest feedback on what works and what doesn't work.
USING @BITLY TO SAVE YOUR MARKETING SANITY VIA @SKILL-SPACE.
So, how will this improve your "social sharing sanity"?
- For starters, you will know where your link-clicks are coming from for free in one central location. Is Twitter a more successful platform for your business, or is Facebook driving better traffic back to your website? Yes, you could pay for Twitter/Instagram/Facebook campaigns, but this is for free every time.
- Use the website or the smartphone app! It is super easy and a pretty intuitive interface.
- Shortened your permalinks and urls once and be done. Share the new links everywhere!
- If you do want to create your own vanity URL to brand even further, do it! We did (skill-space.co).
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