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5 Best Practices for Linking on Social Media

Social media is an important part of any strong marketing strategy. What you may not realize is that how you incorporate links on social media platforms can either hurt or help the effectiveness of your campaigns.

Linking on social media can boost engagement, expand your reach, improve Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and overall enhance your brand’s marketing efforts. Creating a clear linking strategy helps you get the most out of social media marketing, because it fine-tunes the focus of the content you create and share.

In this post, we’ll explain the importance of having a linking strategy on social media. Then we’ll discuss five best practices for linking on social platforms. Let’s get started!

The Importance of Having a Strong Linking Strategy

The way you use links both on- and off-site influences your SEO. This is why many businesses establish a link building strategy.

Put simply, link building is a collection of techniques for getting more links to your website on external sites. These are also known as backlinks. A website with a lot of backlinks from quality sources usually translates to a trustworthy site that Google considers valuable.

Social media is a cost-effective tool that can help drive traffic to your site, boost brand awareness, and improve your SEO. Therefore, it’s smart to incorporate social media into your link building campaigns. To effectively create a linking strategy on social media, it’s helpful to keep in mind that each platform offers different features and options.

For example, Instagram lets you use the ‘Swipe Up' feature to link to your landing pages, whereas Facebook enables you to create a description of each link in a post. Understanding the individual platforms you're targeting lets you better tailor your approach to maximize your links' effectiveness.

5 Best Practices for Linking on Social Media

Now that you understand the importance of a strong linking strategy, let's talk about how to create one. Here are five best practices for social media linking.

1. Use Shortened and Branded URLs to Boost Engagement

Shortened URLs are cleaner and more attractive than long, clunky links. They are effective for social media because they take up less room and are easy to share.

Let's say you want to share a blog post on a social platform. Consider which link would look better:

  • www.yourdomainname.com/09/08/2019/blog/category/post-name
  • yourdomainname.blog/post-name

Shortening links lets you condense otherwise cluttered URLs to help boost conversions.

To further enhance this effect, you can also consider using branded links. These are shortened URLs that incorporate your brand name. Using shortened and branded links on social media helps to promote brand awareness. They also look more authoritative and trustworthy.

An example of this technique in action can be seen on The Economist's Twitter account:

A tweet from The Economist Twitter account that includes a shortened URL.

This link is a shortened version of the page URL it's pointing to. It also incorporates a condensed version of the brand name, so readers know what site the link points towards.

To quickly and easily shorten links, you can use a tool like our own Pretty Links WordPress plugin:

The Pretty Links plugin.

Installing the free plugin lets you shorten your site's links. If you want to create branded links as well, you can upgrade to the pro version.

2. Cross-Link Your Social Profiles to Grow Your Audience

If someone is following you on one channel, they’re probably interested in your products or services. To keep their attention, you'll want to make it easy for them to follow you elsewhere.

One way to do this is by cross-linking your social profiles. For example, you can include a link to your Instagram profile in the bio of your Twitter account. Cross-linking helps you grow your audience and create a consistent brand identity across multiple platforms.

Integrating your WordPress site with social profiles also makes it easier to share content, and enables your audience to follow you on their preferred platforms. To help with this, Pretty Links also offers social sharing buttons for your WordPress site:

The Pretty Links' Social Buttons Options in WordPress.

These buttons can be placed along the top or bottom of your pages. This makes it easier for visitors to share your content on social media, and expose your brand to new audiences.

3. Add Deep Links to Your Website to Improve Rankings

A deep link is a hyperlink that directs users to a specific page on your website, rather than the home page. If you use relevant keywords as the anchor text, these links can help improve your site's SEO.

There are many ways to create deep links, such as by posting on forums that are relevant to a particular page's topic. Naturally, you can also use deep linking on social media.

For example, Instagram limits user accounts to a bio of 150 characters and one website link. Rather than using that opportunity to link to your home page, you could link to a landing page for a specific product you're currently promoting:

An Instagram post by DIFF Eyewear.

Building backlinks on social media can sometimes be difficult. Most platforms automatically add the ‘nofollow' tag to links, meaning that they don't count towards backlinks.

However, URLs created with Pretty Links include the ‘follow' attribute by default. This is just one more reason to consider creating shortened and branded links with our plugin!

4. Use High-Quality, Engaging Images Alongside Your Links

If you want to generate more clicks, your links aren't the only thing that should look pretty. Using high-quality images in social media posts can also help increase engagement.

According to research:

  • Facebook posts that include images get more than twice the engagement than those without.
  • Tweets that include a summary and image are nearly 80 percent more likely to be shared.

Put simply, using images increases the chances of your posts being seen, clicked on, and shared. When posting a link to Twitter or Facebook, consider the preview image the post automatically pulls from the linked page:

A Huffington Post tweet about french fries.

The commonly-recommended size for images shared alongside links is 1200 x 628 pixels. However, for more detailed guidance, you may want to reference this handy cheat sheet by Louise Myers.

5. Incorporate Links in Your Social Profile Bios as Calls to Action (CTAs)

You can add links in your social profile bios to cross-link accounts. However, you can also use these links as Calls to Action (CTAs).

For example, on your YouTube channel page, you can include a link to a landing page in each video's bio. You can also add as many links as you want in the video's description:

Good Morning America YouTube video with link in description.

For platforms like Instagram, keep in mind that you can change the link in your bio as frequently as you want. Whenever you post about a new promotion or product, you can switch out the link to match.

Conclusion

On social media, it’s not just what you link to but how you link that matters. Establishing a clear strategy is important for making sure your marketing efforts are as effective as possible.

As we discussed in this post, there are five best practices you can follow when linking on social media:

  1. Using Pretty Links to create shortened, branded URLs that are visually appealing and credible.
  2. Cross-linking your social media profiles, to help grow your audience and expand your reach.
  3. Adding deep links to your website to improve SEO rankings.
  4. Using high-quality and engaging images alongside links, in order to increase engagement.
  5. Including links in your social profile bios as CTAs to key landing pages.

Do you have any questions about linking on social media? Let us know in the comments section below!


Categories: Social Marketing
About John Hughes

John is a blogging addict, a WordPress fanatic, and a staff writer for WordCandy.co

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