Alex Butzbach

Standing out on social media is a tall order for marketers, but there are plenty of tools to make brands a seamless part of any customer’s News Feed. Video, pictures, infographics and other visual media all correspond to higher rates of engagement, shares and ultimately, website clicks. However, there’s a social marketing player that may be yet another method for driving interest, particularly on Twitter – link shorteners.

Any marketer worth her salt has been using link shorteners in Tweets for some time, as they cut down on the number of characters wasted on URLs. But a new study by RadiumOne found branded digital shorteners get 25 percent more clicks than unadorned or generic links – no matter the social network. It may be that users have come to recognize, consciously or not, custom links are a hallmark of reliable companies that frequently post interesting content.

Shortened links do better on some days than others

According to the research, shortened URLs that have been posted on a Thursday have the longest shelf life in terms of subsequent shares. However, the shortened link content gets more engagement overall earlier in the week, even if it does lose its shareability more quickly than late-week posts. Therefore, marketers should careful about when they use shorteners to gain the most social shares.

There is a specific language to each social network, and brands need to learn it if they’re going to thrive online. So while URL shorteners are clearly powerful on almost any channel, they’re essential on Twitter. Similarly, plain links to YouTube videos aren’t going to net very much interest or engagement when they show up in Facebook feeds – they need to be embedded and playable to garner any attention at all.

In the context of content marketing campaigns, social media should be used to support content. A great social strategy will raise awareness and boost engagement, but the ultimate goal is to do so in aid of getting viewers to travel to a homepage. Tools that encourage this kind of activity (like visual media or URL shorteners, apparently) ought to be adopted whenever they support this goal.