What’s with all the links on social media?

Written by Christoph Trappe, Digital Branding and Content Strategist:

Some days I look at my Twitter stream and every single Tweet is asking me to click on a link for more information on whatever topic the Tweet mentioned.

Given that stories can be told in Tweets there’s really no need to link all the time. I link on Twitter, too. But not all the time. Twitter even is the No. 1 social refer to The Authentic Storytelling Project. So it’s surely tempting to link more. I want more people on my blog.

I also want to reach more people who care about what I care about. Sometimes making them hop from one social network to somewhere else is not going to help me build those relationships. People – for the most part – engage where they are.

This is especially true  when we think of social media as a dinner party. Social media is about conversation – like a dinner party. I usually use this comparison in the context of brands constantly selling on social media, but think it works here, too. At a dinner party, we just talk and connect there. We don’t say: “For the rest of the story, please visit my website tomorrow.”

referrs to authentic storytelling

Is all this linking working anyway? It all depends on what the definition of working is. If two percent of followers click, you lose 10 followers, gain 12 – so a net of 2 – some might consider that working.

We can also look at referrals to a site. Twitter has sent the most traffic here from social media. As you can see in the image, search engines drive more traffic than Twitter and Facebook combined, however.

What’s the right answer? I think it comes down to a mix. It’s OK to link to new blog posts – especially when they dive deeper into what you normally talk about on social media. The audience would appreciate more depth. Make sure to not link on every single social media update. What’s the right balance? I’m not sure, but I’d say links should be included in less than 50 percent of updates.

In reality, content starts to spread when others start sharing it. (Read more on that here.). In that case, it’s just as important to make sure it’s easy for others to share the content on your website. Adding share buttons is easy enough and WordPress (and other systems) now allow the inserting of pre-written social media suggestions like this:

Another way to share your message on social media is to post entire blog posts on LinkedIn. (Read why here.)

To link or not to link on social media? It’s an important question to ponder to maximize engagement, connections and ultimately sales. It’s a fine line from sharing valuable content and using social media as only a link-delivery system.

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