Following and sending links on Social Media, especially Twitter and Facebook is a part of our daily routine that enriches our lives.
It is important to me to continue a two-way conversation (and on Twitter I do follow back followers and converse), which includes enticing others to read and my blogs that include artwork and writings and finding other good blogs, articles and images, which is just as much if not more fun for me. I am forever curious, and a born communicator who is first and foremost an artist but also a writer and speaker
There are five simple steps to for success with links.
What works and what doesn’t for a link.
It is fairly easy to successfully share information via links, yet I am finding too many people do not fully understand how to successfully accomplish having their links viewed and also on Twitter RTed.
1. The Destination of the Link:
The first priority for any link is the article or image is what you are linking to.
Make the blog, article or image worthwhile for those who follow you.. Give value not junk, which may get you unfollowed or unfriended even if it is not spam. Think of your Twitter, Facebook, MySpace or other Social Media interactive messages as a kind of TV or radio channel that you are producing. While you can, and probably should be a bit personal, think of the viewer and make your messages interesting.
This also goes for anything you ReTweet or resend. Never resend anything only for the sake of the sender. Think only of your audience’s benefit.
2. The Link Itself.
A. Make sure that your link actually goes to where you think it goes.
Recently I have followed far too many links from good people to what promised to be good information that did not actually lead to that information.
Example One: I followed a link to an article that went directly to Bloomberg .com where I guess it had been the lead article a short time before. Now, there was a new lead article, which had nothing to do with the art article I wanted to read. I had to search using keywords to find my article on Bloomberg. NEVER link to an article simply by using the dot com address!
Generally you can find the actual link to any article on a news site of blog by double clicking the title of the article. The page may seem to remain the same but the URL in your browser will change to a unique address. Shorten that address and use it as a link.
Example Two: This happens frequently. Someone sends Twitter link to a post on someone’s Facebook Fan page. This is a really bad idea. Although I am a member of Facebook, if I am not signed in, I have to do so to read the link. About half the time it may not be worth the time and effort. Plus, not everyone is a member of Facebook. Finally, Facebook continues to experience downtime and busy outages. I hit one today re a link that Facebook informed me would be up and running again shortly. And the Twitter sender had only just posted it.
B. Post the information to a blog or image hosting site and then link from Twitter, Facebook and other sites to that. If you want to upload the blog or image to Facebook, do it, but link to your blog from a site like Twitter.
Always check that a link works before you send it in a message.
C. Shortening the Link
Assuming you hope to not only get people to click on your link, but also click on subsequent links, use your link shortener wisely. Currently I use bit,ly. I have also happily used ow.ly and gd.com. These shorteners have an advantage. If a person finds another article on my site—or someone else’s site that I’ve linked to, the reader can easily Tweet or message that new location. I am not going to “out” any shorteners, but some make this impossible. Personally, I want to encourage the dialogue, whether it is from my blogs or someone else’s.
3. The Tweet or Message that Announces or promotes the link
Indicate what the link is about. We assume it is something really interesting, informative or entertaining that your friends or followers could want to see.
If the article or blog has a title, use it!
Tell what the picture or artwork is about and who it is by.
If the article is from a news source indicate the source if possible.
”Look at this (then the link)”
“Please look at this and tell me what you think (then the link)”.
“New blog post (then the link)”
“Cool photo I took yesterday! (then the link)”
New blog: Why You Need to Do Something or Other to Live Better (then the link)”
“Pres. Obama to Do Something or Other Important NYT : (then the link)”
“Photo of me with my friends at the beach (then the link)”
“Art by JaneDoe Artist at QWERTY Gallery (then the link)”
Note that the link can also be placed in the middle of a message, if you have more to say after it.
4. Link Etiquette
Phishers and wicked people who wish to send vial attacks use shortened links in emails, including those on Facebook and other forms of private messages such as twitter’s DMs. One of the kindest things that you can do for your friends, followers, fans and anyone you email is to never, ever send a shortened link in one of these types of private messages.
The exception may be a Twitter DM, but in that case always pre-inform the recipient through the Twitter stream that you just actually sent them a link in a DM. That pre-announcement in the stream is something that phishers will not do.
Personally, I announce regularly that I do not send or click on any shortened links in private special messages, including even newsletters.
This is important because anyone, even me can make a foolish mistake, especially when tired or feeling under the weather or harried and click on a link that will be regretted.. It happened to a very web savvy friend of mine with a PhD, and so it can happen to me or you too.
Since phishers scheme to take over known and trusted accounts my friend though the message came from someone she actually knew and trusted. Just one tiny mistake and an account will send out phishing messages as emails and DMs to the people who trust you. This is why I want everyone who trusts me to know that if they get a shortened link from me—do not click on it—instead email me back to see if I actually sent it. I strongly advise you to exclusively use long links in private messages!
5. The Next Link
One link sort of leads to another. If you want people to check out your next link take care with the one at hand. Social Media is an ongoing conversation, not a one time kamikaze hit that takes a person to a squeeze page; that is for spammers, not you. The best way to promote your nest links and be a trusted and significant presence in the conversation is to take care with each link that it easily conveys the viewer to the destination of the material which is expected and worthwhile.
I wrote this article because of too many recent actual experiences with links that failed to go where they were supposed to that were sent by good people spreading interesting or important information. Some of the information in this article I first learned from Guy Kawasaki (@guykawasaki), who are Social Media masters. If you are on Twitter or Facebook, I strongly suggest you follow them and also learn more about social media from their You Tube channels. Plus, Guy heads up Alltop and probably is the all time link maven for interesting material! They did not suggest or pay me to make this recommendation,. I make it because I know if you follow them my experience on Social Media will be even better.
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Judy Rey Wasserman is an artist and the founder of Post Conceptual Art theory and also the branch known as UnGraven Image Art. Download a free copy click: Manifesto of Post Conceptual Art– A Painting’s Meaning is Inherent in its Stroke.
Check out the limited and open edition prints in the estore.
Follow her on Twitter at @judyrey .]