How to shorten your links on Twitter

Twitter has a limited space to get your message a across.  While it helps you to be clear and concise, sometimes you need more than 140 characters to get your message across. 

  • Sometimes you want space to get your message across on your website or blog and so you will want to give a link or the URL. 
  • Or perhaps you have seen an useful article and you want to share it with your Twitter followers. 

You don’t want to use up all of your 140 characters with the URL, do you? 

For example, let’s say I want to tell you about my Twitter course , the link is https://www.nickykriel.com/twitter-course which 40 characters which is not bad as far as links go.  But if I am hoping that people will retweet me,  I then need aim to have 125 characters maximum for my Tweet.  This leaves me only 85 characters to get my message across.  Possible… but by shortening the link I can get the following message across like this.

So how do you shorten the links?  There are sites that allow you to shorten your URL to 20 characters.

Using a website that shortens your links

Using Bit.ly

I like bit.ly because it tells you how many people have clicked on your links and when.  You also can see who retweeted using your link.  I would suggest you sign up with your Twitter account, so that you can keep track of your click rates.

  1. Paste the full length web address in the box, it should shorten automatically.  If it doesn’t, click on the shorten button. 
  2. You can then either copy the shortened link, by clicking on 2 and pasting it into your Twitter update
  3. Or you can Tweet directly from bit.ly by composing your Tweet in the box and clicking on the “Share” button marked 3.

Simple, isn’t it?

Using TinyURL

 This is what TinyURL looks like

 

Using Tweetdeck

The funny symbol is where you set your URL shortener to be automatically off or on.  If you want Tweetdeck to shorten your links for you, make sure it is switched on.

Using Hootsuite

If you want to shorten your website, type it in the box and click the “Shrink” button and Hootsuite will shorten it for you.  Hootsuite’s shortener is ow.ly.

Warning: Not all Links are safe!

It is very easy to shorten a link, but not all links are safe to click on.  Use your common sense when it comes with shortened links. 

  • If someone is refering to their blog or how to book onto a course, then mostly it will be safe. 
  • But if someone you have never have talked to before @mentions you and tells you to look at this with a link, DO NOT CLICK ON THE LINK.
  • Be very wary of links that come in your Twitter Direct Messages from people that you don’t know.
  • If you find your friends are suddenly offering you free ipads with a link to it or telling you that their sex life has improved, there is a good chance that their account has been hacked and don’t click on the links.

If in doubt, don’t click!

Internet Explorer and Firefox have free plug-ins that will show you the extended URL without you having to click on them.  If you want to install them, the links are below.

Twitter gives the following advice:

“In general, please use caution when clicking on links. If you click on a link and find yourself unexpectedly on a page that resembles the Twitter login page, don’t give up your username and password! Just type in Twitter.com into your browser bar and log in directly from the Twitter homepage.”

Let me know if you have found this useful by leaving me a comment, thank you.

Nicky Kriel

Nicky Kriel is a Social Media Coach & Trainer inspiring, educating and empowering Business Owners to use Social Media more strategically. She is also the author of bestselling, "How to Twitter for Business Success" and newly published "Converting Conversations to Customers". For more information visit https://www.nickykriel.com or to find out about her courses that she runs in Guildford visit https://www.nickykriel.com/courses

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