Social media links are good. They lead us to long format content that has been curated from the web, or that you have spent your time and effort to write yourself. This is because oftentimes there is more to a story than what can be communicated in brief social media update. Links serve as a means to deliver those longer stories. But are all of us in the social media world overdoing it? Here are five reasons to ditch the crutch of the link. But the real question is….will you share this as a link?
1) Links reduce interaction
When directing your social media audience to a piece of curated content, you are driving them away from your content. When you have your audience on their preferred social media network, they are there to behave socially. When you drive them away, you could be sending them to unfamiliar territory, decreasing the likelihood they interact with you.
2) When using mobile, links don’t always load quickly enough
How many times have you clicked a link, it didn’t load quickly enough (usually 3.6 seconds) so instead you lose interest and X out? Twitter and Instagram are hugely popular social media networks on mobile devices. Know why? Because they allow users to have a meaningful social experiences without jumping from one link to the next. It is easy to favorite a photo or tweet because you can already see the image or read the text. While Twitter certainly allows for links, they also allow for 140 character conversations or bursts of information. Because Internet speeds vary, be mindful of your mobile users to provide bite-size content, offering immediate value right in your post.
3) People never add anything to your links
Hopefully people are sharing your links. Using your content to build ideas upon your ideas. I have had my content retweeted and shared thousands of times, and you know what never happens? People building on my idea of engaging with it. People get lazy when publishing links to social media. How many links do you see that get shared with nothing more than the name of the article and link as the update?
4) Everyone else is doing it
If you use social media to do what everyone else is doing you are destined to post familiar and mediocrity content at best, and redundant and boring content at worst. Sharing link after link after link will not make you stand out from the crowd, you must produce content that will set you and your business apart. If you take the time to truly harness your creativity, people will take notice and share it will their friends and followers.
5) Your fans are busy people
People have lives outside of your links. People are busy, people get distracted, people have hundreds of things fighting for their attention. This means that they might not have time for your link. Maybe it is interesting and even relevant, but unless they have time for it right then and there, it will be lost on them. People can more easily consume bite-size information throughout their day than a long-winded linked.
6) If you don’t click the link, there is little value
All of the value is on the other end of the link. If someone does click-through, they will likely revel in the tremendous value you’ve provided. However, a large proportion of people do NOT click your link, providing little value. Instead of linking, get creative to figure out how you can grab someone’s attention, inspire them to take further action, educate them, or make them feel something within the limitations that social media platforms place on us.
So now the irony, will you share this link? And just in case you think I'm a hypocrite, we use our Twitter account to share no less than four bite-size pieces of information every day.