Always, Sarah

Every Little Bitly Helps

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It seems as though, my conversations with friends or pow wow sessions with go-getters have inspired my upcoming posts.  I suppose when you name yourself A Girl Inspired, anything can trigger the next move right? Well today's post is the result of a conversation over chow mein and honey walnut prawns - yum, I know! My friend was asking general questions about the social media game and one of the tools that we went over was Bitly.  I know when you think social media, shortened links may not be your first thought, but it could easily make your top 10 list.

For those of you who have never heard of Bitly, it's a link management platform that allows you to shorten, share, manage, and analyze web links.  It's absolutely OK that you've never heard of it, why would you need to until now right? My friend had never heard of it, because she's never needed to manage links, so that totally makes sense.  Bitly is my go-to because it's super user-friendly or in other words - simple to use!

So, my friend started a side hustle and wanted to start using her Instagram to promote it - awesome! I love these conversations by the way, not because Instagram is so my jam but because the Hubs gets this look on his face when I tell him that Instagram is not just a toy {insert cheesy grin emoji here}. One of the things she mentioned was her web address; it's a custom sub-domain and as sub-domains go, they can be quite lengthy which brings us here.

I can go into the science behind Bitly, but I won't because, well - I'm not a scientist.  I take pictures and make talking about Instagram a grown up thing, so if you're looking for the science, this is not the post you're looking for.  But if you're looking for cliff notes with some photos - you've won the jackpot baby.  Ready to read it? Here we go.

How to Create Bitly Links

For those of you who are already dreading the install of yet another app or creating yet another account to manage and those who already think you don't want to learn it ~ I want you to know that I know who you are because I am one of you! I was able to figure this out and so can you, especially with these fantastic screenshots I took on my phone and actually used to send to my friend after I saw she didn't customize her link.

Once you create your account, log in and begin.

How I Use Bitly & Why

1. Let's start with the why.  When I tweet or use links on Insta, sometimes even when I text or message, it's easier to reference a shorter link than a long-ish to super long link.  For example, would you rather get a message from me with this link, bitly.com/TakeNoteFeature or this link, agirlinspired.com/lovenotes/take-note.  Easier to remember right? When I was featured for The Sparrow Co. on Be Free Proclamation, I shared her post on Instagram.  Instead of the actual link which is http://www.befreeproclamation.com/sparrow-co-t-shirts-with-a-mission/, I shared bitly.com/BeFreeProclamation. Better on the eyes huh? I think so too. 

2. Not only does Bitly simplify sharing links, but seeing if anyone is even checking out the link is helpful in managing your goal. Why would you want to see if anyone is clicking on your link? Well, don't you want to know? Don't you want to know whatever marketing efforts you're using is working? Don't you want to know the time you spent getting the right image to post and the words you used worked (or didn't work) on getting people to click on your link? I know I want to know. I know the Hubs appreciates it when I have a good idea of where my efforts are going than receiving answers like, "Eh, I don't know".  

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If you have a website, in the dashboard or back office, you should have an analytics section that breaks down how many visits per day, week, month you've had, where that visitor was referred from, what part of the world they're in, if they used a mobile device or pc and even if they have an Android or Apple device.  This is basically what Bitly does.  When I first created The Sparrow Co.  I initially used a sub-domain. As I started my marketing efforts, I wanted to see if anyone was actually going to the website.  I created the Bitly link and shared it.  You will see in this time period 125 clicked on the link.  I can go back and see what I did on any particular day to either recreate a similar action or never do that action again based on the results from that post.  You want to know these things so you can improve how you are marketing yourself to get the results you are wanting.  You want to target the right audience at the right time and these analytics can help you decide when and what to post to get the results that you want.

For a further breakdown, I can see that 80% of the traffic was coming from Instagram, which is great because that was the primary platform I was marketing Sparrow with an occasional newsletter to the subscribers I had built.  Do you see where it says Dark Traffic? Scary huh? Not really.  All that means is that Bitly is unable to track where they came from because whoever shared the link you created, shared it in a way that Bitly can't track the data.  For example, if someone shared the Bitly link using a platform that doesn't allow tracking like below where I say, "Tweet This".  The site I use to generate that link doesn't include tracking.  That is considered Dark Traffic or Dark Social.  I can also see where in the world my visitors are coming from.  My audience for Sparrow is mainly US based until I decide to ship internationally. 

In the example of my friend, it would be a good idea to see which posts on Instagram attracted visitors to her site.  As she acquires more data, she's able to decipher what people liked seeing and reading which led them to "click link in bio".  Until she acquires that data, it's all trial and error.  So if you see that no one has clicked on your link, ask yourself why not? Would you have clicked on the link? Ask a trusted friend or hit me up.  Don't be discouraged, as you fine tune your posts and call to actions, you'll see those clicks fo sho.

So, go create your free account now and get your Bitly on!

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