Do you share your social profile links via Twitter, or on other social networks where there is a character limit? Do you want to track the number of times that your profile link was clicked?
If you answered yes to any of the above, then the obvious thing you would want to do is put your social network URL through a URL shortener. But, if you’re like me, sometimes you’re a bit wary of clicking on shortened links, as they could lead to anywhere, and you’re probably not going to spend the time to research them either.
New people that you send links to may feel that way, especially if you’re sending the link via DM, such as the common “Thanks for connecting with me on Twitter – let’s connect on Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. as well.” So the only option is to send them a shortened link they can trust.
Custom Short Domains for Social Networks
Here’s where Bit.ly comes in. If you use Bit.ly to shorten your profile links with networks that have a custom short domain, then people will know that they are going to a page on that specific network. The following social networks have their own custom short domain:
- LinkedIn: linkd.in
- Facebook: on.fb.me
- MySpace: mysp.ac
- Foursquare: 4sq.com
I’m sure there are more, but let’s start with these. Just take your social profile link from these networks and pop them into the Bit.ly shortener. Instead of just any unidentifiable bit.ly link, you will get the custom short domains for the network instead.
I started with my LinkedIn profile, and took it from 39 characters down to 23 characters. You should try to start by getting your shortened profile as small as it will go, such as linkd.in/firstname.
Sorry, That Username is Taken
You will probably want to customize your shortened link further by adding your own name instead of having the random 6 characters. Unfortunately, what you use for your first profile not be available for the next one you shorten, as it recognizes that custom part as being used in the bit.ly system.
Hence, when I was doing mine, linkd.in/kristi wasn’t available, so I did linkd.in/kristih. Then for Facebook, I had to do on.fb.me/kristi79 because on.fb.me/kristih wasn’t available, and so on. Because of that, you will need to consider which network you want to get the shortest first, and then go from there.
Besides your main social profiles, what else can you use these custom short domains for? Consider shortening the links of your fan pages, groups, company profile, and any other page that you regularly refer others to visit.
I would suggest keeping your customized shortened URLs in a spreadsheet, that way when you need to share them, they will be easy to find and reference quickly. And you will have them for later when you want to check your stats as well, which you can do by adding a plus sign at the end of the shortened URL, for example linkd.in/kristih+.
Your Shortened URLs for Social Networks
Again, I know there must be other networks with shortened URLs like the ones for LinkedIn, Facebook, Myspace, and Foursquare. Please let me know what they are in the comments, and share how you use these shortened links for your own profiles and other social networking pages.
These are really great tips! I had no idea about some of these useful, but less known hidden features within bit.ly (like the social networking domains and using the + symbol to get stats). Superb article! Very informative!
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Hi Kristi, Shortened links are definitely picking up steam quickly. Another one that's pretty helpful is the su.pr link for StumbleUpon. I haven't tried to use it for sharing my profile, but I'd be very surprised if it wasn't an available option.
I have to agree with your assessment of shortened URLs - I find myself more and more wary of clicking on bit.ly type links. These custom URLs I would be far more confident with. I do like Timo's ideas though...going to look into that!
I would recommend it the other way around. Get your own short domain such as krsti.me and go from there: krsti.me/linkedin -> linkedin.com/profile/kristi... krsti.me/fb -> facebook.com/kristihines krsti.me/twitter -> twitter.com/kikolani That's the only way to have full control over you short links.
Bit.ly had become an invaluable resource for those who run non-profit (i.e. don't make money) blogs/sites who want to use their own short URL on the cheap! Though it may sound as if I'm touting my own site I wanted to pass along that I wrote a how-to for those of you who'd like to use your own short URL. It's written so my grandmother (well, maybe my mother) could use it. You'll find it on ryanerickson.com using the short URL of http://ryn.cc/aiD9Ig.
Kristi we can always count on you for innovative forward-thinking! Great ideas here thanks. Stephanie