There’s a lot of noise in the newsfeeds of social media networks. A lot of clutter and sloppiness.
But your content doesn’t have to look like that. Your posts can stand out from everyone else’s. Before you share, take a moment and use these 3 easy tips to look professional
1. Shorten your links
When you include a link in a post or a tweet, avoid long URLs. They just look bad. And if you’re writing a tweet, a long link can get cut off if you go past 140 characters.
The solution is a link shortener. I’ve used HootSuite’s link shortener and bit.ly, an there are a number of others out there. I used HootSuite to shorten the link for this tweet:
The benefit of using a link shortener is that many of them include tracking tools so you can see how many clicks your link got and – if you share that same link on multiple platforms (bonus points for this!) – you can see which platform gave you the most engagement. Here’s a look at HootSuite’s reporting tools:
2. Change how your link is displayed
When you share a link on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+, the URL is in your status update, and a preview of the webpage you’re sharing shows up below by pulling an image from the site, as well as a title and subtitle.
Once that link preview shows up, delete the URL in your post. You don’t need it because it’s still active in the preview.
Then use editing tools to clean up your link preview. These editing options are all pretty similar for Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. Make sure you’re pulling in the image you want. If there’s more than one image on the website you’re linking to, you can choose to display the most relevant image. Click on the arrow below the image to flip through the options.
You can also edit the title, subtitle (if shown), and the first sentence or two that are pulled from the website. Sometimes the link preview will cut off sentences once they’ve reached a character limit. Click in the editor in the link preview and clean up the text.
Here’s a cleaned up Facebook link post for one of the nonprofits I volunteer with:
3. Crop your photos
Did you know that each social network displays images a little differently and resizes them based on the network’s design? Make this work to your advantage. If you’re sharing a photo, crop it for the best possible display for whatever network your posting to.
This cheat sheet lists all of the photo sizes for each kind of image – from profile to cover photo to photo posts – for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube. Don’t have photo editing software to crop your images? Try a free service like PicMonkey.
I created this image in PicMonkey and cropped it for optimal display in the newsfeed. This post is for the Facebook page of the nonprofit I mentioned earlier. You’ll notice that I have a link in the text for this post because you can’t go to it by clicking the image:
These tweaks take a few minutes, but they’ll make your posts look like the pros. Once you get in the habit of shortening your links, editing your link preview and cropping your photos, you’ll be able to optimize your social media content, look professional and attract the attention and engagement of your fans.
Got more tips? I’d love to hear them in the comments!
2 thoughts on “3 easy tips to make your social media content look professional”
I don’t agree with your first round of reasoning for the link shorteners. I know a lot of people who prefer being able to at least see the first part of the domain they’re about to click on because of the misuse of link shorteners by spammers and more malicious posters. And something like Twitter doesn’t show all the characters in the web page listed, it just does the first few. In fact, very few social media platforms show the entire link in posts any more.
But they do have a legit use in things like images and other media, as it can sometimes be too much to expect people to remember a whole URL.
Now the whole using link shorteners to get analytics on click throughs: that’s only ever the right reason to use link shortener services in actual social media these days.
You know, you’re right about long links and whether people consider them to be spammy. Having the legitimate business URL in the link feels trustworthy if you can tell that it points to the business’ website. I should have re-read that more closely before publishing so I took that out. Thanks for calling attention to it.
I do agree about shortening links and renaming them (bit.ly offers that option) to be helpful to your audience so they don’t have to memorize a long URL. And the analytics that come with link shorteners are so important and valuable for social media marketing. It’s really helped me figure out what content my audience is interested in, the frequency and timing that works, and what social media trends are happening. For example, I’ve noticed an uptick in LinkedIn traffic lately that I hadn’t seen over the last several months.
Thanks for your comments Emily!