This sounds like a very basic blog post. But in recent weeks, the social media platforms have added a frenzy of new (hyper)link options. Here’s my summary by platform, with star ratings.
To link out, or not link out. Should that be the question?
Before getting into the techniques for adding links, it pays to ask whether you actually need to include one. This is one of those “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should” scenarios.
Consider what you’re trying to achieve with each post. It’s tempting to cram in key messaging, a 30-second video and a link to a supporting website. But that’s a big ask for the audience – read, watch, click, consume 🤯.
Ask yourself if it would be better to purely focus on video views? Or could you include everything in a long-form LinkedIn update? Check out the excellent Arnold Ma’s signature style for this.
The art of the link
Of course, there are plenty of times when you definitely need a link. Here’s a run down of the different ways you can add them.
LinkedIn (Company pages)
1. Automatic link posts ⭐️⭐️⭐️
- When you add a URL to the description, LinkedIn displays an image and headline for you automatically
- You can then remove the link in the description for a nice, neat post
- The other big benefit is the image/video and the headline become clickable
- If you don’t like the image or description that’s been pulled through, simply click the pencil icon and add your own
- Watchout; these have to be in a 1.91 : 1 size ratio
- You can always remove the image and headline that LinkedIn automatically ads
- Just leave your URL in the description (note, LinkedIn will shorten the URL when it’s posted to keep it neat)
- Then you can add your own image (which won’t be clickable)
- You might use this option if you need to add multiple links to your post
3. Link sticker on the image ⭐️⭐️ (see example)
- This is a brand-new feature, enabling you to add a ‘sticker’ on an image, which is clickable
- As it’s new, it will catch the eye and maybe get a bit of an algorithm bump-up from LinkedIn
4. Links in the first comment ⭐️
- There are some suggestions that this gets you a better ranking from LinkedIn’s algorithm
- I’d probably avoid this for company pages, given the many options above
5. Link posts for paid ads ⭐️⭐️⭐️
- If you’re running a paid campaign, you get a nice little bonus – the ability to add a call-to-action button
- Everyone loves a button to focus the click!
LinkedIn (Personal profiles)
I’ve included personal profiles, as many businesses will use their experts, spokespeople, founders etc to publish company related posts.
1. Automatic link posts ⭐️⭐️
- There’s a key difference with Company pages… you can’t change the image or headline that’s automatically pulled through
- So if you don’t like what’s offered, you’ll need to add a link in the description and your own image
2. Links in the first comment ⭐️
- As above, there are some suggestions this gets you a better ranking in LinkedIn’s algorithm
- But, it makes it a bit clunky for the user to find, so again, probably one to avoid
3. Link sticker on the image ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (coming soon)
- This looks like a great feature for personal profiles – lots of flexibility and a very clear ‘button’ to click
This platform probably has the widest variation in terms of how hyperlinks are included! My star rating is based on advice I’ve seen from Twitter themselves and trial and error…
1. Automatic link tweets ⭐️⭐️
- When you add a URL to the description, Twitter will automatically pull in an image and headline (assuming the destination website is setup correctly), so that’s nice and simple
- Twitter will cleverly hide the URL in the description, without you having to remove it yourself
- However, you can’t change the image or headline, so it might not always be appropriate
2. Link in the description + an image ⭐️⭐️
- If you want to use a different image, you’ll need to upload your own and add a URL in the description
- If using this option, be sure to add a clear call-to-action statement (e.g. Find out more 👉 <your link>)
- The only drag is that the image won’t be clickable
3. Website card ⭐️⭐️⭐️
- If you want the best of both worlds, use the website card format… which allows you select your own image and headline
- Little known tip… this feature isn’t limited to promoted tweets, but you will need to create it in their Ads Manager (https://ads.twitter.com/, select Creatives > Tweet Composer)
- Just remember to untick the promoted-only box to post organically
4. Website card ‘belt + braces’ ⭐️⭐️⭐️
- If you’ve got space in your description, there’s a school of thought to not only use a website card, but also include the URL in the description
- That might sound a bit much, but I’ve seen this cited as best practice by Twitter… and if it’s clicks you’re after, why not?
5. Tweet tiles (coming soon)
- This new format is part of the reason for this blog post
- It’s not entirely clear what they will look like, but it’s another option to consider…
Today we’re beginning to test Tweet Tiles with @nytimes, @wsj and @guardian. Tweet Tiles will let developers extend the Tweet experience and will pave future innovation for our @TwitterDev developer community https://t.co/LDyExFq4b1 pic.twitter.com/mKeU87jNIv
— Amir Shevat (@ashevat) August 25, 2022
1. See link in bio ⭐️⭐️⭐️
- When it comes to organic feed posts, there are few options!
- You’ve probably seen publishers on Instagram use the likes of Linktree to present a menu of links from a link in the bio
- At the moment that’s the best you can do
2. Link with paid posts ⭐️⭐️⭐️
- If you want to add a link directly to a feed post, paid ads are the only way to go
- Like LinkedIn, you can select from different call-to-actions (e.g. Download Now), which are displayed as a ribbon under your image/video
3. Link stickers with Stories ⭐️⭐️⭐️
- One of the nice things about a Story is that you can add a link sticker
- Just select the stickers option when creating your Story and off you go
4. Swipe-up link, in paid Stories ads ⭐️⭐️
- When it comes to paid ads (Stories) you can trigger a link when the user swipes up
- Again you can pick from multiple call-to-action buttons
1. Automatic link posts ⭐️⭐️
- Like LinkedIn, when you add a URL to your description, Facebook will automatically pull through an image and headline (thanks!)
- You can then delete the URL from the description to leave a nice neat post, with a clickable image
- The drawback… you can’t customise the image or description that’s pulled in
2. Link in the description + an image ⭐️
- Again, like LinkedIn, you can instead add your preferred image and then a URL in the description
- Obviously you’ll need to leave the URL in the description, as the image is just an image – it’s not clickable
3. Link posts for paid ads ⭐️⭐️⭐️
- If you’re running a paid Facebook campaign you have much more control of your link posts
- You can tailor your image and description AND include a nice call-to-action button (again, you guessed it, just like LinkedIn)
4. Organic link posts via Ads Manager ⭐️
- There is a way to tailor the image and headline in your post, without running a paid campaign…
- This only gets one star as it’s tricky (thanks to paid social media specialist Gaelle Courau for explaining)
Create a new Facebook ad
- Ensure the campaign is paused
- Go to the Page Posts tab and select Ad Posts in the left-hand menu
- Select the ad you just created and click on the Actions drop-down (right-hand side)
- Publish or Schedule the post as required, and there you have it
Adding hyperlinks to social media posts is essential for most businesses. But, as you can see, there are plenty of ways to complete this seemingly ‘simple’ task.
If you’ve got a different approach, hack or experience then I’d love to hear!