At a first glance Bit.ly seems like a great website to shorten a web link, but in truth a shortened link is the least important element of the service. What it really provides is data. Data that allows you to make your social media time count.
Seriously if you aren’t using a similar service…don’t bother posting on social media. It is super easy to set up, just go to the website, bit.ly and paste your web link into the box…and you are done. You get a shortened link that tracks all the work that you are doing.
Moreover, it tells you where in the world people are clicking through from, how many clicks you get per minute as well as informing you as to which platforms the clicks are coming from. They help us to judge how effective the work we are doing really is, something which is of great importance when trying to nail a tricky casting.
As the use of the internet and social media becomes more prevalent and important in casting, knowing how to really use a site like bit.ly also becomes just as key. Casting House has therefore put together our top 5 bit.ly tips to show how the website can really help you to complete a clever and successful casting.
Top 5 bit.ly tips
1. Project management
When looking for individuals for factual castings, days can be spent looking in the wrong places and approaching people and groups who are just not responsive. Bit.ly in essence helps to reduce the time wasted and ensure that the time spent contacting people via social media is being done in the right areas. Give everyone a different bit.ly link, (you’ll need to set up separate websites for them each) and then you can see who is achieving the most. I always believe that casting teams need competition to motivate them and comparing individual click numbers is an easy way to keep the team focused.
2. Micro/Macro approach
Knowing whether to cast a wide net or a smaller specific one when looking for participants for a casting can be tricky. When using Facebook for example it can be really useful for some castings to post on generic groups so the word is spread far and wide to groups that have thousands of members. However for other projects where the brief may be unusual or rare it can be more beneficial make your search very specific to what you are looking for. Knowing whether to take the micro or macro approach can be difficult and often down to guesswork. But Bit.ly data will give you confidence in the correct approach or change what you are doing if it isn’t working. Remember most people will click through if they think it is relevant to them, so it doesn't matter if you have a relatively wide search or a very targeted one, as long as the click rate is high. Although I would always advise that you start as targeted as you can and widen the casting terms from there.
3. Time hotspots
The usage of social media can go in real waves throughout the day and week. As Bit.ly tracks every click you can quickly see patterns develop where you get distinct peaks and troughs with people clicking through to your webpage. By monitoring this data you can learn which times of day create the most traffic and when to target specific groups and websites. For example Friday afternoons regularly create spikes in traffic. Don’t bother posting at quite times of the day and use that time to write briefs or tackle another area of the casting.
4. Area specific
When casting where people are is critical, however Facebook and Twitter are bad at being location specific. You can often find that you are getting to much traffic from America when you need British people or vice versa. Bit.ly tracks the location of every click so you can monitor which country people are clicking through from.
5. Facebook vs Twitter
It is difficult to know which social media site to use, however here is a rough guide. Facebook is better for contacting large groups and getting information out to a general mass of people with some loose targeting. Twitter is more specific. We often take a twitter profile of someone we know is relevant and then individually message each of their followers. This way Twitter is slower, but more focused. Use bit.ly to check that you are getting a good through flow of people looking at your casting page. If you aren’t then perhaps switch social media forum.
Within a few hours of posting on both sites you can look at the numbers and see whether Facebook is bringing in the traffic or if it’s Twitter, or possibly, if you’re really lucky, both!
Written by Emma Furniss, Casting House.