How to configure and integrate bit.ly with Seesmic Desktop 2

This article presumes that you’re already familiar with Seesmic Desktop 2 (SD2) and how it’s used as a desktop software client to manage your Twitter, Facebook and other social media accounts.

Bit.ly is one of the most popular URL / link shortening services and it’s used to convert very long web addresses (such as http://www.majumdar.org/fashion/poll-my-next-haircut-short-medium-or-long-hair-sondage-ma-prochaine-coupe-de-cheveux-courte-moyenne-longue/ into http://bit.ly/cLCxff) This is convenient when using services such as Twitter that limit status messages to 140 characters.

I generally use TweetDeck for Windows, so my apologies if there are any minor inaccuracies.

First off, you don’t need to have a bit.ly account to use it with Seesmic – to shorten a link you simply click on the link button underneath your status message, type or paste the long URL and then hit the Insert button. Voila, your long link will be shortened. See the following screenshot for details:

 

Screenshot: How to insert bit.ly link in Seesmic Desktop 2
There is, however, an advantage to having a bit.ly account – you can see statistics about all the bit.ly links that you have published, how many times they’ve been clicked and so forth.

Once you have signed up for your bit.ly account you’ll want to integrate it with your Seesmic setup. Here’s how.

First click on the options gear button link at the bottom left – see screenshot:

Screenshot: How to set Seesmic Desktop 2 options

Then click on the bit.ly plugin settings link – screenshot:

Screenshot: How to edit settings for bit.ly plugin in Seesmic Desktop 2

and this is the screen where you need to enter your bit.ly credentials (Username and API key) which you can get from the bit.ly website – screenshot:

Screenshot: How to enter bit.ly credentials in Seesmic Desktop 2

Click save and voilà! Not only will you be able to shorten links using bit.ly in Seesmic, but when you log in to your bit.ly account you’ll be able to get interesting analytics with usage statistics and more – screenshot of some of my bit.ly 30 day stats for one account I manage:

Screenshot: Example of bit.ly metrics / statistics summary for 30 days

It’s a subject for another article, but the analytics information can be quite powerful to assess the reach and performance of your content & shortened links – depending, of course, how you use it. You can drill down to see stats for individual shortened links and much more.

Keep in mind that, as is the case with any third party tracking tool, there are privacy policy issues – your readers are being tracked by yet another third party … if this is a possible issue for you or your company, make sure to have it reviewed by your legal or compliance department.

Feel free to leave comments or questions below! :)