Social media buttons on your site

Saturday, April 02, 2011 by Richard Howe

Social media is everywhere online. Web pages, emails, and your mobile. Even Google and the other major search engines use the signals from social sites to determine what information is important to people right now.

The easiest way for you to get involved in this trend is by added social media buttons to your web pages. However, there is more to it than copy and pasting the supplied code to every corner of your site.

Here's what you need and how you can make them work for you. 

Social media button types

There are 2 forms of social media buttons - those that take a visitor to the company's social media page, or those that enable content to be shared.

Taking visitors to your webpages

Asking visitors to follow you on Twitter or Facebook is a great way of extending your brand to places where these people already visit on a daily basis. Just about everyone has a Twitter or Facebook account. You can tap into this and get your brand name in front of them, allowing interaction, support for your work, and further publicity about what you do.

Remember that although these visitors may be big fans of your company, searching for your name on Facebook may slip their mind or seem like a bit too much effort. With links to your social media pages in front of these visitors, you take away all this extra effort.  Click the logo, add, done.

Enabling visitors to share your website content

The share buttons put your content directly in front of the Facebook or Twitter friends of the visitor who just clicked the button.

A click is likely to happen when a site visitor has found your website content really interesting. This can be an extremely powerful, viral way of getting your web content to people you have never reached before. Remember a click of this button is basically like a recommendation. Friends know the button-clicker isn't getting anything out of this, so there must be real value in the information. So they go to see what the big deal is!

Social media button implementation

It's better to be selective about which networks you use, rather than going in at the deep end and putting up a button to every social site you can think of.

The key is to not overwhelm with the amount of choice. Simply using Twitter and Facebook works perfectly in most cases, although you can substitute one of these should you think another network is better for your cause.  

You can visit Facebook or Twitter directly for the buttons, or try a sharing service like sharethis.com or addthis.com to generate your buttons in a variety of styles.

Google's new network

Google +1 is the newest facility on the social media scene. These buttons will appear within all of their search engine listings very soon. So when a visitor "+1's" a site or page, it can help friends to find the best information when they search as well.
 
Although they are not available quite yet, Google's buttons are going to be out there very soon.  Should you get these on your site ASAP? As Google will be using the results of their +1 to determine rankings, and give you an insight into the visitors demographics, there is a strong argument for doing so.  It's best to keep things simple when it comes to using social media buttons, but give +1 a test when it's available, and see what works best for you.

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