One of the best ways to increase engagement and user interaction on your website is to implement social sharing buttons. This also helps with SEO and content exposure, provided the sharing features are being used by readers and visitors. To ensure a healthy amount of social sharing support you need to implement the sharing buttons appropriately.
It’s just as possible to include too many sharing buttons as it is to include too few. Too few will mean readers and visitors cannot share the content via their network of choice. Too many means readers could get flustered when choosing which network to use. Of course, the latter mentioned is a bit extreme and suggests readers don’t have the wherewithal to choose the most relevant network, which is not necessarily true. The point here is cluttering the social sharing space can cause unnecessary fuss.
The majority of social media users stick to the five main networks: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest. If you’re going to narrow down your options, at least make sure you have the big five available.
How Many Options Are Enough?
The answer to this question is relative to your business or site. In some cases, offering visitors every social avenue possible is just overkill. On the other hand, there are some instances where it could be beneficial. The most effective method is to come up with a happy medium between a few networks and all networks.
Like we mentioned above, the big five are certainly important. However, there may be other networks to include on your site depending on the content you deliver. Services like AddtoAny or ShareThis allow you to add a whole bevy of networks through a single interactive menu.
If you’re not sure which networks fit your needs best then take a look at your website analytics. In particular, pay attention to the networks which reel in the most traffic and referrals for your site. Nevertheless, don’t forget your content is what should influence your decision most – this brings us right to our next point.
Choose the Right Buttons
A single Facebook “Like” button, or a Google “+1” button isn’t always the right way to go. You need to personalize the social sharing experience in relation to the content. If you’re a web designer in York, you’ll want visitors to share your page designs by reposting images or preview links. It won’t do you any good if visitors simply “Like” one of your posts, because the whole point is to get more parties browsing your design previews. On the other hand, if your site primarily exists to advertise your services a “Like” or “+1” will be just as effective as a share.
Make sure you identify the best type of interaction for your business, and use this info to deliver the proper social buttons on your site or blog.
Keep It Simple
Make sure the social sharing buttons are clearly visible, and they are close to the content. The two best places are in the post header or footer. For those not using a CMS platform like WordPress, this last statement refers to placement just above the content or underneath it. This encourages readers to share interesting articles before they begin reading, or when they finish.
Also, keep the buttons as simple as possible. Make sure they are properly labeled – if you opt to exclude labels, make sure the social media icons are clearly visible. Don’t turn it into a guessing game for visitors.
The best way to implement social buttons is to use the native code provided by the network. This is because they often load faster than third party options, but they also give you more control over button placement. If you opt to go with a third party service instead, make sure the necessary customization options are afforded to you. To specify, you should be able to alter the size of the buttons and connected fonts, customize the visual style, and choose exact placement. If you cannot change the aforementioned elements then the social buttons may end up looking awkward or out of place on your site.
Use the methods listed above to ensure you get the maximum results from your social sharing icons. Make sure you have the five main networks and any other important to your business, but remember there is such a thing as too many!