How to Make the Most Out of Your Social Media Buttons
Whether at the top of the home page, the very bottom in the far right corner, or on some other page altogether, it’s virtually impossible to visit a website that doesn’t have a couple of social media buttons secured within it somewhere anymore. The most common ones are ye olde faithfuls: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, in their varying shades of blue. Others creeping into those ranks lately have included Google+, Tumblr, YouTube, Reddit, Digg, StumbleUpon, and the RSS Feed among several others.
As a social media manager, I’m well versed with these buttons. I make sure to include them every month in our company newsletter and also like to suggest new ones to occasionally join our roster at the company I work for. And whenever I visit a potential partner’s website, they’re usually the first item of business I look to track down. The only problem is that while these buttons and their subsequent outlets may be the first thing on my mind, they don’t always rank as highly with other businesses. Social media buttons are incredibly valuable to the growth of so many companies- so why do I have to jump from the “about” page to the “contact” to the “team” section and still not be able to find them anywhere?
The following are my tips on how to make the most out of these tiny thumbnails for both your own personal and professional advantages. I can’t guarantee that my tips will provide you the insane amount of followers you crave (spoiler alert) but what I can do is quote FastCompany blogger Rich Brooks who recently Tweeted that “social share buttons are powerful social proof.” These buttons declare your online presence has been cemented- now get out there and show the world how they can find and follow you.
Place These Buttons Where They Can Be Found
Traditionally, social media buttons are on the home page of your website. You can put them at the top of the page in the header for easy eye-catching access or at the bottom in the footer. Sometimes said buttons are even right next to the “sign up for our mailing list” bar. I highly recommend sticking them on your home page and keeping them there. Otherwise you’ll be clicking all over the place trying to find these buttons. We’re impatient people who like to find out information fast- all that clicking can either distract us from our mission early on or motivate us to move on to another website.
Don’t Use the Phrase “Find Us On _______”
It looks so much easier than the actuality of it. Skip this phrase and make sure the button on your home page links to the appropriate social media URL address. If you plan on printing your social media outlets onto products, skip the phrase in favor of a URL. I recall reading an article once about a man who was similarly frustrated about this process because he wanted to follow a brand of potato chips online. The bag that the chips came in had these little buttons printed on it with the ever faithful “Follow us!” included but no URL address. Not including that website is detrimental because while there may be dozens of fan pages for those potato chips, you want to be sure you’re following the right one. And the right one isn’t always facebook.com/potatochips. It may be abbreviated. There may be an underscore. Nobody will think to type those things in either. Keep that in mind.
Get Some Unique Buttons
They may be small but these buttons are mighty. If you’ve got a specific aesthetic going on with your website, you might want to have your buttons match up to add to the overall look and feel of the site. In particular, I love the 50 different sets of social media icon options on slodive.com. From hand-drawn to broken (but not actually broken!) to glossy and yes, even as a clock, these buttons are not only fun to look at, but also fun to click and get redirected with.
There’s nothing more disappointing than finding the social media buttons, clicking on them to follow the user, and then discovering that said Twitter or Facebook pages have collected some cobwebs in the updating zone. Beyond making sure that you have your icons in a place that people can find them and click on them, be aware that people will find and click on them. Make sure that the links aren’t broken and are still actively working. And only include buttons that you know you can regularly update too. The intention with social media is generally to have a presence in every possible website, but if you can’t keep up with all of them then don’t. Stick to a couple of places like Facebook where you know that you’ll be able to address questions, comments, or concerns easily.
Heather Taylor is a social media enthusiast, freelance writer, and blogger who writes and muses on social networks, business, and fashion and the occasional combination of all three. She has had her written work published with Yahoo! Shine, BettyConfidential, HelloGiggles, The Huffington Post, and more. Contact her on Twitter @howveryheather or directly email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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