Getting Your Head Around Sharing
Generally, sharing and liking buttons can serve a purpose on any business website but they have to be placed in the right place and some considerations need to be made around how those buttons should either, A: drive traffic to a specific part of your website or B: simply drive new unique visitors to your website.
For many smaller businesses there is a lack of understanding around how they should best leverage social media buttons on their websites. Sometimes awkward combinations are chosen without a lot of insight into how they’ll best interact with their customer and how their customer may want to share that businesses content.
For example: It really irks me when I see a Twitter button and want to share something I’ve found useful but instead of being sent to MY Twitter page to share the content, I’m sent to the website’s Twitter page instead. Big fail. And this is such an easy one to mitigate. By the time someone realizes they have to manually tweet the content, they’ve often changed their mind about sharing it altogether. This equals a lost opportunity for both parties.
Get The Actions You Expect
Social media “share” buttons are better suited for portions of business web pages where there is content users might want to share with others, i.e., a Blog, or article section. Social media buttons that direct users to their business pages are a must on homepages, but are often better suited as footers (see my homepage) or along the top of pages. Using the right verbs to promote action helps enormously. “”Find us on Facebook” or “Follow us on Twitter” links make it completely clear what the user will be doing when they click the button or link which means less customer disappoints in the interaction. You get exactly what you expect when performing the task.
Share and profile buttons perform two similar yet separate actions, knowing which action you wish to get from your visitors will help you determine how to best utilize them.
Share Buttons: By installing a “Share button” plugin on an individual website page, you are giving permission to folks to share or suggest that specific link and content to their friends/networks on their individual profile page.
Profile/Page buttons: These can be simply made without the use of social plugins. Essentially they are merely icons with links, boxes or badges provided by the platform, or plain text links that direct individuals to visit your social media Page or Profile. The platforms also offer up plugins for these.
Here are more details that cover each social platform by platform. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. To steer clear of any confusion, I will list the social share function under each first, and the page button second.
Let’s dig in, shall we?
What’s the difference between a Facebook Page and a Facebook Profile/Timeline?
Facebook Page: This is your business’s branded Facebook Page.
Facebook Profile/Timeline: This is your personal Facebook account.
The Like Button
Note: The “Like” button formerly was called the Facebook “Share” button, which is why many people have gotten confused when using them – or is contributing to why they’re being used incorrectly. Facebook created a page explaining why they made this decision around the word share. You can access it here.
What The Like Button Does: The Like button lets a user share your content with friends on Facebook.
What It Won’t Do: You won’t be pointing people to your Facebook Page by integrating a Facebook “Like” button onto a particular web page. In its place, you are permitting the individual to “Like”/share the information, content, or product that is found on that page to their personal Facebook Profile. There is no relationship that links clicking the Like Button on a specific website page and pointing users to “Like” your branded Facebook Page.
How It’s Going To Look: When the user clicks the Like button on your site, a story appears in the user’s friends’ News Feed with a link back to your website. It also shows up on their Timeline.
(Something to keep in mind: According to AddThis data, Facebook accounts for 52.1% of all online sharing. Given the size of AddThis’ data set, that number’s probably a solid proxy for sharing across the entire web.)
Twitter is probably the most basic of the available social media platforms when it comes to setting up their button, plugin, and widget options for users.
Share A Link Button
Twitter keeps this basic and that’s what I love about it. You really can’t mess this one up but here’s the skinny on utilizing it if you may still have some doubts around usage.
What This Button Does: It allows Twitter users to Tweet content found on your page to their followers. No messing up this one. Guaranteed.
How It’s Going To Look: The content that your users Tweet shows up in their Twitter Timeline for their followers to view. Bam. Done.
Linkedin doesn’t drive as much total traffic as Facebook or Twitter because its network of members is much smaller than either of those companies. But on a per-share basis, it’s at least as effective As with Facebook, the where and who can be misunderstood sometimes. Here’s the skinny.
Company Profile: Your company profile page.
Member Profile: Your personal LinkedIn profile page.
LinkedIn Share Button
What This Button Does: The LinkedIn Share button allows users to share your content with LinkedIn’s business-based audience through the general feed and will drive traffic back to your website.
What This Button Will Not Do: Clicking this will not direct a user to your personal LinkedIn Member Profile or your LinkedIn Company Profile.
How It’s Going To Look: When a user clicks Share, the content is displayed in their updates for all of their connections to see.
Google+ Page: This your Google+ Business Page.
Google+ Profile: This is your personal Google+ Profile page.
+1 BUTTON (Share)
What This Button Does: The +1 Button lets visitors recommend your content on Google Search and share it on Google+.
What This Button Will Not Do: +1 Button does not direct individuals to your Google+ Page,, instead what it does is gives users the option to share the content on the specific website page with people within circles on their Google+ Profile and allows them to recommend that content to Google Search. Something to keep in mind … Just because someone +1ed content doesn’t mean they shared it on their own Google+ Profile page. Users have the option to +1 content and share or simply +1 it.
How It’s Going To Look: When a user clicks the Google+ button, the content on the page shows up in their +1’s section on their Google+.