August 21, 2014

5 Essential Social Sharing Buttons for Your Site

social media buttons

Today, there’s a social network for just about every interest and demographic. People use social media for everything from landing a job to finding old friends, from promoting a business to pure entertainment.

For small businesses, social media can be a key driver for online marketing. One of the golden rules is to make it easy for people to help you spread the word about your business—and one-click social sharing buttons are as easy as it gets.

So you might think the more buttons, the merrier. If you offer enough social sharing buttons, anyone visiting your website will be able to instantly share your pages, posts and more with their friends, no matter which of the dozens of social networking platforms they use.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.

Too Many Social Sharing Buttons Can Backfire

If you’re displaying a big chunk of social sharing buttons that’s longer than some of your posts, you might come across as desperate—which can be a major turnoff for today’s online consumers.

Beyond that, offering so many choices can actually make the decision to share more complicated for visitors. You want to make things easy—and for people who use more than one social network (which is most of them), fewer is easier.

Finally, not all social media networks match your target demographics. If you run a B2B company, having people share your info on Reddit won’t do you much good.

Which Social Sharing Buttons Should You Use?

The best choices for social sharing buttons are those that will get you exposure to the widest possible audience that contains your target demographics. (An infographic from The Search Agents shows which networks are the most popular among what audiences.)

In some cases, your small business might benefit from an alternate sharing button, especially if you’re in a niche industry. But in general, the important connections to offer your visitors are:

Facebook

The number one social network on the planet with 800 million users, including 2/3 of the population of the United States. Facebook is effective for sharing any and all types of content across a vast map of digital connections.

Twitter

The second most popular site for sharing, Twitter is a must for small business because of the speed at which messages and links can travel. Catch the right audience, and tweets about your business could spread to millions in just a few hours.

Google+

An up-and-comer in the social networking world, having your content shared on Google+ gives you an advantage with the most used search engine in the world. The Google+ sharing button is especially important if your target demographics lean toward male—since more than twice as many males as females use this social network.

LinkedIn

The network for business-related activity, LinkedIn is the professional heavy hitter. It’s a must for connecting with people in your industry and particularly useful if you’re scouting for fresh talent.

Email

The original sharing button, including a quick email connection with your content ensures that all your bases are covered—even if you happen to have visitors who don’t use social media.

Pinterest

The popular image-based social network, is the best choice for small businesses with largely female target demographics. If your business relates to weddings, beauty, food, home, fashion, design, personal interests, or DIY, swap out Google+ for Pinterest in your social sharing button choices.

Social Photo via Shutterstock

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Megan Totka


Megan Totka Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for Chamber of Commerce. Chamber specializes in helping SMB's grow their business on the Web while facilitating the connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide. Megan specializes in reporting the latest business news, helpful tips and reliable resources and provides advice through her column on the Chamber blog.

27 Reactions

  1. I definitely agree. There’s no use bookmarking your site in sites with little to no traffic. You’re better off leveraging the traffic from the five main social media sites that you mentioned here. Although I doubt that LinkedIn can bring as much traffic, I still think that it is a great location to bookmark a link.

  2. People use social media for everything from landing a job to finding old friends, from promoting a business to pure entertainment. In the past, I have had people contacting me via social media for work to be done.

    • Wow, Diana – that’s a hard but important lesson learned! Thanks for sharing your experience. Best of luck to you!

  3. Megan,

    I agree with your choices. I’d like to add one: StumbleUpon. It’s still a great social platform to get your content discovered – and get shared on other social media sites.

  4. Although I definitely agree with your social media sharing button choices, businesses should not overlook the power of StumbleUpon (SU). The more technology-based companies, as well as e-commerce sites, have been proven to gain a great deal of their traffic through SU.

    As a SEO consultant, StumbleUpon comes in as my 3rd highest website traffic referral. If you watch the real-time Google Analytics reports, you will see a flood of traffic once you hit that SU button.

  5. I’ve put special emphasis on Pinterest lately and it’s really paid off. Great list and I was glad to see Pinterest included in it.

    • Hi, Megan! I agree, you do get what you pay for. Thanks for sharing the great tips. Best of luck wit your WordPress site!

  6. All of those social sites are a must on any website. Making it easier for the user to share your content is essential to get a larger audience.
    Content can go viral when lots of people share it but if you are making it hard for people to share your content then it may be tough.

  7. These things are an absolute must for any site. Believe it or not, I have seen many sites lately that don’t have any social media links and when I mentioned it to one of them, the response was that they didn’t need it!

  8. Megan: BizSugar should be included in the list of sharing buttons! :) Full disclosure: I am one of the moderators on BizSugar.

    I like to share on Pinterest when I want to keep a visual picture on a bulletin board for a special topic or interest. LinkedIn is great to share business related stuff for career minded individuals.

    Twitter and Facebook are shared the most by me. Google+ is up and coming.

  9. No to too much social sharing buttons. :)

    Personally, I feel sad if I see a lot of social sharing buttons on every post but there are only few shares in it. On the other hand, I believe that placing these buttons on your blog encourages one to write useful content so that readers will be encouraged to share it online.

    I have yet to learn more about using Linkedin for this purpose. Anyone who’s successful in using Linkedin?

  10. How about one sharing button that sends to all with one click? A company called Blue Calypso does this with its “POPSHARE” functionality.

  11. Excellent list of essential social sharing tools! We thought this was such a valuable list we shared it with our readers on the PayAnywhere Blog (http://www.payanywhere.com/blog/social-sharing-button-must-haves/). It’s so important for businesses to give their customers and potential customers all the tools they need to share content and help get the word out. Great post!

  12. Very helpful. Thanks Megan. I’ll be adding this to my list of resources for a social media seminar we’re developing at the Ricardo Beverly Hills.

  13. I wonder why twice as many males use Google+ than females, and why more females use Pinterest than males.

    When I come across a blog post with a lot of share buttons, my eyes glaze over. It’s similar to what I do when I see ads. / Too many buttons/options makes me less likely to make a decision on which one to use should I choose to share a post.

  14. Great article! I would suggest you to check it out Alink.us (http://alink.us). Is a universal online sharing tool created by me and a friend, that allows to share any webpage on any device in one click. And in the near future it will allow webmaster to have one single sharing center to take control of their sharings. Have a nice day!

  15. Hi Megan,

    This is a great article on social sharing.
    May I know what plugin you use on your website? It is really very good!
    Thanks

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