Many would argue against adding social share buttons to your website, but when used appropriately, can they be effective? Well, it depends. Let’s take look at why you would use them, and how.
Why use social share buttons?
- If you want to show your website’s visitors that you’ve got a social media presence, this is one way to do it. Those interested in your social profiles will probably look you up on the social network itself, but this is a good way to give your user access to all your sites.
- Receiving lots of social shares can boost your presence on social media.
- It can increase your social media base.
- If you’ve got a lot of whitespace on your website and want to fill them with features, this is one way to do so.
Why shouldn’t you use them?
- Your webpage will have a slower loading speed. With each social share button comes additional script calls. This can add up easily, increasing your website’s download time and decreasing its performance.
- They may clash with your website’s theme. You probably didn’t plan on using Facebook blue on your website’s colour palette, let alone the colours all other social networks use.
- Having share buttons on your website may distract users from the products or services you’re offering. What you want is to convert your visitors into customers – not send them away to less valuable alternatives.
- It’s easier for your audience to share your content via the social network itself, not your website. Asking your audience to verify their login to share your content only causes friction.
How to do it right
- Ensure your content has been optimised for sharing, and that it displays consistently across social networks.
- Your use of share buttons should be appropriate for the content. For example, there’s no point prompting your user to ‘pin’ a highly textual article to Pinterest.
- Encourage your users to follow you on social media, rather than just share your content. For instance, give your user the option to follow you after they’ve filled out a subscription form.
- Avoid using stocky widgets that clash with your website’s overall design. Avoid third-party widgets by creating your own design for social share buttons. This reduces distraction and the weight of the webpage.
Whether you should use social share buttons depends on how compelling your content is. By combining the right type of content with the right social networks, social share buttons can be a great means of engaging your user base and converting new audiences.