[tweet_quote]Social share buttons are an important part of a blog and content marketing efforts.[/tweet_quote] They allow people who like your blog posts, pictures, or videos to share them on their social channels. This benefits the site by spreading the work of your great content with the goal of attracting new readers and potential customers.
Web experts have been talking about the topic of share buttons for months and many have been discussing the psychology behind decision making and presenting too many choices. There are a lot of sites that will plaster as many options as possible with the theory that users will find the option they want. Research has shown that attention spans regarding content is limited for users thus most marketers advise limiting the number of share buttons. Some suggest you should use only three share buttons on your site. How do you decide what to do?
What are others doing?
In looking at several blog sites there is a variety in how many share buttons there are. They also differ in which social services they feature. Of the 20 blogs I reviewed, all used sharing buttons to Facebook and Twitter and Google+ and LinkedIn share buttons were used in about 90% of the blogs with just a few not using one or the other. In addition, Pinterest share buttons were used on most of the sites. Social bookmarking services, such as Delicious, Reddit, or Stumbleupon, were used on less than 10% of the sites and out of all these sites, the fewest number of share buttons was three and the most was eight.
Where are your customers?
One size does not fit all. Your customers are not the same as your neighbors. What works for some businesses most likely won’t be optimal for your business. Based upon your business, you will need to find the best services that match where your clients are active. If you are a music-oriented business, you may want to use Last.fm or MySpace share buttons. If you are primarily a business-to-business company, you may want to stick with LinkedIn as a primary share button if that is where your audience is active. A photography studio may want to use Pinterest or Instagram for a mobile effort.
You almost cannot go wrong sticking with the three major social networks – Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. These carry with them the largest audiences and usually the most recognized names. Google+ will continue to become more important as a social network. LinkedIn would be the next likely option to use. However, you don’t have to stick to these four if they don’t work for you. Don’t be afraid to try a few other services.
What do you currently use as share buttons for your blog? What has been successful for you? Leave a comment or contact us online to continue the conversation.