Everyone is doing it and it's time to get on board with social sharing, that is, social sharing directly from your website. In this Daily Golden Nugget I'm giving you a list of popular social sharing methods and how to get their buttons on your website.
To start, let me explain that you should always give your website readers the ability to share content from your website. You might not need social sharing buttons on all your pages, but you should definitely have the ability to share from your product catalog and from each blog entry.
Allowing people to share your content socially is different than having links to your social networks, which is also important. Do you have active social media pages on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Tumblr? If so, then you also need to include icons with links to those properties from every page of your website. Some web designers like to include those icons and links in the header of the site, and some include it as part of the side navigation. You should probably test your own website's usability to discover the best location, just as long as they are clearly available.
The social sharing buttons are different than the links to your social pages. The buttons allow your website visitors to share your stuff with their friends. More sharing will occur if you make the sharing process easier.
Setting up and managing social sharing buttons is tricky, and those buttons need occasional reprogramming too. You could shortcut the process by using a service that manages the sharing for you, but in short cutting your time you might also short circuit the ability for users to share.
Here are two companies that provide short cut services: AddThis.com and ShareThis.com. Both services have their good and bad qualities. I prefer the ShareThis.com to generate the social sharing buttons. Each of these companies provides customizable ability to pick which social sharing buttons you would like to install on your website. Just be aware that the social sharing might function differently than what users expect, and this is where the short circuiting comes in. (See below for additional companies that provide social button short cuts.)
The AddThis functionality is notorious for popping open a new window when you click on a social button. Depending on how you have your settings, instead of allowing a direct share to the social network, it redirects the user through the addthis.com website first. This redirect process is slower, and users unfamiliar with this approach might panic that they clicked a link for malware.
These popup windows are controllable, but it's better to have standardized functionality for social sharing buttons, which is why ShareThis is better than AddThis.
The AddThis network includes more than 340 ways to share your web pages, while Share this seems to have only about 100 ways. In other words, there are tons of ways to allow your users to share their content online.
These social button companies make setup easier and they also come with their own tracking and service plans. However, if you want better control over your social sharing, and if you want to integrate into your own Google Analytics, you will need to take control of your own button creation.
But if you are going to do it yourself, which are the important button options to give your website users?
As of today, the easy answer is the big 4 networks: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. You might also consider StumbleUpon for your blog pages and Pinterest for your product catalog pages.
The bottom line of today's Daily Golden Nugget is that you need to give users the easily ability to share your stuff. Your own customers can help you become a social company without you spending the daily time on social. Social buttons are good; just do it... and here more information so you can...
You will need a little bit of programming knowledge if plan on setting up these buttons on your own. I'm providing the links to the button setup directions for each of these important social networks:
Facebook Like Button:
Here's a list of other companies that provide grouping of social sharing buttons:
For any website:
http://www.sharethis.com (mentioned above)
http://www.addthis.com/ (also mentioned above)
These are for Wordpress: