Is Social Marketing Forcing Business Websites to Disappear?
Why do you Place Social Buttons on a Website?
During a discussion on LinkedIn, a gentleman posed the question about not being able to understand the reason social media buttons are on main business websites. I thought it might be nice to cover some of the main purposes of social media strategies and what can happen from incorporating social media into your main website do’s and don’ts.
The first spot to cover is this. What is the purpose of social media share and follow buttons? The easiest answer is syndicating your web content. Allowing for options is usually a good thing, but there are times when options are not always so great. For instance, you have a web page specifically designed for capturing leads – also known as a landing page. Since this is a specific page for lead capturing, why would you want to make social media buttons available on the page?
Some say having a spiel of share buttons available on a landing page is good. Reason being the share buttons allow for your landing page to be shared with peers and others throughout your networks. While others say landing page design should include no outbound links to other locations, as this can lead to no lead; because you allowed to many options for the visitor.
Although it may seem like a great thought to allow for sharing of your landing page, truthfully; not so hot. The value from sharing a landing page can come later. For example when you page is done and you post it somewhere by sharing. Then you hope for the disbursement of your page on those social networks without the need to have the page full of social sharing buttons, which then always one to two options on the page at best. This is an exact benefit of having a strong social network doing the work for you.
By allowing fewer options on the landing page, your conversion rate for the page can increase in fold if designed properly. As for a main website, people are not being asked to leave your main site because you have placed share buttons to social networking sites on it. Your visitors are being asked to share your content with others as to spread the word about your business. This is the same principal behind the landing page almost, except they have the option to quickly navigate away from your main site.
Why Place Social Share Buttons on a Website?
Well, this one I chalk up to user discretion. Some believe social and follow buttons are great while other find those buttons to be somewhat cluttering. Some also believe that share and follow buttons drive visitors away from your site as other believe they are access for easy web promotion of your site.
Although it is at the site owners discretion to decide, I personally have been playing around with several share and follow button options on single page entities and full scale websites. At this point, my finding’s are still in a testing phase. But believe treating a main site should be more like a landing page. Less options is better.
It was also mentioned by Peep Laja that unless you have a high number of like’s, +1′s or followers, there really is not much benefit or need to display or apply social share buttons. I tend to agree with this assumption. Larger companies showing those large numbers on those buttons have something to show off while the smaller companies usually have such a small number of likes, +1,’s and followers; it almost seems as more of a detour ant to publicize those numbers than that of a benefit. This is more of a social trigger by human nature.
Social Media Marketing Tools
Keep this in mind as well when deciding on whether or not to place share buttons on your pages or web content. Now a day’s there are tons of browser plugins and social sharing options available directly from browsers. Because of these easily installed plugins for web browsers, it may be just as easy not to include sharing buttons on a main website or even a landing page. These buttons allow for easy sharing directly from the web browser plugins, but the final choice is yours. The downside of not placing those share buttons on your web content is relying on someone have those plugins installed on the web browser. Question being, what if they do not have those plugins installed?
Providing Inbound Traffic to the Site
For example, how many times a day do you find yourself on a site like, lets say LinkedIn; and then going to some article somewhere else? I bet it happens more than you realize. These social sites can be full of links to great content to read. As a matter of fact, I usually end up going directly from one of those social sites to a main business site because of some title of interest or a catchy image on the social site. Yes, this social engagement is a great way to better understand your customer base, but is also meant to provide lead options too.
Plus, there is one other thing about going to a main site. You can not capture a lead on all these other sites so easily. The first reason, the visitor can be led a stray elsewhere very quickly on these social networking sites. Secondly, not all social sites have a way to capture a lead from within the site itself. You want to lead the visitors to your main website to capture the lead with no distractions or possibilities of going anywhere else. This would be another reason I lean to less options is better.
Truth of the matter is this thought. If you do not provide quality content and engage user properly on those social networking websites, your efforts can go unnoticed; resulting in much wasted time. If you are not creating this engagement and quality content that keeps the visitors coming back. The likely hood of those visitors going to a main website are even less likely to occur. Thus providing little or not inbound traffic.
If you have decided to place those great share buttons on a website, ask this first. Is the content you are willing to share worth being shared? Meaning is it quality. Does it teach or inform someone something of signification? Does it contribute to something worthwhile? These are some of the main points I feel are of relevance to the topic at hand. So if you can answer these questions as yes, then adding share functionality to your pages is not such a bad ideal. Otherwise consider other aspects and possibilities and chose at your discretion.
“Remember – sharing is great”.
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