When building new websites for people, they typically want social media icons included — and we agree completely! With the vast hours that people spend on various social sites, having a presence for your business is crucial. However, there are two very different sides to social media that need to be included on your site, and it can be easy to overlook the distinction.
“Come connect on OUR pages”
The first is a list of social sites where you or your company is active. In our case, you’ll find those links down in the footer of our site. We’re quite active on Facebook, Twitter and Google+, and would love to connect with you there. Having an active social presence reflects well on your company, and can be a great place to answer questions from your potential customers and show off your skills and knowledge.
“Go share our content on YOUR pages”
The other side of social is giving users a place to share your content on their pages. You’ll find these icons on many sites; in our case, it’s below individual posts (like this recent one) and gives users an opportunity to share that post with their friends on Facebook, Twitter or other social networks.
Perhaps more importantly, it reminds users to remember to share items. I personally don’t use those icons on other sites very often, but when I see them I’ll occasionally think “Ooh, this would be a great post to tweet” and then head over and manually share it on Twitter.
Also keep in mind that users might share your content without you even being aware of it. We have one client that started getting quite a bit of traffic from Pinterest, so we adding some “Pin it” icons to their content to help facilitate that. We didn’t create a full Pinterest account for that client, as they don’t have time to properly manage it, but by encouraging their users to Pin content they’ve received nearly 1,500 visitors as a result of those Pins!
Both sides are important
Both sides of social media are very important, and you should carefully consider how you wish to promote each social site. If you’re a WordPress user and you’re curious about how we’ve generated those icons, we use the “Simple Social Icons” plugin to show our icons in the footer, and the popular “Jetpack” plugin to offer the various “Share this” icons on each post. If there is a different plugin that you prefer, leave a comment below and let us know about it.