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Running a website correctly is all about putting yourself, products or services out there into the online community and attracting a target audience to come check you out, just as if you ran a store in real life. From a marketing point of view social media is priceless; advertising products and services on social platforms offers unique promotional advantages and market research opportunities. There is no question that adding social media share buttons will boost links considerably which leads to increased page hits. Adding share buttons is simple and effective when done in proportion but nobody likes to look at an overcrowded site where it is hard to focus on the topic at hand.
How to add share buttons
If you have a WordPress site you can use WordPress sharing plugins (eg shareaholic). If not, you can use addthis.com which will show you how to add the code to your website and even check statistics when you login. You can also customise the layout so that the buttons appear small or large on your site. Only add the essentials such as Facebook, Twitter and perhaps LinkedIn if you are trying to build a professional network. If you install buttons to apps that you rarely use and have no interest in then it will appear as cheap marketing and unnecessary cluttering of the site.
Positioning the buttons
It is a general assumption within all advertising, online or not, that the bigger the sign, logo, billboard, etc. the better but this is untrue of social media buttons. These are different to imposing items such as newsletter signups and links to other sites; instead you are imploring the user to seek them out by themselves. By placing a button discretely to the side of the content you are inviting them to share what they have just read instead of asking them directly. This gives them the feeling of choice yet acts as a purposeful marketing tool for you.
It is no secret how influential social media has been on our society over the past decade. Everyone has, or knows someone with, a profile on Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, Google+, etc. Communication is no longer done face-to-face as the majority of discussions take place through online applications. The ease in which we can access each other’s lives is frightening; a simple google of a name almost always results in a profile from some form of social medium in which you can find out personal details about that person. As ethically irresponsible as this might be it does not change the fact that it has happened and is here to stay. We can only attempt to take the positives from this now and use it to our benefit.
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