A few days back, I wrote about the importance of having social sharing turned on your blogs. Not only is it essential – it’s almost a defacto minimum requirement for any blog these days.
Now I know there are blogs which do not have social sharing turned on – the blogs of Leo Babauta and Seth Godin are two huge examples. But hey, if you are Leo or Seth, you don’t need social sharing anyways 🙂
Update: Danny Brown rightly pointed out that Seth has the Twitter and Facebook buttons on his blog. Here’s how they look like on Seth’s blog:
I missed the Twitter button because it does not resemble the usual, default Twitter buttons I am used to seeing. Missing the Facebook button was selective ignorance, I guess. Lesson learned – it pays to be aware of selective ignorance.
Leo’s blog too has sharing options (Delicious and Twitter), but they are not visual as you can see here:
My point about the social sharing buttons is that they need to be visual – and they need to be standard buttons that everyone is used to seeing. Creating different variations might lead your readers from missing out on them – like I did. Also to note – both of them have comments disabled on their blog posts.
And while I am still on the topic, Seth and Leo – you really don’t need social sharing buttons. Both of you are totally awesome – and I continue to look up to you as role models – given your insights, knowledge and wisdom 🙂
If you’re blogging – and creating posts – I’m assuming you are expecting an audience. And heart-in-heart, you are probably also fantasizing about your posts going viral. While your posts can certainly go viral even without social sharing turned on, you can make the entire process easy for your readers – and have the key buttons ready for them when they need them the most
Here are 5 social sharing buttons that should definitely be present on your blog – home page, post pages and pages:
A few more that I am willing to throw into the mix – if you have the appetite and real estate are:
- Google Buzz
Oh – and I am assuming you are not going to toy around with the RSS subscription link – it needs to be around no matter what!
I’ve had my own journey with social sharing on Social Media Notebook. The first couple of days after this blog went live, the social sharing options were (inadvertently) missing 😉
I now have all of these buttons enabled (as you’ve probably seen) – and am using two plugins to do the job for me. Digg Digg writes the Twitter and Facebook like buttons before the content on all pages – and Share and Follow creates the other sharing buttons at the end of every content piece.
There was one more learning experience, thanks to a pointer from Eric Hamm – the creator of Frugal theme. WordPress excerpts strip out HTML code by default – and I had use the Advanced Excerpt plugin to get the Twitter and Facebook buttons to show up on the home page excerpts. Pretty interesting insight.
While the Facebook buttons have been around for a while, Twitter didn’t have an official button of its own. The void was being filled by third-party applications, the most notable amongst them being TweetMeme. To borrow a few words from the Twitter blog post that announced this new button:
The Tweet Button is not only simple for users, but for publishers of all sizes, too. Recreational bloggers to large media companies can quickly and easily add the Tweet Button to their sites. It only takes a few lines of code. The Tweet Button will help publishers grow traffic and increase their Twitter following.
Are you using this button on your blog posts – and pages? You absolutely should be!
Michael Johnston from The Well Run Site had an amazing semi-scientific research done in the value of Facebook buttons in May 2010. The findings of his research appeared on ProBlogger – Are Facebook Like Buttons Wrong or Right For Your Site?
Here’s the summary of what Michael observed:
- Neutral content for general audiences seems likely to deliver excellent results due to its wide appeal. Humorous content will do even better.
- Pages covering controversial subjects will probably fare very poorly.
- Items that interest a narrow demographic won’t be shared widely on Facebook. Tech items, for example, will probably do much better on Twitter.
- Your user demographics will determine whether Facebook, Twitter or some other form of social bookmarking suits their needs.
- If you run a site that sells products that are shipped in plain, unmarked boxes, your visitors are expecting a level of discretion from your site that the Like button may perceptibly diminish.
This also brings me to an interesting perspective.
Adding the social sharing buttons is no guarantee that your content will go viral. You still need to create quality content – your thoughts still need to resonate with your audience. But the social sharing buttons need to be around when your readers need them the most. Not having them greatly diminishes the possibility of your thoughts going viral.
I am going to throw open the discussion with a few questions:
- What do you think about Twitter and Facebook sharing buttons?
- Which social sharing buttons do you use? And what tools/plugins are you using to create them?
- Where are you placing your buttons? Before content – or after content? Widget sidebars – or floating in the margins?
- … and what’s working best for you – and what’s on the verge of perishing?