Understanding Social Media Sharing vs Following

avoid_most_common_social_media_mistakesLast week I was speaking with a new client about what she wanted on her website when she asked me:

“Do I have to have all those social media buttons on my site? I know everyone is doing it, but really, how will those buttons benefit my business?”

That really made me think. Why are we all putting those buttons on our sites?  Are we just trying to look cool or are they really serving our business?

So I decided to do some research and here is what I learned: There are 2 types of social media buttons you can place on your website. One is a “Share” button and the other is a “Follow” button. 

While they look very similar they function very differently.

A Share Button pushes your website content out to all the social media friends of the website visitor doing the sharing. While a follow button enable the website visitor to connect with you long after they have left your website.

So which should you have on your website? Here’s my advice:

1. Have social media SHARE buttons on your site. 

I’m a fan of WordPress’ plugins Trackable Social Share Icons and Social Sharing Toolkit, both of which I use on my site.

As a business owner in today’s world it’s our responsibility to make it “easy as pie” to for readers to not only engage with us, but also for our visitors to share us with their friends.

Their friends, aka – our new potential clients.

Virtual ‘word of mouth’ has more impact today than it ever has before. This is why having a share button on your site is essential.

Sharing is a way for someone to share your content with their entire social network!

So encourage sharing!

2. Consider having social media FOLLOW buttons on your site. 

Social following on the other hand is quite different.

When following you are providing the person with a way to say in touch with you even after they have left your website. 

HOWEVER, if you have social media follow buttons, be sure to post updates with relevant content at least once a week on that site. 

Consistency is a key marketing factor of success. Studies show that to get the maximum engagement with visitors you need to post one to four times per week.

Leading a customer to a dead end interaction is a waste of both your visitor’s time and yours – not to mention a lost lead.

If you don’t feel you’re ready to take that step, then simply leave the social media follow button off your site and stick with the share buttons instead.

I want to hear from you

  • Are you struggling with a particular aspect of social media?
    Share your thoughts and questions with me.
  • What are your tips for managing a successful social media profile?
    Share your comments!


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