Social media sharing buttons. Like. Tweet. Pin. We’ve all seen them, we’ve all used them and we’ve all been annoyed by them.
What if you wanted to get more people to share your content on social media… how would you do that?
Well we asked our social media siren Inga to put it to the test and this is what she came back with from our social media labs.
First up, I want to show you why having fewer social icons on your blog can actually help you get more traffic and more shares.
Our hypothesis was that readers will be more inclined to share your content if given only a few choices to choose from. This in turn will translate into a higher number of shares among a smaller number of social platforms, which will raise the likelihood of that content being promoted or even going viral on any one network.
For example, one of the factors that goes into the ranking algorithm behind Facebook posts is the number of likes associated with that content. More shares equals more value in Facebook’s eyes, so they give a higher weight to those items in the news feed.
So if you’re looking to get more traffic from Facebook, you need to get likes and lots of them. Let’s assume you already have the Facebook “like button” installed on your blog, but nobody seems to be clicking on it.
What’s the problem?
It could be the fact that you have ten other buttons staring at your visitors, each equally vying for their attention.
This situation happens all the time. I was guilty of it for a long time, thinking that the more options I provide to my readers, the happier they’ll be. The opposite is true. Barry Schwartz explains this very well, in his book (which I highly recommend) titled The Paradox of Choice. The paradox he’s talking about is the argument that when given more choices, decisions become more difficult and might even lead us to take no action at all.
Sure, you might get ten shares on Twitter, one on Tumblr, two on StumbleUpon and one on Pinterest, but with such a diversified array of shares, you’ll never have your content get that extra boost it needs on any individual network. Those few shares on Tumblr, StumbleUpon and Pinterest (or wherever) would have been put to much better use on one or two single networks in order to build traction.
So, what is the ideal number of social sharing buttons to strive for?
That’s really up to you and your particular audience.
A general rule that I like to stick to is to never display more than five different social sharing buttons.
The only three that I would could as absolutely essential for any blog to include are the Facebook like button, Twitter tweet button, and Google +1 button. The others should be based on your particular audience.
On this blog, I chose to include a LinkedIn share button, because my ideal audience consists of entrepreneurs who are likely to be using that service.
You’ll get it wrong!
Let me remind you that you’re never going to get this formula correct on the first try. You need to test various buttons, see what works and adjust it accordingly. For instance, if I wasn’t getting a fair amount of shares from my twitter button, I’d simply remove it. There’s no need to waste space with useless features if they aren’t appropriate for your unique audience.
So, the only absolute rule is that you should be careful not to overdo it, since more does not mean better in this case.
If you found this post useful (and since you have social sharing buttons on your mind) please give it a “like” or a “tweet” and share it with the world.
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