Are Buttons Bad?

Good Morning, Social Rabbit here with your guide to the world of social media.

On the Social Rabbit Facebook page LIKERs are getting very vocal – I LOVE it!  This is a question asked by Anita last week:  There is a school of thought out there that websites are losing valuable traffic by linking to social media sites on their homepage; and that sm linking should be done when visitors have become customers. Thoughts? I thought that it was too big a question to be answered on a comment, hence this blog…

We often see even the simplest websites with social media buttons on them, like these above, or it might be a Facebook page LIKE box.  The potential different options that you might see on a website are,

  • A static button (as above) where if it is clicked on the clickee goes through to the social network
  • A LIKE box, comment box, usually for Facebook where people can interact but don’t leave the site, however what they do is shared on the social network
  • LIKE buttons, share buttons, recommend buttons, tweet buttons etc. where people share the content but don’t leave the site

Should websites have share buttons on them?  In some ways it really depends on what you are doing with your website and if there is anything worth sharing – it sounds mean I know, but a static website (where content is not updated) is not particularly exciting to share, vs a blog type site where new content is posted regularly.

Are ALL buttons bad?

Research carried out by Chompon, found that the Facebook share and LIKE buttons on a website generated revenue for that product, as did a Tweet.  Therefore in this case, obviously the shares did not result in the website losing traffic, but instead resulted in a sale.

A study into news websites again showed that sharing buttons actually drove traffic:  “Social media, however, and Facebook in particular, are emerging as a powerful news referring source. At five of the top sites, Facebook is the second or third most important driver of traffic. Twitter, on the other hand, barely registers as a referring source. In the same vein, when users leave a site, “share” tools that appear alongside most news stories rank among the most clicked-on links.”

What about shares from Enewsletters?

Research carried out into share buttons used in B2B enewsletters found that  a social share (eg a tweet) increased traffic to the website MASSIVELY, as below,

o Visits from Twitter increased 1,680%
o Visits from LinkedIn increased 2,070%
o Visits from Facebook increased 1,351%

To me this says “I’m running out to add share buttons to my enewsletter!”  Each site was driving over 1000% growth vs. previously, I don’t know if you have looked at the traffic you get from these sites to yours, but this says do it!

This is backed up by research from Get Response who found that enewsletters sent with sharing buttons increased click throughs to the website by over 30% vs. those enewsletters with no sharing buttons.

The Results?

From what I have found online so far, it looks like allowing people to share your content will result in traffic back to your site, rather than keeping people on a Facebook page etc..  However, these are quite general results, and I think that a Facebook page would be far more appealing for me to visit and interact on regularly than a static website where nothing changes.  But on the other hand a blog site I would visit regularly because the content does change and it has all the details that I want to read about.

Before you go button crazy on your website think about why you are adding a button and what you want people to do.  For example adding a Facebook LIKE box to your site means that they like the page without leaving your site, whereas just the Facebook icon means that they leave.  Also be critical is your Twitter stream/Facebook page etc. more interesting in terms of new content than your website?  Be honest.  If you didn’t own or work for your company would you regularly visit your site, or would you go to the Facebook page because you are on there anyway and it is much easier?

The answer

To answer Anita’s question, I don’t think that sharing buttons are a bad idea on your website as long as you have thought about why you want them before adding them.  Getting your content out there and seen by more people can only be of benefit to the business, leading to increased brand awareness which leads to potential sales.

What do you think?

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