Social media icons are critical for any website, but most website’s don’t have a strategic plan as how they should be integrated with the user experience. The most important icons are those which ask people to share content from your website on social websites. A user doesn’t have to leave your website to do this.
Of more questionable value are the icons that encourge people to leave your website and go to your brand or personal page on a social media site. The below video and lightly edited transcript centers on these questions.
Eric: This is Eric Van Buskirk with Tweet Philadelphia.
Trish: And I’m Trish Montayne. Today we’re going to be talking about Social Media Icons.
So Eric, what do you think about using a lot of social media icons on organizational & individual websites?
Eric: I think what a lot of people are doing is they’re driving a lot of traffic from their websites to their presence if they’re, for example, brands or organizations, they’re driving it [traffic] to their presence on Facebook with brand pages or on Google plus, which also has brand pages. Twitter doesn’t really differentiate, but people create accounts which are for an organization or a brand, [it] could be in particular for customer service or in particular for creating awareness, let’s say. And this is the main purpose. I think that in a lot of cases, it’s being done too much. I don’t think it really serves a purpose in some cases.
Trish: Okay. Well, this would bring up the question of if you want to raise awareness about your website, why would you want to drive people away from your site to your profile page or one of the brand pages you have for your organization?
Eric: Yeah exactly. So, a lot of it has to do with how much effort you put into what’s on your website. So look, if you’ve gone out and you’ve spent a lot of money for developing a website, it would only make sense to want to keep people there. Why would you want to have them leave and go look at your conversations – on Twitter, or on Facebook – when, in fact you’ve spent all this money on doing things on your site?
When people are on your website, they’re not faced with a lot of other alternatives such as of course, advertisements, and leaving the interaction they’re having with you and your profile or brand page on that social network. And part of the point of interacting on a social network is there’s the concept of “cross-pollination”. Meaning that you can bring people to your account because people are all interacting in this big sphere on this platform. But if you don’t need that cross-pollination because you’re already getting people on your website, then you want them to explore your website; not cross-pollinate with others.
Trish: Other websites and topics and things like that?
Eric: Yeah, exactly. You don’t want that. I mean they’ve already come to your site. And you’ve already got some very engaging material there. It would really make a lot more sense to not have too many icons that are going out. People want to do that for Google+ of course because it’s necessary to do things for showing up in search results as a publisher or an author.
If you actually have pages where you’re an author on a website, you are going to need to use these icons because that’s how Google is willing to track something as a link to a profile that’s an author. And then when the results come up, of course if you looked into this [to Trish] Trish, I think you know a little bit about this. But for those of you out there, if you’ve looked into this then you’ll know they’ll actually show who something was written by – give your name, and your photo. It’s a great thing to have that come up in the search results because people are far more likely to click on something with a photo. And it says “by so-and-so” which looks more authoritative.
There’s other ways of doing it too. But for many people, that’s the way they implement this so that they show up in the Google algorithm.
About Eric Van Buskirk: In 1999 he formed a partnership between his employer and Hasbro to create an online community which had the most visitors on the Internet for three months. He’s overseen SEO and Social Media marketing projects for small to large business, during the Web 1.0 and the recent explosion of the social, Web 2.0. Contact him today for affordable services that leverage optimized social media content.