7 Expert Strategies for Using Share Buttons

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Do you ever get frustrated trying to locate social media share buttons in an article or on a web page that you enjoy?  I know I do.  Then, of course, I quickly give up the search and move on with my day.  Honestly, it’s too bad.  That business or publisher lost out on some free exposure all because there were no readily visible icons on their content.

Believe it or not, though, there is some debate amongst experts as to whether sites should even bother with share buttons.  Some argue that readers rarely use them on desktop and even less frequently on mobile.  It all depends on what type of product or content you produce and whether or not you know how to use share buttons properly.

As a blogger, I can’t imagine marketing my posts without them.  However, we all should learn to utilize sharing icons effectively.  But what are the best practices?  After much research, I discovered 7 expert strategies for using share buttons.

  1. According to Coschedule, the upper left-hand corner of your page is the optimum location for placement.  This is because people scan pages in a pattern starting in the upper left area.  Buttons should appear ‘above the fold’ when someone clicks on your page or post.  Let me explain that; they should be visible immediately without a reader scrolling down first.

  2. As reported in research conducted by Nielsen Norman Group, low numbers offer users negative social proof.  Meaning nominal sharing counts may suggest to readers your content is poor quality or weak.  Some social sharing tools can hide the number of times a post has been shared until a minimum number is reached.  I set my site so the counts aren’t displayed until my posts have been shared at least ten times.

  3. Don’t clutter the screen with too many buttons and overwhelm your viewers.  Many big-name blogs and online magazine like Huffington Post, Business Insider, and Social Media Examiner, for example, offer four to six buttons at most.  And I’m guessing they’ve done their research on this topic!

  4. Share This recommends you display buttons in order of importance to your target audience.  What social channels do your customers prefer?  Do they like Twitter more than LinkedIn?  If so, put them in that order.  And it doesn’t matter if you have an active presence on a particular platform or not.  If your clients like it, give them the opportunity to share your content where they want to!

  5. Use standard buttons instead of custom buttons that match the colors and fonts of your website’s theme.  This can be difficult for some entrepreneurs to accept because they put a great deal of money and time into branding their business.  Then, naturally, they want everything on their site to match.  But if buttons blend in with page design, they will become invisible, and readers won’t see or click them.  As marketing expert Jeff Bullas states, “Use standard buttons that work.”

  6. Consider adding call-to-action text to your icons.  Some social sharing tools allow you to add words to your buttons.  Wordstream suggests you merely ask for what you want.  Saying, “Pin This” or “Share on Twitter” might be a great way of increasing social metrics.  You can try this method and test which strategy works best for your site.

  7. Using a floating share bar makes it easy for readers to click on their favorite icon at any time.  Floating buttons scroll with you down the page while you read.  The folks at Sprout Social believe this is why floating bars have become so popular.  I use them on the left-hand side on desktop and at the bottom of the page on mobile devices.

Related Reading: How to Use Hashtracking & Other Hashtag Lookup Tools

There is an abundance of choices for entrepreneurs regarding the use and placement of social share buttons on their web pages and blog posts.  Hopefully, you will implement a few of the expert tips offered here and grow your business as a result.  What do you think?  Should your share buttons stand out or blend in with your design?  Feel free to comment below.

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7 Expert Strategies for Using Share Buttons will help you learn share button design for your business. Crush content marketing with these social media tips!

12 COMMENTS

  1. What a refreshing article on HOW to properly use the social share buttons on a site. You mentioned several things I didn’t know like putting the buttons in order of your preference and most used platform. That tip alone is pure gold!

    • Hey there, Carla. Thank you so much for the lovely compliment. I truly hope you are able to implement a few of the strategies.

  2. Great post and wonderful tips. I get so frustrated reading blogs where I have to search for the share buttons and some don’t even have them. I wonder why they decided to write a blog at all. Some are so small, they’re easy to miss. The same goes with icons for social profiles. If you like a blogger’s work, you may want to follow them on social media platforms. But if you can’t find them, you either have to search or give up. The other thing is when I click to tweet and the tweet text says via @shareaholic instead of the person’s handle. Or no handle at all. Pheew! I could rant on and on about it. LOL

    • Hi, Rebecca. That is part of the reason I wrote this post. I hope bloggers and business owners take to heart the tips offered by these experts. It will help their marketing immediately. Thank you for your feedback. I feel your frustration.

  3. Happy to see that I am on the right track with my share buttons! But, of course, not perfect. I am going to double check the number of options I provide and consider changing them from my branding colors. Thanks!

    • Hey, Rachael. Nobody is perfect. Business doesn’t work that way. All we can do is try to improve a little every day. Try changing your buttons to ones that stand out more. If the change doesn’t improve your share counts after a month or two, you can always go back to the prettier, stylized buttons. Thanks for your feedback and come back soon.

  4. Always learn so much when I stop by here! Thanks so much. I have some share buttons that do great, and others just sit there… lol.. Google + being one of them. i’m not active on it so that’s probably one of the reasons..???

    • Hi, Dr. Margaret. Google+ is a dying platform I hear. This could be why you’re not getting any shares on it. I don’t include G+ for that reason. Focus on the other platforms that give your site engagement and shares.

    • Hey, Rena. It is tough to decide how aggressive to be with share buttons, email opt-ins, and advertisements. I suggest testing the number you use. If readers are turned off, you’ll know pretty quickly, right?

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