What is the best position for placement of Social Media icons on a website page? And why do some branded websites ignore these on their home page? Is it because they do not care for social outreach? Or are they so popular already that these buttons do not count in their online branding strategy?
Since arguing with my colleagues was not getting me much information, I posted a question in Quora (my trusted resource center) “What is the best practice of showing social media buttons on website?” To my surprise, I got answer from Lee Jackson, Inbound Marketing Consultant:
“In my opinion however well known the brand it’s important to showcase your Social Media profiles on your website. I recommend to my clients that they should display the following on each page of their site;
There’s a lot more you can add, such as the ‘Buffer’& ‘Pin it’ Pinterest buttons, and also features like the Twitter ‘Tweet this page’ and ‘Follow us’, but you could then argue that this will clutter up the webpages whilst taking away from the main content.
The bottom line is to determine your social goals, and then design the pages as to not look cluttered.”
Now that I have an expert’s opinion behind me, here are some tips and suggestions on how to showcase your brand’s Social Media profiles on your website.
Where do you place the buttons? – For web pages I believe the best solution is to place at the top, so that the visitor can see the icons near the top navigation, which is the most clicked/viewed/used by the visitor. Don’t place those valuable buttons at the footer. There is an interesting eyetracking study that supports an F-design for websites and the heatmaps also shows that the visitor’s eyes move to the upper right corner a little more than other parts of the webpage. So utilize that space to show your social presence and phone number.
The social media profile icons in the website helps in sending the message to the visitor that you care about the social presence of your website. Adding these icons will also help the potential customer to go to your Facebook or Twitter profile and ask questions regarding your services or appreciate you for solving their problems pretty easily. Even for B2B companies, social media content is the most popular content.
When creating a Facebook page for your brand, you will link to your website from that page. You need to do the same from your website too. This will help the users and search engines to identify the different properties you have on the internet. Whenever someone searches for your brand name Google loves to show your different social media pages in the first page. This will help in online reputation management by moving negative reviews, if any, to the second page. Also placing the Google+ button on the website and getting more +1’s has a high correlation with Google rankings.
For our brand name search “Content Crossroads”, Google shows the different social media pages we own.
For blog posts it is ideal to have the buttons on top and bottom or along the side of the post. This may vary for different sites. If you place the share buttons on the top and show the share counts, it will have an effect on the visitor and gives him an impression that “I should read this”. And after reading the long article he has to scroll back to the top of post to share it. So adding the share buttons at the bottom of the content will also help the user. To avoid such troubles, floating share buttons along the side of the post will help. A/B testing the placement of social media share buttons will be the best method to find which works for you.
Now have a look at some branded websites and how they placed their Social Media profile icons:
The icons are placed at the footer but no scroll is required to view the footer.
In IBM they haven’t placed the Social media buttons on the home page.
Near the banner images.
Top right corner of the page.
All these have value only if you are actively participating and sharing valuable content for your audience on your social networks.
So what do you think is the best option for placing the Social media buttons? Or do you think not to place them at all? Share your thoughts as comments.