Janet Aronica

Decisions, decisions, decisions. It’s tough enough to come up with blog topics to fill your editorial calendar, and then also select a design for your blog. Now, with hundreds of social media sites to choose from, how do you decide which social networks to include in your social media buttons set?

Surely you want to optimize your blog for sharing and cater to all readers by offering their favorite social networks in your social media buttons. But if you try to be everything to everybody, you could clutter your site with too many choices.

How to Select the Right Social Networks

There are two ways you can be sure to select the social networks that matter most to your site. First, you can check out where your readers are already sharing your content the most with Shareaholic’s website profiles.

This breakdown for the NY Times shows that Facebook is the most popular site to share to.

most used social media buttons

Next, in your Google Analytics, check out which sites send you the most referral traffic and generate pageviews. Click on the Traffic Sources drop down menu to see a list of your referral sites.

Takeaway? Nevermind the endless infographics and reports that tell you what the most popular social networks. You know your readers. Include the buttons that are right for them.

The Social Network Breakdown


Facebook - With more than 800 million users, Facebook is by far the most widely-used social network. The Facebook “like” button shows your readers who else from their network recommended the article and enables them to post it to their Facebook profile. The Facebook “send” button helps readers send the article directly to a Facebook friend, several friends, or a Facebook group. If you’re going to choose either one, the Facebook “like” button is probably the one to get.

tweet buttonTwitter - Twitter is another highly popular site, processing more than 230 million Tweets a day! This button is a must-have, as the nature of how users get value out of Twitter lends itself to content sharing. Including this button on your blog, in combination with participating in the conversation yourself, will surely drive traffic to your posts.

LinkedIn Share ButtonLinkedIn - Professional social network LinkedIn has more than 100 million users. It features a Facebook-like newsfeed on the main page that shows the content users share. The most-shared content is curated on LinkedIn Today. If you run a B2B blog, the LinkedIn button is one you want to be sure to include.

google plus buttonGoogle+ - Google+ is a new kid on the block, but now that Google integrates Google+ shares into search results, it’s a must-have component of your social media button set.

Social Bookmarking - There are literally hundreds of sites that aggregate links for your potential readers to discover. Reddit, Stumbleupon, Digg and Delicious are among the most popular, with Reddit showing impressive growth and Stumbleupon sending more than 700 million pageviews to other sites in December 2011. Again, dig into your own analytics to find out the best site for your readers. That said, also pay attention to the mainstream trends of reading and sharing.

Pinterest – This photo story-boarding social network is yet another new kid on the block.

pinterest

You may notice that you’re already getting traffic from Pinterest, especially if you run a photo-heavy lifestyle blog. Pinterest users collect photos (by “pinning” them) into online collages (called “boards.”) It is particularly popular among readers who consume lifestyle content. Think weddings, recipes, interior design, fashion, makeup etc. The Pinterest button is coming soon to Shareaholic’s button set, but in the meantime your readers can share photos from your site with our Pinterest Chrome plugin.

Think of your social media buttons as calls-to-action – if you offer too many choices, you may confuse your readers and they may not choose anything at all. Choose your buttons wisely. Like any feature on your blog, pay attention to trends, but include the ones that are the best fit for your audience.

How did you choose the buttons to put on your blog? Let us know in the comments!

Want social media buttons so your readers can share your content? Get Shareaholic for your blog!

  • Crowe_Shea

    Great article!

    I’m probably one who offers too many choices. I started with buttons for services I use regularly (and I use a lot!), then added those that refer readers to me. Periodically I check my blog for buttons that aren’t showing up and remove those (currently it’s Google Reader).

    That still leaves 13 choices, plus the print option.

    • http://janetaronica.com/ JanetAronica

      @Crowe_Shea I’m glad you found this useful! Yes, include the ones you love but keep your audience in mind too :) Thanks for reading!

  • SEOexpertSEO

    Thanks for mentioning the article that I wrote about social bookmarks! Jon – Blue Search Marketing

    • http://janetaronica.com/ JanetAronica

      @SEOexpertSEO It’s a fantastic list!

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  • http://twitter.com/Sweetincome1 William Mathieson

    Thanks for the article! Great work :-) Ill check by again soon.

    William

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