Using the Right Icons for the Right Actions
Being active on social media can round out your business marketing efforts. Sharing news and information related to your products or services on social media can help you reach beyond the realm of your current audience or customers. This is an opportunity to create and spread awareness of your brand to a wider variety of potential customers.
On your website, you will want to alert potential followers that you are involved in social media – publicizing which platforms and providing direct links make it easy to find your business’ social pages. Social icons serve as visual cues to suggest to your reader what they should do next.
At the same time, you don’t want to confuse users by cluttering your website layout with additional toolbars, feeds, floating bars, news tickers, follow buttons, share buttons – there’s a point where it can be too much.
The Difference Between “Follow” and “Share”
Definitely let your customers know which social media platforms you are using. You’ll want to encourage them to “follow” your brand on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or whatever platforms you are using. This can be nicely accomplished by using small icons in the header or footer of your homepage. These icons should link to your company profile page on the corresponding platform.
Also, remember to use follow icons as part of your email signature. It’s another opportunity for you to encourage followers to find you online on platforms they use regularly.
“Sharing” is a call-to-action that encourages followers to tell their friends that something you have published is worthy of being read and passed along to others. You’ll want to use “share this” icons alongside page content, such as an article, slideshow or video. Clicking on a sharing icon generates a brief snippet of text and usually an accompanying photo that is pulled from your content. It will trigger a post to that user’s social page and show up in their newsfeed where it is displayed to their friends and followers.
To be effective with social sharing, you should commit to producing website content on a regular basis. Most commonly, this is accomplished with a news section or blog. An added benefit to coming up with fresh content for your website often is that it’s one of the most effective methods of getting high rankings on search engine page results. To maximize your efforts, create content that can be re-purposed – an excerpt from a blog post can be republished as a tweet, an Instagram photo can accompany an article on your website, etc. Strive to publish content that offers value, is timely, or evokes emotion. These kinds of things have proven to be the most “shareable.”
Include a clear call-to-action with your content by providing direction to let your website visitor know what they should do next – “Follow us on Twitter.”, “Like this article on Facebook”, “Share this new product with your friends!” can help to increase follow-through and build a loyal following for your brand.