One of the things I look for when visiting a website – as a professional or a private person – for the first time if there is any social media presence. Believe it or not, I still come across a lot of (new) websites without any social media share buttons.

Share buttons are not the same as follow buttons. With follow buttons you direct visitors to YOUR social media pages. With share buttons you allow visitor to share your content to THEIR social media pages.

Your website needs social media share buttons

With more than a billion people on Facebook and hundreds of millions on other popular social media networks such as Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest – not to name a lot of other, smaller networks – social media really should be a part of any business’ marketing efforts. Even if your business is not active on any social medium, you can still encourage visitors of your website to share its content on their social profiles.

Suppose you run a restaurant business and on your website you have your menu and some pictures of delicious food. People come to your site and love what they see. They would like to share your content, but wait – there is no option to share your images. Your visitors might look around the site for a bit, but cannot find how to share those images. Eventually, they will give up. They will not share your content. And they most likely will not discuss it with their friends later on. Instead, they will just leave and forget about their visit to your website.

This is certainly a lost opportunity for your business.

Now, let us say you had social media sharing options for the images and other content. This allows visitors to share your content with their friends – giving them something to discuss when they see each other again in person. And chances are they will remember and come back to your site and even visit your restaurant in person – and so will their friends.

Social media is a powerful tool to enhance online communication. Your customers are given a voice. Are you listening and ready to respond to it?

By Evelien van ‘t Hoog