I’m about to share with you a tip that I’m just not seeing other digital strategist share. And I’m not quite sure why this is a hidden tip for the information I’m about to share is based on information that is published on the major social media platforms.
I’m going to help you answer the question:
Which social share buttons should I use? ShareThis, AddThis or the native share button provided by the social media platforms?
Let me caveat this with saying that while I’m known for providing SEO strategies and consulting, my background is as an in-house marketer, and a graduate of two interdisciplinary programs (Hampshire College and Georgetown’s CCT program) so I just can’t think in silos.
Besides, if brand signals are important for Google ranking, then what you’re doing on social media and how you’re feeding those platforms more data about you and your brand has got to increase overall brand signals.
In fact, the 2014 SearchMetrics Search Ranking report correlated social shares with high search engine rankings:
I also figure that if you’re currently maintaining social media profiles for your brand, you probably want to do whatever you can to increase your organic exposure in those news feeds, right?
Ok. So here’s the tip:
Each social media platform has a “like” and a “follow” button that they provide to web developers.
You should use them.
Each platform clearly tells you that by using them, visitors from your website who then visit that social media platform are more likely to see your brand posts.
Don’t believe me?
Ok here’s the language explaining how the use of those buttons (the ones provided by the social media platform) personalize your website visitor’s news feeds.
What are tailored suggestions?
Tailored suggestions are recommendations of accounts to follow that are most relevant to you.
How do you find tailored suggestions for me?
We determine the people you might enjoy following based on your recent visits to websites in the Twitter ecosystem (sites that have integrated Twitter buttons or widgets). Specifically, our feature works by suggesting people who are frequently followed by other Twitter users that visit the same websites.
How do you know which sites people have visited?
Buttons and widgets from various companies, including Twitter, are widely available on the web, and millions of people interact with them every day. When you visit pages with Twitter buttons or widgets, we receive information about the page visit so we can provide the content and functionality of our buttons or widgets. Like many web services, we use cookie technology to improve Twitter. A unique cookie, combined with the page visit information we receive, enables us to make tailored suggestions.
When you use Pinterest, we want to provide you with the most interesting (dare we say, “Pinteresting”?) content. Sometimes, we use information from other sites or apps to do that. This page describes how we use two types of information: 1) information we collect from the Pin It button and other Pinterest site features…If you go to a site that has the Pin It button or a Pinterest widget, Pinterest can use info about that visit to customize your experience back on Pinterest. For example, if you recently visited a bunch of websites that sell camping gear, we might show you more Pins related to the outdoors, show you other stuff that people have saved from those websites or show you Promoted Pins for hiking gear.
Social plugins are simple tools that can be “dropped” into any website to provide people with personalized and social experiences.
In some cases, when you create a connection (like) to a real-world entity, such as a book, movie or athlete, your likes and recommendations become a part of your profile in the same way as the connections you make with Pages on Facebook. They will appear in your “Likes and Interests” section of your profile, and you may receive updates from that connection in News Feed.
In some cases, your likes and recommendations become a part of your profile in the “Info” tab in the same way as the connections you make with Pages on Facebook. This occurs when you like or recommend a real-world entity, such as a book, movie or athlete, where it makes more sense to form a lasting relationship.
While LinkedIn does not articulate how it personalizes with its buttons, it does have this tidbit in its Help files about what it does with the social plugin data:
What does LinkedIn do with Social Plugin Data?
LinkedIn depersonalizes all passive impression data from social plugins with 7 days. Please note that passive impression data refers to when a member does not interact with a social plugin, but merely visits a webpage with a LinkedIn social plugin button on it. When a member does interact with a social plugin (e.g., share a news story on LinkedIn), this “active impression data” is retained in order to deliver the associated products and features on LinkedIn.
What else can you get by using the proprietary buttons?
You can see account attribution to each tweet/share. For example, when a blog post is Buffered it can be set to include a “via @username” in the body of the tweet. If you use ShareThis you get @sharethis in those tweets. That’s great for growing ShareThis’ follower count, but not great for growing yours.
The native follow buttons also allow a user to “subscribe” to your social channel without leaving your website. You can see that type of functionality by visiting Mashable and signing up for their social sites.
Do I need to hard code each social media share button?
No, you just need to use a smart social media share/follow services like these:
So why again are you still using ShareThis vs the buttons provided by the platforms?