Importance of Social Media icons and their position on websites

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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;

  1. Social feeds (i.e. Twitter feed, Blog RSS, Facebook Like Box)
  2. A prominent link to their blog and RSS feed
  3. Links to each social profile
  4. Share buttons so that visitors can easily share the webpages.

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.

content crossroads Google Search

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:

1. Accenture:
The icons are placed at the footer but no scroll is required to view the footer.

Accenture

2. IBM:
In IBM they haven’t placed the Social media buttons on the home page.

IBM

3. Wipro:
Near the banner images.

Wipro

4. Oreo:
Top right corner of the page.

Oreo

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.

My points:

  • Place the social profile icons at the top of page where the visitors can view on the first glance itself, at the top right corner, above the fold.
  • Include them in every landing page.
  • A/B testing the position of icons will give much better idea about their ideal placement.

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10 thoughts on “Importance of Social Media icons and their position on websites

  1. Buttons and icons must be located in it’s perfect position. It should be place where the eyes of the reader usually focus. And I think if it is in the header,side or bottom it must be positioned in fixed so that the reader will no longer scroll up/down to click the button there. Hassle free. Do I have a point?

  2. The social media button should be in the header section because if the page of the website is big then it can led to scroll down normally people doesn’t feel like to scroll down to find it in the footer. if its in header its easily focus as the page shoots on the screen .

  3. Very good points Anju! A/B split test has to be done in the case of blogs,as it’s totally up to the convenience of the reader,some prefers it at the top and some of them will read the entire stuff and then share it,so for them the bottom area is better.I personally prefer the floating share buttons!

  4. Very good points Anju. However if you look at most ecommerce sites, they prefer having these social icons in the footer. This is because they need to accomodate features such as the search box, the shopping basket, free shipping, etc in the header to highlight it to user.

    So the social icons tend to get pushed down in the footer. Often when you are crammed for space, integrating the social icons on the top can thus become somewhat of a problem.

  5. Great insights ! Thnx Anju Mohan.

    A like/+1/follow buttons in home pages which connects corresponding company social media brand pages is also effective, since the ‘action’ (like,plusone or following a page) is done with in a single click.

  6. I agree social media buttons (like, +1…) could be placed in the header to be well visible allowing a quick page like. For sharing buttons it is good to have them at the top and bottom as described in this article.

    I like the idea of A/B test. Could you describe in more details how you actually did it. I mean how to set up a goal in Google Analytics for that. I assume it should be button click. Do you use link on_click event or any other ideas?

  7. Pingback: Top 8 Elements of a High-Performing Business Blog (Infographic) | Digital Marketing Philippines

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