• Posted on March 9, 2013

Social Media Icon Choices

A great way to get more visitors to your site or share your content is by adding Social Media buttons to your site. These buttons let visitors share the post or content among their friends and followers so they can also read the content if they are interested in it. But with everything you do there is a right and wrong way to go about it, and lot of sites do it the wrong way.

A few examples of Social Media buttons are Facebook “Like”, Twitter “Tweet” and “Follow”, Pinterest “Pin”, Digg, Delicious, Google+, Reddit, LinkedIn and the list keeps going to hundreds if not thousands of sites.

Sure having options is great but when posting it to your site make sure you only pick a few options that best fit your audience and what services they use. If I had a fashion site I would make sure I used Pinterest and Tumblr. Those sites are big with fashion among other things. But using those services for a technology website wouldn’t grab the majority of my audience. For a technology website, Twitter and Google+ are large, and almost everyone has those services in that target audience.

But why is limiting choices a good idea? Why not post every possible sharing option and let the visitor decide what they want to share it on? Well, in 1995 a professor at Columbia University for business did an amazing study on choice. Professor Iyengar and her research assistants setup a stand of Jam and switched it every few hours. One of the setups consisted of 6 Jams and the other had a group of 24 different flavors. In short, people were more likely to buy the jam when they were given the 6 options opposed to the 24 options.

Professor Lyengar in 2009 said that “people might find more and more choice to actually be debilitating”.

If we apply this to Social Media buttons, you will find that having a ton of options for your visitors to choose from, they are more likely to not share because they become “paralyzed” or find the options too overwhelming and would just pass it. Using just a few sharing methods they are more likely to share your post and content, and this is what we really want. The more a post is shared even if to just a few more visitors the better. I usually stick with 2-6 social media buttons. I find 6 options to also be a little much but it does vary on the site and your audience.