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Everybody loves social media.  Why not give every opportunity for every person on the entire planet every option to like your stuff on every social media platform ever, right?  Wrong.

It is understandable why instinct tells us to create a lot of social media profiles.  Some people like Facebook.  Some people like Twitter.  Some people like Pinterest.

Does your site have all of these buttons, or something similar?

facebook twitter google plus flickr pinterest  youtube

Just sign your company up on all of the wonderful social sites and you should be good, right?  Not so much.   Unless you’re actively using the social media channel of which you’re considering adding a profile link to, the excessive button count can often do more harm than good.

The same goes for social sharing buttons.  Do you install every social media widget known to man on your blog?

social media buttons

But wait!  There’s more.

more social media buttons

Does anyone really use MySpace anymore?  Do you even know what that (Reddit) alien looking button is for?  A Twitter button on there twice, eh?  Pinterest’s pin button twice too?!

Are any of these buttons even doing anything for you?

no likes

We see that there’s 0 Facebook Likes, 0 Tweets, and 0 G+ shares.

Stop the madness.

How do you decide which social media outlets to make the most of?  People that enjoy Flickr enjoy pictures.  They enjoy variety.  If a customer uses Flickr and clicks on your Flicker and there’s only 6 pics, and nothing new in a long time, it looks like there’s dust and cobwebs.  Visitors that enjoy twitter enjoy seeing tweets.  They want the constant stream of information.  Do you have tweets?

What should you do?

Reducing the number of social profile buttons and links to only those you actively use adds more emphasis to them.  The more icons you have stuffed on your page in a block than the more it makes people shy away from looking at it.  Why?  Because there’s too much to look at.  The brain says, “Overload.  Abort.  Abort.”  When was the last time you went to a website, stumbled across a really long chunk of text and said, “Man.  Those 20 paragraphs sure look enjoyable to read.  I’ll do it right now.”  Never.  However, we bet just today you were on a website and skimmed over the content.  Your eyes scanned across the pages and picked up the quick, useful pieces of information.  This is how your social media profile icon links should be.  Show visitors your best.  Give them only the ones you use, that have content, that have good pics (or Pinterest pins).  Look good at managing 2 or 3 social profiles.  Not horrible at managing 10.  Don’t be a Jack of all trades, master of none.

How to fix the problem.

Most companies can get away with looking great at managing just 2 or 3 social accounts.  The most common scenario is usually 3 of the following 4:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Pinterest

Now, how much cleaner does the few icons below look when compared to the many above?

facebook twitter google plus

Whatever social outlets you choose, share things about your industry and not just your brand.  Share information and pictures about things that educate people.  Avoid selling, selling, selling.

If you look at SEO National’s twitter you will see that we talk more about search engine optimization software, search engine news, and internet marketing in general than we pitch anything related to SEO National itself.  Same with Pinterest.  (Yes, SEO National has a Pinterest.)  This social media outlet is great for sharing information through visual methods.  If you look at any of our Pinterest boards you’ll rarely see us pitch our services. Instead, we educate.

Obviously, share your brand too.  However, use around a 1:5 ratio.  Only pitch your product or service after sharing around 5 updates that do not sell your goods.  Share industry news.  It helps improve your perceived knowledge in your field.  For your industry, help people find cool images and infographics about what your industry does.  Then, down the road, when people need a product or service in your field they will remember you because of how much they learned from you.