Allowing website visitors to share your IT blogs, excerpts, or other information on your MSP website or emails looks like it would be a pretty good idea. It seems logical that having an easy way to share your IT support content through a social sharing button can help with your social media strategy. We do it for our custom marketing blog design (see the bottom of this post) and some of our clients have asked about adding these buttons, too. But does it have a useful effect?
More Clutter or More Traction?
There are many apps that allow readers to share your IT content. We use Hootsuite to manage a lot of our social media interactions at MailerMailer. There are dozens of other choices. With so many people who are active on social media using these tools, does adding the social sharing button on your website increase the likelihood of someone sharing your content? Or does it just add clutter to your site?
Before you spend a lot of money reworking your design to include social sharing buttons, you need to know if they result in more traction. Rather than basing your decision on instinct, it is better to look at research to shed light on this website design question.
The Research Says...
LukeW looked at information reported on 18 million page views and found that, on average, only 0.25% of visitors shared a page they saw. Another test by Gov.UK found the number to be even lower, 0.20%.
What's more interesting is that there appears to be no correlation between people who share your articles and those who actually read them. Social sharing buttons on emails aren't too effective either and one test even found that removing these buttons on e-commerce sites resulted in increased sales.
Does this mean that the content people come across isn't worthy of sharing? Or are they using other tools for sharing? Exisweb ran a test last year to compare how many people used social sharing buttons on a web page, then looked at whether there was a change if the share count was displayed.
They reported that of all of times a page was shared, only 17-36% were shared using the button on the page itself. When they compared the results of adding the number of shares to the button, they discovered that sites with a lot of shares got visitors to stay on the page a little bit longer.
More interestingly, when visitors saw pages with zero or very few shares, they spent less time reading than those who didn't see a share count at all. That's pretty valuable information and a bit worrisome at the same time, especially if your MSP website does not get a lot of traffic.
The Bottom Line
Exisweb drew the following conclusion from their tests: if a page is shared, it’s not due to share buttons. It is shared because the content is useful and interesting.
This reinforces Presstacular's overarching theme and the insights you have probably read elsewhere: adding good IT articles to your marketing efforts makes all the difference.
Not yet using Presstacular? Contact us about our IT article library.
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