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So do Share and Like buttons really help

     
7:48 am on May 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Having resisted looking at social sites because I dont use them personally, have now decided to rethink this.

I was about to add like and share buttons to my site (knowing they may slow it up, which is a shame) when I came across an article saying you dont really need them - people will like or share your site whether or not it has the buttons.

Any views, or better still, proof, on the subject?
3:48 pm on May 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I removed them from my sites, people know how to share and they can't give you a "Like" or a "g+" if you haven't set up your presence on those platforms.

Slowing the load time is the main reason, also handing over stats info was an influence. Many, if not all remotely loading "Share" buttons give others information about your visitors to use and deal in.
4:24 pm on May 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

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well its very simple, take a month an run a test. For 2 weeks have the buttons, for 2 weeks remove the buttons and find out if people use them on your site.

Often what you "think" people will do is completely wrong, just test it and know 100%
4:32 pm on May 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

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A presence on social sharing sites is not necessary to receive traffic from them. Social sharing widgets like AddThis give site visitors the opportunity to tumbl it, share with FB friends and tell a friend by email.

It's probably not useful for every site, but even the tell a friend by email function is can be useful and that's a share type function one can create without a widget and not have to share data with a third party.
7:02 am on May 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Yes do Share and Like buttons does really help. I guess you just need a unique/interesting content for your visitors to share.
2:00 am on June 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

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For me it's a yes! Social sharing buttons are hard to ignore (especially when they’re placed above the body of an article.
12:46 am on July 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

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The 'Face Pile' (matrix of profile photo icons) that facebook can show, when enabled shows the website visitor profile picture icons of their friends that have previously liked your site. To me this communicates a trust value that both makes them more inclined to explore the site and to click like for facebook.

Slowing the load time is the main reason
I copy their image/sprite locally and then launch an edited version of the script to load them from MY server instead.

I also set dimensions on the portion of the page they end up taking on the page to a eliminate/minimize the loading 'jello-shake' as previously invisible objects are added to the page flow. I also add image dimensions (to pass validation) and ALT= text for the blind's value.

[edited by: not2easy at 4:23 pm (utc) on Feb 25, 2015]
[edit reason] updated reference [/edit]

8:06 pm on Aug 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I agree with not2easy, people still know how to share your site if they're really interested in sharing it. The share button just makes it a bit easier on the user to do that. I would hope that no one is so lazy that they couldn't be bothered to cut & paste, but the only real way of knowing is to test it out as Kevin C. said.
1:40 am on Oct 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Yes I think so, in my personal experience when I check out my Google Analytics there are referrals from blog sites where I put social media and share buttons.
7:08 am on Feb 25, 2015 (gmt 0)

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As a user, I mostly use the buttons on an article either to tweet to Twitter or share to Facebook... and I'm often frustrated that pages which have material I'd like to share aren't set up so I can share it effectively. I assume that most users might not know what's needed to be effective.

For Twitter, this means allowing users some input into the tweeted text... but suggesting text that can be edited. I don't necessarily want to retweet exactly what the site has already tweeted.

For Facebook, I find that shares are much more effective if they have a good photo (or photos), sized properly, which will work on Facebook, and I'm given a choice of images. Also, must have a good headline and a paragraph of text that will really grab those likely to see it. Some content types will require yet more information. This means you've got to set up Open Graph metadata in the head section of your page. For basics on the metadata, see...

The Open Graph protocol
http://ogp.me/ [ogp.me]

I can't overemphasize how much opportunity I've seen lost when those basics for sharing aren't there. Don't assume that most users will share otherwise.
9:40 am on Feb 25, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@Robert, thank for the info and the link.
I shall run an experiment and so how much this slows a page down (have read that it might be significant) and go from there on one site.
1:24 pm on Feb 25, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Is there a way to add the buttons without using addthis?
10:37 pm on Feb 25, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Well the good news is that simply adding the Fb like and share buttons reduced the speed rating in Google WMT by one percentage point only.
1:00 pm on Mar 16, 2015 (gmt 0)

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denisl, 3 weeks on, can you draw any conclusions as to user engagement?
5:21 pm on Mar 20, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Over a number of sites I've had an iffy plus and NO negatives. The tech pages/info sites where the share exists is not used... I suppose those users know how to do it themselves and prefer to do it that way. On the fluff sites the buttons get worked, but at a 10% rate with a 1% return for the effort. So, it is a plus... it's just not a mega solution to drive traffic. :)

YMMV
8:59 am on June 9, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Of course it does, particularly if most of your users are accessing your website via a mobile device. Bear in mind that your social media and site accessibility issues should shift a bit towards mobile optimization.

Sure, desktop users would rather copy + paste the link to your website and post it on their social media accounts. But this action is quite cumbersome in mobile devices. I'd rather tap on the share button rather than do the tedious process of copy and paste :)

Make FB, Twitter and Google+ share buttons more visible if you want to maximize your mobile social signal reach. Quite surprised that you guys haven't brought this up.

EDIT: oh wait, this thread is old....
7:10 am on June 11, 2015 (gmt 0)

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If you don't have social media profiles, obviously users can't like your post. But if your post is really useful, users don't mind sharing it even if you don't have share button on your website.

Normally I don't like sharing with share button. I use other tools like buffer or hootsuite to schedule my post. Even if I don't use these social media tools, I prefer to share the links directly to social media sites, without clicking share button.
10:01 am on July 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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It is a good feature to involve user engagement. And sharing web pages on social media sites is good for SEO.