In this guest column, principal consultant at Engage ORM, Gerry McCusker (pictured below), says sharing’s caring when it comes to content and buttons are the answer…
Oftentimes men, like me, like to think they’re ‘direct action’ types. No fuss, no frills; the kind who get things done. There’s no time for fancy dressing or faffing about.
But how easily that belief is undone by the humble button. Or, more accurately, buttons. Take those on the sleeve of a man’s suit. Check ‘em out in your next meeting; browns, blacks, blues and other hues – in threes and fours – covering a cuff-line shorter than an average-sized pinkie finger.
You’ll see them ranged close together; stacked; sometimes overlapping (or kissing) just above the wrist region. Nowadays they’re a kind of whimsical fashion indulgence that may look nice, but have no real function. They’re currently about as much use as mammaries on a male cow.
In olden days, surgeons needed – and popularised – these buttons from a practical perspective: Medicos had to look smart when in consultations or meetings but then if a patient was rolled in under emergency circumstances, surgeons quickly needed to roll their sleeves up to get operating on the invalid; and that’s what made buttons on jacket sleeves useful: They offered fast release of the suit sleeve, stopped blood getting all over the more expensive outer jacket and kept fabric out of the surgery.
Nowadays, most sharp-suited executives carry on the button tradition but purely as an aesthetic indulgence; even if tailored bespoke, they’re pretty much a vainglorious decoration. Who literally ‘rolls up the sleeves’ to get stuck in, these days?
Funnily enough, where buttons are critically needed nowadays they’re usually sorely missed. And that’s on the media section or news page of your business or brand websites. Of course, I refer to “social media sharing” buttons.
It’s not brain surgery to put them there, yet many brands and businesses often omit curation buttons from key sections of their media pages or newsrooms. And this is a reputation faux pas as an “unbuttoned” site limits the share-ability of your content.
Improving the odds on ‘pay to display’
In an age when visibility of content is being compromised by ‘pay to display’ models, we need to do all we can to improve the potential viral share of our brand or company’s organic content. Social buttons (otherwise identified as icons of the main social media sites) help ensure your readers become more engaged with the content you publish. You create – they curate, as it were.
Make it easy for your readers and viewers to re-post and share the content they find, simply by letting them click a button that represents the social platform their like-minded peers prefer to engage on. Let them ‘pimp out’ your published works.
Buttoned up is much smarter
When they share your content, the materials are given an implicit endorsement and brought to the attention of a wider audience that the sharer feels would be interested in your materials/stories. And when you use an analytic technology at the site back-end, you can also see which social buttons are being deployed most often and, also, which topics are of most interest to your news site visitors.
So if you have no social sharing buttons on your news page, your website is outdated and not remotely tailored for the technological task at hand; and that’s getting important message content in front of the eyeballs it needs to be seen by.