A lot of us having social sharing buttons on our blogs, but how often do people actually use them? I have no idea, so I thought it would be interesting to chat about it.
I don’t often use social sharing buttons. Certainly, a substantial part of that is because my social media use is minimal, but even when I’m somewhat more active, I don’t often share people’s posts. The social platform I share on most often is Pinterest, but because I do most of my reading in the WordPress Reader, I’m not usually seeing social share buttons, and I would typically just copy the post’s URL and paste it directly into Pinterest.
On my own site, I have share buttons for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Facebook and Twitter seem like the two big ones that a lot of people use. The LinkedIn button is there as much for my own occasional use as it is for other people’s sake. There’s a plugin that will show a “Pin it” button when people hover over images on your blog, but I’m not really convinced that the convenience factor is enough to offset the fact that the plugin does slow the site down somewhat, so right now I’ve got the plugin turned off. WP doesn’t have an Instagram social share button; as far as I know, that’s because Instagram doesn’t allow that, although there may be some sort of work-around you can use.
Perhaps some people are using my Facebook share buttons, since I get traffic to my blog from Facebook even though I don’t have a Facebook account. I suppose if I cared enough I might be able to use Google Analytics to figure out how often the share buttons are getting used, but I just don’t care that much. The Pinterest share button shows how many shares there have been (although I recently disabled that on my site via my child theme’s code), but Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn don’t seem to do that.
While it may seem like a good idea to include social share buttons for every platform under the sun, apparently that’s actually a bad idea. This is because of the paradox of choice (which was described in psychologist Barry Schwartz’s book by the same name), whereby choosing among many options takes more cognitive effort than choosing from a few options, and we’re less likely to feel sure of our choices. So when you give people a bunch of sharing options, they’re less likely to share at all.
Now it’s over to you. What, if any, social sharing buttons do you have on your site? Do you ever use other people’s social share buttons to share their posts?