Quick history lesson: The “Like” button is only 2 years old. Now one can begin to understand the power of social sharing and how rapidly it changes. In the “olden” days, when someone would type in a search, they would typically trust the highly ranked pages that their search engine would provide to them. Now, they prefer to find information based off of recommendations from either trusted friends or top influencers. With Google putting a heavy emphasis on personalized searches–and other search engines following suit–it might be time to consider social sharing.
The “Like” button was the first step in social sharing. It simply said, “x user liked a link.” It was very basic. Facebook has integrated the “Like” with their advertising; as you may have noticed on the right-hand side it says, “x friend liked x brand–you should, too.” Facebook is trying to make the connection that if you are friends with someone, then perhaps you like the same things. The “Like” button expanded to allow the full post to be seen, although it still couldn’t be personalized; that is, until the invention of the “Share” button. The “Share” button has become more important because of the broader reach it has. When a user decides to “Share” your content, they can ultimately add it to their wall or their friend’s wall for all to see. They can personalize the post title or include a message about why they’re sharing the post (almost essentially doing your job for you).
Twitter is now breaking news before traditional media news outlets. A story can catch wildfire on Twitter very quickly. The news of Whitney Houston’s passing broke on Twitter 27 minutes before the media made any announcement, according to Mashable. The ability to Retweet is just as easy as a “Like’” but has the power of a “Share” since they can share the entire content. It is important to have “sticky” (i.e. attention grabbing) content. Tweets are limited to 140 characters and there are approximately 50 million tweets sent every day. One must capture their audience’s attention at a very rapid pace. Hashtags (#) are a great way to engage in the conversation and follow the discussion on Twitter. A company can even take it a step further and create a microsite dedicated to Twitter like Zappos has.
The latest addition to the family is the +1 button from Google. Google has made a great push to personalize the web experience for its users. When a user is logged in to their Google account, anything that anyone in their Google+ circle has “+1’d” will appear in their search. When users +1 a piece of content on the web, it will also be added to their profile–much like on Facebook. A greater number of +1’s increases a link’s potential for a high click-through rate (CTR), which leads to increased social sharing and can increase its Google search rank. The impact +1’s have on SEO is still debatable since it is so new, but Google is a powerhouse and there is no doubt that they have big plans for the +1 button.
There is one thing that’s not debatable and that is the best way to get your content out there–share it! Not only is it important to create shareable content, but also to make it easy for your users to share it. Add Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ buttons–and any others you think should be included–onto your site. The more your content gets passed around on Twitter and Facebook, the higher the search rank of the page and this can lead to better SEO. The traditional role of SEO is to to bring more targeted traffic to your site and there is no easier way to get more eyeballs to your site than through social media. Sharing is caring!
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Image via Brandignity.