Are you familiar with social sharing cues? Essentially, they’re the little indicators you see attached to content all over the web (including on this post). They allow you to share the content your enjoying to all of the 3,012,432 social networks in existence, and then they’ll often times display a number indicating how many times the content has been shared. When visitors come to your site and they see numbers on all of the little indicators, they know you’re popular, and who doesn’t want to be friends with the popular kid? This is the reason so many USA SEO companies embrace social cues (Wikimotive included), but some businesses aren’t discerning enough when it comes to what they display, especially in the fledgling stages.
The reality that many businesses seem to ignore is that social cues are a great thing, but not necessarily right from the get go. You should absolutely launch your blog with the sharing buttons already included. You should also have other social buttons that link to your business’s social media pages. What you need to be careful about is launching your blog with the number of shares, likes, Tweets, +1s, pins, and on and on ad nauseum already displayed on each post.
WHY IS THAT BAD?
The same way that having high numbers next to all of your social sharing buttons acts as a positive social cue, having very low numbers can act as a negative social cue. When you have zeros and ones across the board, you’re essentially just spelling out “loser” in binary code (0110110001101111011100110110010101110010, for the record). In fact, displaying social shares when you don’t have any yet can actually prevent you from getting any in the future, because not many people are willing to be the lone fan of something, even on the internet.
SO WHAT DO YOU DO?
There are a couple things you can do to avoid this little pitfall.
1. Recruit your employees, coworkers, friends, family, and anyone who owes you money to give you a social lift. They don’t all need to share every post to every network, but just a few people seeding the pot can give you the boost you need to begin organic growth (assuming you get traffic).
2. Hide your social indicators until they aren’t embarrassing. You should still be able to display the sharing buttons, just don’t include the numbers next to each one. Some people may disagree, but I believe that NO social cues are better than extremely weak social cues. As soon as your readership picks up and you’re gaining some traction, by all means start displaying them again.
Frankly, option one is a lot better than option 2, but some people are friendless orphans so I needed to include both.
Remember, you don’t need a lot of shares to get out of the shame-zone, just a few of each network displayed will be fine. If you’re looking for good social buttons, I find the free ones over at AddThis.com to be a great solution.
(P.S. When linking addthis.com, I accidentally typed “AssThis” and was both relieved and disappointed to find it wasn’t a real thing.)