17 Jul 2012

How and Why to Use Social Signals on your Website

How and Why to Use Social Signals on your Website

In today’s ever evolving world of search, social and content it is easy to over look the small things that end up adding up to a lot. This is especially true for your website. Your website is how you present yourself to the world and is often times the only interaction you will have with potential clients. A website is built to reflect all that you do and how you help your client base. From the logo to the footer every pixel expresses something.

Your website should be a repository of everything you have online. When a user arrives on any page of your site they should be able to find all of your available online resources. This can be difficult with most companies having Facebook pages, Google+ Pages, Twitter handles, LinkedIn Groups, Pinterest Boards and YouTube Channels (it’s becoming a long list!). All of these resources can be extremely vast with lots of content that may or may not be on your site already.

Social sites can be utilized as repositories for your media, thoughts and/or news. In some cases this content is only available on social profiles and may be absent on your website. Because of this web of disconnected content and branded pages, it is important that your website acts as a launching pad to these outlets. If you have taken the time to create a profile on any social media site you should let your website visitors know by linking to these profiles from your site.

Adding social signals to your website adds credibility to your business, letting users know that you are more than just a one dimensional site in the bottomless pit that is the internet. It gives users another place to visit and see your content. More importantly it shows the user other people who are talking about and communicating with each other about your company. These social signals provide indirect referrals for your company and can sometimes be as influential as a customer review.

There are many ways to implement social signals on a website:

Adding links to your social profiles in navigation  

As you can see in the sample, just below the main section navigation, there are social site link symbols to the corporate sponsored social profiles. It’s makes a easy transition for visitors to access your social content.

Social Links in Navigation

Social Profiles in Navigation

Having a section on your website that has all of your social links. 

In this example the website owner places social links within the footer of the website so it appears on every page within the site.

Section for Sharing

Section for Sharing

Adding a sharing tool for all content on your site.

With your investment in creating content, it is important to provide those reading it with an easy way to share your information. Provide sharing tools for users to easily spread your content with their connections.

Sharing a Post

Sharing a Post

Using a social commenting plug-in.

With the growth of social media, more and more purchasing engagements are being steered through what others have to say. By providing a social commenting plug-in you are empowering your viewers share their feedback. It’s a great way to engage with your audience.

Social Commenting

Social Commenting

Adding a Twitter stream to your Website.

Depending on your audience and the mission of your website, adding a Twitter stream can be a fun way to generate interest for visitors to want to engage with you (and have their post loaded on your site).

Twitter Stream

Twitter Stream

When implementing any or all of these tools it is important to empathize with your users. Are these signals adding to the experience or getting in the way of the end goal of the user. When done right these signals should be the frosting on top of your website adding extra sweetness to the user. Having these slight nudges to view or share your content heightens your chances of content going viral.

While it is very important to implement social signals on your website do no suffocate your users with them. Remember people come to your site to learn and interact with you, not see where your company can be found all over the internet. Some other things to be aware of when implementing these signals are to use the latest icons for each site and to not link to pages you do not update often. A poorly done social profile can do as much damage as a great profile can help.

What are some success stories of your incorporating social signals?


  • Nick Stamoulis Jul 18, 2012

    It’s absolutely important to include social sharing buttons on content and links to social media profiles on your website, however they shouldn’t be front and center. The goal of social media profiles should be to get followers to click over to your website, not the other way around. Once you have them on the site, you want them to stay there.

  • Ben Holland Jul 18, 2012


    There is value for a user visiting your social profiles just as much as your website. When on your social site they are learning more about your company and are actively looking for more information on a platform they may prefer more than your website. I would much rather have someone be on my Facebook page and still be able to chat to their friends than spend less time on my website.

    If you are talking in terms of conversions, yes there is more value for the user to be on your website. You can still get conversions through social media, place an exclusive offer or another call to action that requires a single click to convert. Your website and social profiles are quickly merging into a single online portfolio, what is important is that people are getting your content the easiest way they can.