two children sharingThere is a ton of activity surrounding the space of social media right now, and with good reason – these platforms provide great opportunity to take your viral allowing your brand to spread. Here is a breakdown of the eight most important social media and social sharing buttons that are out there today along with a few reasons why each of them might be right for you.

Also don’t forget to read these posts in this series:

Top 4 Social Media Sites

Facebook Like and Send ButtonsFacebook: If you are going to only allow for one social sharing button, this is probably the one. Lost in all the hubbub over the past few weeks about Google and Twitter, Facebook has done something brilliant and they have actually encouraged you to double down on their platform. They started with the “Like” button and now they have added the “share” button. You see this same idea taking place on store shelves all the time where you now can purchase 12 different types of chips or 8 different flavors of tooth paste. While not the first to market, the “like” button really is the one that started this latest wave and Facebook has been great about introducing high concept ideas like the “social graph” and “edge rank” into the lexicon of today’s small business owner.

Facebook continues their impressive run and their user base cuts such a wide swath that at this point it seems like a certainty that at least a few of your readers are also spending some time on Facebook.

Twitter: The button that my own clients tend to be most resistant towards is Twitter – it’s just one of those services that you either get or you don’t. But the response I always give back is that when it comes to social sharing, it is not about the client, but rather it is about their customer, and if their customers want to share content on Twitter the client is potentially missing a great opportunity to allow their customers to do so by not including “Tweet This” button on their site. As far as social media for business I think Twitter is also a must. The Twitter market is starting to mature a bit, but as a service I think they are great. Twitter is a company of innovators rather than followers, and I think that due to the likes of LinkedIn, Facebook and now Google turning up the heat, Twitter will continue to roll out great innovations on their platform.

LinkedIn ButtonLinkedIn: LinkedIn has only recently started to get serious about social sharing which has been great. If you have a business that is geared towards other business people I think LinkedIn is also a must. If you business is focused on the general public perhaps LinkedIn might not give you the best ROS (Return on Space) . Over here at Gadarian Digital, we are of course very focused on businesses (we are a B2B) and I’ve recently made sure to include LinkedIn in this site’s “social button mix” and the results have been very strong.

Google +1 Button+1 by Google: I wrote a post on why I think the Google +1 Button is a must when it first arrived, and I’m sticking to my guns. I’ll be writing a follow up piece shortly, but you might have recently noticed that Google has integrated your “Google Profile” into search results. Google is starting to move pieces on the “social” chess board, and I do believe they are very intent of provided businesses/websites with tangible value in terms of their latest social efforts. I also believe that as these social results continue to be more deeply integrating into search results, the potential value here is a must. Search plus Social equals something more.

Top 4 Social Bookmarking Sites:

Unlike the social media networks, with social sharing the whole premise is about sharing links in an aggregated environment, with the thinking being the more people share a link within an bookmarking site, the more important that link is. There are really strong traffic opportunities here, and what is even better is that the traffic tends to be a little more targeted due to the fact that users of the major bookmarking sites have already stated their interests and are usually only being fed links that are relevant to them. While article titles are always important, with social bookmarking sites that importance goes into hyper-drive – make sure you deliver some killer article titles and then back it up with great content and you are much more likely to be rewarded.

Stumble Upon ButtonStumbleUpon: StumbleUpon is another site that Gadarian Digital has begun to really “invest” in and the results have been very encouraging. This is a great social bookmarking site with a very active and engaged audience. “Stumblers” endorse content based on all kinds of factors but the primary piece being have you written something that is “worthy”? Great content gets great results. Also I have observed the posts with really prominent and compelling images tend to perform better, and if you have it in you, “infographics” seem to drive monster numbers.

Digg This ButtonDigg: Digg is another of the power social bookmarking sites, but its appeal has been on the decline for a while now – don’t get me wrong, landing on Page 1 will get you something like 20K+ clicks, but that is not necessarily the best strategy if all those clicks are not relevant to your business. The company has also been in a bit of a transitional period for a while now with a recent redesign earning some major wrath by their core users.

Internal drama aside, Digg has a great audience but their focus tends to be younger males with an interest in technology, and when you get rolling with their service they even have a name for it – “The Digg Effect”. The traffic can be that strong.

Delicious Counter ButtonDelicious. This was for a while a personal favorite over here, but they too recently had a major shakeup when Yahoo! announced they were no longer going to keep Delicious under their umbrella. Needless to say plenty of long time users quickly had to scramble to find another solution for their bookmarks. The great news here that the founders of YouTube decided to purchase this site so I’d say the future is very bright.

Delicious is certainly a good company, and I’d say well worth an investment of ROS – particularly if the new owners manage to deliver big results (we all know what they managed to do with YouTube!) your business will be well positioned to have some recent traction on this service.

Reddit ButtonReddit: This social bookmarking service has really grown and some argue that it has overtaken StumbleUpon as the most important of the four majors. Ignore Reddit and you risk losing some really nice, and really targeted visitors. What I like about this bookmarking service is not only do they provide social bookmarks, but their user base is extremely vocal and active, so if you do see that an article of yours is gaining some steam on Reddit make sure to visit as well and likely there will be an interesting dialogue accompanying your article.

Another feature that really works for Reddit users is the ability to thumb up or thumb down a post, or for that matter a comment. By baking this into their platform Reddit has managed to build in another layer of trust which is great for their user base, and also great for you as your links are in essence getting double vetted, meaning that if a Reddit user does click through they are that much more bought in to your content even before they arrive.

The truth is with all the social bookmarking services you will want to spend some time on each of them in order to get a sense of which ones have a good audience for your particular business, but a combination of any/all of the above will serve your likely serve your website very well.

Hopefully you found the above to be informative but if there is a site that you think should also be included in the “most important” list please don’t be shy about sharing your thoughts with a comment.