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Category: Digital Marketing

How To Add Social Media Icons (Properly)

November 29, 2010

Social Media is a very powerful tool that can greatly enhance any online marketing strategy. However, many marketers are jumping on the bandwagon all too soon, implementing poor social media strategies along the way.

One of the most common (and annoying) mistakes is the poor use of social media icons on websites and other online marketing elements. Companies both big and small are slapping social media icons wherever they please without taking the bigger picture into consideration.

To avoid making the same mistakes, here is a quick case study on how to thoughtfully add social media icons that will help you get better traction in your social marketing efforts.

How To Add Social Media Icons

Social Media Icons Done Well

As mentioned, improperly adding social media icons/links to online marketing assets is a common mistake, making it easy to find countless examples of organizations. So, it is refreshing to see a company like Tourism Victoria that actually did it right.

Instead of just throwing their social media icons onto an email, they put thought into the value behind each social media channel. The result was a series of informative, persuasive examples (highlighted in the screenshot to the right and listed below) that clearly state what is in it for the user.

Adding Persuasion to Social Media Icons (from Tourism Victoria):

  • Facebook – We would love to hear from you, join our fanpage!
  • Twitter – Want to know what’s happening right now?
  • Blog – Read stories from locals point of view, follow our Going Local Blog. (Okay, so they aren’t perfect. Many companies make the mistake of misusing the RSS Feed icon for a link to the blog. Yes, it is related to the blog but it is supposed to be used for linking to a blog feed that people can subscribe to. Not for linking to the blog. Told you that people don’t understand this icon.)
  • YouTubeWatch fun Victoria videos on our YouTube channel.

Below is a screenshot of their email newsletter that shows how they prominently and creatively incorporated these social media icons. Kudos to Tourism Victoria! Enjoy reaping the benefits of encouraging two way communication and setting good expectations with your audience.

If you want to learn more about vacationing in Victoria or subscribe to see this email firsthand visit

Tourism Victoria Newsletter Example

Also make sure to check the outer banks rentals to find a place where you can stay in while vacationing.

If you aren’t sure how you can track user interaction with your social media icons/links on your website or online marketing efforts, make sure you contact an Analytics Consultant to help you. Being able to monitor which social media icons are being clicked or ignored provides invaluable insight into your users that is helpful for your optimization efforts.

How Not to Add Social Media Icons

Say “No!” to the social slap!! This is an example of what the social slap looks like (taken from a PowerBar email newsletter). A bunch of social media icons jumbled together with no context of what is in it for you. To make matters worse, the more social media icons you include the worse your traction will be since you are making the choice of how to interact more complex. Avoid Decision Paralysis by keeping it simple!

Powerbar Social Media Icons Done Wrong

PowerBar Newsletter Screenshot

To be clear, we aren’t picking on a small company with limited resources because we know how easy that trap is to fall into. In fact, PowerBar’s email newsletter is actually one of the best I receive. It is beautifully designed, has valuable content and is chockfull of a variety of email marketing best practices.

However, I’m left empty and confused as to why I would want to visit one of their social media channels.

If they add contextual information about the value of each like shown below, I would definitely visit and engage with them through social media:

  • Facebook – Ask us Questions & Connect with Other Athletes
  • Twitter – Get Notifications of New Training Articles & Special Product Promos
  • RSS – Add PowerBar Articles to iGoogle and other readers (Seriously, how many people even know what this icon is for?? Ask your audience and you may be surprised that very few people know what this is or how to use it. Thus, I would argue for not including this icon in this context to simplify the choices and increase user interaction.)
  • YouTube – Watch Training Videos from Top Professional Athletes and Trainers

(Disclaimer: I am not sure what the value is of each of PowerBar’s social media channels since I wasn’t compelled to visit them. Thus, the examples above are based on assumptions.)

Final Thought on Avoiding the Social Slap!

Be cognizant of the value your social media channels offer the user and help them understand their value.

Of course one could argue that something is better than nothing. For a company like PowerBar that invests a great deal of time and energy into their social media marketing, I agree that it is better than nothing. But, you have to also consider the fact that PowerBar also provides valuable content that engages users, so they don’t mind wasting time arbitrarily clicking links up front. Their audience also has high expectations and a strong, innate interest in what the powerful brand will offer.

However, for many companies, especially B2B, the allure of checking out a company’s social media channels is likely not as strong as the value these channels offer. It is also safe to assume that if a company isn’t communicating the value of social media upfront, it is most likely not of value at all.

If you have any questions, comments or examples of social media integration, please don’t hesitate to post them. Happy Holidays!

  • There are heaps of free social media icons for download here:


  • Una_guna

    Is it a tad ironic that at the bottom of your article you find a perfect example of social slap??

  • Bigguy345678

    LOL. Yes, under “Enjoy this post?” there’s just a bunch of social icons.

    Next to the Digg icon there should be a sentence…

    “Share a link to this article on Digg, a place for people to discover and share content from anywhere on the web.”

  • “Follow Us” versus “Share” are two completely separate scenarios for social media icons/links.

    I guess the article wasn’t clear enough on what the problem is. The problem is not contextually relevant social media “SHARE” icons/links. The real issue is when someone decides to just slap up Social Media sites on their website or email with some generic message like “Follow Us.”

    Again, this article references just randomly placing social media icon/links on your site and hoping that people will figure out the value of them. The share links at the bottom of this blog post are to share the article which is a relevant and commonly understood convention on blog posts. They aren’t random logos asking the user to “Follow Us” on one of multiple arbitrary social networking sites.

    Plus, it would be silly to have to place explanatory text next to every instance of a social media icon when they are relevantly and contextually placed on something like a blog post for the purposes of sharing (not following).

  • Pingback: Using digital platforms to promote events | Plan Your Meetings()

  • Linds-e

    I did it! Thanks!

Kayden Kelly
About the Author

Kayden is the founder and CEO of Blast Analytics & Marketing. He leads overall strategy and execution in positioning Blast as a leading analytics and digital marketing consulting company. An industry trailblazer who stays ahead of trends and opportunities, Kayden has spent nearly two decades building his expertise in all areas, with a deep focus on analytics, search engine optimization, and user experience. He is an evangelist for “the customer,” helping clients create sustainable competitive advantage by developing, optimizing, distributing, and connecting valuable content to customer needs. Connect with Kayden on LinkedIn. Kayden Kelly has written on the Web Analytics Blog.

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