With a click of a button, your webpage can appear on thousands of screens, reaching targeted markets that even your best direct marketing list could fails to provide. A single reader can, in seconds, spread your web page across intimate social network circles, giving you vital, targeted “screen exposure.”

Readers make decisions quickly. If the social network buttons aren’t there, your opportunity is gone. So let’s get started:

There are two types of social networking buttons to add to your webpage.

  1. Buttons that allow readers to subscribe to all of your updates on specific share sites. 
  2. Buttons that allow readers to share a specific article on their own share sites. 

The first is a set of buttons that allow readers to join your social networks. These buttons usually appear at the top of a webpage – with the words, “Follow us on… twitter, Facebook or Linkedin.” See the photo below of GE’s Healthcare webpage.

When a reader clicks on the FB icon, the reader’s  own FB page will automatically open (not yours), and the prompt will appear, “Like this page.” Once the reader clicks OK, all of your Facebook entries will now appear on the reader’s FB home page. The process works the same with Linkedin, Google+ and Twitter. Once connected, your reader will never miss another tweet, post or update you post on the social network.

The second tool for social networks is one that allows the reader to share one specific story from your site, to the reader’s private social network pages.

Let’s say you just posted a great article on how to increase employee productivity, full of valuable tips that managers can implement instantly. The reader likes this so much, he wants to post a tweet, send out an email to his peers, and he  even has a comment about it he’d like to share with his private LinkedIn group. To accomplish this, the reader will look for the social icon buttons that are usually found on the top, bottom or side of a post, with the words, “Share This.” The photo of the Scientific American photo below is a perfect example.

Once the reader clicks “IN” his own personal LinkedIn page will appear, with a snippet from your article, all neat and ready to post. There will be a place for the reader to add his own comments. Once the reader clicks post, all of the members of the reader’s LinkedIn network will see your article. When anyone clicks on the link appearing in the social network, the link will carry the reader directly to your webpage, where they can discover more about your business.

There are dozens of social networks to consider. Spurl, Myspace, Technorati, Stumbleupon, Google+ — and more. You can’t show them all – so think and study your market and give your readers the Social Network options they use. Looking at the selection of icons chosen by Scientific American, I’m wondering – why is there no “email this” button?

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