Over the last few days I’ve read some criticism of the “ShareThis” button you see on so many sites. The button allows one or two click posting to a slew of social news and bookmarking servces.
The share code is poorly implemented – if you click share on the widget then it takes you to a generic page full of digg and reddit links etc. I think the chances of this page going hot on digg or reddit is minuscule. I mean most of the US doesn’t even know what soccer is let alone care about individual boards. I think this could be vastly improved by targeting the mediums people ARE likely to share them on, such as email (there’s no easy way of emailing multiple people about your chalkboard and there’s no tracking of how many emails are sent), facebook etc. Since forums are big business in the football industry I think it would be great to offer a ‘lite’ embed code which is pre-formatted for forums which just shows an image of the chalkboard and links through so that people can embed them all over the place.
The obligatory social bookmarking links. If Steve Jobs issued a press release about how he was the offspring of two government baboons, I still don’t think enough people would Digg the release enough to drive any traffic. I still don’t understand why these social bookmarking sites are being pushed on people when the content doesn’t justify it. Case and point: the total amount of people who click “Digg” for this release is a whopping zero. Want to know how many “Technorati’s on this release”? Spoiler alert…zero.
Both miss the point in spectacular fashion.
The point isn’t how many people have or will click to save/tag/submit, the point is making it easy for them if they want to save/tag/submit. For the price of inserting a ShareThis button (about one hour to set up an account and then to actually copy-paste the code into a template) you have a powerful SEO tool that could generate many, many backlinks and much more traffic.
Will it be implemented on news releases that have no news value? Of course.
Will it be implemented and never used on some releases? Of course.
Will it be put on blog posts that do not stand a snowball’s chance in hell of being saved or tagged? Of course.
Is it worth the time to put it on just in case? Of course – the marketing game is all about persuading people on the margins. If this button pushes one or two or three people on the margins to tag/save/submit the article or news release or blog post, then it is well worth the investment.
As Andy says, you need to remove all barriers to sharing.
For that reason, I am long on the ShareThis button.