Social Buttons: Why Your Website Must Have Them
A recent study by the University of Miami School of Business Administration confirms what many of us of thought all along- that social buttons are important to ecommerce. Facebook, Twitter, Google+1 buttons and the dozens of other social media icons have a profound influence on our buying behavior. Just like the muzak -or elevator music- piped over your favorite mall’s loudspeakers, social buttons have a strong subliminal impact on the viewers to your ecommerce pages.
How strong an impact, you ask? Well, the study, which involved approximately 200 potential buyers in an online context, showed that viewers were 25% more likely to make a purchase when a social media icon was visible on the page. A note, however, should be made here. The positive buying behavior was only exhibited when viewing items which were perceived as desirable by the viewers- things they would gladly show off publicly. On the other hand, products which were of a more private nature (such as acne medications, etc), had the opposite effect on potential buyers- it checked buying motivation by the same 25%. But I would not dwell on this small downside for too long when the upside suggested here is so huge for online businesses.
But here’s what’s really interesting about the study- the positive effect on buying behavior occurred whether or not people had any recollection of having viewed the social media buttons on the page. The study would then suggest that social media has become ingrained into our psyche, right down to the subconscious level. This is powerful stuff friends. And if I’m building a website, in particularly an ecommerce site, I’ve got to at least have the most relevant social media buttons and icons on my pages. Not to do so would be to leave something on the plate.
So what does this all mean? Well, I think that is a pretty simple question to answer after having read this study. We live in an age permeated by social media and it’s effects are only going to expand going forward. Everyone is on Facebook or Twitter or some other social network- there is no escaping it. The power and influence of social media cannot be overstated. When we see these buttons and icons on a page, just like that muzak at the local mall, they make us comfortable and make us feel safer when we visit the online mall- your website. More importantly, they put us in the mood to buy! For online merchants or, for that matter any website or blog owner who wants to positively influence the his viewers, social media buttons and icons are a must. So where are your buttons?