How Much Home Page Real Estate Should Be Given To Social Media Icons?

A couple of weeks ago, I spent some time discussing the overuse of social media icons in advertising. Everywhere you look, these Facebook and Twitter icons are clogging up space, distracting customers from what’s really important…deterring them from taking any profitable action for your company.

I want to continue on this same subject by talking about how to use social media icons on your website. If your company is on Facebook and Twitter, there’s a pretty good chance you have links to your pages on your homepage. You might have big Facebook and Twitter buttons on your sidebar, or you may go really overboard and feature your social networking profiles even more prominently in your main homepage banner.

Here’s my problem with both of these tactics. You’re taking up precious homepage real estate with something that drives visitors away from your website. Isn’t the point to keep people on your website so they can dig deeper and become a prospect or a paying customer?

The other day, I was shopping online for some fitness equipment. I clicked on an AdWords ad from some fitness company, and as soon as I arrived to their website, I was greeted with a HUGE banner on the homepage that was promoting a Facebook contest where I could win $250. I clicked on it to see what it was all about, and I was taken off of the company’s homepage and to their Facebook page.

Guess what happened? I got distracted and never made it back to their website. They lost my business because they sent me away from their website.

Look, social networking really is great. It does offer ways for you to connect with new customers, nurture relationships with existing customers, improve your services, and so much more, but you can’t put so much focus on your social networking that you hurt your other marketing efforts.

Personally, the way I go about it is to either place Facebook and Twitter links in the footer of my homepage or only on the contact page. This way, people can still get in touch and connect, but they aren’t distracted from the main message of the website.

Also, I always use a blank target in the HTML so that whenever someone clicks on the social media links, they open in a new window and don’t have to abandon my website. Win win.

What are your thoughts on including social media icons on your homepage?

About The Author

Brian Waraksa

Brian Waraksa, founder of Raxa Design in Houston, Texas has been in marketing and small business branding since 2002. He writes the Raxa Design blog on issues affecting small business marketing and corporate brands.

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