When Social Media Can Hurt

When Social Media Can Hurt

(but Facebook and LinkedIn Say ‘Thank You!’)

Written by Robert Harrington, a seasoned entrepreneur, marketing communications expert, and owner of Mach4 Design, who draws on two (sometimes painful) decades of experience to empower businesses.

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Written by Robert Harrington, a seasoned entrepreneur, marketing communications expert, and owner of Mach4 Design, who draws on two (sometimes painful) decades of experience to empower businesses.

Full Bio Here

Connect on LinkedIn

I want to address a common website design trend that I’ve been seeing more and more, which might be undercutting your marketing and hurting your conversion rate. The problem is: placing social media links at the top of your website.

The Misguided Placement of Social Media Links

Let’s get straight to the point: placing social media links at the top of your homepage or any other primary pages is a marketing misstep that only benefits social media companies. I know social media is a powerful tool for business and an integral part of our digital lives, but hear me out.

These platforms are designed to keep users engaged within their ecosystem, not to send them back to your website.

The Ultimate Goal: Keeping Visitors Engaged

The primary objective of your marketing efforts is to draw potential customers to your website. You’ve put in the hard work to design a stunning site, create compelling content, and optimize for SEO. The ultimate goal? To clinch a sale, or at least initiate contact.

The Exit Ramp to Distraction

However, when you place those tempting social media icons at the top of your page, you’re inadvertently setting up an exit ramp. Clicking on a Facebook or Instagram icon is like opening a door to a world filled with distractions. Before you know it, your visitors are spiraling down a rabbit hole of unrelated content, far removed from the purpose that brought them to your site in the first place.

The Counterproductive Effect

What started as a visit to your website, potentially leading to a sale or a new client inquiry, ends up as an hour lost on social media. We’ve all been there, haven’t we? We click on a social link for a quick look, only to find ourselves an hour later watching dog videos or scrolling through a friend’s vacation photos.

The Unseen Beneficiaries: Social Media Platforms

While we integrate social media links on our sites with the best intentions, it’s important to recognize who truly benefits from these prime placements: the social media platforms themselves. Yes, you’re showcasing your social presence, but in doing so, you inadvertently funnel traffic away from your site and towards these platforms.

Diverting Traffic, Diverting Opportunities

Every click on a social media link at the top of your page is a visitor you’re sending directly to another domain. These platforms are designed to keep users engaged within their ecosystem, not to send them back to your website. While it might feel like an extension of your digital presence, the reality is that these platforms gain more from this arrangement than your business does.

Limited Direct Engagement

Let’s face it: the likelihood of someone contacting you directly from a social page is relatively low. Social media is a space for discovery and interaction, but when it comes to business inquiries or sales conversions, your website is far more equipped for this purpose. Your website is the hub of your digital marketing strategy, designed specifically to facilitate customer interactions, gather leads, and close sales.

Realigning Your Digital Strategy – A Better Approach

It’s time to realign your digital strategy with this understanding. By moving these social media links from the top to a less prominent location, you keep the traffic on your site, where you have the tools and content specifically designed to convert visitors into customers. This approach not only benefits your business directly but also ensures that you’re not inadvertently supporting another platform’s traffic and engagement goals at your expense.

Strategically Positioning Social Media Links

Don’t get me wrong, social media is a fantastic tool for staying connected with your audience. It’s an essential part of the digital marketing mix. But it’s all about the placement. Social media links should be treated as a subtle invitation, not the main attraction.

Where to Place Them

Instead, position these links more discreetly. A great spot? The footer of your website. This way, you can connect on social platforms without distracting visitors from their primary journey on your site.

Encouraging Deeper Engagement

Your website is designed to draw visitors deeper into your offerings, whether that’s your products, services, or insightful blog posts. Each element on your site should strategically lead them through this journey, building interest and trust and guiding them toward that all-important decision to engage with your business.

Conclusion: Rethinking Social Media Link Placement

In summary, strategically placing social media links on your website is crucial for maintaining visitor engagement. Placing them at the top of your homepage or inside pages is a significant misstep that can distract visitors and lead them away from your primary content. Instead, these links should be positioned discreetly, like in the footer, to encourage visitors to delve deeper into your site and engage with your business.

Key Highlights:

  • Avoid Top Placement: Social media links at the top of your website act as an exit ramp, leading visitors away from your content.
  • Focus on website Engagement: The primary goal of your website is to engage visitors, leading to sales or contact, not to divert them to social platforms.
  • The Distraction Dilemma: Social media platforms are filled with distractions that can sidetrack visitors from their original purpose.
  • Strategic Link Positioning: Place social media links in less prominent areas like the footer to reduce distraction while still offering connectivity.
  • Enhance User Journey: Your website should guide visitors through a journey of discovering your offerings, building interest, and leading to business engagement.

By adopting this approach, you ensure that your website serves its primary function as a marketing tool, engaging and converting visitors while maintaining a valuable connection to your social media presence.