If you look right above this post next to the author byline you’ll see a row of widgets (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, email and ShareThis). These little social share buttons are actually a critical component of my content promotion campaign, and they should be part of yours! Social share buttons allow your readers to submit your content to their favorite social networking or social bookmarking site without ever having to leave your blog. Essentially, social share buttons allow your readers to promote your content for you. However, a recent BrightEdge report that about half of the largest 10,000 sites don’t display any kind of social sharing link or buttons at all.

If you are one of those sites without social share buttons, are you aware of what you’re missing out on?

Social Signals
The search engines have freely admitted that social signals are being included in their ranking algorithm. This means that the more times a piece of content is shared/Tweeted/Liked/posted etc. the more value it has in the eyes of the search engines. If you don’t have social share buttons on your site, you’re not getting all the social signals you could be. The BrightEdge report I mentioned earlier also found that pages that show Twitter share buttons get 7 times the social media mentions than sites that don’t!

Reaching a Wider Audience
It may be a hard pill to swallow, but not everyone has heard of your company. Your social network doesn’t include everyone in your target audience, but that doesn’t mean your content can reach beyond those you are connected with. Social share buttons allow your readers to share your content on their social profiles, which means everyone in their network now has access to it. You never know exactly how far a Facebook post or Tweet may reach and how many potential customers will be exposed to it. Even if you don’t get new social connections or customers right away, you are building more touch points with a broader audience.

Makes Your Content User-Friendly
Adding social share buttons to your site is one small thing you can do to improve the overall user-experience of your site. Social share buttons allow your readers to post content they find interesting to their social networks right then and there, and they don’t have to leave your site to do it. It may not seem like a lot (to have them leave your site, login to their social network of choice and then submit your content) but that’s three extra steps you are asking your readers to take. Not to mention that it drives traffic AWAY from your site. Social share buttons let your visitors post your content to as many social networking sites as they want AND keep them on your site for longer, increasing your chance of conversion.