Their argument is these social sharing buttons don’t add any value to your website at all. If anything, it reeks of desperation.
“The user doesn’t come out of nowhere. We don’t land on your page and then head happily to those social networks to promote you, just because you have a button on your site. We find content through Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest etc., not the other way around.”
In my experience, not many people do click on these buttons. A website could get, say 5,000 uniques and out of that, only 3 clicks on a social button. That doesn’t mean their social channels were graveyards. In fact, akin to what IA is stating, visits and likes increased thanks to compelling content on the website.
I know the irony – I have a messy slew of share buttons on the bottom of this post. And I’ve had good traffic on this site with very few ‘shares,’ which does make it look as though my content isn’t good enough. The thing is, I have people talk to me about my posts, and they are shared about on social media without the need for these buttons.
I’m in the middle of a redesign and will be removing these social buttons post haste! We’ll then see if the content continues to speak for itself.
Remember: “Social media buttons are not a social media strategy, even though they’re often sold that way. Excellent content, serious networking and constant human engagement is the way to build your profile.”
Be sure to read the entire post from Information Architecture. Great stuff.