Monday, May 27th, 2013

Social Media Widgets and How They Impact Your Following

By Mhairi Petrovic on May 23 2011 • Filed under Outsmarting Social Media

Social Media widget adoption is one of the fastest growing trends online right now. According to Website Magazine, adoption rates have increased by 80% in the last year. What are widgets you might well ask? Well, they are not inexplicable little items found at the hardware store that you might think they are. They are those icons your see on websites, the ones that let you click to do something.

Web widgets are "small applications that can be installed and executed within a web page by an end user", they can vary in complexity according to the application that is launched when you click.

 

Example of a badge.Web Buttons

Not to be confused with web buttons or badges (like this Twitter one) which are simple icons on the website that you click to take you to another page, web widgets do something more complex by launching java or flash applications.

 

Social Media Widgets

Example of a Facebook Widget.

Social media widgets for networks like Twitter and Facebook shown here are among the most widely used. If a company has a presence in these forums, then it is absolutely essential that you showcase and link to that presence on your website. Doing so allows cross community pollination allowing website visitors to find and follow you on your networks too.

To create basic button widgets, simply upload an image to your server and use your CMS interface to create a hyperlink to profile then cut and paste the code into your website.

Creating a custom widget for your site can be just as easy as long as you don't need a highly specific application (for that you should talk to a developer). If it is a social media widget you are looking for then most of the major networks provide web widgets that you can customize and cut and paste to snip the code onto your site. Sometimes called social plugins, these allow visitors to your website to click and interact in some way with your social media pages.

 Custom Twitter widget, example.

Facebook allows you to create widgets to tell things to your fans, to get people to like your page and more. To create these go to your Facebook page and click on 'marketing' and take it from there, or begin by exploring Facebook Developers. For Twitter's equivalent, their resources section is the place to go to build Twitter widgets for your website.

 

Social Media Plugins

Other widgets come in the form of plugins you can add to your website. WordPress offers a plethora of plugins that you can adapt and add to your website allowing visitors to interact with your social networks. If you are using WordPress, either ask your developer to add these or you can easily do so yourself by clicking on 'plugins' on the left hand side panel and then on 'add new' to search for the widgets you want.

Social media and web widget adoption is growing quickly because of the benefits these little bundles of internet joy provide. If you want to build your community online then they are one of the best ways to facilitate doing so.


Related article (this link takes you off-site): Add Social Media Icons to Your Sidebar Without Using Widgets


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