It's hard to imagine sending anyone an email, writing up a blog post, or compiling an e-newsletter for a company that doesn't contain small buttons linking back to the sender's social media accounts. Whether the buttons are kept at the top of the newsletter upon opening or stored beneath the signature in an email, they're usually somewhere to be found and typically come in all platform varieties. But just how often are people actively clicking these buttons to follow you back? How many buttons are too many to include along for the ride? And just how can you make the sharing buttons stick out in the email so that people will actively want to click them to find out more?
First off, keep your button selection to a minimum.
It's a given that you'll include your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts, but adding these buttons can easily snowball into including buttons for every other outlet you have a presence on - before long, your main three will also include delicious, Foursquare, Yelp, and an assortment of additional social sharing buttons. Stick to the three sites your presence is most fruitful at and keep in mind that these emails and blog posts tend to veer on the side of professionalism more often than not. In the infographic "Social Sharing Button Playground" from TheSearchAgents, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ all sit neatly between work and play, noted for their effective content being almost anything but with commentary and personal thoughts included that help set it apart from outside accounts. Also, familiarity helps and most, if not all, if the subscribers to your newsletter or blog will have some idea of how to navigate Facebook as opposed to say, Skyrock, for instance.
Color (and size) counts!
One of the great things about the ragtag team that is Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Tumblr is that all of their logos feature varying shades of blue as the predominant hue of choice. And while you might want to switch these colors up a bit if your site also uses blue shades within it (the lighter the background, the darker the button should be and vice versa), most of the time these buttons stay distinctive and easy to find within an email. Keep the buttons stored on the top of your page or on a sidebar whenever possible for fast finding and sharing as opposed to crammed at the bottom where you'll have to scroll down for a bit to find them. Another aspect to consider in your sharing buttons is the size of the button itself which many newsletters like Constant Contact offer the ability to choose variations on from horizontal to vertical. Pick the size that's right for you, but don't decide to blow the buttons up and make them ridiculously huge either.
Create a Call to Action.
It's not enough just to write "get social with us" above these buttons and leave it at that. Give people a reason to click and follow you by providing a teaser of what all happens on these networks before they follow. Send out a sample of one of the Pinterest boards you're working on and encourage feedback as to what you should pin next by heading on over and following your board to offer up some suggestions. Make a specialized hashtag and encourage everyone to tweet @ you or mention the hashtag on Instagram so they can keep up with what your brand is up to next. Once you initiate the call to action, keep it up! Make your sharing buttons something to anticipate in newsletters and emails to come and encourage readers to get their friends involved too.