The Fresh Egg blog
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Have you noticed how social media links have increased their visibility in recent times? Not just the links, but the icons that usually accompany them. Everywhere you look these days, there are icons on the page featuring Facebook, Twitter, Digg and a plethora of other social media and social bookmarking sites. There are a broader collection of sites featured via tiny icons too, like YouTube, Buzz, Gmail, RSS feeds, flickr and a ton of others.
Having lots of icons for social media on your site is certainly no bad thing (if you don't have any, then you are already behind the times!), although it's wise to remember the strategy should be used in conjunction with all of the other tools available to a website designer including solid web design, w3 compliant code, great navigation, fabulous SEO work and of course a classy, clean graphical look (not to mention it should have brilliant content).
When it comes to implementation of social media however, many sites seem to add icons to their pages as an after thought. There are easy, time saving (and potentially sloppy) ways of implementing it, and here is one of the issues. How many of you have simply copied code from a bookmarking service like AddThis, placed it randomly in a page and that has just about wrapped up your entire social media strategy? That isn't really having a strategy; it's more like putting a postage stamp on a letter, but not actually putting it in the post box. (Putting David Beckham on a plane to South Africa and not actually playing him, for those of a football persuasion).
Don't get me wrong, AddThis do a great job but the proliferation of their gadget has lead to millions of sites using the same set of social media icons and it just doesn't need to be that way!
Beyond bookmarking tools, even companies who can afford to employ web design agencies like Fresh Egg are missing out on originality. Sure, it might not drive more traffic or help with your SEO, but having a set of custom, interesting, even industry related social media icons, certainly goes a long way to pleasing the eye and may even prove to be a talking point.
And for those of you who can't or won't spend money on designs of new icons, help is also at hand thanks to the unsung heroes of the web design world, the freebie designers.
There are thousands of new, fresh icons out there to use, many of them professionally designed and free of charge so if you are a computer firm, use PC Screens as your social media icons or how about leaves, or wine glasses or jeans, whatever your company sells, there is almost certainly a more appropriate icon set to use than the standard one you are using now.
Below you will find our Top 10 social media icon resources, all of them free of charge, just to get you started. You have no excuse now ; )