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Should You Get Rid of the Social Media Icons on Your Website?



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by David Garland in David's Blog

Alright, so this one is gonna cause some controversy, but let me tell you…the proof is in the pudding.

Should you get rid of the social media icons on your website?Β And by “social media icons” I DON’T (let me say that again, DON’T) mean icons to help share your content (i.e., share this on Twitter, like it on Facebook, etc.).

What I mean is once peeps have come to your site, encouraging them to (for example):

  • Follow you on Twitter
  • Circle you up on Google+
  • Friend/Like on Facebook

About a year ago, my buddy Derek Halpern told me to get rid of all those encouraging statements to send folks to social media sites, and instead focus on building my email list.

I was scared to death to do it. I kept making excuses.

Then, I thought to myself, what the heck. I’ll give it a shot.

So, what happened?Β Watch below and find out.

I use RISE partner LeadPlayer for DSG TV, which helps me build my list with video. Check ’em out here.

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  • I’ve heard you talk about this before. Very interesting thoughts I don’t really hear anybody else talking about. I agree with focus on capturing emails for sure. What do you think about having social icons in a footer for example? That way, they’re not the focus but available if people do want to follow, etc. Has anybody tested that?

    • David Siteman Garland

      Waste of space to put it down there. Takes away from the singular focus of email.

  • Of course it makes sense to drive people further into your own site — and grab that email — to continue building the relationship instead of providing an immediate escape route link off your site … And I’ve heard Derek say it before, too. (Why I haven’t gotten around to copying this proven method is beyond me. Note to self: Immediate site design tweaks needed 2013!)

    • David Siteman Garland

      All about the tweaks πŸ™‚

  • I noticed you did this a while back and that you have talked about it before. Thanks for going more in depth. It’s something that I will now consider doing myself.

    You took your social media icons off AFTER you were already a big boy online. Does this tactic work for newbies too?

    Also, there are a lot of people I follow on social media who I wouldn’t necessarily want to get emails from, so I prefer to see updates via social media. I am only subscribed to very few email lists because I don’t like email cluttering up my inbox, and I have heard the same thing from others. I guess the key here is to make yourself “irresistible” so that people will want to subscribe via email.

    • David Siteman Garland

      Alexa – I can tell you right now, if I was new, there would be a 1000000000000% I would do this. No ifs ands or buts. I view it was a mistake not doing it earlier (meaning I’d be writing this from my yacht).

      And exactly, you want to be one of those “rare” few emails people get. I only subscribe to a few people (VERY few) but guess what? I pay attention to them. And I buy from them πŸ™‚

      Think of it as social media being a light flirtation. Email as being hot and heavy.

      • Nice! Thanks David. Hilarious analogies.

  • Kelly Wagner

    I’ve heard this advice before and while listening to your video, just took my social media widgets off my site (I already point people to my Facebook & Twitter after they’ve subscribed via email). Done! Thanks for the prompt; makes good sense.

    • David Siteman Garland

      Enjoy your email list increasing πŸ™‚

  • LipstickUnplugged

    First thing Brad (web guy) suggested is to not put Pinterest pins, Facebook, etc. on the page. Still growing my list, but if it’s good enough for you, it’ll work for me.

    • David Siteman Garland

      Definitely. Awesome to have those things to encourage people to share below individual posts, but not for subscribing.

  • Great advice, David! On my new podcast site (launched, in part, thanks to your Create Awesome Interviews program) all roads lead to email opt-in. So important, IMHO. This approach has worked well, even for my new / fledgling site. As for links to my social media accounts – they only appear (unobtrusively, no pretty lil’ icons) at the bottom of my Contact page. P.s. Looking forward to the Host To The Top program!

    • David Siteman Garland

      Looking forward to rocking out with you in The Host To The Top Stephen!

  • mike lawson

    Thanks for the interesting advice, David. I have noticed that my social media “following” has increased exponentially, while my email subscribers have merely trickled in. So I will give this strategy a shot. But I had one friend unsubscribe saying he follows me on Twitter, so why gum up his already crowded email inbox with another email. I thought that was an interesting take, as well. That’s why I have always kept my social media icons fron and center; I figure there may be a lot of people out there that don’t want another email clogging up their inbox. Or this could be a small minority. But I am always up for trying out new strategies, so I’ll give this one a try. Your case study was convincing enough.

    • David Siteman Garland

      Ah, however, I don’t know about you, but I’d rather NOT worry about the guy who wants to follow me on Twitter (Along with 10,000 other people) but I’d rather worry about being awesome enough to be one of the few emails someone gets. πŸ™‚

  • Golden…just golden. Thanks for the advice.

    • David Siteman Garland


  • Interesting! Will have to try it for my site as well. Thanks for this insight!

  • Depends on your goal and how good the mix of CTA and social accounts is. I’ve had numerous discussions with Derek on this, and we tend to disagree a bit, based on goals. Instead of getting rid of social icons (since you still need an audience outwith your blog to propogate your content), have a stronger CTA for your email list.

    Separate on the sidebar with a different background colour, and have a sign-up box at the end. I’ve used this simple mix for the last 5-6 months or so and receive new subscribers daily.

    At the end of the day, it’s an individual choice based on goals, and not everyone’s goals will be the same when it comes to what kind of subscribers they get.

    • David Siteman Garland

      True, but I can tell you, we went from crushing it to REALLY #$%% crushing it when we made the change.

  • Great info, thanks! I’m very aware of the fact that if all the big social media sites went away tomorrow, all I’d be left with is my email list, and yet I realize I’m not doing all I can to build my list and foster those relationships. Will be making some tweaks!

  • Thank you SO much for this episode, David! I really hope web designers are keeping up with trends, statistics and best practices like these so they can better educate their clients and steer them away from wanting all the social icons they can jam on their site. If the client is informed about things like these ahead of time? Even. Better. ***High five, D!!!***

  • David, I completely agree with your reasoning on this, but I disagree about taking them off the site. I’ve been telling clients for the past 3 years or so that they should remove the social media icons from the header and sidebar for the same reasons that you and Derek give…However I believe you should put them in the footer.

    As an internet marketer I’m not so quick to join someone’s email list because too many people focus on selling instead of building the relationship, but I will follow them on twitter. I’m probably one of the few people that actual pay attention to the people that I follow on twitter – especially the ones that I add to my twitter list that I call “VIP Tweeters”. If someone interest me with the things that they tweet about, then I will go to their site and subscribe to their list.

    One of the things that drives me crazy is when I want to follow someone on twitter and have to type their name and the word “twitter” behind it to get to their profile because they removed the icon from their site. Having the icons in the footer is the perfect way to include it on your site without making it the center of attention. This has worked very well for my clients.

    I truly believe the increase in your conversions was due to the fact that you removed the icons from above the fold, and placed an opt-in form there. Try adding them to the footer and you may notice that your positive results stay the same, plus you have the added benefit of not making people who are new to your site have to go to Google to search for your social media profiles.

    • Aloha Vernita, as I watched the video above I wondered about what you’re suggesting here. I too like to have a more easy breezy way to find and follow people on the various Social Networks and the bottom of the page seems to be a nice compromise. Curious what David has to say about this…

  • i think you will get different audience. I subscribe to 2 newsletter as I do not like to have a lot of emails. I like to get updatets on twitter. Your way to hide your social media accounts is why I only read your article when other tweet them or when I visit the site

  • My biggest problem is that I’m not effectively using the email listing that I already have. Off to write a newsletter for my subscribers… Thanks for the kick in the rear!

  • Michael Stetina

    Hi David – Thanks for sharing Derek’s great suggestion. I’ve often questioned the wisdom of working so hard to drive traffic to a site, only to encourage it to “escape” into social media world.

    I loved the idea of placing your social engagement icons on the subscription thank you page.

  • alex

    Good post David, but i’m not sure how this would work with an ecommerce site? Sharing information and sharing products are quite different imo. Maybe it’s the visual que, but personally i’d want to share a product/s (with images, price, etc) by clicking on a social icon (fb or pinterest). Opting into a mailing list works on another level.

    • David Siteman Garland

      This post was definitely in reference to content-based sites πŸ™‚ so not sure how it would work re: ecommerce sites.

  • Hey David, its a good case study and can defiantly work for a site that is already little popular.

    What would you suggest for a new site that is just coming up and needs to use all the social media followers/influencer’s on their list to make them popular.

  • Here is a fun post that will go along with this video

    Interestingly, some of the examples used here are actually the same as the examples you use. πŸ˜‰



These are the EXACT same steps I used to go from $0 to over $1,000,000 in online course sales in less than 24 months (and used by over 2,500+ of my students)

it's free!
100% privacy guaranteed, no messin' around!