As a webmaster, a lot of my clients ask me to add Twitter and Facebook like buttons to their websites. Clients see statements like, “Find us on Twitter” and “Find us on Facebook” on TV commercials and magazines figuring that they have to be part of this trend without really understanding it. Public relations cause the masses to do things without solid proof as to the benefit of doing so. Sadly, if people are inundated with a brand, a product or a service via advertising they mostly think is something great. It reminds me of a friend I caught singing product jingles while shopping. We are so influenced by media and advertising that it becomes a subliminal force in our lives.
The fact is, according to the Drudge Report (http://www.scribd.com/doc/62013838/2011-Q2-Outbrain-Content-Discovery-Report) and Outbrain (http://blog.outbrain.com/2011/04/outbrain-content-discovery-report.html), that people will click through to a website in a search result from a site like “Google Search” much more then clicking through to a site url which is Tweeted on Twitter or linked to on a business Page on Facebook. So, I would not abandon the efforts of raising the SEO value of a business website over increasing your business presence in social media accounts. Social media was never meant to be used to push businesses. It is a way to stay in touch with family and friends. In fact, most people think it is uncouth to push a business on social pages. So, I would do so ever so sparingly.
When a person clicks the Twitter button on a webpage the page URL is then tweeted in their twitter account to all their followers. Some of their followers will read the Tweet and few will actually click the link in it. The same thing happens with Facebook Pages. On a Facebook Page you have to go to the info page to view the URL to the actual business website. And again, very few people click that link to visit the main site.
There are two ways to use Facebook links on a website. One is to promote a Facebook Page for your business and the other is to promote the webpage the share/like link is on. I always tell my clients to promote their actual website over a Facebook Page because driving traffic to your main website will increase its popularity, hence its SEO value. It would make sense to increase your main site’s popularity if more people click through to sites using search engines over social media sites. I suggest that time is better spend increasing the SEO of a website then dividing your attention and efforts amongst services with little click through or conversion to actual sales.