What's More Important Than Social Bookmark Buttons

We all know creating a “social media friendly” site isn’t just adding many social bookmarking buttons or “add to your RSS reader” buttons on your site.

So what is it that we need to do?

I think it’s pretty simple: To really help people spread the word.

I know it’s not the most novel thing ever… but it’s easy to lose this simple idea. Seen many sites to prove that.

For example, take a look at The Story of Stuff (storyofstuff.com). It’s a SXSW award-winning site that is a “fact-filled tour of our consumer-driven culture“.

You don’t find any “add this to facebook” / “Digg it” / “Subscribe with Google Reader” buttons on this site, yet they know what’s more important.

Instead you will find these.

  1. Download page filled with image/flash banners, links to YouTube teasers (like one on this page), printable PDF for posters, and .mov format video
  2. Creative Commons license on every page
  3. The main video itself is 20 minutes long (not too much for one sitting) and the YouTube teasers are about 1 minute
  4. Clear call to action links/url at the end of videos
  5. You can even download fact sheets and video script
  6. Information for holding screening is very easy to access (they have posters for it too) so organizations and schools can spread the word offline
  7. And of course… a (WordPress) blog

Some of the things they did are very particular to this kind (non-profit or social cause) of site, but I don’t think it’s limited to that. A movie site, microsite for a special event, or site for a web service/software can get ideas from their execution.

I think what they did was very successful because they asked the right questions – “how can we make this idea spread?” “how can we lower the fence for people who came to the site and want to share it with others?” “How can we keep the conversation going?”.

They made me write this entry by doing that. So, here you go, please share with your friends too if you like it.