Blogs and websites in all industries have been trying new ways of making their sites more social. Adding Tweetmeme icons, social bookmarking buttons, and RSS feeds are just a few ways sites are making their content more sharable.
Social Media Toolbar Examples
A simplistic approach, is the toolbar that Mashable uses on their site. You can share content by clicking the “share page” button, which will allow you to share with Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo, E-Mail or IM. There is also a Meebo integration which will allow you to chat with friends that are on Meebo, AIM, or Facebook Chat.
One of the more complex, but easy to use toolbars is used by Facebook. This customized toolbar will allow you to access nearly everything facebook has to offer. Browse applications you use, groups you are on, photos, events, the marketplace and more. The best feature I feel is the ability to chat with any of your friends who are signed into Facebook at that time. You can also get quick notifications in the lower right corner.
This is a demo of what the PV.M Garage toolbar tutorial can do for your site. This toolbar is probably the most stylish I have seen and offers a wide variety of social media options including Facebook, Twitter, Delicious, Reddit and StumbleUpon. The menu panel is great for adding quick links to certain areas of your site. Examples they use are “Premium Members”, “Become an Author”, “Submit News”, “Send Us Feedback”. Again this toolbar can be easily minimized by clicking the down arrow.
They have used the Wibiya plugin to add this toolbar to their blog. They have customized it so that you can search the MarketingPilgrim website for specific content. You can also translate the content into over 10 different languages which is great for foreign users that cannot read English. They also have a quick link to recent posts, pulling in from an RSS feed. You can share this content by clicking the share button and social bookmarking it, email it, or tweeting it. Another personal touch is you can access the site owners twitter account and see the latest tweets made. The toolbar is easy to minimize by clicking the down arrow if you feel it is obtrusive.
Google Friend Connect
This Google toolbar will allow you to help increase community members by making it simple for users to register and join your site. You can see what friends have also joined the community, community comments, and the ability to invite friends to a community you like.
How Do I Add a Social Media Toolbar To My Site?
If you want a quick and easy way to add a toolbar to your site, this is the place to go. I just added this to the StayOnSearch blog and had it up and running in less than 10 minutes.
Sign up for an account, customized the toolbar by picking the color scheme and buttons you want on the toolbar. Once you have done that, Wibiya will give you mulitple options on how to integrate the toolbar based on the blog/site platform you are using. I used the wordpress plugin, but you can manually add the code to your site if you would like.
If you design savvy and you would like to build your own toolbar, you can use this tutorial provided by PV.mgarage using CSS3 and jQuery. This tutorial will give you much more flexibility and customization options.
Conduit is a company that specializes in building custom toolbars for your company website. They have build toolbars for sites like Travelocity.com, Answers.com, and TheTwitterToolbar.com. This may be a very good option for companies looking to let their users download and install a toolbar that permanent lives on their web browser.