Ever notice those little social media icons at the bottom of blog posts or tucked along the sides of web pages? Well, you don't have to spend hours designing your own versions - many are available for free, in a variety of styles.
Why use them?
Frankly, you can go overboard with social media icons. (And, if you're still using a Friendster or Bebo icon, now might be the time to change.)
The most useful social media icons are all about sharing or connecting. For example, a Facebook button asks people to share your story on Facebook. A "follow me on Twitter" button encourages people to connect on Twitter. Other useful icons include Reddit, StumbleUpon, Technorati and Digg, all of which allow people to easily share your content on social bookmarking and linking sites.
So, where to get them?
Sites such as DryIcons, Iconfinder and Iconpot all offer plenty of free social media icons.
For some weirder (and sometimes wonderful) buttons, search for social media icons at DeviantArt. Always be sure to check the copyright terms before use.
As well as plenty of great free photography, Flickr is a good resource for social media icons. Just perform a Creative Commons-licensed search, such as this one:
Some great blog post collections include:
If you're running Wordpress, several plugins and widgets offer useful link-ready social media buttons. Sexy Bookmarks, for example, adds a toolbar to the bottom of your blog posts with all manner of social sharing links.
If you're still unsure, maybe it's time to call in a website development company?