Recently I’ve started to get turned off by social media buttons more and more. I just figured, I almost never click them. I don’t think anyone ever clicked them on my own site, so I’ll probably ditch them pretty soon.
In general, it’s starting to look more that the buttons are nothing but advertising/promoting Facebook, Twitter, etc., and don’t really help promoting the site itself.
But, to answer your question; if they’re at the top, I don’t really notice them. If they are in the sidebar, they have more value because in my opinion, that’s where people look when they actually want to find out more.
I personally think it is just another way of engaging with people. I agree your site’s content is the main attraction but social media are more flexible at the same time in terms of discussing different topics with different people.
I don’t like social media icons/links in the header.You place them in the footer if you don’t want distraction. I feel that the sidebar is the middle ground. They are there but not asking for too much attention.
Have you come across some innovative ways of linking to social media?