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updated 9/9/2011 2:49:18 PM ET 2011-09-09T18:49:18

Since Twitter changed the face of communications, business owners have increasingly wondered: If I tweet it, will they come?

In the big screen adaptation of William Patrick Kinsella’s short story, Shoeless Joe, the main protagonist -- an Iowa farmer played by Kevin Costner -- hears a voice in his head that says, “If you build it, he will come.” While Costner’s character went on to build an iconic baseball field that eventually drew thousands of fictional visitors, you and your business can’t afford to take the same risk. If you build and manage a website, you have to promote it, and according to a new study, adding Twitter’s free ‘ Tweet Button ’ to your web pages drives traffic to your site and has the potential to lift your sales.

Business websites that include Twitter’s Tweet Button receive seven times the number of social media mentions than sites that don’t display such social sharing hooks, according to a new report from BrightEdge, a San Mateo, Calif.-based enterprise-level search-engine optimization firm, which tallied the responses of four million tweets.

The report says the evidence points to social sharing buttons -- like the ‘Tweet’ button at the top of this article -- are a means of driving traffic to your website. In its most recent Social-Share Analysis: Tracking Social Adoption and Trends  (link opens a PDF file), BrightEdge says 53.6 percent of the largest 10,000 sites on the Web displayed social links or buttons on their homepage in August — a figure that’s up slightly from a 52.8 percent just a month earlier. The company takes the “glass half-empty” approach to these statistics, saying far too many brands are not taking full advantage of social sharing tools like Twitter’s Tweet and Follow button, especially since the tools are free and easy to install.

How easy you ask? Check out https://twitter.com/about/resources/tweetbutton to see how simple it is to create and place a Twitter button on your business Web page. Just choose a button, customize it, recommend up to two Twitter accounts for users to follow after they share content from your site, preview your button and get your code. Simply copy and paste the code into the HTML for your website, and that’s it.

In case you missed it, last month I offered some additional tips for tapping into the social tendencies of website visitors. In an Entrepreneur Magazine article (see Get People Talking: Tap into the social nature of your website’s visitors to boost relationships with customers and your company’s reach ), I alluded to three additional social sharing tools that are available for free to business. The first, Facebook’s Comment Box plug-in, enables your website visitors to post the comments they make on your website to their Facebook News Feed.

Disqus, which we use to power the comments here on Entrepreneur.com, is integrated with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr. And Intense Debate notifies your commenters when they get a response, allowing them to continue the debate/discussion easily through email. Besides email, these commenters can also send a tweet and share their opinion with friends on Facebook.

What's the best social sharing tool you've found to help your customers engage with your company? Leave a comment and let us know.

This article originally posted on Entrepreneur.com

Copyright © 2013 Entrepreneur.com, Inc.

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