In a survey I did amongst some friends online, it was fairly clear that none of their customers, and none of ours were using social icons. You know, these guys:
The intention is sound, right? You want people who are familiar in mainly Facebook, G+ and Twitter to share your page. In reality, they act as a visual buffer between your content and comments/end of the page. They are also very identifiable with advertising. The only exception to this rule (which was quickly put in it’s place) is the Facebook Like button, and now the +1 from Google Plus.
This is due to habitual familiarity more than anything else. In reality, these are useless.
What most people forget is that there are real people there reading your site and the have more than one thing going on inside their browser, and also outside. If they want to share it they will use the oldest sharing method possible: Cut-and-paste. If it’s in a conversation they will “send you the link”. We do this because without that mental bridge between personal action or person to storing or memorising the link, it is largely useless. ie. The idea of bookmarks but even more: Browsing History.
So just because everyone else is doing it, don’t. Get back to basics. Write something worth remembering.