This seems like an awful lot of buttons to me – but I do believe there is a benefit to each of them (well most) if used correctly.
The new Twitter one-click-to-follow button is a great opportunity to get more people following you on twitter as it cuts out one of the steps required to follow. Previously people had to click from your site though to your twitter page, they then had to click to follow you. This seems like a small difference but I believe it is an important one, the easier you make it for people to do something then the more likely it is that they will do it.
The Facebook Like button has been around for a while and the benefits are phenomenal when incorporating this. The summary of the Like Button means that all of your website is now part of Facebook’s social graph, meaning that your pages can be found if people search for certain things via the Facebook search box (as long as the page has been shared at least once). You then get access to lots of cool information about this user which can be used to personalise pages and show which of their friends also like this page/item/category etc.
The AddThis plugin in my opinion is the best thing since sliced bread. It incorporates all of the main social media websites, it automatically orders the list of sharing buttons based on the individual users preferences if they have use it before (or ordered by global popularity if user has never used AddThis). What a great tool and we all know as SEOs that the more shares/tweets/links generated then the better your site will rank in the SERPs.
Regardless of any SEO benefit here though, it is still the right thing to do when encouraging more people to share your content as this is the modern day word-of-mouth. This is real people sharing this content/product with their real friends and associates.
Now the only odd one in the list above is the new Google +1 button. When did Google decide this was a good idea? Why did Google decide this was a good idea? I can totally understand this from a data collection point as this data can be used to personalise a users search results based on the websites they like (which IMO isn’t likely to work as well as Google would like). The data can also be used as great information to personalise the sponsored adverts too. But I am yet to be convinced of the true value for the user behind this – only time will tell I guess.
Currently the plus 1 button requires a separate install as it is not yet bundled within the main AddThis button. When I asked AddThis when this would be available, they were unsure of a timescale for this.
In the mean time though whilst I wait for some more information about this button and how successful / unsuccessful it turns out to be, I may install it and give it a go!