If you’ve happened to watch a television show in the past ten years, you may have noticed a new trend. Instead of allowing the commercials to do all the advertising, networks have really taken advantage of the wider viewer angle provided by flat-screen TVs, and they have started putting advertisements in the corners of programs as they run.

These advertisements are small and nonintrusive. Often you will find that a lot of these advertisements deal with social media on the internet, like Facebook and Twitter and YouTube.

The point of that recent TV history lesson was this: Social media badges have become so popular that they can be found practically anywhere. Using them on your website is the obvious evolution of online business.

Of course, some people are planning on operating serious businesses and believe that having these social media buttons displayed on the site will give it too much of a childlike look and feel. However, research shows that the most successful brands out there today have Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. So it’s not like social media is this phase that today’s kids are going through. It’s an advertiser’s dream when you really think about it.

1. Social context

There are a different definitions you could use for social context. The most important, however, deals with your material and your business being presented through a social medium by which the public at large can participate in. This is what having badges on your site does. Remember this: The badges aren’t just going to be there as empty images. They’re basically logos with links behind them that take visitors to your social pages. The simple act of being a business with a social media presence is more than enough to give you social context.

2. Networking

As discussed above, having social media badges on your site means that you actually have social media profiles. This creates a networking system. Say that you have your main business website, your Facebook fan page, your Digg site, and a YouTube channel. When you add the badges to your site(s), you’re interlinking your entire network. You can exponentially increase the traffic to your site by simply taking the time to add a few badges.

3. Relevancy

People may be nostalgic about television shows from the 1960s, but they only long for the show itself. They don’t want to give up their 42” HDTV and go back to a black-and-white boob tube with bunny ears! People quickly grow accustomed to modern technology, and when someone logs onto your site and doesn’t see that you’re playing ball in the social park, you’re going to appeal to them in the same way an old black-and-white TV would. Having the social media badges shows that you’re relevant and that you’re actively participating in the social experience alongside everyone else. It also builds up a level of trust.

Any successful businessperson using the internet today should have a social media presence to go along with their main business website. It’s just smart business. And as long as you have this presence, you should interlock your network by adding the badges to your site.