When introduced to the title of this post, what was the first thing that popped up in your mind? I’m pretty sure you linked “web design” to “social media” with social buttons that enable users to “like”, “share”, “pin”, or “+1” a post. But is that all? Certainly not! There is much more web designers and blog owners can do to integrate the two.
But, first of all, why is it so important?
Why It Is Important To Integrate Social Media Into Web Design:
One can’t deny the popularity of social media platforms these days. Thanks to popular social network owner, Mr. Zuckerberg, a whole new revolution has been brought about since the advent of Facebook. Back in the days Friendster, MySpace, and Orkut were places everyone had accounts, but would only occasionally take a look at every now and then to keep track of their “friends’ lists”. But after Facebook, the whole meaning of social media was transformed.
According to the latest rankings, Facebook is still number 1 on the list of top most popular social networking sites with an estimated 900 million visitors a month! Twitter now ranks second with 310 million visitors a month, and LinkedIn third, with255 million visitors in a month. Let’s face it.People are obsessed with social media!
Social media has impacted web design ever since. It’s no wonder every single website must have presence on social media to let people know about their presence. You can’t guarantee that a random visitor will drop by your home page and be exposed to your website – out of chance. However, with a huge number of user checking in on popular social media sites several times a day, you can guarantee that social media would cater to that “exposure” you’re after.
Social media has the potential to give your blog or business its own “voice” and welcome more visitors with the help of the most popular and trusted marketing technique: word of mouth. Of course, this isn’t literal word of mouth, but since friends, family, or close acquaintances are the ones doing the suggesting through social media “shares” and “likes”, users are more likely to give in to the invite.
Social media presence enables website owners to engage with a much wider audience than you would if you had relied only on Google ads or other promotional techniques. It also gives you the opportunity to tell stories and humanize your brand through pictures and videos the audience will love. Also, feedback received and attended to on social media makes a brand far more approachable than one that requires users to fill in “contact forms” or sign-up before you can submit a comment or a suggestion.
How Integration Impacts User Experience:
You may think it to be the responsibility of a “social media guru “to integrate the two, but think again. Web designing has a lot to do with enhancing user experience. With that in mind, what if we say that in order to enhance user experience, we need to be concerned with what social media can do magnify it?
Consider this example: I visit a popular e-commerce website to buy a used iPhone 6. While I’m viewing the thumbnail, I get an option to “pin” or “share” the item. I’m not sure why I would want to share it while I’m still in the middle of making the purchase decision. Right now, the buttons are just a distraction for me.
When I have finally purchased the item, along with a “Thank You” note I get a link to “Follow” them or “continue shopping”. Again, I’m not interested in these two actions at this point because one: I have no reason to follow them, and two: I just finished buying, why would I start again?
As you can see, many web designers code up a blanket “share this” “like this” or “follow us”buttons on their blog posts, images, or page, but very few of them have actually put some thought behind the meaning and purpose of those buttons. They haven’t picked the right “moments” or pieces of content to encourage users to “like”, “share” or “pin” the piece, thereby forgoing user experience for a design that only has social buttons everywhere for no reason.
Some web designers fail to consider, “Why would the user want to share this page?”“Why would the user want to ‘follow us’?” or “Why would they start buying again after a $250 purchase?”
How To Do It Right!
As we mentioned earlier, integrating social media into web design is not all about coding up those buttons—anywhere and, practically, everywhere (which is actually quite annoying). Designers should learn to see beyond that and give more time and thought to the assimilation of the two so as to fully benefit from the impact social media is having on the digital world.
Be warned, though! You want to avoid appearing overly promotional with your website or offerings. For social users, the force fed ad-like stuff is a major turn off. Here are a few ways you can do it right.
- Keep “Social” in Mind: Every website should be designed with the default social navigation bar in mind. Where would the social side bar go and how would this constant navigation look from page to page? Also the more visible the social icons appear, the higher the chances of users interacting with them.
- Allow Log In with Multiple Networks: one way you can heighten user experience is by allowing users to connect with their social account other than one that requires them to create an account on your website. Account creation is time-consuming and tedious. Give them multiple options by allowing them to sign up with any social media account. Surely logging in with pre-made Facebook, Twitter, Google, Disqus, or WordPress account is much easier than creating a whole new account just to comment.
- Make Content Shareable—where it makes sense: the last four words are usually,what is missing when designers try to make content shareable. Agreed, we need “share” and “like” buttons all over the website, but it has to make sense! For instance, I simply love the “Tweet this fact” option because sometimes it makes so much sense to Tweet a quote or fact you like than it does to tweet an extensive blog post. Perhaps, I would “pin” the item image while I’m still browsing, but I certainly won’t care about sharing the image while I’m zooming in or carefully observing the product and its features.
- Give them a Reason to Follow You: Instead of placing a “follow us” where it is highly irrelevant, go for a “follow us” button right next to something that actually gives them a reason to follow you. For instance, you could place it right beside highlighted text that says, “Keep me posted about free/ discounted e-books”or “Keep me in the loop with more interesting tips and advice”.