You don’t need to be a ‘guru’ to see the value of social media

Paul Boag

Social media is not just the purview of marketeers, it is an integral part of the user experience. As web designers it times we took back the issues from the hands of the social media gurus!

Let’s be honest, as web designers we like to judge. One group we particularly like to sneer at are social media gurus.

Most of us were early adopters of Facebook, Twitter and the other social networks out there. Social networks were great then. A place to hang out with friends, share ideas and feel superior in our little web clique.

Marketeers have ruined our social networks?

Then the networks went mainstream and with that came marketing opportunities. Before we knew it, our networks were full of social media gurus telling us how to use these channels to monetise and engage with our target audience.

From our perspective this ruined our cosy little club and so we sneered at them and washed our hands of the entire endeavour.

Doing our clients a disservice

However in doing so we do our clients a disservice. We may not like it but social media has become a key tool in communicating with users. It has brought a lot of benefits in terms of customer service, better understanding user needs and even product R&D.

Instead of embracing these networks and ensuring our sites work closely with them, we have grudgingly slapped a few ‘share this’ or ‘follow us’ icons on our clients sites. As a result our clients are not seeing the full benefit of these tools.

Realign our thinking

It is time we realign our thinking and start looking at social media as part of the user experience. We need to move our thinking beyond ‘social media buttons’ and start considering how we can create a consistent experience for users as they move between different social networks and our sites.

We need to answer questions like:

  • What incentive are we providing to encourage users to follow our clients?
  • Are we making sharing our clients content as easy as possible?
  • Is there more we can do with the single sign on features provided by social networks?
  • How do the websites we build fit into the larger eco-system that includes social networks?
  • How can we ensure that users get a consistent user experience across multiple platforms?
  • How can we prevent our clients communities from being fragmented across multiple platforms?
  • What opportunities does social media provide for a greater level of personalisation?

As you can see there are a lot of issues for us to consider and a lot of opportunities for creating a better user experience.

Let’s start the discussion

This is an area I am keen we start discussing as web designers. I want us to take back social media from the hands of ‘gurus’ and establish it as an integral part of the user experience.

If you share my enthusiasm for integrating social media with the rest of our online strategy then you might wish to join me for an online webinar this coming Thursday (31st).

At 1pm EST (6pm UK time) I will be discussing exactly these issues and I would love it if you joined me. I will give a 40 minute presentation followed by 20 minutes of questions where we can start to explore the possibilities.

If you like the sound of this, you can sign up here

Sign me up

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