It is no secret that websites such as Facebook and Twitter are changing the way we communicate online. Rather than relying on email, we now spend time finding friends on Facebook and typing message we can squeeze into 140 characters on Twitter. Communications are changing, which opens up a new set of avenues for you to reach your visitors.
Integrating social media into your Web site’s design is an integral part of making the delicate dance of site visitor relations work. If you want people to respect your Facebook page, for example, it needs to fit with your overall Web presence. There are several ways you can help people get involved with your social media efforts and many of them are related to your Web site design. Let’s take a look…
- Widgets and badges – Both Facebook and Twitter (and a host of other social media sites) offer the ability to put a miniature version of your profile on your Web site. These profiles are branded and give authenticity and immediate recognition to the fact that you are an active member of a popular social media site.
- Location – Location of the information about your social media involvement can make a huge difference in how visitors respond. Center your design around your social media efforts, instead of making it an afterthought in the footer.
- Use social media to your advantage – Some people hardly use email. Many young users utilize Facebook or Twitter messages as their primary means of communication. This should underscore the ability of your social media presence to become a real line of communication directly to the visitors of your site. Consider connecting your content updates on the Web site with the power of Facebook and Twitter to communicate the latest and greatest on your site.
- Keep it relevant – In addition to design and content on your site, consider the quality of the messages you are distributing through social media. Don’t bombard followers with self-serving messages. Become a recognized expert in your industry within the social media community.
It would seem like enough to just throw a new badge or icon on your page and call it good. Placement is definitely key – it’s how visitors first find your social media efforts, and then participate if they feel it’s worth their time. Consideration should be given to how Twitter and Facebook can enhance your current Web site from a design standpoint so that everything marches in harmony.
Remember: social media is great, and that’s why most of the world uses it. It’s how your entire social media strategy – design included – will make your Web site stand out and allow you to reap the benefits!