Unless you’re living under a rock, you’re already aware of how influential social media has become. The statistics alone are staggering – four out of five users visit social networking sites regularly. Half of those users admit to checking their social networks first thing in the morning. I know I do! Social has become more than a marketing tool – it has become the fastest way for an individual to filter through a conglomeration of digital information and get to what really matters to them.
On the Go
A study recently released by Google shows how influential new technology has become. More people - up to 65 percent - are accessing information from their smart phones. The ability to research a topic anywhere has given consumers a whole new world of freedom. If information is interesting enough, 60 percent of users will follow through with more detailed research by using their computer. When designing an online campaign, it is important to provide, at minimum, a starting point that people are able to access on mobile.
Another key point from the Google study is that TV is becoming less influential. While TV hasn’t gone to the wayside, it has become more of a background device that is used simultaneously with one of our favorite gadgets. While we’re watching our favorite prime time, many of us are answering emails, catching up on work, or researching vacation destinations. Progressive companies are already taking advantage of this by using television as a prompt to drive consumers online. It is important to remember that the device consumers will likely have closest to them is their smart phone.
Everyone Has a Voice
User-driven content has also become the new face of the Internet. The rise of the creative spirit and the ability of individuals to harness the power of networks have led to numerous success stories.
Pinterest exploded in 2012, and this is largely due to the focus on user-generated content. Large images provide inspiration or provoke emotion. The images are laid out in a simple grid that focuses the website design solely on the content that users are generating.
Social media certainly empowers people to share their creations, but its influence doesn’t stop there. Secrets, struggles and life stories are also being shared. IHadCancer.com encourages users to Tweet “5 Words 2 Cancer.” PostSecret.com has been delivering touching, powerful, and occasionally humorous messages from real people since 2005. Facebook has recently thrown their hat into the user-created content ring with facebookstories.com. Similar to Pinterest, these websites utilize a minimalistic and unobtrusive design that allows visitors to become lost in the content.
Successful designs in social media deliver a simple, clear message. They do not make the process cumbersome for visitors and instead embrace the ‘on the go’ nature that has become the norm with the rise of mobile access. Keeping the process as easy and quick as possible encourages engagement and increases the chances of a user completing and sharing a social campaign.
Success in social media can be tricky. As users attempt to stay afloat in the sea of digital information, genuine, sharable content that speaks universally is a diamond in the rough.
If you want to make your social media design impactful, keep these tips in mind:
- Keep multiple devices in mind. Users are accessing content from multiple platforms, and often are reaching for smartphones for initial research.
- Focus more on emotion and the value of your content rather than having a singular goal of raising your number of fans.
- Allow your visitors to not only be part of the experience, but entice them to return and bring their friends and even submit content of their own. If you’re not sure where to start and need a bit of inspiration, check out the sites I listed in the blog above.