Since Facebook announced that it has over a billion active users, it is evident that social media is not a fad. This social media ‘thing,’ first made popular through blogs and sites like MySpace, is now a part of the very fabric of society. Applications such as Twitter are regularly referenced on news programs and newspapers. Millions keep connected to the world around them using Facebook. Linked In helps businesses find new employees and leaders. The micro-blogging platform of Twitter has been influential in world events over the last five years. Much like the integration of Television and Radio, Social Media has evolved beyond the original vision. The widespread impact of social media is a good reason to make a website friendlier to those wanting to use Social Media. Here five tips to help any site designer can do to help streamline this process.
1. Focus on specific social media outlets
Facebook is the current king of the mountain when it comes to Social Media, but it is not the only player in the field. There are different social media sites for different interests. It is a good idea to focus on the social media applications that will help your website the best. Lining up a row of every social media outlet isn’t always the best idea, since it may confuse users who read the website content. Decide on which social media outlets to support and make it easy for people to access from the website. A good idea is to make a list of all the social media outlets available, decide which ones will help the website the most, and focus on these sites. This will help keep the website design clean while not confusing the users with unnecessary options.
2. Easy access to a Facebook Page
That being said, creating a Facebook page for a website is not a bad idea. Facebook is not going away anytime soon and many people can be reached through the site. Facebook integration for a page doesn’t have to be difficult. There are plenty of buttons and widgets are easily added to a typical website. Try to make these buttons both easy to find yet unobtrusive; there is no reason for the Facebook content to take away from the website. Facebook may not always be the top of the heap when it comes to social media, but it is a good idea to use the site as it is now. Make sure to keep the created Facebook page loaded with fresh content that will lead users to the main website.
3. Twitter makes it easy to interact with people
The power of Twitter isn’t just through the sharing of information but through how easy it is for users to contact one another. This is useful on a website. Twitter badges and widgets can be inserted in to the site to make it easier for a user to contact the content creator or share information. If the Twitter account is active, the integration with a website will help as another means of distribution and communication across the internet. This communication will help website users feel that much more attached to the content they help spread. Just be careful on becoming overtly opinionated, unless that is the focus of the website. This could turn users off and create a bad reputation for the content creators. Twitter can be a two-edged sword if used wrong but can attract many new websites users if used correctly.
4. Social Media buttons on each article
Every piece of content that appears on a website should be easy to share through social media. Every social outlet features buttons that can be placed below or around website content. There are different sizes of these buttons, with the bigger ones featuring the full name of a social media site and the smaller ones just featuring an icon. This will help visually lead a user to the social media outlet that is preferred by the website without leaving out other social media options. A click on each button will share the content with the specific social media outlet, making it easy for users to like, tweet, or plus the website contents. As mentioned above, make sure not to overwhelm the user with too many buttons. Make the choices easy and the sharing intuitive. This will help spread content worldwide.
5. Make media easy to share
Videos and pictures are very popular in this visually oriented medium. This is a good reason to make sure pictures and video can be easily shared on social media. With sites like Pinterest popping up, there are now social media hubs that rely solely on the visual aspect of life. Uploading videos to applications like YouTube or Vimeo before posting them on the website is encouraged. This is a free and easy way to make these videos available to share on the many different social media hubs. Don’t be overly cautious about the content, but be sure to embed some type of watermark or copyright notice in to this media. This will help protect your content and make it easier for users that find the content in the wild to know from where it originated. This will help a user back track to the website. Users also like creating content. Create contests that push this urge to the forefront. The content they create will be shared and lead people back to the website itself.