Chapter XVI – How To Design Your Social Media Sites – Part I Introduction

On October 4th, Mark Zuckerberg made an astonishing announcement on Facebook: “This morning, there are more than one billion people using Facebook actively each month“¹. Meanwhile, six years after its initial launch, Twitter already recruited half a billion users whereas Pinterest, today’s fastest growing social networking site, counted some 11.7 million users in May of this year².

Read in the first chapter of our six-part series on social media why your company can’t miss out on all these users.

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This is the first of a six-part series detailing how to best design your social media sites. In this first chapter we explain why your company needs to be present on social media sites. In the subsequent parts we will give advice on how to best design your presence on different social media platforms such as:

  • Facebook (Part II)
  • Twitter (Part III)
  • Pinterest (Part IV)
  • YouTube (Part V)
  • Measuring social media success (Part VI)

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Why your brand needs to be present on Social Media platforms

If your brand is not present on social media sites so far and you are worrying if it makes sense at all, think about the 10 following advantages of social media:

1. Cheap – A brand’s fan page or account can be created for free without any initial cost. Yet companies are advised to invest in the site’s design and in the generation of content to create an appealing outpost for their brand.

2. Simple – Social media sites are quite intuitive and do not require any major IT expertise as they were created for the average person. Hence, brand managers should not have any trouble in handling their company’s fan page as they probably will use the same service for private purposes.

3. Reach – According to a recent infographic, the top 250 brands on social media on average recruit some 935,000 followers on Facebook and another 57,000 on Twitter³. Your brand might probably recruit less but your present and future customers certainly will be using some of the social networking sites analyzed in this series.

4. Interaction – Users who visit your brand fan page choose to do so and hence are actively looking for information on your company. Provide them with what they want and they will become loyal visitors of your account.

5. Conversations – In contrast to traditional media, social networking sites are based on two-way conversations. Instead of the brand having a monologue, fans want to interact with your company. Hence, users are more engaged and thus more receptive to receiving branded content.

6. Brand ambassadors – Interacting with customers on social media sites will help your company to recruit valuable brand ambassadors who will talk favorably about your brand and eventually recommend your company to friends online and offline. As a result, they represent a powerful and free form of customer testimonials.

7. Feedback – Companies receive immediate feedback on posts and comments they publish. They can use these insights to improve their communication online and to adjust their marketing strategy in traditional media.

8. Analytics – The free analytical tools imbedded in social media sites allow you to understand the very demographics of your audience and to evaluate which posts generated a buzz. Hence, it becomes quite easy to continuously improve the content of your brand’s site to increase engagement and loyalty among your fans.

9. Marketing – Although social media is all about conversation, your fan page still is nothing else than an additional channel of communication. Use it to publish new product launches, promotions or other relevant messages to customers. If your fans wouldn´t be interested in this type of content, they wouldn’t have become a fan in the first place.

10. Shopping habits – Brands which want to stay competitive have to adapt to younger generations’ shopping habits. Millennials for example are more than three times as likely to consult social media like Facebook or Twitter when looking for opinions about products to buy⁴. Moreover, 64% of millennials “feel that companies should offer more ways to share their opinions online in the future – and they’ll continue to participate“⁴.

If you would like to find out more on how millennials shop, please consult our post Millennials – How, Where And Why They Shop.

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Conclusion

Considering the figures mentioned in the introduction and taking into account some of the advantages we mentioned in this article, it comes as no surprise that brands want to be present in the major social media networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

Nevertheless, many fail to create an online presence which is appealing to customers as they apply the same one-way communication strategies they use for traditional media. Social media however is very different and thus requires it very own approach.

In the following four chapters we will give detailed recommendations on how to best design your brand’s social media presence in order to create an appealing and successful outpost for your company. We will give advice on how to design your site’s layout, how to generate relevant content, and how to interact appropriately with fans. The final part of the series, part VI, will provide guidance on how to measure a brand’s performance on social media sites.

As we will see in the following parts of this series, even the most popular brands commit subtle errors which too often result in angry fans and a public relations disaster.

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Click here for the complete table of content.

For more infographics related to shopper marketing, please visit us on Facebook.

If you are interested in how Gatorade uses cutting-edge technology to become the most social brand on the internet, please click here.

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Did you find this chapter helpful? Please share your opinion with us by commenting on this post below.

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Sources:

¹ http://newsroom.fb.com/News/One-Billion-People-on-Facebook-1c9.aspx

² http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/social-media-users_b22556

³ http://www.bestinfographic.co.uk/2012/05/14/top-250-internet-retailers-on-social-media-infographic/

⁴ http://econsultancy.com/ar/blog/8806-how-social-influences-millennials-shopping-decisions-infographic

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