Websites Are from Mars and Social Media Sites Are from Venus
The relationship between social media and websites could be compared to our own romantic relationships, and since it’s Valentine’s Day, I’m going to do just that.
In every good relationship you have give and take. The same holds true for social media and websites. They have the capacity to support each other, sending and receiving site visitors, boasting about what is happening in the other’s space and so on. You get the idea. Social media do a great job of sending visitors to websites for the types of activities and information that the website can deliver. They do it in the context of what people are asking for and talking about. Websites have a Follow Us link in the header and a share bar in the footer.
Not to pigeonhole the websites, or their design teams, but most websites are not pulling their weight in this relationship. They accomplish telling their visitors there is a social presence, but they don’t address why a user would be interested in actually visiting, let alone sharing. It’s almost as if they haven’t taken the time to get to know their social media partner.
Take, for example, using the knowledge of where a user is in the website experience to draw a relevant connection to the social media site versus a site-wide Share This. The action the user is taking, whether seeking information, getting entertainment or completing a transaction, gives us the opportunity to extend the experience into the social space much more effectively than a header or footer icon. The user is more likely to visit the space because we have shown what it can do in the context of his or her interests.
Identify the most shareable part of an article and put a call to action to share it. Ask users to follow the social space after they complete a task that usually results in the user leaving the website. These are small gestures that go a long way. Like calling when you’re going to be late, giving a heads-up that the in-laws are coming next week (not tomorrow) or simply doing the dishes before your significant other gets home instead of right before dinner the next day. Do more than just the minimum. Make it count.
We need to help our websites be a more thoughtful partner to social media. It takes more time in design and development, but the payoff is that we drive more users to the social space and receive more shares. In the end, both sites benefit and grow.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
Image source: SocialMediaToday.com