How to Design Your Company Website around Social Networking - dummies

How to Design Your Company Website around Social Networking

By Jesse Stay

To make social design a seamless part of your company’s app or website, you have to “think socially” — that is, with social networking in mind. Always imagine what the user or visitor might be able to do if his or her friends were part of the same online experience at the same time. Some questions you should ask yourself as you design your app or site are:

  • Where are the closest friends of the individual visiting my site located? Those close friends may not always be on Google+. Sometimes they might be found in your own user database and the relationships you’ve already established there. Maybe you already know who a particular visitor’s friends are. Maybe you already know who the visitor’s family is.

    If so, you’ll want to find ways to utilize your own database to identify those friends and family of the user and start building online experiences that connect you and your brand with them.

  • How can I do better at bringing those friends along for the ride with each visitor who visits my site or app? When visitors come to your site, they should immediately be able to see their close friends and family somewhere. Maybe you show them articles their friends are reading. Perhaps you show them products their friends are purchasing. Maybe you just show them friends that visit your website.

    The goal is to make your site a social, welcoming experience for each visitor.

  • What products does my company provide that I could be featuring with each visitor’s friends? You could be featuring the products most popular amongst a user’s friends. You could be sharing the most popular articles from the user’s friends. When you share your money-making material in this manner, it becomes much more interesting to the users. They become more likely to read your articles or purchase your products.

    When users are surrounded with things their friends and family are participating in, they’re much more likely to share those things with their other friends because they know what’s being offered is already trusted by people they trust.

  • How can you reduce barriers to allowing visitors to share with their friends? Every step a user takes on your site should have opportunities to share intriguing finds via links to places outside your website or app where users are most likely to participate. Consider Google+ as one of those places:

    • Consider putting +1 buttons, Google+ Badges, and Facebook’s Like buttons at convenient locations around your app or site.

    • Consider integrating with Facebook Timeline and Google History.

    • Make sure you have author tags and are linking your website to your Google+ Page and Facebook Page (and vice versa).

    • Prompt the users to share when they find content or activities that they might want to share; if you do so, they’re more likely to share what they find.

    • Give users a feed that shows what their friends and family are doing on your website, and allow your users to share items to that feed as well (which brings all that sharing back to your “fish-farm”).