Social networking sites have become an essential part of a business’s branding strategy and promotional campaigns. Custom designed Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages not only help your branding, but designed and built right, they can help you meet your social media goals, whether that may be lead generation or gaining more fans.
When designing for social media success, it’s all about applying user-centric design principles and understanding the limitations of each social networking site. For example, the limitations of custom branding your Twitter account graphically lie only in the background image and your profile pic, whereas on Facebook you can almost create a mini-website experience by employing FBML custom tabs, clever design and some coding. It may sound hard work, but it’s completely worth it to support your fan’s user experience.
Here we explore the 5 reasons why you should employ custom branding to your business social networking sites:
1. Social media’s ‘free’ real estate can further tell your brand story
We strongly recommend setting up a Facebook welcome page tab that carries on your brand’s look and feel, lets the audience know what they can expect by becoming a fan of your Facebook page, and include links to your company website and other social networking sites. Plus you can use this valuable space to embed a company video, an eNewsletter sign up form, or even advertise a competition to assist user engagement. Set the page to default for new users, and you’ll have a much better fan conversion rate.
2. A professional design helps sell your important first impression
Your social networking site is an extension of your brand and should communicate your brand essence: logo, company colours, and positioning statement (if necessary), it should also inject a social personality and use language the social user is familiar with. For example, by simply adding a ‘Like us now’ graphic pointing to the ‘like’ button on your Facebook welcome page tab, you’re helping to direct the user to convert to a fan. See how we’ve applied this to our Brio Group Facebook page’s welcome tab.
3. A user-centric design assists engagement
Users consume social media in different ways, some are motivated to participate and contribute, while some are more comfortable to sit back and read and listen. Before commencing design, it’s essential to get to know your target audience. Are they vocal? Opinionated? Responsive to competitions? Do they consume videos, reports or fact sheets? Design with your target audience and engagement in mind.
4. Capture leads by clever design and understanding audience expectations
Social networking sites are known to be free mediums. Generally speaking, the user is responsive to promotions that are giving away something for free, as this is their mindset when using social media. They’re not on eBay, for example, where they expect to bid and buy. They’re in a sharing, social, free environment. So with this in mind, it’s important to tailor your competitions and content in this manner. Your designs should communicate this angle and with some coding you can incorporate competition forms or free report/eNewsletter/etc sign up forms via your Facebook page, which will allow you to capture their data.
5. Holistic user experience across channels
It’s simple 101 branding knowledge, but sharing the same look and feel and messaging across all of your touchpoints builds a consistent, easily recognisable and strong brand. Your YouTube, Twitter and Facebook pages should all look like they’re from the same stable. A simple, and extremely effective, tip is to integrate your social networking sites with your website and blog. The user will appreciate a holistic experience across all your channels – each offering something fresh and value-adding. And why wouldn’t they become a fan of that?
Are you a fan of a company on Facebook that does it really well – share your story!
Yours in social media,