Social by design in examples

I will tell you about social by design based on my ideas for improving my company’s website. Unfortunately all my ideas were dismissed because of lack of time and understanding. I don’t like my time to be wasted so maybe some of you, dear readers, will be able to take advantage of my suggestions.

What is that social thing?

Let’s think about what social really means. What do you mean by making your website or app more social?

For me social means to encourage sharing, to enable participation, to involve. It can have different layers. You can encourage your visitors to contact with you, give them the possibility to contact with other visitors, or to spread your word by sharing. And thanks to that, you can get new information and feedback, gain more trust and exposure and, I am sure, a lot more.

Benefits are significant:

  • more engagement and exposure time,
  • more traffic,
  • possibility of virality,
  • free advertising,
  • way to build trust and fan/client-base.

Social design patterns

The term is quite new, but in fact it contains a lot of elements we’ve already known. I tried to collect all standard social elements and here is the list (add more in the comments if you like):

  • share buttons - to make sharing of your content or pages easier
  • comments - to get feedback and continue conversation about your content
  • feedback forms - dull, but I’m sure they can be reinvented
  • online chats - as help or client service
  • polls - not so popular
  • social proof - by showing faces of your friends or other real people that made it before you
  • links to your social media profiles - rather standard but dull
  • stream of content from your social media profiles - build into your site

Examples

Getting to the point of this post, I would like to show you my ideas for social integration. I will use well known case. Everyone can imagine software-as-a-service product website. It contains a homepage or a landing page, features page, a pricing page, a contact/support page and a blog. Main aim of it is to make visitors to create an account and start using your product, even for free. How would you make that website more social?

As you can see, by default, there is nothing social there. It is just a site which purpose is to sell a product. And selling is not so easy nowadays. Adding a social layer can bring you a lot of benefits. You just need to think what are natural social next steps when browsing your site.

More social Features Page

Let’s think for a while from a visitor perspective. As a visitor, I am on features page because product looks interesting enough on a landing page, that I want to know something more about it. I see a list of features, how does it look is not important this time. So what social things I would like to do here? (in theory, as we need to do some user testing to find out!)

  • I would like to share a feature I found revolutionary with my friends and followers. Solution: ability to share each feature separately, or only the most innovative and interesting ones.

  • I would like to see some social proof, people that have already used the product. Faces of other people, and especially your friends, will increase the social effect.

Another group of visitors might be your existing clients - people who already use your product but are looking for what’s new.

  • I would like to propose my idea for a feature to improve product from my perspective Solution is “suggest a feature” form.

  • I would like to see other proposals for features and I would like to vote for best of them Solution is a backlog of proposed and planned features. Visitors can vote which one will be implemented next.

  • I would like to tell others about my ideas for new features and ask them to vote Solition: ability to ask visitor’s followers to vote too.

More social Pricing Page

To keep it short, let’s stay with points:

  • quick, automated question-answer service in a form of a chat, like here
  • social prof, testimonials, guaranties, examples of happy real clients - maybe even show who is using which plan
  • discount for sharing product’s landing page (of course with ability to do it by one/two clicks)
  • custom plan request form or interactive, dynamic pricing, like here

Other ideas

  • allow access to your most valuable content after twitting or liking it - like Pay with a Tweet service

Sum up

You can figure out by yourself how to make your webite more social. Just remember about these social ideas:

  • give your visitors something to do,
  • update your content regularly - keep them coming back,
  • make it easy to give feedback or take any other action,
  • encourage to share only relevant information - no point in sharing sign-up form
  • people like to see a social proof

As always, comments are welcomed! Find me on Twitter.

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