Social by design in examples

I know that content is a king but maybe someone will notice improvements I did on this blog. I added possibility of commenting thanks to Facebook widget and I am working on basic social feature: sharing. So the topic for today is “social by design”. I can tell you about it 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 posibility 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

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 comments if you like):

  • share buttons - to make sharing your content or pages easier
  • comments - for getting feedback and conversation about posted content
  • feedback forms - dull but I think they can be reinvented
  • online chats - as help/client service
  • polls - not so popular
  • social proof - by showing faces of visitor friends or other real people that made it before you
  • links to your social media profiles[^1] - rather standard but dull
  • stream of content from your social media profiles[^2] - 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 known case. I hope every one of you can imagine typical SaaS product website. It contains homepage or landing page, features page, pricing page, contact/support page and blog. Main aim is to make visitors to create account and use your product, even for free. How would you make that website more social?

So as you see by default there is nothing social here. It is just a site that needs to sell product. And selling is not so easy in todays world. Adding social layer can bring you a lot of benefits. You just need to think what are natural ‘social’ next steps in different places during browsing your site.

More social ‘features page’

Let’s think for a while from visitor perspective. As a visitor I am on features page because product looks interesting enough on landing page that I want to know something more about it. I see a list of features, it can look anyway, we don’t care this time. So what ‘social’ things I would like to do here? (theoretically as we need user testing to find out!)

  • I would like to share the feature I found revolutionary with my friends/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 ‘social’ effect

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

  • I would like to propose my feature to improve product from my perspective
    Solution: ‘suggest a feature’ form

  • I would like to see other proposals for features
    and

  • I would like to vote for best of them
    Solution: backlog features section with voting for best to be implemented next

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

More social ‘pricing page’
  • quick automated question-answer service in form of chat, like here
  • social prof, testimonials, guaranties, 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 twitt service

Sum up

As you see you can just learn how to be social. Just remeber about these social ideas:

  • give visitors something to do
  • have regularly changing content - to keep them comming back
  • make it easy to communicate
  • show only relevant information - no point in sharing sign up form
  • make it easy to take action
  • people like seeing other people :)

I offer free startup consultations, mainly about product design and development. Just write me a message. Also, check my social profiles:

Reference:

[^1]: You know: Facebook, Twitter etc. :)
[^2]: u.s. [ut supro] :)


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