By now both web professionals and their clients know there should be a “Home” button on a website as well as a “Contact us” button etc.
This knowledge of basic website usability can be put to good use on social media channels.
1. Understanding limitations
The biggest challenge to creating a good user/ brand experience across social media channels is the limitations to how much can be altered on the various sites. For example while MySpace allows more creative freedom, Facebook limits the visual changes that can be done in favour of keep a consistent Facebook experience.
The one thing you can count on to be available on all social media channels is text. Make sure to always consider copywriting and tone-of-voice.
2. Where am I?
It is good practice on websites to have a short introductory text on the homepage, landing pages and other entry-points to inform users they have indeed landed in the right place.
With social media profiles remember to fill out descriptions, info boxes, bios and similar to inform users where they have arrived. It is also a good idea to add proof or assurance of authenticity.
3. Where should I go?
Always link back to your website or one designated hub. This will essentially form the role of a sitemap of all your digital destinations as well as proof of authenticity.
Never link to the same site the user is on. I have seen too many instances of Facebook groups linking to itself, but the same goes for Twitter, Linkedin Groups etc.
4. Don’t call us, we will call you
Another best website practice is a clear contact option. However, on a social media channel this may not be a traditional contact form or an email address. It can be PMs directly to a moderator, a specific #help hashtag or something different applicable to the channel is use. The important thing is that all users know how they can get in touch with your company or a designated moderator.
5. Accessibility considerations
Creating accessible solutions go a long way to support usability. But how can we add accessibility to social networks, some which are.. not as accessible as they could be?
You can only do so much but you should do what you can. Here are some options to look out for:
- Good Plain English combined with good online copywriting.
- Make sure links are clearly identified as links both visually if possible as well as link labels that correctly identify the link target.
- Make sure the colour contrast is good enough
- Make sure the font size is big enough
- Avoid using text in images, but if you have to make sure it is big and legible
6. The world wide website
A good way of approaching your social network is thinking about the entire web as your website. Which networks are forums? Which are support? which provides company information etc
This will also help you identify redundant networks or star networks you can really benefit from creating a strong internet wide presence that work together as a single ambient presence.