Social Design for Social Success

Did you know that the number 1 reason why people love Facebook is that it enables us to show our personality? To create an identity shows the human need for sense of community belonging and self-esteem. Social Design takes these facts into consideration, in order to bring true value to the community you aim to build.

This blog post explains what social design means for your brand’s social media presence and why it is essential when you develop applications on Facebook to increase attention and engagement among people.

The value of trust and personal relevance
With technology today, we can get answers we’re looking for right away, everywhere, at any time. When it comes to subjective questions such as “Which film should I see?” or “Which restaurant should I go to?” we turn to our community of trusted friends for recommendations. Based on our community’s feedback and input, we make emotional decisions. Social design is to create personal value by enabling interactions between people in a community.

Social Design is about human needs
It is in people’s nature to be part of communities. It is where we feel love and belonging. Through interactions within our community, we build our own identity and are able to reach self-actualization. Social Design can be compared to Marslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. We base our self-esteem on how the community sees us, which means that the community helps drive our identity. When creating a social experience, Facebook recommends in their Social Design Guidelines to take these three core elements into consideration:

  • Community refers to the people we know, trust and who helps us make decisions.
  • Conversations refers to the interactions we have with the people in our community.
  • Identity refers to our own sense of self and how we are seen by our community.

Form your Community
Applications on Facebook aren’t social without other people. Introducting users’ friends into the application with help of social plugins automatically brings the pre established trust in a community. The more activity a user sees between the application and their friends, the more likely it is that they will interact. Further, the stronger associated emotion between the user and the community, stronger the bond and trust.

To build a community and a social product connected to your brand, you should create a clearly defined personality of your community; how it makes people feel and how it creates a sense of belonging. The personality of your community can be defined and communicated by some of the following elements:

  • Values – All your content should be true to your values and believes. It is one of the core reason why people join your community.
  • Benefits – People should be sure of what they gain by belonging to your community.
  • Tone of Voice – People should recognise your community; the way you speak and act.

Enable Conversations
Interactions are what glue the identity and the community together. Interactions build trust. Our sense of belonging depends on how we express our identities to a community and how we receive feedback from it.

People will engage and share content when it gives them something of value – a stronger identity, acceptance in the community, self-actualization etc. Further, when people gain feedback from their community they are more likely to share often and be open and honest. Increased activity from users means that there is more to engage with. Conversations are fuel more conversations. To increase interactions in your community you can take following into consideration:

  • Develop Conversational touch points – It is better to list down the subjects are relevant for your brand to talk about and what would people like to engage with? It is possible to bring more value by sharing content that is useful for your community.
  • Improve News Feed ranking – Have EdgeRank in mind when you produce status updates to ensure visibility for users.

It is advisable to ensure that users can share your content easily. Provide both ´Like´ possibilities that let’s users show the community what they like which will strengthen user’s identity. It is also good to use ´Send´ possibilities that let’s users do personal recommendations to a smaller set of friends. This will strengthen trust in their community.

Help people to strength their Identity
I guess you can agree with me when I say that we all feel joy when the updates we share on Facebook get attention amongst our friends. The reward – a sign that we get feedback from our community – increases our self-confident and strengthens our identities. We want to share who we are and be accepted for who we are.

The interaction we do – such as updates, comments and ´Likes ´ – tells who we are and what we stand for. We build a stronger identity with help of our Facebook profile. So take in consideration what a ´Like´ of your page or a sharing of your content tells about a person’s identity.

As we design applications for Facebook we should take into consideration existing social truths; which communities and identities we affect. Ask yourself why people should like your page. Everything you create for your fans on Facebook should help them to express who they are and build their identity. As I have mentioned earlier too, its better to build personalized experiences with help of social plugins. Encourage conversation by showing social context and activity throughout your application. Make it easy to talk, share, give feedback and engage.

It is good to ensure that every step from strategy and concept development to content and visual design are adapted to this social context. Keep in mind that it’s how people, your potential customers, behave and communicate that has formed our social platforms such as Facebook. Lastly, build experiences that bring true value to your fans.

Social Media Trends, Prospects, and Challenges in India

Our ever-growing global network of Local Social Media Managers around the world helps us ensure contextually relevant content through social listening, content production and response management. It’s a network of very talented people who possess great knowledge of social media in their local context – one of them being Nishanth Krish from India who shares his insights into the social media trends, prospects and challenges in India right now.



India is a mobile first country where 41% of total mobile users are active on social media. And it remains the fastest growing market for social networks in the world. The increasing affordability and use of Smartphones as internet devices means India is serving data to almost one billion mobile phones, and an individual spends an average of 3 hours on social media every day irrespective of device.
However, this rise of social media adoption among Indians has led to a growing concern over poor Internet speed in the country. Internet access is still unevenly distributed with connection speeds remaining disappointingly slow at just 2 Mbps on average, far below the global average of 4.5 Mbps.

Digital India, a program to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy by the government is expected to enable high-speed Internet connectivity across the length and breadth of the country, which will ultimately join the social media bandwagon and create a positive network effect for further growth.


Personalized Content is the Key

As much as our counterparts in other countries do, we consume content, but are averse to sharing. We Indians are conservative by nature and often not as open to sharing content online. Brands have realized that social media is not only about posting brand updates, but also about driving engagement by creating meaningful conversations. In our country of diverse culture, language and practices, brands are developing customized content, which is both relevant and appealing. Top brands such as PepsiCo and Bharti Airtel have integrated regional languages into their digital campaigns, resulting in more than 150% engagement compared to identical English posts.

Indians today are looking for a more personalized social networking platform where they can communicate with different groups of people. As eyeballs have shifted into the digital world, media spend has been following suit. Indian advertisers are spending far more on social media ads compared to their global counterparts. India is projected to be amongst the top three countries in the APAC region as regards its CAGR (2012-2016) in digital media ad spend and many brands have effectively developed tactics to enhance visibility by investing in promoted posts/tweets that carry targeted information about offers, coupons and contests through custom targeting.

Social media platforms have been a melting pot for running promotional campaigns for e-tailers understanding the different user behavior attributes, interests and changing buying behavior patterns. Social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, and e-commerce brands like Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal are blending their assets across platforms to tap into customer preferences. Moreover, e-tailers are reducing the length of the purchase cycle by using features like the ‘Get Deals’ button.


Catching the Eye Balls

Images and short format videos are gaining traction in India. Visual rich media content clearly dominates the social media space and gains the majority of engagement with Indian audiences as more people than ever before are sharing, discovering and engaging with videos on Facebook and as content creators build and engage a global audience. From increasing audience traffic to digital publishers and the high level of online conversation during major events, this growth in content discovery and discussion is taking place across social platforms.


Reaching the Rural 

The soul of India lives in its villages with 60 percent of the population residing here. To reach the under-penetrated areas, Facebook has initiated the project with a vision to provide basic mobile Internet services for free. The service is run by in collaboration with a number of telecom players. This service is available in English and six local languages — Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Gujarati and Marathi — and can be accessed via a dedicated Android app.

Facebook is by far the social networking platform with the widest reach, boasting of 118 million monthly active users in India, out of which 55-60 million are daily active users. 95 per cent of these users are ‘mobile-also’ users.

Twitter has specialized its service for the Indian audience with hashtags in regional languages and the ability to support regional language scripts, which has helped the social networking giant to reach out to the large number of non-English users in India who were previously untouched by the phenomenon of micro blogging.

Twitter in India takes center stage for breaking news and special events, bolstered by its partnership with broadcasters and media distributers. These partnerships have allowed Twitter to make the most of product innovations like polls, audio cards and the ability to share videos on the platform. Its rich media tweets gain far more reach than standard text-only tweets.


Focus on Social Mobile

Whether it’s discovering information about a breaking news story or an upcoming TV show, an exclusive screening of a movie trailer first or celebrities engaging with fans in authentic and meaningful ways, people converse on social media around the things that matter most.

As Indians continue to gain access to cheaper smartphones and data plans, with shifting platform preferences, it is imperative that brands shift focus to social mobile communications to reach out to an audience that are always on the go.

The future of social media marketing is expected to be mobile driven and in the year ahead it is most likely that we will be seeing more contextual and location centric content, helping brands to evaluate the different platforms better with accurate reporting capabilities for tracking engagement.