Combining UX With Your Social Media Profiles

Guest blog post written by Samantha Peters, a graduate student of journalism and communication at University of Oregon. Samantha is passionate about social media, blogging and other areas of online communication.

Content and communication are essential parts of creating a social media presence for brands. One of the first steps in this process is to spread the word and be seen within the social media paradigm, primarily through engaging content. If your content is interesting enough, your brand’s page will gain readers and ultimately lead to a community of people following your page. The right content may go viral too. Another critical step is to handle feedback and comments, both positive and negative, effectively.

When working with social media the right User Experience holds an important place, in the grand scheme of things. A social media site acts just like any other webpage; people are going to view certain, more appealing parts first and then divert their attention to others. It is hard to commit the average Internet surfer to any site for too long, but there are some tips for creating page views, that last longer than 20 seconds:

Facebook

Being one of the most important tools in your social networking arsenal, Facebook usually gets ignored in terms of UX. It is a common mistake to assume that people are going to automatically follow brands on Facebook, because it is the default social media network. While this may hold true in some ways, it doesn’t mean that people are going to stick around to see what you have to say.

According to a recent study conducted by Mashable along with EyeTrackShop, the majority of your Facebook users are going to view your profile in a specific order. Your Wall is the most important part, followed by the photo spread, followed by the profile picture.

Twitter

Your Twitter UX is much easier to control than Facebook because there is much more importance in your message than the design. Twitter takes care of all of the heavy lifting for you and all you have to do is choose a suitable background image. What you choose to do with said background image could affect the way people view your brand. Make sure that you choose a compelling image and place enough information to inform viewers, but not so much as to put them off. Twitter should be a human experience, not an exercise in branding.

Google+

Google+ is the “Brave New World” of the social marketing landscape. When you take a closer look at the features and layout of the site, there is really no difference between it and Facebook (before the Timeline feature kicks in). While it may seem far too similar, the fewer users on the network mean that you can post lengthier posts and more in-depth topics. The seamless integration with YouTube doesn’t hurt the way Google+ navigates either…

YouTube

The new design rolled out by YouTube has made it easier to promote yourself through its own social network. While you can still create channels and link to services like Vevo, it is more effective than ever to create a compelling UX while linking to your video content. With the new grey background, it is more aesthetically pleasing to view videos. The notorious comment board has also been minimized and shoved to the bottom in order to give you a better overall branding experience.

Tumblr

When it comes to participating in a completely visual medium, Tumblr beats all of the other networks hands down. What you choose to post, design, and layout on the popular photo-blogging website is all up to you. With new themes created daily and an open sourced coding paradigm, a marketing tool like EyeTrack is your most effective bet for keeping track of good UX when it comes to the uber-creative world of Tumblr.

When it comes to taking care of your social media campaigns, it is important to remember that the audience nowadays has become more demanding. Videos and pictures take precedence over heavy text and boring linkstorms. If you have any questions about your campaign, or you just want to make it more eye catching and interesting, don’t hesitate to run to your social designers!

 

 

Get Ready for the Bots – on Facebook Messenger

2Facebook Messenger was released 5 years ago and now has over 900 million users. Originally receiving a flood of negativity towards a standalone messaging app, compared to one simple Facebook app, users seem to be warming to it. The decision to make it standalone does make a lot of sense, since messaging is a big part of people’s lives nowadays and Facebook even bought the domain messenger.com to launch a version for web browsers last year. Their 900 million users will more than likely be merged with Whatsapp’s 1 billion users, which means that Facebook will have the personal phone number of every single user – sounds like $19 billion well spent.

 

Open for Business

So that’s humans covered. Where to go next? Facebook is now venturing into their next Messenger-based project: bots. If you haven’t been keeping up, Facebook launched Messenger Platform last month, which holds within it, chatterbots. Luckily, these bots are not machine learning bots, such as the disaster that was Microsoft’s Tay. They do have some humorous replies if provoked but they ultimately steer the conversation back to the subject they’re designed to cater for. Thanks to their highly advanced Send/Receive API, these bots are able to reply with actual structured messages, including links, images, hotel reservations, the weather etc. You may immediately compare this to Apple Siri, Microsoft Cortana, Google Now and Amazon Echo, but what sets bots on Messenger apart is the fact that businesses can develop them, which in turn gives them another way to develop customer service. Simply put, bots could end up changing the world by replacing humans in such job sectors. Without the bespoke customer service integration that Messenger bots provide, the above voice-activated services will most likely not be able to solve business-related queries themselves. Having said that, the way bots behave is very reminiscent of the way Siri does. Maybe they’ll talk to each other one day and we’ll get the best of both.

 

Customer Service and Added Value

So how can these bots work for brands? Well, eventually, every major company in the world will have an account, which will be a first port of call when contacting their company. The reason this is almost definite is due to Facebook’s already-mammoth-sized network of users. It doesn’t get any bigger than Facebook when advertising to individual people, so connecting Messenger bots (as customer sales reps, for example) is extremely attractive. Messenger codes, one of many things taken from Snapchat, will also make it easier for businesses to connect with their customers. One industry example is how bots will almost certainly change how banking works for the consumer, replacing an app or web-based system with a dialogue with a machine that is able to understand your every need. The option to send money within Messenger itself is highly likely too, like Snapchat allows. This could also eliminate the hassle of speaking to a bank’s voice recognition system when calling by telephone – no more time (and money) wasted by the dreaded “I didn’t catch that. Please try again.” These voice recognition systems are essentially bots done badly, but they’re based on voice, which is a lot more difficult to translate into zeros and ones. Plus, you cannot autocorrect your voice (yet). I can see this whole system being replaced by bots – it could even connect you to a human advisor with ease, as you’re most likely already using your phone. Even if you’re using the desktop version or Facebook Chat, I’m sure they’ll figure something out. Besides banks, what other markets will benefit from this? Restaurants, travel and possibly supermarkets with online shopping services are big industries for it to thrive. The healthcare industry could also be a large portion – Healthtap have already created their bot, which isn’t surprising considering one of the first ever chatterbots was called DOCTOR and simulated a psychotherapist. In fact, the potential amount of markets are endless for this stream of interaction – just like it is with human customer service.

 

At the end of the day, customers are moving towards messaging as their preferred choice of customer service. And as generations progress, it will no doubt become the standard – a phone call will most likely be reserved for long, meaningful conversations with friends and family, which in turn will add even more meaning to them. The phone call will no longer be taken for granted, but talking to robots will be.