Social Media Icons
Social Media Icons

Integrating social media and web design

Social media is one of those areas which is a little ambiguous. Many people working in web design and development consider it an element of digital marketing and therefore not their job. People working in design and development build websites; they don’t run marketing campaigns but is this really true? Is social media really the property of only marketing professionals? Not always we’d say, it’s a key part of the overall user experience.

Social media strategy should be a concern of web design professionals because it’s an integral part of the overall user experience and web design is basically designing prime user experiences. The user experience of a brand or company extends beyond their website and multiple channels are used to create their overall image. All the different channels need to be designed in conjunction with an overall consistency to create an integrated user experience.

Social media and networking channels play an essential role in directing traffic towards websites but very rare is it that websites return the favour. Web designers have often missed the boat on social media and that’s where marketers jump in and make up the difference. It doesn’t have to be like this.

“Share This” isn’t Enough

One of the key problems when designing a web page or site is that designers pay no attention to the location and positioning of their “share this” buttons. These links to share via social networks are found on completely unnecessary pages that no one would want to share such as industry-specific forms. This occurs when the “share this” button has simply been applied indiscriminately across a website because the designer has recognised social media buttons are expected but hasn’t put their brain into gear when it comes to the appropriate placement of said buttons.

Blanket application of “share this” or other sharing tools makes the user experience less focused and shows the designer hasn’t applied their brain to ensure that sharing options are specific. Identifying specific content worth sharing goes a long way to ensuring a business’ real aims and ideologies are properly shared.

Why Bolt-On Social Media doesn’t Work

The majority of websites have become social just because that’s the thing to do rather than because they were designed to be that way. This ‘bolt-on’ method of applying social media strategy isn’t necessary the most sensible way.  The process of adding more and more social options means that there is no integration between the channels. You might be able to comment on a blog post, like a Facebook page or send the site owner a tweet but the three actions are disconnected and this means that it becomes fragmented and clients and potential clients could miss out on elements of discussion or important points.

Your Website is Your Home

Your website is the home of your business and therefore it should also be the home of all social interactions between you and your customer base. Social interaction shouldn’t be a sideline where you occasionally dip in and out, it should be as integral to every website as the design and development.