18th August 2011

Thinking outside the box – Social media

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Social media and its seamless implementation within web design is continuously expanding, as designers look for creative ways of immersing the user within websites. It is no longer acceptable to simply ‘like’ something, the user needs to discover and become involved in the experience. The increasingly popular implementation of API’s on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter grow new possibilities and concepts.

Intel’s Museum of Me

A great example of this is Intel’s Museum of Me. This interactive web application allows the user to take their Facebook data and store it within a unique online museum experience for others to browse and share. It is very experimental and far from the company’s previous ‘safe’ advertising. However, what’s the point? How does that concept relate to the product?

“Visualise yourself. Visibly smart processors from Intel”.

This tagline links the idea and the message directly to the company, while pushing the boundaries of what is possible. As a promotional concept it relies on our urge to be noticed and connected by tapping into our current obsession with celebrity magazines and gossip.

The website has proved a huge success, currently having over 750,000 Facebook ‘likes’. This in turn has earned the company world wide recognition, while re-enforcing their position of being at the forefront of computer hardware.

Another great example is Skittles’ implementation and reliance upon social media. The website content can be very time consuming to generate, difficult to keep up-to-date, and near impossible to find the correct tone of voice. Therefore, the creation of a community and user generated content allows them to keep the brand in peoples consciousness, without a forceful sales speech. It’s as Skittles say:

“We get it. Whatever we can do cannot be as awesome as what you guys and girls can do, so we’ll just link to it and let you do your thing.”

Skittles

Skittles did initially have a widget-based homepage. This simply worked as a toolbar, predominantly linking you through to the media streams of Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and Youtube. This however had its designs flaws, as it was felt too intrusive for the user, so a landing page was developed with the feeds built into it. Every visit is unique, fresh and exciting, and by accessing the website you feel part of a larger community. In essence, the user is discovering the (figurative) rainbow of information and content.

Not all the concepts have to be on such a large scale to generate impact. As an experiment by the non-profit ‘Child Alive’ Organisation, various celebrities sacrificed their Twitter and Facebook pages in recognition of ‘World AIDS’ day. This sudden silence caused shockwaves to millions of followers who relied on their idols updates. Upon checking the pages, there was a testament urging them to give to the organisation. This sense of ‘loss’ urged the followers to give generously. Within a few days, donations for ‘Keep A Child Alive’ achieved their goal of One Million Dollars.

This is a very small selection from the huge list that is increasing daily. Social media is growing faster than the adaptation of television and with over 50% of the UK population using Facebook, it is going to evolve and become more important within our lives.

So why not utilise this audience now? In a recent study by Hubspot, 51% of Facebook fans and 67% of Twitter followers were more likely to purchase from that given brand. It’s time to get creative and reap the benefits of; improved sales, ensured customer satisfaction, developed brand identity and customer awareness.

Old Spice

Old Spice

Good bye for now, from me and him