October 20, 2015
As we all know, we are conditioned to desire social interactions. Whether it be through meetups, coffee dates, sports, or other activities–interacting with others is considered to be a necessity for our happiness and stability. We grow to connect with others who have similar interests, passions, and goals and seek that connection in most situations.
With the onset of the Internet, interaction became less personal. People could hide behind a computer screen and feel completely anonymous. Yet, even online, the desire to stand out and interact still lives on–arguably growing even stronger as a result of years worth anonymity. Hence, the rise of social media sites and the implementation of social elements on websites.
Through socializing your site, you give people the opportunity to converse and connect with like-minded peers. Obviously, users appreciate these interactive social features because it feeds their social inclinations in a way that is simple and entertaining. So to give your users a more fulfilling website experience by employing these social elements, and get your site’s party started:
Add personality to your site
First thing’s first–the key to being social is building relationships based on person to person interaction. Therefore, if you fail to show that there’s a person on the other side of the screen, socialization completely loses its appeal. So make it clear your site consists of people rather than a corporation.
Add personal social media links to your site which show your interests, not all of which should pertain to your career. If you love Beyonce or consider yourself a pizza connoisseur–mention it. The likelihood is, your users will relate to those personal revelations, making them more interested in communicating with your brand. Having pictures of yourself, your team, or a gravatar that shows exactly who you are also adds a warm, interactive element to your site.
Other ways of displaying personality is writing content in a toned down, relatable voice and designing your site artistically and creatively to show your individual design preferences. Along the same tone, using unique pictures showcasing your team, office, or other meaningful elements are sure to get people interested in your brand
Insert interactive comments
Now that you’ve hooked people on your fabulous personality, make sure that the conversation doesn’t go just one way. Let your users do some of the talking. By inserting a comments section on your blog or elsewhere, you give your users the opportunity to converse both with you and with each other about the features of your brand.
They too can provide valuable insights, generate new ideas, and inspire campaigns that empower each individual while also giving them social fulfillment. This way, people get involved your brand, build relationships, and increase their loyalty to your site.
Though comments in general are great for your blog section, Spot.im has developed a real-time interactive comments system take your site’s social prowess to the next level. By allowing your users to chat in real-time, you foster an active community that empowers your customers.
We often go to sites like Facebook because of that small notification in the corner. Understandably, we are curious. We want to know if someone mentioned us in a post, sent us a funny video, or tagged us in a picture. When we know something personal is waiting for us, we are more likely to be enticed to visit a social site.
Same goes for your website. Notifications help drive users to your site by giving them a reason to visit. Through adding this feature to your site, people who were otherwise busy with other tasks are far more inclined to visit your site, hopefully leading to increased interaction and social contributions on your website.
Personalize your News Feed
You cannot apply a one-size fits all approach to your user base. After all, no two people are ever going to be exactly the same and therefore, they will all be drawn to different content, stories, and products.
By catering a news feed towards specific niche users, you are able to show them the pieces of information that are most interesting to them, which in turn, gives them a better reason to trust and engage in your site.
The proof of personalized news feeds is in the pudding. In 2014, Facebook has began allowing users to pick which stories will be most prevalent on their news feed and which stories will be hidden. This way, people could hide posts from say their ex, and never miss a post from their best friend. The site also uses algorithms to decipher which posts will be most interesting to a specific user based on their likes and stories they’ve read.
By employing this feature, Facebook users have been more satisfied with the stories they see and feel a greater desire to interact with the site.
Provide Shareable Content
In case you haven’t heard your website’s content pretty much defines you as an organization. Users browse the web for thought leadership on topics that pertain to their lives either professionally, or as an individual.
Therefore, by writing content that gives users the information they crave, you become a reliable partner in their self-education. But don’t stop there–content in and of itself is less meaningful if it cannot be shared socially with friends. Whether your content is blog posts, videos, pictures, or infographics, make sure it’s relevant, entertaining, and most importantly–able to be shared across social media platforms.
The importance of accessible sharing buttons should not be overlooked. After all, if people have to work too hard to share your content, they will lose interest. As a result, not only will your content not go viral, but you will also be missing an important onsite social element.
As we have established socializing is a fundamental human need. Though face-to-face social activity can never be replaced, websites are benefiting more and more from adding social features to their sites. Because such features tap into the user’s need to communicate and connect with others, people become more driven to interact with the site, and by extension, engage with the brand itself.
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