If you are interested in more on this topic, watch our free webinar, Break Through the Clutter: Create a Social Content Plan in 4 Steps, on social content strategy.
This year’s Halloween went on without a hitch!
I celebrated with the standard trick-or-treating with the kids and ended the night with a walk to our neighborhood drugstore to buy some hot cocoa mix. My husband and I located the tiny corner of the store and, with jaws dropped, zeroed in on the one, single option available for hot cocoa. I immediately had a strange sensation of disappointment. But why? Not that the brand or flavor wasn’t something I thought we wouldn’t enjoy, but I’m used to choices – I mean aren’t we all? And, usually loads of them. Shift scenes to a grocery store and instantly we would have been bombarded with several dozen brands, dark and milk chocolate, varieties with and without marshmallows, calcium added or not – the list would go on and we’d likely be agonizing over a choice for several minutes walking away with some form of regret or second thoughts on whether or not we’d made the right choice. On this Halloween night however, after my quick moment of despair, I snatched up the box of hot cocoa, checked out and was on my way back home. Talk about relief from the Paradox of Choice.
So what’s all this got to do with Facebook and website content? Lots. About a month ago, Lab 42 put out an infographic showing that in a survey of 1,000 social media users, 50 percent preferred a Facebook Brand Page to the company’s own website. Naturally, I was curious why. What is it about Facebook as a content platform that makes it a top destination and how can you take these learnings and apply them back to your website?
I think it comes down to this: Facebook is easy. It’s easy to consume, easy to use, and easy to get hooked.
So let’s review the 3 lessons of simplicity and win big in the social web!
1. Provide quick bites of visual media.
We know that consumers are feeling the squeeze as they grapple to consume content. Visual media reigns supreme. Much like the supermarket aisle, the packaging is what initially draws us in and the messaging aids our decision making. So, consider the packaging of your content across the social web. How can you integrate photos, videos, or data visualizations where text once dominated?
Our client, The Bryn Mawr School, worked with us to simplify and optimize their web experience. One outcome from our suggestions is this vivid infographic, which Bryn Mawr designed to take the place of text-only format storytelling.
2. Leverage a familiar user interface with simple calls to action.
Some user experience professionals dislike Facebook’s usability, but what they can’t dispute is that 1 billion people have become intimately familiar with its interface. Facebook’s interface, and other social media channels for that matter, has a controlled experience that doesn’t deviate from one brand to the next, making content consumption easier, because the user doesn’t have to re-learn how to use the tool. Websites could learn a lot from this without infringing on intellectual property, of course.
Take the most recent Facebook design update, where the original left-bar navigation shifted more prominently into a tab-like navigation. Brilliant! This has forced content marketers to pare down priorities, something that certainly can be applied back to web navigation. What are the critical content types and calls to action and how can a spiffy new navigation bar focus your audience’s attention?
Save the Children’s Every Beat Matters campaign uses a simple navigation and calls to action to immediately engage the user.
3. Serve dynamic, fresh content.
Social media content is dynamic. It’s better be or your feeds will get left behind in the dust. But what if you don’t have enough valuable content to populate these feeds and break through the clutter? This is where integrated content strategy comes in. Inventory your existing web content. Where are there content areas that feel heavy and thick? Break them up. Multi-part storytelling allows you to curate through content that exists and repurpose it for the dynamic mediasphere. Curious minds will crave more when the content is served rapid fire style rather than in heavy blocks hidden behind labyrinth-style navigation. Bubble critical content to the surface and through creative display techniques draw users in for more!
Charity Water's September Campaign features a clever multimedia display to elegantly tell their story.
So limit choices, focus content, and serve in small doses!