Something to Share About
While recently doing some user research on a web design, I learned a cold hard fact about social media and sharing site content. This will probably make your marketing manger lose sleep, and cry a single tear when they realize that most users really don’t want to share your content. Especially when you ask them to share something on a channel that doesn’t even make sense.
It is a constant struggle to do what the client wants vs. what you know in your deepest design heart is wrong. The client doesn’t want to miss out, and their massive case of FOMO is what is causing us to clutter pages which makes it harder for users to see what they are supposed to do. They don’t want to TW or IG your striped sweater, but they actually might pin or or wanelo it. FYI, It takes just as much effort to copy paste whatever it is you want on FB, Twitter, Pinterest etc. Many times it is easier and you are more confident about what is really going to show up on your page/feed. You don’t want some nerdy pre-scripted headline saying “Samantha thinks you might like this” because your page is... well, yours. You lose mass street cred as an individual when you share advertisments.
As for ensuring that social links are on every page of your site, it is fundamental design practice to not put unuseful info on any page especially if it were to distract from the main action you want your user to perform. Is it more valuable for your visitor to buy something, contact you, sign up for your emails, or facebook like you? You should know your site’s user group and where they are most likely to share and what device they are doing it from. Adding too young, too old, or too uncool (I’m talking about you Google+) links to share content makes your brand seem out of touch. Know why your audience is visiting your site, and know why you want them to share your content.
Lastly and most importantly, no one likes a brand's content more than the brand so it's important to have insight on what people actually like sharing vs. what your client thinks they like sharing. Once you know your audience on any social outlet, you can be sure you're giving them something to share about.