7 Steps To Successful Social Experience Design


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When the web started it was primarily about content-sharing: mostly text documents. It quickly evolved into commerce, which gave rise to the consumer Web. Since the launch of Facebook and other social sites, we have seen the transformation of the Web into the ‘Social Web’ – every major website has added or is adding a social dimension to its experience. This has vastly altered the competitive landscape for most web-centric companies and will have a business impact on most enterprises, depending on the degree and speed of response. This article discusses why a high-quality social experience can now be a competitive advantage and 7 steps to build successful social experiences into your website and online applications.

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7 Steps To Successful Social Experience Design

  1. 1. 7 Steps To Successful Social Experience DesignWhen the web started it was primarily about content-sharing: mostly text documents. It quicklyevolved into commerce, which gave rise to the consumer Web and the dot-com boom in1999—with flagship companies such as Amazon, eBay and Google leading the way. The conceptof community and social interaction had started making its first appearance in the form ofAmazon reviews and eBay ratings for buyers and sellers. Since the launch of Facebook andother social sites, we have seen the transformation of the Web into the ‘Social Web’ – everymajor website has added or is adding a social dimension to its experience. Additionally, socialchannels/platforms focusing exclusively on the Social Web such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin,Pinterest and lately location-based social sites such as Foursquare and local-deals sites such asGroupon, Living Social have been seeing explosive growth.This has vastly altered the competitive landscape for most web-centric companies and will havea business impact on most enterprises, depending on the degree and speed of response. Ahigh-quality social experience can now be a competitive advantage.Following are 7 steps you must consider while building successful social experiences into yourwebsite and online applications: 1. Powered by People: Social experiences are all about people-to-people connections and relationships. Create platforms for people to interact and engage with each other. Give people a way to share their name or a profile/avatar that will allow them to maintain relationships in all their connections. Also, people are driven by their self-identities. Give© Rupa Shankarwww.cxpdesign.com
  2. 2. people a way to showcase what differentiates them from others. Facebook does this via user names, while other sites allow users to create detailed profiled about their interests and preferences. 2. Be activity-driven: The hallmark of a great social site is one which involves and engages people in more ways than one. The lives of constituents are enriched as a result of the activities. Hence, beyond hoarding fans, consider situations and environments for people to connect, download, share, review, rate, create groups, find answers to questions, collaborate, play games. 3. Maintaining the real-world connect: Social sites are not meant to disconnect people from real-world, real-life experiences and events. People want to share their online activities in the real world, talk about it and enrich it. They also want to use online media as a way to showcase their offline world, relationships, hobbies, passions and interests. Consider including social objects into the experience such as adding photos, locations, events, favourite products, books, thought of the day, tagging photos to locations, ranking and reviewing offline experiences. 4. User-curated content: In the past, brand owners and organizations would create a bunch of content objects (such a documents, videos, images, brochures, articles, PR stories) and “push” it to viewers/ users. This kind of static, push marketing is not effective anymore. Customers demand sites that allow them to voice their experience, grievances, share reviews, raves and rants about products. They also like to use the power of community to elevate other users in the group and content that they value. For examples, content such as news stories, pictures move higher up or down on a page depending upon the viewership, ratings, likes, social commentary around it. 5. Set the rules of social engagement: Some of the most subtle but important decisions in the architecture of a social application are not in the user interface per se but in the logic and rules for interaction. For example, when Facebook was launched, it was© Rupa Shankarwww.cxpdesign.com
  3. 3. available to only those people who had a Harvard.edu email ID. This created the aura of exclusivity. Recently, many luxury shopping sites host online secret sales only for a select guest-list. In other cases, the social connections are open and users can follow any user – for e.g. Twitter. In designing your social experience, consider the goal and mission of the site and what kind of relationships do you want constituents to establish among themselves. 6. Gamification to encourage engagement and participation: In designing social experiences, organizations can also look at “gamifying” their user experiences. Gamification uses game mechanics such as rewards and recognition (badges, social status, points, leaderboards) to increase engagement and encourage participation. These give any social experience more of the addictive qualities of a game. Companies like Happiest Minds provide social gamification engines that can be effectively integrated to increase engagement and activity in various scenarios such as websites, training programs, e-learning, customer communities, intranet, online retail, marketing campaigns as well as with enterprise applications such as CRM, CMS and ERP. 7. Social Referral and Loyalty: Social Experience Design can also be effectively tied to understand “customer lifetime value”. For example, let’s consider a typical loyalty card program. Most brand owners reward customers for buying more. These rewards can be in the form of cash back or discounts on future purchases. However, by designing social referral into traditional loyalty card programs, brand owners can reward customers to “buy more, try more and recommend more”. Additionally, each referral that leads to conversion can be identified and further rewarded.In conclusion, many websites are now evolving to become social sites using these designprinciples. Some sites have successfully scaled beyond simple sites to large-scale socialplatforms that engage with millions of customers around the world.© Rupa Shankarwww.cxpdesign.com
  4. 4. About CXP DesignCXP Design (www.cxpdesign.com), founded by Rupa Shankar, is a platform for marketers,technologists, designers and leaders to discuss and gain a deeper understanding of cross-channelcustomer experience design, develop empathy for customer needs and learn how to createproducts and services that deliver "wow" experiences for customers.When we check into a hotel. When we shop on-line. When we buy a pair of shoes. When we get ona flight. These are experiences by which we measure brands every day. However, most companiesare without the tools to purposefully design those experiences for maximum value. That’s whereCXP Design comes in.Day in, day out, we live, sleep, eat, breathe and unravel the riddle that is human experience, leadingto more loyal and committed customers for our clients.www.cxpdesign.comwww.facebook.com/cxpdesignwww.twitter.com/cxpdesignhttp://in.linkedin.com/groups/CXP-Design-Creating-Customer-Wow-4726523Rupa is an Associate Director at Happiest Minds Technologies (www.happiestminds.com), a next-generation IT Services & Solutions company at the forefront of Providing Advisory, Implementation andManaged Services on Social computing, Mobility, Analytics, Business Intelligence, Cloud computing,Security and Unified Communications. At Happiest Minds, Rupa is responsible for uncovering andactivating innovative digital and social engagement strategies for its clients, spearheading thedevelopment of frameworks and solutions for different industry verticals and enhancing the global go-to-market strategy. She taps into her past work as both a design practitioner and marketer to help HappiestMinds clients envision and define broad, end-to-end customer experiences.© Rupa Shankarwww.cxpdesign.com