Website Design – Social Media and Branding Best Practices
Social media or Web 2.0 is the concept of using Twitter, Facebook, Digg, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, etc. to market yourself and your products. There is a lot of work involved when you decide to add web 2.0 marketing to your arsenal of sales tools. One very important goal should be to customize your social media sites with your current company branding whenever possible. If your visitors are directed to these various sites and see a confusing branding message, you are likely to lose a certain amount of respect, whether that be communicated to you or not. A consistent branding message is very important to your ongoing success. So, before you decide to “dive in” to the Web 2.0 world, you should prepare yourself in advance. You will need to know which site can be customized, how to customize them and the time/costs it may take to do so. Most professional website designers will have a full suite of services to offer that include social media branding. However, if you ask your designer to provide such a service and they are not able to do it, you should consider contacting another source.
Another important thing to consider is “who will be updating your sites” ongoing. It is important to convey a consistent marketing message. If you have someone on your staff who knows how to “tweet” and update a Facebook FAN page (business page) then we recommend you give this responsibility to them to manage. If you allow anyone on your team to post social media updates, you will quickly lose control of your marketing message and run the risk of driving customers away. Before you decide to launch your new website product consider the time and effort it will take to work with social media. As a basic “rule of thumb” (and from our years of experience) you should try to keep the number of social media sites to the minimum when you first get started. We suggest Twitter, Facebook and YouTube as a good starting point. There are dozens of Web 2.0 sites for you to consider; whenever possible, you want to keep your “social media name” as consistent as possible. Remember, many social media sites restrict your user name to a maximum of 14 characters. Here is a great link to use to “search the most popular Web 2.0 sites” for your chosen name: http://www.namechk.com. We LOVE this tool!
When you decide to “brand” your social media sites, you will most certainly be including some sort of “company logo” and customized background image. We use Photoshop to create files for our clients and charge a set rate to do so for them. You should certainly include this “cost” as part of your overall website design plan.