User Experience design—or, UX—is the process of designing a product around the end-user’s every expectation, need, and desire. UX combines scientific and creative methodologies to produce an intuitive end product that not only delights its users, but anticipates and caters to their every move. This practice is most commonly associated with web design or product development, but with nearly 2.8 billion monthly active users worldwide, it’s about time we strategists apply the foundational principles of UX to social media, don’t ya think? Here are 7 ways the ISL Content Strategists are applying Information Architect Peter Morville’s trusty UX Honeycomb model to our clients’ social media content production process. 

Peter Morville's UX Honeycomb

Useful: Make it easy for fans to accomplish their goals.

Capture and keep your fans’ attention by making it simple for them to accomplish their goals. Due to the rapid decline of organic reach on Facebook, it’s more important than ever to get strategic with how you’re getting your brand’s content in front of the people who are most likely to find it useful. Rather than cast a wide net with your content, tailor your messaging and visuals to the audience you’re trying to reach.

Let’s say you’re a shoe company with the goal of selling hiking boots. Using Facebook’s Power Editor, you can promote your Click-to-Website ad to users interested in outdoor recreation stores, National Parks, hiking, and competitive brands, rather than your entire fan base. If the people you target are more likely to be interested in buying hiking boots, you’re more likely to sell them. It’s a win-win.

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Usable: Don’t make fans think too hard.

Regardless of the social channel, clever content only goes so far without a clear call to action. Do you want your followers to leave a comment, click, or scroll through your content? Fans should be able to identify how—and why—they should engage within seconds, so don’t be afraid to kill your creative darlings if it will make your content more digestible and actionable. If it means using a bolder typeface so that mobile users flying through their feeds at 100 posts a minute don’t miss the message, or exploring new component-based ad types like Canvas Ads instead of trying to fit 5 calls-to-action into one Facebook post, do it.

Let’s put it this way, you’re not limited to 1080×1080 pixel images or 140 character tweets. If you want your fans to take an action on your content (duh), it’s on your team to explore solutions that are as intuitive to your followers as possible. Instead of letting them dictate your every decision, use channel and post type restrictions as creative fuel.

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Desirable: Create content your followers want to engage with.

Desirable social content captures the hearts and attention of its consumers, and understanding your audience’s interests is a critical first step in the process of producing the content your audience craves. Tools like Facebook Audience Insights and Spredfast make it possible for Content Strategists to understand the type of content followers find interesting; and that interest-based data has the potential to inspire content that will connect with your fans on a personal level. For example, if you discover that fans of your nonprofit’s Facebook Page are also fans of Humans of New York, you might consider telling your organization’s story in a similar format through interviews and portraits.

Putting content personalization into the hands of your fans is another way to delight your users. Take Virgin America, who put themselves in the shoes (err, seat) of their Millennial travelers, and designed a national Snap filter that allowed fans to customize it using in-app typography functionality. While extremely clever, Virgin also kept user experience principles top of mind. Fans immediately associated the underlined empty space beneath “Wheels Up” with a fill-in-the-blank opportunity, making it easy for them to customize their Snaps and send them on their way. Don’t be afraid to guide your users through the social experience with visual cues—it will only help them get to the good part more quickly.   

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Findable: Make it impossible for your users NOT to find your content.

That YouTube video looks great, but does its title include your industry’s top-ranked search terms? Your social content is on point, but do your handles match across channels? Your beloved content does your followers no good if they can’t find it. Streamlining your social handles, beefing up your Google AdWords knowledge, and establishing solid nomenclature guidelines in your social messaging strategy will help ensure that your content gets the visibility it deserves.

Another (free) way that Content Strategists can get their content in front of their ideal audience is by using the same hashtags as their fans. Say your client is a travel brand who’s trying to attract new followers—don’t just use #TravelBrand, tack on the hashtags your target audience is already using. Doing so will insert your content into the streams they’re viewing organically.

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Accessible: Make it possible for all users to access and consume all of your content.

Before you go spending a truckload of budget on a custom score for that recipe video, you should know that up to 85 percent of Facebook video is watched without sound. But, even if your viewers do fall into that coveted 15% of users who elect to watch videos with the volume on, it doesn’t mean you should rely solely on sound to get your message across. Closed captioning isn’t just critical for hearing impaired followers, captions make it easier for every fan to view your videos without worrying about cranking up the volume. Think of those fans scrolling through Facebook videos during their morning commute on the bus while simultaneously listening to Spotify. Don’t make them choose between listening to your video and Calvin Harris’ new single.

Sound or no sound, get to the point sooner rather than later. Over 50% of viewers in the United States will watch less than 25% of your video. If your social-friendly video is only 20 seconds to begin with, that’s only 4 seconds. FOUR! That’s not very much time to give your fans access to the meat of your message, so make sure you’re selecting attention-grabbing thumbnails, and coming in strong with a clear message or call to action to allow for more users to access your content.

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Credible: Don’t be afraid to highlight your actual product or service.   

While some of the most successful branded social media content does adopt a more lifestyle, relatable aesthetic, your followers still expect to see the content your brand publishes to tie back to, well, your brand. Despite the pocket-sized medium and fast-paced real estate, Facebook studies have shown that including more branded elements or products within your mobile video ad content can actually improve Ad Recall performance.

That said, believe it or not, social media users don’t always trust brands. In fact, 92% of consumers are more likely to trust an influencer than an advertisement or celebrity endorsement. Taking the time to develop an army of industry influencers to support your social media goals is quickly becoming one of the most effective ways to provide your potential fans with credible content.

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Valuable: Highlight your content’s unique value to the user.

There’s no shortage of accounts for users to follow on social media—shoot, there are over 700 million users on Instagram ALONE. Why should people spend time following your brand? What’s in it for them? Clearly communicating your content’s value to the user makes a difference when it comes to curating and maintaining a loyal social media fanbase. Your client’s goal may be to increase account registrations on their app, but social media fans would rather hear about the perks of becoming a member, or testimonials from influencers they admire and trust. Trying to drive coupon downloads on your client’s campaign microsite? Tell social followers just how much they can save in a single click.

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Moral of the story: don’t let your content’s underlying message or goal get buried beneath clever copy or flashy designs. That approach won’t benefit your audience OR your client. Next time you sit down to create social content, just remember the seven simple components of the UX Honeycomb and you’ll be good as gold.

How does your team plan for actionable social media content? I’d love to hear your tactics! Send me an email at kim@isl.co or hit up @istrategylabs on Twitter!