Businesses have typically used social media as a communication device and, more recently, for monitoring. However, very few businesses are using social media to design better digital experiences. So, say you were monitoring discussions surrounding a business over the course of a month and saw a significant increase in negative commentary, how could that help UX designers to do their job?
As a discipline, UX focuses on motivation while social media centres on influence. Yet, the reality is that they are both different sides of the same coin. Let’s consider the experience of paying bills online as an example. This is similar to online shopping, but with a subtle difference: we have a low level of motivation to do so. We have to pay bills, but few of us actually want to do it. Hence, if we are going to pay our bills online, the task needs to be easy – otherwise we'll just avoid it.
Businesses don’t want to spend time and resources chasing us for missed payments, so getting it right has a real financial impact. When the stars align – motivation is high and the activity is easy to do – it falls firmly to the right of the trigger line, and as a result, we are really likely to do it.
A good example of this is Amazon’s ‘1-Click ordering’. It’s a check-out that makes purchasing products straightforward by removing friction and minimising the transaction to a single act. It’s almost too easy, and I can guarantee that as a result of the design, they will have fewer customers dropping out of the checkout before they click 'confirm'.
Where should social media sit in the design process?
To understand a digital experience, we should first start monitoring it in order to determine how big the issues facing a client actually are. Typically, there are problems that they were not aware of yet and only uncover through the process. This is where the T-Analysis framework really helps us, as it aids in making sense of all the data that is out there.
T-Analysis is an approach we have designed at Nomensa that protects our clients from poor user experiences and, consequently, disruption. The diagram above shows broad versus deep social-media monitoring approaches. A broad analysis can reveal trends in the industry that clients should be aware of or can become leaders in. Meanwhile, deep analysis hones in on specific problems to which we can begin to design a response. For us, it is not about using monitoring to show buzz metrics, but instead it's a way of scoping out opportunities to build better experiences while safeguarding our clients' most valuable assets.
This form of analysis lets you move away from simply 'show me everything people are discussing about my brand', to a much more valuable stance: 'the customer has a problem – what is it and what can we do about it?' Some other questions this method addresses include the following:
- Why are people increasingly expressing dissatisfaction?
- What trends or patterns are emerging?
- Is the Customer Support team dealing with more calls and messages as a result?
- Is this issue impacting sales?
- What part should User Experience play in this situation?
- Is there something we can do to improve it?
Nomensa has extensive experience in crafting social media strategies that incorporate research and monitoring.