A new website architecture trend is to promote social media engagement with a distinguished section or a community page in addition to placing social media icons and various social media plug-ins on a website. These engagement pages typically carry an inviting name such as “[Brand name] Life” or “Community”.
This new trend and pattern in promoting social media engagement is increasing especially among popular youth brands that build their brand image specifically on the premise of sharing and breathing the same life style as their audience. For these youth brands, social media “fans” are their brand image, and at key in staying relevant in the minds of their audience. Let’s take a look at the following samples of promoting social media engagement on a website beyond icons, widgets, and blog links.
1) Urban Outfitters
Urban Outfitters recently redesigned their website with a greater emphasis on navigation on mobile devices and integration of social media engagement. Urban Outfitters builds up a strong image as a social media savvy company by featuring a Community area with 11 unique interaction points for action, 8 of them related to social media engagement on their blog, Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter. Rather than just displaying social media icons or links to the first blog posts, the Community page acts as a front door to seamlessly step into the the world of social media by Urban Outfitters.
2) Armani Exchange
Armani Exchange, who has also recently been re-shaping their website, had created a portal page that emphasizes news, events, giveaways, behind scenes and social media. The page offers several action points to deepen the engagement with the consumer and the time spent on the website. The page is not titled as “social media” but as “life”, sending a message: Media engagement is a “natural” part of the Armani Exchange brand, not an extension.
Hollister’s rather minimalist website architecture also emphasizes social media as a home base for the Hollister community. Out of four main tabs for the website’s navigation (Dudes, Bettys, Cali Looks, HCO Life), the last tab “HCO Life” is designed as a simple yet strong gateway to integrate social medial engagement. True, Hollister is not integrating that much of social media onto their website but their strategy to emphasize social media engagement on its own page is powerful. Where as Aramani Excahnge offers multiple engagement options on their “AX Life” portal page, Hollister has chosen to foster an opposite strategy: “Everyone, go to Facebook, and Facebook only”. This website’s message is further re-enforced at Hollister stores by the staff who is time to time instructed to finish each transaction taking place with a phrase such as “Check out us on Facebook”. Each buying customer leaves a Hollister store with a paper bags with a similar message: “Check out HCo. on facebook”. The social media strategy has been extremely successful: With over 5,468,600 likes, Hollister has one of the largest fan bases on Facebook with an ongoing lively chatter and commenting on various wall posts, new products and new models.
Although the last example, Marimekko, doesn’t belong to the category of companies creating social media portal areas, Marimekko’s use of the concept “tribe” belongs to this same social media philosophy of identifying and building communities and talks perfectly, in this case, to Marimekko brand’s modern and urban fashion community. (Perhaps at a later point, Marimekko will be integrating its tribe of fans further on their website.)
© 2011. Meri Kuusi-Shields /Social Media River / Interaria. All rights reserved.