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Archive for the ‘Twitter’ Category

March 3rd, 2009

“Interweb the Rainbow”? The Skittle’s Twitter Feed Site Re-Design

Modernista! did it first, but Skittles got the attention.

This week Skittles changed their homepage to a Twitter feed of anyone who tweeted anything with the word ’skittles’ in it and it’s created a lot of buzz.  Some people love it, saying its perfect advertising in our struggling economy.  Some hate it, more than a few social media types have called it a ‘cheap publicity stunt’ because of Skittles previous non-involvement with any sort of social media.  But, ignoring all social media banter and looking at the new skittles page from a web design perspective, we see some potentially serious problems.

First of all, control.  Your homepage is usually the #1 place people go when looking for information on your company.  Is it really a good idea to essentially give up control of the majority of the content?  Skittles has already run into this problem.  Once word got out you could get on their homepage by simply typing ’skittles’ somewhere in your tweet more than a few inappropriate links and offensive language popped up.

Usability.  The nature of this type of feed (and the sometimes inappropriate things it shows) caused Skittles to put up an age verifying pop-up before entering the site.  True, if a person can add or subtract they can trick the program, and the screen is a pop-up so you can see the content behind it anyway, but putting up a barrier to entry like this is a no-no in terms of usability.  Many users will simply not spend the time to fill it in and move on.  Also, what happens to the people who were genuinely looking for information?  They are bound to be more than a little confused on where they should go next or whether they are even on the Skittles site…not good.

The actual site navigation looks too much like a spammy pop-up for comfort.  Once you get past that and realize that it is meant to be their site nav the way they’ve labeled things can confuse people further.  ‘Chatter’ takes you to the same page you’re already on (’Home’), ‘Friends’ pulls up a Facebook page, and ‘Media’ brings in a Skittles focused feed from YouTube.  The only parts of the entire site that still resembles a company website is a contact form and somewhat lame ‘Products’ section with a few links to their parent company, Mars‘ site.

skittles-fb

skittles-home

skittles-products

skittles-youtube

They’ve created buzz and we really do applaud them for attempting to utilize social media to get their brand involved. However, abandoning current web convention all together and sacrificing usability is probably not the smartest move in the long run…guess we’ll have to wait and see.

January 6th, 2009

If You’re Not Utilizing Social Media You Should Be – Tips, Tricks, and Pointers

If you didn’t hop on board the Social Media train in 2008 or haven’t heard about it (living under a rock perhaps?) 2009 is your year!  It’s a big deal trend, and it shows no signs of slowing down.  Don’t believe me?  Check out Todd Mailcoat’s post on Stuntdubl.com – 9 Reasons You NEED Social Media Marketing in 2009.

Developing a social media marketing strategy can be especially tough.  The list of available Social Media sites seems endless (Twitter, Digg, Delicious, Facebook, LinkedIn, Technorati, StumbleUpon…I could go on forever) and there are tons of pitfalls and mistakes to make that could derail your campaign in seconds.  However, using Social Media to your advantage can be extremely rewarding – leading to much higher traffic and better search rankings and in the end more money/sales/whatever for you.

So to start the new year off right AgencyTool has compiled what we think is the best advice around when it comes to Social Media.

First off – what NOT to do.  Janet Fouts posted the Seven Sins of Social Media and every single one of her points should be taken to heart by anyone getting into SM Marketing.  Along the same line is The 11 Rules of Social Media Etiquette by Eric Brantner.  Both of these articles are great places to start to learn the basic do’s and don’ts of the trade.

No matter which sites you decide to use you’ll invariably have to create some sort of user profile before you can go to town.  Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn profiles are pretty self-explanatory and their importance is obvious.  What some people fail to realize is that your profiles on Digg, Reddit and other aggregation-type sites are important as well.  For help check out this video from Brent Csutoras: Tips on Building Social Media Profiles.

We aren’t going to list every SM site out there – it would be impossible – with a little research you’ll be able to find ones that fit into your strategy and style.  We are going to share a few choice tips/tricks we found for some of our favorite social media sites.

Twitter.  There were debates about it’s purpose and usefulness, some people love it – some hate it, and it can be tough to really get involved with, but there is no denying that Twitter has substantially changed the way some people communicate online.  For a good overview of the service and how it can be useful read Dan York’s Why and How I Use Twitter and it’s follow up post.

LinkedIn is like MySpace for professionals.  It’s a great way to connect with colleagues and network with people both in and outside of your profession – it’s also a great Social Media Marketing tool.  Read LinkedIn Tips and Tricks to Get 500+ Contacts to learn how to make full use of your account.

Social Bookmarking and Aggregate News sites are another great way to use social media to draw attention and traffic to your site.  There are plenty of resources around to help you make the most of this type of site.  Take a look at BlueHat SEO’s Stumble and Digg Begging for a hack to put on your site that reminds visitors to stumble and digg up your page.  Chris Poteet write a great little guide on how to Become a Delicious Power User and this post from Top SEO Tricks tells you all about Getting Traffic from DIGG.com Comments.

Lastly, it’s easy to lose track of what you are doing once you charge into a social media campaign.  Keeping track of multiple profiles and what is being said about your site/brand/company can become overwhelming.  Read Social Media Tips: Tracking Your Buzz Online for pointers on how to stay up to date easily.

Do you have a great piece of advice or resource for utilizing Social Media?  Leave a comment, we’d love to hear about it.

September 16th, 2008

The Evolution of Apple.com, 1997 to Today…

Note: Click the easel icon in the bottom right for Full Screen mode which makes it easier to see detail.

August 25th, 2008

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Brands on Twitter


Most people use various apps to interact with Twitter, but there are still those that visit the profile pages. Now, admittedly, Twitter doesn’t offer a lot in the way of design on a profile page, but for companies using Twitter their profile page represents their brand. Some do it well, while others aren’t quite there leading us to the good, the bad and the ugly of brands’ Twitter profiles…

The Good

Marvel – Spidey, Iron Man and it looks cool. A+


Quicken Loans – A modern, fun design that fits in perfect with Twitter.


Revision 3 – A clearly well-thought out design as it integrates well with the Twitter interface and looks great.


Firefox – Looks great, easy to read and easy to use.


M & Ms – Ms. Green dishes out the latest M&Ms news.

A Few Others
JetBlue – Not the greatest since I had no idea what the HJ meant, but its still a lot better than most.
Detroit Pistons – Not a company, but its our home town team and dang it looks so good.
MC HammerPlease Hammer Don’t Tweet ‘Em. Ok also not a company, but we couldn’t resist plus the profile page looks good.
FastCompany – A great example of how easy it can be to brand your Twitter design. All companies listed below, give Fast Company a peek…

The Bad

Companies who for some reason chose not to put in all 15-30 minutes of the time it would take to customize their Twitter page a bit more than just adding a logo. This list could be huge, here’s just a few of the names that we’re surprised chose to be so plain…

Web 2.0 – A web 2.0 company should be sharp enough to brand their involvement on another 2.0 site.
Pandora
Digg
Technorati
SixApart
LinkedIn

Consumer Brands
British Airways – Plain and only 4 tweets in 5 months?
Wine Enthusiast – Pleeeease change that profile logo.
Blackberry – Could use a new (not blurry) profile logo.

Media
Wall Street Journal – White on white, plus a pixelated logo. Come on WSJ…
The Onion -Witty enough people to do something smart with their Twitter account.
Fox News – Their Twitter profile might be the only thing that Fox tones down.

A Few Others
NASA – Just put a nice hi-res picture of outer space on there…instant improvement.
Monster – At a minimum, change the color scheme.
NPR – Same as Monster.

Note to all “bad” profiles: A plain Twitter page is much, much better than an ugly one… (see examples below)

The Ugly

HP – Wait…so you chose the standard HP wallpaper delivered on all of your PCs, made it smaller and then thought that would be a good background on Twitter?


Travel Channel – A stock map tiled as the background? Off all the hi-res images available to the Travel Channel, they picked this?


Popeye’s Chicken – First of all, I can’t believe Popeye’s is on Twitter, secondly I can’t believe that they like the way this looks.


BBC – Not certain, but the background image looks like a screen grab from a BBC TV show. Adding insult to injury, the image is even tiled poorly.


American Cancer Society – Great cause, bad Twitter profile. Logos all over the place and a black on blue sidebar?


Luxor Hotel – Not the worst out there, the logo looks ok but the pic is pretty low-res and completely hidden by the updates. Also, what’s up with the random bikini girl profile logo?


Forrester Research – That crappy looking background image might be really interesting, but we can’t see it without Right-Click, View Background so it might be time to scrap it and clean the page up.


SouthWest Airlines – Not horrible but the background image is gigantic…as in, unless you’ve got a freakishly high resolution you never even see the Southwest plane in the bottom right corner.


Carnival Cruises – Same problem as SouthWest, the picture is too big and speaking of the picture where’s the cruise ship? A couple walking on the beach with a sailboat in the background doesn’t exactly scream (or even whisper) cruise.

A Few Others

Zappos – They use Twitter well, but the design of the page is just weird.
Blip.tv – Weird blurry background of something.
San Diego Chargers – If their team is run anything like their Twitter account is designed then its gonna be a tough year.


Know of any other companies that should fit in the Good, Bad and Ugly? Let us know in the comments.

Special thanks to FluentSimplicity for making finding companies using Twitter a bit easier.

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