Risking It All

It has been great talking about the fun fluffy stuff but now it is time to get down to the nitty gritty of it all. As I mentioned in one of my previous blogs Graphic Design and Social Media (SM) go hand in hand, but what I have not touched upon is there are some challenges and risks in the many different jobs in the design industry when it comes to going social. There are those who work as: web designers, freelancers, designers at graphic design companies, designers at advertisement agencies, and those who work in other industries just to name a few career paths. Out of all the different avenues one can go down in the graphic design industry working within another industry that is not SM inclined has to be the most challenging when it comes to taking the brand social.

warning-challenges

I myself work as the Graphic Designer at Shaw’s Supermarket in Stratham, NH and it is definitely not a simple task, especially since the grocery industry is still social media “shy”. Traditional media is still the main choice for grocery stores, with most concentrating on print media. Shaw’s is only involved SM wise on a corporate Facebook and through some individual stores having their own local Facebook pages, such as Shaw’s Hooksett (NH). Although, it seems that only the corporate FB page has any type of upkeep to it. The Stratham store does not have a FB of its own but we do use the social network Yammer, along with the rest of the company. This platform is an internal corporate communications system that is exclusive to Shaw’s employees. Having assisted my store director in posting and sharing on this network, the layout and whole concept of Yammer is very similar to Facebook with a bit of Twitter thrown in. ABC News discusses more on social network with the founder and CEO David Sacks here: http://abcnews.go.com/Business/video/yammer-social-network-work-14380232.

Yammer_logo

It is great for internal social media but still had no connection with the customers like Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest does. It is quite the challenge to know the benefits and worth of going social as a Graphic Designer and SM advocate and not being able to implement those in my workplace. Even using Yammer is a concept most still struggle within the company. Some industries are still into just trying to sell the product and/or service instead of realizing the value of two-way conversations and offering information and ideas that benefit their consumers. Shaw’s and many other industries will benefit greatly once they take the plunge into social media and numerous graphic designers won’t have to face the challenge of trying to convince and implement SM into their organizations anymore.

danger

Now that I’ve ranted on about one of the main challenges, I figured I would give a little insight about one of the top risks of embracing social media. The graphic design industry also takes a huge risk by not only going social but evolving the social atmosphere. They take major risks coming out with new designs/functions for each new SM site, app, etc. For example, Facebook has changed the layout and functionality several times but the biggest was when it went from the standard feed to “Timeline”.

facebook-evolution

Screen shot 2013-02-24 at 5.14.39 PM

Above left is the layout before switching to the most recent layout, above right, “Timeline”. Instantly, everyone’s statuses on the platform were about how it was loved or hated. As an avid FB user I noticed a pattern; new layout introduced, uproar of status, and then everything settles down. Once account holders get used to it they forget about the change and are back to loving FB. It is really all about what consumers are going to like and accept. What if the design of top SM sites such as FB and Twitter never caught on and everyone hated them? That’s a big risk designers have to take and a super challenge when things go wrong. To see some social media site that have actually failed check out, http://jalcommunication.com/google/, to read about the top 10 and why they didn’t succeed.

Finally, I found an extremely helpful webinar by Erica Bogdan that discusses graphic design for social media. This is great for those graphic designers that are challenged with working within SM shy industries. It is also helpful to cut down on the risk factor I discussed above because she talks about the importance of branding and consistency. Bogdan covers topics such as social media benefits and the importance of your company having a social media presence, implementing graphics into SM, and the significance of linking FB fan page and Twitter page back to the business’s website. It is slow paced and easy to follow, check it out for yourself below!

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4 responses to “Risking It All

  1. I definitely agree with you about Facebook. I was lucky enough to be part of the service in the first few months so I’ve seen every change over the years. There is always backlash because people always ask why fix what isn’t broken. One of these days they will make a change so big that people stop using the website.

  2. I’ve also been using FB for quite some time as well and I’ll admit I have been on of those people to complain. I thought for sure the Timeline switch over would cost the company some people, but know one I knew stopped using it. I’m curious now to see what FB comes out with next! Thanks for reading, hope to see you in my next blog.

  3. Great Post,
    Many companies do not still embrace SM, they consider SM is great but they are afraid about implementing SM in their own businesses or in the simplest case they do not believe that SM is for them.
    An article published by Forbes called “Big Companies aren’t Using Social Media for Customer Service” gave some impacting numbers related to this:
    1. Over 50% of the Fortune 500 companies do not provide their Twitter or Facebook pages on their contact pages of their websites.
    2. 27% do not provide the links to their Twitter or Facebook profiles anywhere on their websites.

    So, your company is part of these statistics. However, there are some ways to start convincing the firm about why to use SM, Read this blog:
    HBR Blog Network, “Most Organizations Still Fear Social Media”.
    In that blog appear some recommendations about how to overcome the company’s resistance to use SM. One of this is to have a single implementation of Social Media but in an area that is highly sensitive to the organization e.g. employee health and safety.
    I believe that with the time most of the companies are going to have a SM strategy as a part of its growing strategies.

    • Thanks Liliana! You found some very interesting statistics. I am amazed that any company that has a Facebook and/or Twitter account still refuses or does not think to put links on their official website. Great information and tips yo provided here. I too think that as time goes on most if not all businesses will have a social media strategy built in.

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