Typography is not just about putting legible text on a page. Legible is understandable for sure, but legible does not always mean that the user is involved in reading the text. Good typography is the catalyst for an emotional reaction. As the user goes through the words on the page, he or she is also interpreting and adding emotional twists to the meanings of those words. Flat and uninteresting typography does not inspire readers to try and understand the meaning behind the words, and when users feel no emotional connection to your story you lose out on a dedicated customer. Typography is not just an art of communicating information, but it is also the craft of communicating emotions. And an uninspiring design and text layout do not gel well with the nuanced craft of eliciting emotional responses through words.
Making the emotional connect
Think of a website as a link to your customers and a means to start a dialogue. When a visitor lands on your page, he automatically becomes part of the conversation that you have designed. And the most important aspect of this conversation is the type you choose to display on your site. In July 2012, the New York Times ran an experiment in which readers were presented with a passage written out in different fonts. Participants believed they were taking a test to determine their personality types – whether they were pessimists or optimists. But in reality, the test only captured the reaction of the audience to the different font types. Six different typefaces were used in the experiment and of the 40,000 participants, the ones who were shown the formal Baskerville font tended to agree with the passage they were given to read. The other typefaces (including Comic Sans, and Helvetica) inspired only a sense of disbelief in the readers.
Have you ever wondered why writing in all caps is considered rude? It’s not just because it is the internet equivalent of yelling, it also has to do with the way a sentence typed in all caps makes you feel. It’s too uniform, too closed-in, and too impenetrable. Not the best feelings to inspire in your audience for sure! Words can come alive through your typography choices. So make sure you use the right design and typefaces to convey the right emotions to your audience.
Tempt your readers to read more
When designing text layouts, the focus should not be on whether the text is legible. Instead, we need to shift the focus of our design to whether it is tempting enough for people to read. There are instances when a user has to force his way through badly designed sites in search of crucial info (scholarly research anyone?) but in most cases, you only have a few seconds before you have lost your reader forever to the quagmires of Facebook and Twitter updates. Just like a restaurant would not want their diners to go back home with a bad taste in their mouths, a web designer should never want the visitors to his site to fault his text layout. Good typography is essential in ensuring return visits, and in increasing customer retention.
2013 was a watershed year for brands and businesses as far as social media use was concerned. Google+ made headlines by emerging as the ‘next best thing’ for social media strategies, while already established platforms like Facebook and Twitter improved their targeted advertising feature thereby endearing themselves even more to entrepreneurs. Vines became popular than videos; Instagram pictures a whole trend unto themselves. ‘Pinning’ as a verb acquired a completely new meaning, and LinkedIn became more than a employee hunting platform.
But this doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of what social media can offer. We in India have just entered a phase where marketing strategies and brand promotions are opening up to using social as a new way of gaining followers. The year so far has been proof of the fact that social media use for marketing and brand promotions is here to stay.
Here’s looking the major trends that have surfaced in the months gone by:
Digital marketing is now in
Social media marketing was till now relegated to likes, follows, fans, and shares. But digital marketing has now made its foray into the Indian brandsphere. For the brands of the future, marketing strategies will have to go beyond straitjacketed norms. Expect more promotions that are targeted for smartphone, tablets and other mobile gadgets in the future. Innovation and connectivity are key.
Community building and engagement takes the trophy
What is the biggest change in the way brands approach social media platforms today? The answer to that is “community building”. Earlier the focus was to create awareness about the brand, to get more likes, more shares, more retweets. But understanding has seeped in and businesses today know that it is not the company with more followers which is necessarily at the top of the social media ladder, but the one with the most active community members. Users will like, share, and promote brands that they feel connected with, and companies have turned to community building in favor of ROI and monetization for this very reason.
Good content is still golden
So much has been written about how people on social media sites do not read anymore and have the attention span of a goldfish that businesses were starting to fear content-centric marketing strategies. But good content is effective even today, and when it ties in with burning topics you have a winner on our hands. Infographics, memes, GIFs, slides – the way we market content has surely changed, but it remains a cornerstone of media marketing even today.
Blogging is not for bloggers anymore
Marketers are making headway with blogs and using this platform as a content publishing medium. Tying with the above pointer about the value of good content, the trend of businesses and brands using blogs to reach out to a wider audience proves joust how important great writing and SEO tactics are in the Indian market. Businesses are using blogs in a bog way to redirect audience to the website, or to generate new leads for marketing and promotion.
Facebook is one of the most popular social networks today, with over 1 billion users active. Everyone you know is on Facebook. But some businesses and individuals misuse the viral natures of their profiles on Facebook to spam their friends and fans.
Here are the five biggest Facebook mistakes to stop making before all your friends organize an intervention for you:
1. Don’t Go Crazy Tagging People in Random Photos
This is one of the biggest Facebook follies that people make. Don’t tag people, friends or otherwise in photos that have absolutely nothing to do with them. People who tag other Facebook users on completely unrelated photos only to garner likes and shares are considered to unholiest of spammers. This will result in an alienation of your friends and fans and don’t be surprised if they don’t take you seriously anymore.
2. Stop Cross-Posting From Twitter
Just because you may be short of stuff to post on Facebook, but sending your Twitter posts automatically to Facebook is just plain bad behaviour. Sure, everyone posts pretty much the same stuff across all forms of social media, but posting it directly means less engagement and bad Facebook etiquette. Doing this reflects badly on you and your brand and makes people assume that you are just too lazy to customise an original post on Facebook.
3. Stop Liking Your Own Posts
Sure, you’ve posted something that you think is awesome, but is it really necessary to tell people that you LIKE it too? Isn’t that kind of obvious by the fact that you’ve posted it in the first place? Besides being repetitive, people use this tactic to ensure that their posts shows up twice in people’s news feeds, thereby giving the post more ‘exposure’. Remember, this underhanded tactic is assumed to be used by people who are insecure about the potential of their post going viral by its own. You don’t want to be viewed as desperate, do you?
4. Stop Spamming People With New Page Invites
While it is vital for any business to have a presence on Facebook, it is also vital to lead people there the correct way. One of the biggest Facebook mistakes brands and businesses make is to create a page for their business and then spam the bejeezus out of people with page invites. Create a page, post interesting stuff on there, share it on your profile and hope that people find your premise interesting enough to follow. Spamming people doesn’t mean that they will LIKE your page and they might not like you any more either.
5. Quit Adding People to Random Groups
Adding people to random groups is yet another Facebook mistake that no one should commit. More often than not, when you sign someone up to be part of a group, they might miss the notification and then suddenly, before you know it, they are spammed with notifications about every single update and post of the group. This leads to very upset users reaching their tipping point and finally leaving the group or turning off notifications. The trick is to let them out to be part of the group you create through posts that are engaging, valuable and relevant.
It’s official – hashtag mania is upon us. If you don’t believe us, ask Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake who put on a pretty hilarious ‘Late Night’ skit about how everyone is obsessed with using #hashtags. (Yeah, we just hashtagged a hashtag). While the notorious twosome may have mocked how people are going a little overboard with tagging stuff, the truth is that hashtags are pretty darn awesome when you think about it. You can get a lot of stuff done with the use of hashtags.
Here are four reasons why hashtags have earned themselves the ‘awesome’ badge from Facebook, Twitter and Google+ users and how they are slowly plotting world domination:
1. They can be an amazing tool to aid interactive contests.
The reason that people share a hashtag is to make themselves visible online and to join a larger user interaction or discussion. If one learns to play their cards right, hashtags can be used to an advantage. Let us assume you have just opened up a Star Wars-themed restaurant called the ‘Jedi Diner’ (we still don’t know why no one has done that yet!) As a newly-opened restaurant, your primary aim is to attract patrons. Maybe you come with an online lucky draw to engage and draw in customers. You could come up with your own hashtag like ‘#jedi4ever’ and ask participants to share it on their social media pages to be eligible to win. That’s as simple as it is. Now all you need to do is look up ‘#jedi4ever’ and you can view a complete list of everyone that has participated in your contest and choose a lucky winner to dine for free and win Star Wars merchandise (here’s hoping!)
2. Hashtags transform conversations to conversions
There’s a lot of jabber that goes on when users interact on social media platforms. With hashtags, you can add a tag of sorts and ‘own’ conversations that are already taking place. This is much like the Star Wars dinner contest idea above, but minus the contest aspect. If you can engage your target audience and convince them to share their conversation with your hashtag plugged in, you’re all set!
3. Hashtags give you a great insight into user behavior and habits
Hashtags can tell who you are, where you live, what you do, what you’re looking for, where you want to visit and more. Ok, so it’s not meant to be as creepy as it sounds. Hashtags aren’t really stalking you but can give businesses a chance to connect with you on a more personal level. For instance, if you’re traveling to London, and you want to find a place that serves good fish n’ chips, you’ll probably look up #london. This will throw up all the fish n’ chip hotspots in the city. Similarly, if your Star Wars-themed restaurant is in Kansas you can use #kansas in your posts to attract tourists and patrons from your own city!
4. They are constantly evolving
There’s so much one can do with hashtags. Everyday hashtags grow up a little more and there’s much to explore. There has also been talking about how American Express plans to use hashtag innovations to allow customers to make purchases using a hashtag.