Most companies are looking for a social media wall for websites, hashtag campaigns, and events – an all-in one solution that they can use throughout the year and in all digital channels.
But if you haven’t used one before, it might be challenging to list the actual requirements.
Here are six questions you should ask your team before choosing the social wall tool:
- Do we need multiple layouts, walls, and widgets?
- Are we looking to combine multiple social media sources in one place?
- Do we run multiple hashtag campaigns and events over the year?
- Does the social wall tool allow unlimited page views and posts?
- Do we need tag-filtered views for topic and product pages?
- Is the social wall GDPR proof?
Question 1: Do we need multiple layouts, walls, and widgets?
Most companies have websites and internal tools like Sharepoint. Some have mobile apps and digital screens, too.
You will most likely need a different layout for each digital service – let alone individual pages. So not only must you be looking for variable, ready-to-use layout templates, but you might also need different colours and branding depending on the website and digital service.
Now, guess what the favourite thing social wall providers like to limit is? The number of layouts, of course!
They might call them walls, boards, feeds, or widgets – most tools ask you to pay more when you would like to have, for example, a carousel layout on the homepage and a wall layout on the landing page. You don’t want a tool with limited walls and widgets if you have multiple websites and services.
Our answer to the question: Choose a social wall tool with unlimited display layouts that you can customize to fit each website, brand, page, and digital service.
Question 2: Are we looking to combine multiple social media sources in one place?
Most companies are active on many social media channels, but you might check the free options first if you are just looking to show a Twitter feed or Facebook Page posts. Unfortunately, Facebook Page Plugin and Twitter widget don’t allow you to customize the look & feel, and you can’t combine content from multiple sources. But hey, they are free and work just fine on the website’s sidebar if you are not too picky with design.
If you are keen to show social feeds and include multiple content sources – Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, etc. – make sure your most important social media channels are integrated with the social media wall provider.
And also, make sure that the social wall plugin is only using the official APIs of social media channels – you don’t want Facebook or LinkedIn’s legal team to contact you due to an unapproved use case.
Our answer to the question: When choosing a social media wall, find the list of supported social media sources.
Question 3: Do we run multiple hashtag campaigns and events over the year?
Now, this is where things get really interesting. Remember when I said that many social wall tools like to limit the number of layouts and make you pay more for each wall and widget?
Many make you pay to keep old hashtag campaigns live on the website, too.
Imagine organising a user-generated content campaign and asking your customers to share their best summer memories. In the autumn and winter, the hashtag might not be that popular and relevant any longer, but since those are valuable posts from your customers, you definitely want to show them on your website and other digital services!
That’s where most social wall tools ask you to pay. With the same subscription, you can’t keep the summer campaign on the website and create something new for Christmas.
Imagine that happening for one-day events that you organise throughout the year. To keep your past event hashtag feed saved and visible – even without new content updates – you pay to create a wall for the next event.
Our answer to the question: Choose a social wall platform that allows you to change live-updating sources any time, but also display your past UGC campaigns without additional costs.
Question 4: Does the social wall tool allow unlimited page views and posts?
Honestly, I’m surprised by this, too. Most tools limit both the page views and the amount of retained posts.
Intuitively, you’d think that your customers' success or a hashtag campaign becoming a viral hit would benefit the social wall tool as well – but instead, you might end up with a blank screen when the page view limit hits.
And not only page views, but the number of posts might be limited, too. You are working hard to get your customers to mention the hashtag, and the platform starts pushing older posts to the bin. Unbelievable.
Our answer to the question: You should never sign up for a tool with page view or post volume limits.
Question 5: Do we need tag-filtered views for topic and product pages?
if you are still reading this, you’ve just arrived at my favourite topic.
Now, all social wall tools should allow you to gather, for example, your company Instagram feed.
But are you just looking to show your latest images on the homepage, or would you like to show separate and context-specific feeds on product and topic pages?
Most customers tell us they’d like to show the most relevant content on a topic or product page, not the full Instagram feed. That’s when a tag-filtering for your content comes in handy.
When creating a social wall, start by gathering all content in one place. Then, use your social wall builder to create multiple layouts filtered by a hashtag. Again, make sure that the platform allows you to create as many walls, widgets, and layouts as needed.
Our answer to the question: Best social walls support tag-filtering and unlimited layouts.
Question 6: Is the social wall GDPR proof?
This question is most relevant in Europe, but more countries, including the U.S., are implementing similar legislation to protect the privacy rights of their citizens in the digital world.
The first question is where the provider is based: are they operating in the U.S., Europe, or elsewhere?
And the second question is, do they provide a DPA and information on what data they store and how they process it?
Before choosing the tool, perhaps interview the provider’s data protection officers by contacting them via email or live chat and see how well they are prepared for your question.
Our answer to the question: Check that the social wall provider has DPA and GDPR materials available.