7 Things You Need to Know About Social Media Writing
With the new age of technology has come a new form of art: writing for social media. At first glance, it might appear simple to write a few Facebook posts, tweets, or LinkedIn updates, but do not be fooled into thinking that ‘short’ means simple! To effectively communicate your message to your audience, you should be putting more than a quick minute of thought into your posting each week. It can be challenging to communicate your message clearly and to the right people in 140 characters or less. So we decided to help you out.
- Don’t write for yourself.
We have this tendency to write things that reflect our own likes, needs and values. While this tactic can be very useful in a lot of ways (especially if you fall into the same demographic category as your target market), it can also be a biased guide. If your target market doesn’t share many of the same demographics as you, be mindful of how you are delivering your message. Consider asking the opinion of a colleague or friend who might better relate to your audience. Put yourself in their shoes, and do some research on the trends and preferences for that group of people.
- Give just enough detail.
If you have a larger message to share, one that most certainly won’t fit into 140 characters or less, this is a great way to do it. You want to give the reader just enough information to peak their interest without squeezing the full picture into your post. This makes your post interesting and engaging. Here’s what not to do:
“Hey! Check out my blog! www.myblog.com”
This post is un-engaging. Your friends and family will click on it because they are invested to some level in your personal accomplishments. But the folks whose attention you’re really trying to capture have no previous interest in you or your blog, so they’re going to skip right over this! Here’s what to do instead:
“7 things you need to know about your Facebook posts: www.myblog.com”
This post does a few things. One, the subject is directly relevant to the reader. Two, it gives the reader a clear idea of what they’re clicking on. Three, it’s concise and gives the reader the subject, but not the content (just enough detail).
- Make it shareable
Balance your informational posts with content that your audience would want to share with their friends. A relevant blog post, a great picture, an infographic, or a witty comment on current events are all examples of shareable content.
- Engage your audience.
Add to your mix some highly engaging posts that include call-to-actions. Questions or contests are a great way to get a ‘conversation’ of sorts going. Engage with your followers by asking a question (a common method is to call-to-action with ‘comment for A, like for B’), or introducing a promotional contest based on comments, likes or shares. People love to be talked with, not just talked to. This gives your audience a clear opportunity to interact with you and gets them excited about being involved. Plus, you usually get to learn a little bit more about what your consumers want!
- Use humor.
There are many tones that work well for online posting, but few come close to the power of humor. Everyone loves to laugh, so throw a few giggles at your audience every now and then. Most people love to get their information with a side of humor, so using a joke or an ironic line to deliver your message is sure to gain you fans among the masses.
- Eliminate unnecessary words.
Though Facebook allows over a thousand characters, market research shows that 140 characters is probably the most conducive to our attention spans. In fact, about 70 characters seems to be the perfect amount, boasting the highest user engagement numbers. Keep your posts short and concise- this may take some practice if you’re not used to shortening ideas. If you find this particularly challenging, it may be best to start by writing out your whole idea, and then editing it down to the right length. Here’s a good comparison:
“We’re so excited to launch our newest product, for those ladies that need comfort and style at a price they can afford! Check it out here.”
“Comfort & style no longer comes at a cost. Introducing Product X.”
Yes. So much yes.
- Check your spelling and grammar.
You know what they say, “Check yo-self, before you wreck yo-self.” Seriously though, this is a simple concept that probably has you rolling your eyes, but those little spelling or grammatical errors make it out the door all-too-often. Do yourself a favor: make it habitual to check your posts after you’ve written them. Even the smartest of marketing gurus make these mistakes, and you (and your company) look a little silly when you’ve posted, “Hey their, whats you’re favourite type of chocolate!” See? It’s confusing.
It’s not an exhaustive list, but these tips can serve as a guideline for your posting habits. Your social media writing should be unique- it should be infused with the culture of your brand while still following these basic guidelines. Consider keeping a ‘weekly posting checklist’ by your desk as a reference in order to build these good habits, and you’ll build a #Brandtastic following before you know it!
Andrea Geeraert is the marketing director at Social Oak Media Inc. and has nurtured her passion for social marketing through her entrepreneurial ventures and volunteer projects. You can follow her on Twitter @AndreaGeeraert. You can follow Social Oak & stay tuned for further blog posts @SocialOak.