Social Media Writing. (Yes, It’s Similar To Web Writing, But Not The Same) …
Even though web writing is mostly constructed to appeal a wide variety of people, it must also take into consideration how to best rally responsiveness from search engines to get noticed more easily in search results. Writing for social media differs in that you are writing content for specific people, specific audiences, and it’s ALL about the conversation.
Before you dive headlong into any social media strategy you need to determine who is it you want to talk to. Have you identified them? And trust me, “everybody” is not the best answer – at least if you want your content to be effective and widely shared by people who will actually use your services.
In order to meet the exclusive needs of social media sites you need to evaluate your style and approach when writing for it because the focus needs to be on building conversations and relationships, not just talking into the void. You need to be able to appeal to particular people, not collective groups, so your content must be presented in ways that consistently encourage sharing.
Social Media Writing 101
If you want to be a successful at writing content for your blog or social media site, it helps if you mimic the attributes of sociable people and successful sociable people are equally strong in listening as they are at speaking. And relax, you don’t have to be an over the top extrovert in real life in order to be a social maven online, but it does help if you understand what makes a conversation engaging. The same qualities that make you successful conversing in real life also translate to social media. Here are some basic tips that can help you coax more meaningful dialogue out of your blogs and social networking pages:
- Be authentic. Be YOU. People generally respond best to individuals they perceive as being genuine. Regardless of whether they agree or disagree with you, by being yourself you will at least reveal your personality which helps start conversation.
- Don’t worry about building a platform or a brand right away, that will take shape once you’ve allowed your “voice” cultivate online. People gravitate towards social media for interaction and connection, not to receive broadcast marketing messages or to simply follow carefully crafted statements. Make them feel that they have a personal connection with you. YOU are the best reflection of your personal brand.
- Don’t just post and dash. Participate in conversations, follow up on what you post. Be part of the conversation, not just a moderator of it. Social media is about listening and responding to others, not just having one-sided conversations with yourself. Building an audience is synthetic; letting one gravitate to you is organic.
- Share things that you love. When you do your passion is easily communicated – meaning you come across as truly authentic. That said, don’t be one-dimensional, share things across a variety of topics that entertain, engage, or excite you, but don’t spare things that irritate you, just don’t focus on those topics too intensely. Negativity begets negativity over time.
Finding the Perfect Voice
Most writers are also natural storytellers, a skill that meshes perfectly with this medium, but a non-writer blogger or small business owner may not be. This is where it may be worth investing in the services of a creative content person for assistance with your business blog or website. It’s all about the words. Well-crafted social media content can boost your company’s visibility in ways you can’t even imagine, something to consider when musing on the “value” of hiring a pro to help you. Social media can help connect you to potential clients, industry leaders, and readers. Engaging with your readers can be fulfilling on a personal level, can increase audience retention, and can help you develop new content ideas that keep your social media site engaging and bookmark-worthy.
Despite all of the positive aspects of social media, you need to be cautious about falling victim to common social media hazards, such as:
- Over sharing. While it’s good to share details of your life, sharing awkward personal details, the uninteresting minutiae of everyday life is one place you do not want to go with your posts. One rule of thumb here, use the “So What?” rule when coming up with status updates, example: “I just put a sheet of cookies in the oven.” (Who CARES! Why would this update be appealing or share worthy to anyone but say, your kids?). Make it worth sharing for others.
- Nobody likes a braggart. Don’t smirk excessively about your successes (or rivals’ catastrophes) can boomerang and drive followers away. There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance, be mindful not to cross it.
- Arguments, sour grapes, and unrestrained scolding. Social media is not the place to start or engage in public arguments or to air your frustrations with your career, fellow colleagues, the industry, or life in general. Similarly, just like in the offline world, you should strive to maintain your professionalism online.
Always Make The “Write” Impression
Social media can be an incredibly efficient rewarding tool for both individuals and businesses that are looking to not only market themselves and their work, but to establish genuine connections with other people. Social media can also help you stay informed on developing trends and monitor longer-term trends. It’s a great way to connect with other people in your industry, to network, and to help you take your career or your business to the next level while meeting people and making friends along the way. Learn how to use it smartly and watch your circle of influence grow.