Writing for social media is different from writing for any other reason. But how? Well, your social audience is more compelled to respond, share, and communicate with you. Think about this. When you’re reading a novel, do you feel the urge to respond to the author? Chances are, probably not. Social writing isn’t like this, and your social readers will inevitably interact with your writing in many ways: sharing a blog, commenting back, “liking” a post, etc. Your social audience is interested and will share their views – whether good or bad.
Social Media Writing Essentials
1. Research, research, research.
In order to be successful in the social writing realm, you have to understand the type of content your audience wants. You may not know this, but social media users expect to see certain things from you. Do your research to determine what type of content is consistently popular with your audience. You should then take that content and make it unique to your business, which adds additional value.
2. Grab your reader’s interest.
Many social media writing masters will tell you the headline is the most important part of an entire piece of writing. You don’t have to be Hemingway to make this compelling, but make sure to put some thought into your headline. Now, if you want a reader to stay interested, you have to use some form of subheads. Dividing up your content and giving it a “home” under a relevant subhead is the best way to keep readers engaged.
3. Open with a bang.
According to USA Today, the human “Attention span has dropped from an average of 12 seconds in 2000 to the jittery low of eight seconds today,” which is one second slower than a goldfish. That being said, you only have a few words to convince your reader that what you’ve written is worth their time. Make sure your opening paragraph is a summary of the content below it. Take everything you learned in Writing 101 and flip it around so that your conclusion/summary comes first. I’m telling you, it works. Always keep in mind: you’re writing for scanners and low attention span.
4. Use your writing to have a conversation.
It’s far too easy to forget the meaning of social in social media. Your readers should feel as though they’re sitting next to you, chatting from the other side of the table. This can be difficult at first but, after all, practice makes perfect.
5. Be a resourceful writer.
In order to become the best of the best, write pieces that also act as a resource. Provide links to outside resources when you can, to show your readers where you’re learning from. Extra tip: recruit some thought leaders to write a guest blog. A “thought leader” is a creative term for expert, and they can provide insightful, informational, and resourceful writing for your audience. Not only do links help your credibility, but they give an opportunity to share more of your internal content. Whether you’re linking back to your own content or using it to jump to some external supporting material, they provide your reader with more information.
6. Ever heard of an infographic?
An infographic is basically an informational graphic. Get it? In other words, creating an infographic is a way to visually show information. Include this in your writing to break up the heavy weight of your content. You can find some great (and free) infographics from LinkedIn’s SlideShare. Or, you can create your own with another useful tool, Piktochart (also free).
7. Call to action.
This is one for the books. Every time you publish a blog, make sure to include a call to action at the end. Some great examples include: share this blog, tweet us here, find out more, get started now, etc. This increases activity by providing a quick and easy way for your readers to spend more time on your site.
Like we said, your audience is more compelled to respond, share, and communicate with you when you’re writing for social. Because of that, we have to reconsider the way we organize content, what we write about, and the tools we use to create/publish. Social writing is opening a line of communication with your audience, clients, customers, etc. Be prepared for that, provide your audience with the content they want to see, and you’ll see positive results.