Content is king. Three simple words convey the importance of effective social media writing. Social media is about engagement. It is a conversation between friends. Each platform has a different way of initiating the conversation, but the goal is the same: get people talking about your brand.
Twitter focuses on short conversations. It is the equivalent of a text message. With a small character limit, getting your message across can be tricky. Keeping a thesaurus handy is advantageous to the character count of posts. Hashtags are a great way to reach a large amount of people while also decreasing character count. Text posts work very well on Twitter. A simple post such as: “What are your #plans for this #weekend?” contains 41 characters (which is well below the Twitter limit), two widely used hashtags (which will significantly increase reach), and a subtle request to comment on the post. A text post can be read while staying within the newsfeed, whereas a picture or video post requires navigation away from the newsfeed. Tweets move at lightning speed. Asking your followers to retweet and comment on your posts will prolong your presence in the Twitter newsfeed. Retweets are a two way street. If a piece of information is relevant to your business, retweet it. Retweeting posts from other accounts not only helps your reach, it shows your followers that you are interested in providing valuable information, not just promoting your brand. Posting links to websites can be advantageous to your brand; however, it is best to use a link shortener such as Bit.ly or Ow.ly to decrease the character count of your post. Link shorteners also give posts a clean look. The main points to remember on Twitter are to use hashtags and link shorteners to your advantage, keep your message simple, yet informative, and share, share, share.
Facebook and Google + are great for long posts, links, pictures, videos, question posts, and surveys. Although these platforms allow for longer posts, status updates should be short and eye – grabbing, as readers are more likely to skim long updates. Visuals garner more engagement on Facebook and Google + than text posts. Pictures and videos are easy ways to engage fans. When posting a link, always remove the link from the status box. A clickable preview of the link will automatically generate. The link is not needed within the status box. Do not leave the status box empty when posting a link, picture, or video. Always post a comment to let your fans know why the post is relevant to them. If you are ever stuck for content or status ideas, check out the pages your brand follows or pages that are relevant to your industry. Following pages is a great way to boost reach and find relevant content; however, going overboard will dilute your newsfeed. Like and follow the pages that are most relevant to your brand while keeping tabs on and posting to pages that can increase your reach.
Pinterest and Instagram are visually oriented. Posts should be eye – catching and include hashtags. Hashtags should be used within a caption to give the post a clean look. A picture of a cell phone with the caption “What is your favorite #smartphone #app?” has a cleaner look than the same picture with the caption “What is your favorite smartphone app? #smartphone #app.” Be sure to include a link to your website on each post. This will help boost search engine visibility while driving visitors to your site. Pinterest is best for posting multiple pictures, while Instagram is best for posting single pictures. Pinterest posts benefit from a Google Chrome application called Pintubest. Pintubest allows users to post videos directly to Pinterest. Women are heavy users of Pinterest. Websites like Gentlemint and Dudepins are similar to Pinterest and are geared towards men.
LinkedIn is geared towards industry professionals. The tone is serious and professional. Posts should be industry oriented. Selling your brand, not your product, is a top priority on LinkedIn. Let your followers know why they should buy from you, use your services, or work for you. Potential employees look to LinkedIn for job listings and to gain insight into the brand. Potential consumers, customers, and clients look to LinkedIn to validate their spending. Posts should be geared towards validating each visitor’s needs.
Blogs are great ways to boost search engine visibility and spread company news. WordPress allows for more journalistic – style posts, while Tumblr is geared towards short, visual posts. Tags are used on both platforms; however, they are not used within a post as they would be on Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram. There is a section specifically for tags that should be used when writing a post. Breaking news can be posted on blogs, but it should also be promoted on other social networking sites as well, since blogs are not shared at the rate of speed of most social sites.
Although each platform has a different tone, the message should be consistent. Connections are more important than sales pitches. Focusing on connecting instead of selling will create a tone that your customers will respond and relate to. Using humor and slang is appropriate in certain situations, but keep in mind that posts should portray the personality of your brand. Think of your posts as a conversation with a friend. The expression “think before you speak” is just true on social media as it is in real life.