The great thing about social media is, well, it’s social. It’s okay, even expected, to have a more relaxed and informal tone when we write for social media. We have to be careful, however, not to allow the conversational nature of social media to lower our standards for good writing. That would be a mistake that would hurt your business or your personal brand.
Here are some rules I try and follow when writing for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, my blog and various other social media platforms to take advantage of their unique nature and write for success. Perhaps these can be helpful to you as well as you try and make friends and have an impact on social media.
- Do the work – This is where it starts. It does take effort to write well in any medium, and social media is no different. It helps to remember that good writing does have a payoff for you and your business.
- Get to the point – There is so much information to consume these days that attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. Granted, some information takes longer to explain. But generally the quicker I can get to the point, the happy my readers will be. With a blog post, try and make your point in the first paragraph and then support it with the rest of the post (hopefully I did that here).
- Use understandable language – Common everyday language works best, especially for social media. I make sure to try and explain terms that I think might be confusing.
- Practice good grammar – Ever seen the Twitter or Facebook post from the person who doesn’t use punctuation marks and capital letters? I really want to try and follow what that person is trying to say, but he or she is making me work too hard. Off to the next thing. Also, everyone has typos now and again, but I try and proofread posts to make sure they’re clean.
- Leave a takeaway – Especially with Facebook and Twitter, a quick and understandable message is greatly appreciated. This adds value for your readers.
- Make it funny and lighthearted when possible – Everyone likes to smile. Enough said.
- Always pay attention to tone – Even though offending someone may not be my intent, it’s easy for digital messages to be misinterpreted. I take great care to eliminate any possibility of that happening. Proofreading helps with this point as well.
- Get better – Good writing is a process. I certainly don’t feel like I’ve “arrived” as a social media writer. Recognize there’s always room for improvement.
I’d love to hear what you think about writing and social media. Feel free to lend your expertise as well by leaving a comment.
Author: Steve Sonn
Steve Sonn is the Principal of S2 Marketing Communications. He has more than 25 years of marketing and PR experience with health care and business-to-business companies.