Writing for Social Media

Writing a social media post might seem like second-nature to some, but to others it’s a struggle. Even if you consider yourself the Ernest-Freaking-Hemingway of social media prose, it never hurts to double-check that you’re using the current best practices. After all, Facebook is an evolving entity and the way people want to be communicated with changes every few months. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re coming up with your next social media calendar.

1:   No More "Me! Me! Me!" Stuff

People are tired of being sold to, and people are tired of one-way social communication. Social media isn’t television; it requires two-way communication at all times by its very definition. Unless you’re crafting an ad, your post should be informative, but entertaining and evoke not only an emotional response from your followers, but also encourage them to interact with you. Having said that, Facebook now also penalizes you for blatantly eliciting likes and engagement. Posts like “comment below if you love rainbows!” are now deprioritized by the newest Facebook algorithms. You want people to engage, but it’s got to be genuine engagement.

2:   Consider Post Length

You have very little time to catch someone’s attention. We already know that images and videos are par for the course on any social media post, but the wording on the post still needs to stand out. You want to be brief, and to the point, but you also don’t want to omit any key information. This is one of the hardest things to learn – balancing brevity, wit and information. Also keep in mind that unless your post is especially compelling, not many people will be convinced to click “read more.” You’ve got about 400 characters to get the most important information in to your post before Facebook truncates it.

3:   Spelling and Grammar Matter a Lot.

It’s easy to feel rushed when you’re trying to get information up online. But do yourself a favor and run a spell check on every post – even if it’s only a couple of lines. You might be think that the occasional spelling error has no impact on how people perceive your business, but you’d be wrong. A single typo might be forgivable in a blog post, but when you’re working within the brief confines of social media, there are no excuses and no forgiveness. Spell check, spell check, spell check! Building trust with your customers and potential customers begins by representing your brand in the best possible way, showing your company in the best possible light. Not knowing the difference between words like they’re, their, there or palette, palate and pallet might be more costly than you think.

4:   Find Your Voice and Be Genuine to Your Brand

Don’t be phony, cheesy or punny – unless you’ve cultivated a style that fits with that kind of voice. Even though we’re communicating over the Internet, people respond much better to a genuine voice. Maybe that voice is caring – a very soft, positive voice. Maybe that voice is a bit more rugged and playfully harsh (although fair warning, in today’s social climate, you’ve really got to be careful with how you approach this). It does take some time to develop a voice, so don’t be afraid to experiment. See what your followers respond to the best, and then fine-tune that style in your posts. If your brand already has its own dominant voice, try to follow the lead and use that tone in social media. Although keep in mind, your social media voice can be a bit different – look at Wendy’s. Their social media is notorious for roasting other companies over Twitter, but the rest of their media – commercials, etc. have a much different approach.

5:   Putting it All Together

The key to successful social media is persistence and experimentation. You’ve got to try new things, analyze and evaluate them and then adjust your strategy moving forward. So maybe it will take a little while to “find your voice,” but in the meantime, you’re gaining valuable insight about your followers. Even if you’re still in the experimental phase (which we all kind of are as often as Facebook changes), be sure that you follow the guidelines in this post so you don’t alienate potential customers while you find your way. It takes time and patience to really make your social media stand out. While many small business owners take it upon themselves to act as their own social media managers, sometimes you need help, and we understand that. We’re here to help – even if it’s just to answer a few questions for you.